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What are some suggestions for writing a philosophy paper?

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A philosophy paper typically consists of an argumentative claim supported by a well-reasoned defense of that claim. This type of writing must make an original argument that is supported by logical evidence. It is not enough to simply provide an opinion or to offer up the opinions of other philosophers.

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A philosophy paper often introduces a specific assertion, or thesis, as the basis for the paper. This may be a claim made by another philosopher or a claim that is unique to the writer. The paper then goes on to either critique or defend the claim in any number of ways. The paper may dismiss the assertion entirely or dismiss certain aspects of it. It may offer examples to support the argument or defend it against the critiques of other philosophers. The paper may give examples that further prove or expand the argument in light of predicted criticism. Regardless of what strategy a philosophy paper employs, it must support its arguments with explicit, well-articulated reasons. A strong argument can't afford to make unsubstantiated assumptions that are easily critiqued by other writers. Typically a philosophy paper attempts to make a modest, straightforward point. Sweeping claims that seek to prove too much are often more difficult to defend. A succinct assertion, backed up by a strong explanation, typically makes for a stronger exposition.

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