Essays And Arguments

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Here attempts at definition may be unhelpful if not impossible: for example, if the question is "Does the past still exist?

", it will almost certainly be hopeless to begin by trying to define what "past" and "exist" mean.

The advice below is taken from the Philosophy Handbook for Undergraduates 2017/18.

You should also read Jim Pryor's essay writing advice for Harvard and Princeton students (follow this and you will not go far wrong).

It greatly helps to give concrete examples of the application of abstract concepts and theories – and preferably to give your own examples, rather than merely repeating those given in lectures and/or books.

If you do not understand what you are saying, and are unable to explain it or illustrate it with examples, you will run into trouble.

(It is sometimes legitimate to say that you do not understand a particular philosophical theory or argument, provided that you can give a reason – such as "He seems to ignore the possibility that ..." or "I cannot see how this theory can avoid the objection that ...".

This involves not blank incomprehension, but the comprehension of difficulties.) You must have a plan.

Finally: it is very important to leave yourself enough time to write a good essay. on the day it is due to be submitted will not do you justice!

Allow yourself enough time to write at least two drafts, and to read over the first carefully before beginning the second.


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