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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Philosophy Projects

Page address: http://english.mnsu.edu/vwp/studentresources/writing/philosophy.htm

Philosophy Writing Projects

The Philosophy Department offers a great number and variety of "W" courses, and it's easy to understand why. Philosophy is all about questions. BIG questions. Questions about who we are, what and why we believe, what and how we know things, how and why we respond to ethical arguments.

In other words, these courses help to equip us to become active evaluators of our own behavior, our government's policies, and our place in the world. And, necessarily, Philosophy's courses will require you to write papers that construct arguments.

You'll need to "situate" yourself on an important question that could be argued several ways; support your claims about with evidence; and find "common ground" with another side of the argument. Building arguments like this will help you to understand why you respond as you do to real and difficult questions and the degree to which logic underlies your responses.

Along the way, you'll be reading and reacting to texts that use different schools of philosophical though in order to argue a question about meaning, knowledge, ethics, or values. And, again, learning to use writing to question, evaluate, and analyze what you read and hear in your environment is what critical thinking is all about.

Guidelines on Writing a Philosophy Paper

Here's a link to a website about "Guidelines on Writing a Philosophy Paper." It's written in clear, straightforward language with lots of helpful, practical hints about how to think about writing a paper, how to develop your ideas, how to draft a paper including helpful information on specific words that might help you make your argument clearer, and how to revise your paper. Reading through this site will be time well spent.

Common Writing Assignments in Philosophy "W" Courses

If you've already taken the plunge and are looking for advice, click on the type of writing assignment you have been assigned (above) and you will find

  • A general description of the writing assignment.
  • Types of evidence used in these assignments.
  • Methods of citing evidence and sources.
  • What's valued and not valued in these assignments.
  • Sample actual assignments.
  • Sample student papers.

Advice from the Pros

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Links to Online Resources

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