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Writing in Philosophy Essays

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Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians once sang that "philosophy is a walk on the slippery rocks." While philosophy may be a tricky subject to grasp, full of seemingly unanswerable questions and paradoxes, writing in philosophy is pretty much the same as any other academic
writing done in college. Philosophy papers still revolve around a thesis, still rely on evidence and logic to prove their theses, and are still written to show students' understandings or to gain new
understandings just like any other academic paper. The biggest difference between a philosophy paper and any other genre of academic writing is the subject matter. While a typical college paper might be built around taking and explaining a stance on a given subject, "philosophy will require [one] to clarify and defend beliefs that [one] felt were beyond questioning" (Garrison, Graybosch, and Scott 22).
Every animal on the planet is capable of communicating, be it verbally, physically, or possibly by some means yet discovered. Writing on the other hand is a form of communication exclusive to human beings (and maybe the occasional ape). Children are taught to read and write almost as soon as they can speak. Writing becomes a part of everyday life, and because of this it is easy to forget that writing "is a means of "communication [one] must consciously learn" (Heffernan and Lincoln 3). For this reason writing in college can be a challenge for even the most skilled of writers. While the basics of academic writing may seem like common knowledge, knowing them and understanding them can prove to be quite different. In the writing center it is our job to help writers take what they know about writing, and begin to understand it. Understanding is the basis for ...


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Heffernan, James A. W., and John E. Lincoln. Writing: A College Handbook. 4th ed.

New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company. 1994.

Hjortshoj, Keith. The Transition to College Writing. Boston, MA: Bedford/St.

Martin's. 2001.

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for Writing & Learning. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath & Company. 1996.

Seech, Zachary. Writing Philosophy Papers. 3rd ed. Boston, MA: Wadsworth/ Thomson

Learning. 2000.

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