How to write a Philosophy essay year 13

Submitted By Helen-Mullis
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How to write a Philosophy essay Skills required

Critical evaluation
Reasoned argument
Expand (examples can EXAMPLIFY a point • *Maintain an argument

• A PoR essay has a main point or
THESIS (a proposition that you are seeking to establish as valid).
• A thesis, in one or two sentences, sets the direction for the essay in the introduction and sums up what you are trying to establish as your eventual conclusion

“Religious language is meaningless”
• Working with a definition of meaning that argues that meaning is ‘significant to the person using the language, whether such refers to objective fact or subjective experience and interpretation’, I will argue that religious language does actually contain meaning, as I will demonstrate through the analysis and evaluation of a wide variety of philosophical positions that are relevant with regard to the specific matter of meaning within this sphere.

“The design argument does not help religious faith”. Assess the claim (AQA AS question)

• The argument does help with religious faith as it shows that the universe has an intelligent and order behind it and, as nothing within nature itself could give such order to the universe, it suggests the need for an order giver and designer outside the universe
• Faith is a designer God is therefore rational and given empirical support.

• This thesis is clear, brief and relevant to the question set. I am not trying to prove the thesis here- that will form the substance of my essaybut I am stating it so that the examiner is completely clear as to what that thesis is.
• OCR to marks are awarded for “a very good/excellent attempt to sustain an argument”, so be bold with your thesis; this is not an optional extra-a reasoned argument or arguments, with supporting evidence, is what is expected of you in PoR.
• The opening statement at AO2 in particular, and in A2 essays, can go a long way towards setting the tone of the essay and help give you direction in your argument

The Main argument
• Your argument must now follow on from the thesis. One way of making sure this happens is to see if my essay could conclude with the thesis I have put forward.
If it can then I have been consistent in my essay in putting forward an argument. So, imagine my argument starts with the thesis and then works through some PREMISES and then ends up back at the thesis, as I am saying to the examine “See, I have shown you my thesis works”.

Sequencing thoughts
• An argument proceeds by a sequence of thought where one idea follows clearly from another. This means it is essential that you construct an outline before you start to write. Some link phrases below: • I will begin by…
• The argument of this essay is that…..
• Here we need to consider the following objection…..
• Having argued X, I now wish to consider Y….
• Although I have shown X, I still need to establish Y…
• Some might object that….
• Further support for this claim comes from W’s argument….
*Notice that a number of these use the personal pronoun “I”. This is deliberate, as a PoR essay is your own analysis of a question. You need to form a clear conclusion- which is your own view, fully justified-and therefore the use of “I” (unlike in other subjects) is to be encouraged.

If you want to use analytical words, here’s another list.
Some of these are DEVELEOPING the argument in one line or direction, and others are CONTRASTING another argument with your previous line of argument

In addition to this…(which was what I used in the ontological argument previously)
Because (insert name of philosopher) argues this, it follows that…
It could be argued therefore…
With regards to this…
On the other hand…
It can thus be seen that….
As a result…
This would suggest….
Such an argument leads…
Paley’s (or other philosopher) argument might work if…however…
Aquinas (or another