Notes by Christopher Lay
Department of History, Philosophy, & Sociology
Notes on Writing
General Tips on writing a philosophical essay.
Generic Margin Comments to avoid getting on a graded assignment.
What I call "The Structure"
Definition of relevant term(s) from that statement.
What that statement means.
Why is means that.
What the statement doesn't mean X (semi-obviously).
Why the statement doesn't mean X.
What else the statement doesn't mean, say Y (less obviously).
Why the statement doesn't mean Y.
Explain what your reader is supposed to think as a result of reading this paragraph.
Example of what it means.
Explanation of why that example exemplifies what you say it exemplifies.
Explain what the example doesn't show.
Explain now how the statement and the example are relevant to your thesis.