How to write a philosophy paper: key guidelines

Creating philosophy papers can be daunting and exhilarating. Whether you’re new to this area or a seasoned thinker, we’ll help you navigate the twists and turns of crafting a solid argument. This guide aims to demystify how to write a philosophy paper and provide a roadmap to construct a compelling philosophical argument. You’ll learn how to build a strong argument using evidence and clear reasoning and get tips on engaging with other thinkers’ ideas by respectfully disagreeing and adding your voice to the philosophical discussion. Moreover, you’ll discover the basics, like what makes a good thesis and how to structure your text logically. 

Challenges when completing a philosophy research paper 

Before you begin to write my philosophy paper, you should understand that this subject can be trickier than others because it involves grappling with abstract concepts and complex ideas. Unlike areas with clear-cut facts or formulas, this science deals with questions that don’t always have straightforward answers. You have to think deeply, analyze different viewpoints, and present your philosophy argument clearly and logically.

Another challenge is that philosophy often requires engaging with historical texts and the ideas of famous thinkers. It's important to represent one's views while developing one's perspective accurately.

Besides, dealing with examples of philosophy requires a high level of critical thinking and writing skills. Actually, these skills are important for everybody struggling with how to write a paper for college. Here, you must construct coherent arguments, anticipate counterarguments, and respond thoughtfully.

While philosophical research can be intellectually rewarding, it requires careful thought, clarity of expression, and a willingness to grapple with complex ideas.

Pre-writing strategies

The initial phases of creating a philosophy essay outline involve discussing concepts with peers, taking notes on research paper sources, presenting ideas, articulating the primary argument you intend to demonstrate, and sketching a draft. Let’s consider these preliminary steps in detail. 

1. Engage in discussions.

Before writing, discuss the issues with peers and individuals outside the course. Explaining philosophical concepts to others will solidify your understanding and reveal areas for further clarification or exploration. Through dialogue, you will gain deeper insights into the subject matter and identify potential complexities.

2. Craft a detailed philosophy paper outline.

A well-structured outline lays the groundwork for a coherent and persuasive paper. For this reason, consider the logical flow of your arguments, the sequence for introducing key concepts and counterarguments, and the organization of thoughts. A detailed outline will guide the writing process and help clarify your main argument and criticisms.

3. Start early.

If you wonder when and how to start a philosophy paper, remember that philosophical writing demands ample time for contemplation and refinement. Indeed, procrastination can hinder your paper’s quality. As soon as philosophy essay topics are assigned, allow yourself sufficient time for reflection, research, outlining, drafting, and revisions. Starting early enables you to deeply investigate the subject, refine arguments, and produce a final project reflecting your critical thinking and analytical skills.

Thus, thorough preparation lays the foundation for successful research, allowing you to articulate your ideas clearly, critically assess the material, and construct compelling arguments.

Philosophy paper structure: things you should know about each section 

The layout of this academic research typically includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Each part serves a distinct purpose in conveying the argument and interpreting ideas. Discover how to write a philosophy statement and approach writing each part with examples.

1. Introduction:

  • Purpose: This section sets the stage for your text, provides context for your argument, and presents your thesis statement.
  • How to write: As with completing a research paper abstract, it’s recommended to begin with a hook or attention-grabbing statement to attract readers. Here, provide background information on the topic and explain its significance. State your thesis, outlining the main argument or position you will defend in the text. If you want more details on how to write a thesis for a philosophy paper, you can read our other articles or get support from our writing team.

Example: “The concept of free will has long been a central topic of discussion in philosophy, eliciting diverse perspectives and challenging our understanding of human agency. In this research, I will argue that while determinism poses significant challenges to traditional notions of free will, a compatibilist perspective offers a compelling framework for reconciling determinism with meaningful agency.”

2. Body paragraphs:

  • Purpose: This section develops and supports your thesis by presenting evidence, analysis, and counterarguments.
  • How to write: Each paragraph should focus on a single main point supporting your thesis. Accordingly, begin with a topic sentence introducing the paragraph’s main idea. To strengthen your argument, provide evidence from philosophical texts, examples, or thought experiments. Analyze the evidence, explaining how it relates to your thesis. Address potential counterarguments and criticisms, demonstrating a critical evaluation of the material.

Example: “One objection to the compatibilist view is the challenge of determinism. According to determinism, all events, including human actions, are determined by prior causes, leaving no room for genuine freedom. However, compatibilists argue that freedom is compatible with determinism if we understand it as the absence of external constraints or coercion. For example, even if our actions are determined by prior causes, as long as we act following our desires and intentions, we can still be considered free agents.”

3. Conclusion:

  • Purpose: If you wonder how to conclude a philosophy paper, remember that this part synthesizes your argument’s essential points and restates your thesis, providing closure to your text.
  • How to write: Begin by summarizing the key points and arguments. Then, reinforce your thesis’s significance and implications for the broader philosophical discourse. Also, avoid introducing new information or arguments in the conclusion. Instead, offer some reflections on the extended implications of your argument or potential directions for further study.

Example: “In conclusion, while the debate between determinism and free will remains complex and unresolved, a compatibilist perspective offers a promising framework for reconciling these seemingly incompatible concepts. By reframing freedom in terms of internal states and desires rather than external constraints, compatibilism provides a compelling response to the challenge posed by determinism. However, further exploration of the implications of compatibilism for moral responsibility and agency is warranted, highlighting the ongoing relevance of this philosophical inquiry.”

By following this structure, explained by our dissertation writing help experts, you can effectively organize your investigation and analyze the material coherently and persuasively.

Things to include and avoid in writing

When pondering how to write a good philosophy paper, it’s important to understand what elements to include while avoiding common pitfalls. Here’s a breakdown.


  • Clear thesis statement: Clearly state your main idea in the introduction. Your research paper thesis statement should be concise, specific, and arguable, setting the direction for the study. Ambiguity about where you stand can detract from the effectiveness of your argument and diminish your text’s clarity.
  • Coherent structure: Follow the appropriate philosophy paper format and organize your text logically with a clear introduction, compelling body paragraphs developing your position, and a conclusion summarizing key points and restating your thesis.
  • Specificity: Rather than tackling broad and complex issues requiring extensive analysis, focus on discussing the topic's smaller, more manageable aspects. By honing in on a specific aspect in your philosophy paper introduction, you can deeply analyze the subject and provide a more thorough examination in your body section. This allows you to present a more focused and coherent opinion.
  • Rigorous analysis: Thoroughly analyze and evaluate philosophical concepts, arguments, and positions. Support your ideas with evidence, reasoning, and examples.
  • Counterarguments: Acknowledge opposing viewpoints and address potential objections to your thesis. Engaging with counterarguments demonstrates a deeper understanding of the subject and strengthens your overall position.
  • Clarity and precision: It is crucial to understand how to format a philosophy paper and follow the appropriate style. Use clear and precise language to convey your ideas effectively. Define key terms and concepts, avoid unnecessary jargon, and ensure your thoughts are easy to follow.
  • Citation of sources: Properly cite all sources used in your document, including primary texts, secondary literature, and other relevant sources. Follow the citation style specified by your instructor. 


  • Lack of clarity: Don’t use vague or ambiguous language that may confuse the reader. Be explicit in your ideas and explanations to ensure precision.  It's essential to clearly articulate your stance on the topic from the outset, providing a coherent and consistent line of reasoning to support your position. 
  • Superficial analysis: Avoid providing shallow or simplistic analyses of philosophical concepts. Instead, delve deeply into the material, critically evaluate arguments, and explore underlying assumptions.
  • Unsupported claims: Ensure that all claims made in your philosophy paper example are supported by evidence, reasoning, or citations from reputable sources. Avoid making unsupported assertions or relying solely on personal opinion.
  • Religious or legal grounds: When presenting your viewpoint, be cautious about relying solely on religious or legal grounds to support your thought. While they may offer valuable insights into ethical and moral dilemmas, they can also introduce biases and limitations that may not be universally applicable or convincing to all readers. Instead, consider including in your philosophy thesis examples of various philosophical perspectives and ethical principles to strengthen your position.
  • Overstatement and overgeneralization: Overstating or overgeneralizing your ideas can undermine the credibility and persuasiveness of your viewpoint. Instead, strive for precision and accuracy in your assertions, supporting them with evidence, reasoning, and careful analysis. By avoiding exaggeration and sweeping generalizations, you can present a more nuanced and compelling case for your position and demonstrate your understanding of how to write a philosophy paper.
  • Plagiarism: Never plagiarize the work of others. Always properly cite any ideas, arguments, or words that are not yours. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense that can have severe consequences.
  • Overreliance on secondary sources: While secondary sources can provide valuable insights and interpretations, avoid relying too heavily on them. Strive to engage directly with primary texts and develop your analysis and interpretation. If you feel unsure how to do this, contact our custom writing service for professional assistance. 

By including these elements and avoiding common pitfalls, you can do strong and persuasive philosophy research, demonstrating your understanding of the material and ability to critically assess philosophical concepts and ideas.

Final thoughts

Writing a philosophical essay is like going on an adventure where you explore new ideas and learn new things. It's about making your thoughts clear and convincing others of your point of view. Armed with the tools and techniques outlined in this guide, you’re all set to start your philosophical journey. You can confidently demonstrate your ideas and have deep conversations about them.

However, remember that assistance is readily available if you ever struggle. EduBirdie is a beacon of support for students grappling with the complexities of philosophy papers. With expert guidance and personalized assistance, EduBirdie ensures that no philosophical puzzle remains unsolved. So, do not be apprehensive about the obstacles ahead because with EduBirdie supporting you, your philosophical exploration will be both fulfilling and gratifying!

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