For example, “Which account of human decision-making is stronger: X’s free will theory or Y’s determinist theory?” In such essays, your thesis could be that one account is better than the other or, perhaps, that neither account is clearly superior.A rough idea is usually one that is not well worked out, not clearly expressed, and as a result, not likely to be understood.
As you read texts in a course on, say, philosophy of mind or philosophy of art, you should be asking, based on what you have read so far, which theory is the best? Here, you will present your own answer, giving reasons, answering objections, and critically evaluating alternative approaches.
Don’t be content to just understand theories and know their strengths and weaknesses. Your answer/thesis might be an existing theory or a synthesis of two or more theories, or (more rarely) a completely new theory.
Finally, plan carefully: leave enough space for your assessment.
A different type of critical evaluation assignment may ask for a comparative appraisal of two or more theories.
If you cannot formulate your thesis this way, odds are you are not clear enough about it. At this point, students frequently make one or more of several common errors.
The next task is to determine how to go about convincing the reader that your thesis is correct. Sometimes they feel that since it is clear to them that their thesis is true, it does not need much argumentation.Is it logically consistent or does it contain contradictions? As you think about your topic, read the course materials, and take notes, you should work out and assemble the following: Finally, ask yourself how you would evaluate those replies: do they work or not? In a 1,000-word essay, for instance, discuss one or two arguments in favour and one or two against.In a 2,000- or 2,500-word paper, you can include more arguments and possible replies.Writing philosophy essays is a key part of studying philosophy.Make sure first to understand the assignment, looking out for the questions asked and paying attention to prompts such as “outline” or “evaluate” or “compare”.That is because it is neither a research paper nor an exercise in literary self-expression.It is not a report of what various scholars have had to say on a particular topic.Push yourself to think out your own account of mind or art. Now you are not only expounding theories or critically evaluating them; you are also developing your own philosophy!Some upper-year essay assignments may throw a fundamental philosophical question at you: “What is art? You might argue that each has different strengths and weaknesses.In the type of critical assessments above, you are already, to some extent, articulating your own philosophical positions.