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How to Start a Philosophy Paper: Choosing Topics

If you get lucky, you’ll be able to choose philosophy paper topics instead of having to handle the complex prompts suggested by your tutors. At the same time, you need to pick a topic very carefully to write a quality philosophy paper.

As a philosophy essay is argumentative or persuasive in most of the cases, we recommend following these principles of topic choice.


How to Choose the Right Idea for a Philosophy Essay

The basic rule to follow when choosing philosophy paper topics is evaluating your knowledge about a discussed problem and the number of available sources to work with.

Here is several more hint to make the right choice:

  • Study classroom discussions and notes

Take notes during your classes. It helps to pick a topic related to what you study.

  • Come up with the list of options

Put down the best topic ideas that you have to analyse on a separate sheet of paper. Look through them and decide which of the issues you can cover in-depth.

  • Create content to persuade

The paper should explain why the prospected dispute is critical. Include some philosophical judgments to support your idea.

  • Select something you have an opinion about

Your argument will sound bad in case you select the question you have no interest in.

  • Choose a problem you can see both sides of

Do not be narrow-minded: it is up to you to pick a topic that has two sides just like a coin. An opposite problem could be a good idea to discuss in a philosophy work. View the subject from multiple perspectives to have a stronger case while refuting the opposition.

Philosophy Paper Topics

The tips above alone could be insufficient to understand how a great title for a philosophy essay should sound. We have listed philosophy paper topics to help students with their choices.

5 Easy Philosophy Paper Topics

If you are a freshman having no idea which theme to choose, we suggest that you take a look at these easy to write philosophy paper topics.

  1. Reasons why animals inhabit this planet
  2. Missions that every man should accomplish during his life
  3. Are males and females that different as media present them?
  4. Causes and effects of living in a dream
  5. Why do I prefer blond hair?

Interesting Philosophy Paper Topics

If you have a deep interest in studying philosophy, you may offer more unique issues to observe. Think about covering one of the following ideas:

  1. Select a preferred account of specific particulars (e.g., alternative version or the Aristotelian theory) and interpret the concept of particular details that it endorses.
  2. Explain what the slingshot argument is and discuss its key assumptions
  3. What is the relation of exemplification?
  4. Offer and evaluate one of the claims adduced by Loux in support of Metaphysical realism
  5. Discuss Austere Nominalism with the help of a single argument of your choice

5 Political Philosophy Paper Topics

Most often, students will have to cover political philosophy paper topics in a thoughtful piece of writing. These ideas might work:

  1. The pros & cons of violent and non-violent resistance/revolution
  2. Socialism VS Capitalism on unplanned and planned economics
  3. Locke VS Thoreau on the question of property
  4. Cultural unity VS multicultural plurality
  5. Bentham VS Mill on Utilitarianism

After you choose the topic, do not forget to consult your tutor. Ask whether the issue is acceptable to discuss in your upcoming philosophy essay. Now that you have an idea about how to select the right topic, we can move on to the next stages of crafting a good philosophy paper, which is writing a thesis statement.

Discover How to Write a Thesis for a Philosophy Paper

If you wonder how to start a philosophy paper, think about a compelling thesis first. So, what is a thesis statement? A thesis statement is a central argument to defend. Compared to other types of essays, in a philosophy paper, a student often has to analyse the thesis offered by the distinguished author. Let’s jump right to how to write a thesis statement for a philosophy paper.

When writing a thesis statement, you may decide which strategy to choose to support the claim of some philosopher:

  1. Interpret the thesis statement
  2. Propose an argument to support the thesis
  3. Come up with an objection
  4. Defend against a complaint to the thesis
  5. Assess points for and against the principal claim
  6. Think about the possible outcomes
  7. Define if some other argument commits one to the thesis
  8. Decide whether some different positions can be held consistently with the main argument

thesis statement tips

The last few options are more challenging than the first several, but such strategies make the paper much more interesting to read. It is more difficult to object one’s opinion than defend it. A writer should find a defence versus the criticism of other sides, search for exact reasons to reject the theory of another person, include numerous counter-examples, and operate with credible data to object.

Anyway, here are some things to keep in mind that will help to support the thesis no matter which strategy you choose:

  • Add examples from both sources and real life;
  • Compare & contrast the weak and strong points of the central argument;
  • Make the thesis more plausible by offering alternative theories — show your objectivity;
  • Imagine what would happen if the thesis were correct;
  • Find out if some philosophers are committed to the argument by personal views;
  • Proofread & edit the thesis several times to make sure it is specific, narrow, concise, compelling, reasonable, and has a hint concerning the rest of the paper.

Do you still wonder how to write a good thesis? How about the examples of thesis statements that could help you? Look at them to have an idea:

“I have to argue that Singer’s thesis should be revised in light of Steve’s criticism, but not entirely. I want to offer an improved version of Singer’s central argument… And I should admit that this updated version avoids Steve’s rejections. My final mission is to protect the updated thesis statement against other possible objections.”

“I should argue that if the fetus is an individual who possesses a right to live, abortion is moral even though it might not be viewed as an ethical activity. The fetus has no right to use the female’s organism without her tacit consent. If the woman gets pregnant after a violent sexual act, she has all the moral rights to get rid of the fetus with the help of abortion.”

“I disagree with most of the positions that do not support the death penalty in this state. The one who took away the life of another one does not deserve to live. Murderers and papers should not be set free even after ages spent in jail as nothing can change a human being. By letting the serious criminals out, we put the lives of our children under threat!”

A Few Words About Evidence

Having proper evidence to support your claim is the critical success factor when it comes to writing a philosophy paper. Philosophers always find something to debate about even when they leave empirical question aside. From one hand, what type of empirical evidence would be required to solve the problem might itself appear as a non-empirical issue that philosophers study. On the other hand, philosophers spend plenty of time discussing how various arguments are logically interconnected. An essential tool to use when rationalizing your statement is a reductio ad absurdum.

What Is Reductio ad Absurdum?

reductio ad absurdum is an argument that aims to show how several views cannot be held consistently with each other. It may also point that even though a few ideas are consistent with each other, together, they entail an implausible final claim. Reductio allows having exact reasons to disagree with at least one of the offered premises.

examples of reductio

Example of a Question-Begging

Another type of argument for your philosophical writing is a question-begging one. Here is how it looks like:

example of question-begging

Keep in mind that ambitious terms like “religious experiences” in our case are a common issue, and can mask other pitfalls.

Another Way to Classify Arguments

It is possible to categorize arguments for the philosophy paper in a different way. The more popular division is deductive and non-deductive arguments.

A deductive argument is the one that insists on the truth of the conclusion in case the premises are all true. An example could be, “They released 10,000 tickets for the Sweden Rock Festival. There will be no extra tickets, and the time is limited for all users to purchase them online. Thus, my chance of getting one ticket is 1 in 10,000.”

A non-deductive argument is the one that states that there is just a high degree of probability for the conclusion. For instance, “All cats that I have ever met in my life will love playing with humans. Buffy is a cat. Therefore, Buffy will probably like playing with me.”

Checklist to Start a Philosophy Paper

  1. Study discussions and notes that you have made in a classroom
  2. Create a list of options
  3. Explain why disputes are critical
  4. Select a topic you have an opinion about, and you can see both sides of its problem
  5. Choose a central argument to defend and write a thesis statement
  6. Find proper evidence to support your claim

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