How do you present a philosophy essay?

Philosophical essay

The writer and philosopher Michel de Montaigne created the philosophical form of the "essai" in 1580 and established an independent form with his two volumes, which was supplemented by a third volume in 1588. In the philosophical tradition, the English philosopher Francis Bacon further developed the essay for his philosophical-religious considerations in 1597. The focus of this form are practical questions such as loneliness, friendship or alcoholism, which are philosophically designed in connection with one's own experiences. In the USA, the philosopher Jay Rosenberg in particular took up this method in his book "Philosophieren" and developed it into an independent philosophical genre that is increasingly accepted in American schools and universities in addition to systematic scientific investigations.

What makes an essay a philosophical essay?

  1. A problem should be examined to see what meaning it has in the context of life. The starting point of the observation can be something concrete, but in the further course the perspective should become more general.
  2. The essay becomes philosophical when the problem is examined from different perspectives: The topic of "electronic media" can be examined as an epistemological, ethical or practical problem, depending on whether one considers the distortion of reality by electronic media or stuntedness the empathy and the loss of the "you" or the question of how we can integrate the electronic media into a "good life".
  3. An essay is philosophical if it starts from a certain philosophical position and from there illuminates specific questions.
  4. An essay is philosophical when it starts from a philosophical quotation and the author engages with its content.
  5. An essay is philosophical if it uses a philosophical method, e.g. the phenomenological: This describes precisely and without prejudice what we experience every day: feelings, moods, attitudes, values, behavior, etc. Such a description must be followed by reflection follow about it.

(after Helmut Engels)

How do I write a philosophical essay?

  • Setting up a thesis that either comes from a text or has been formulated yourself
  • written presentation of the thesis
  • Critical examination of the thesis by adding pro and contra arguments
  • Check the conclusiveness of the reasoning
  • Avoidance of inconsistencies, e.g. self-contradiction (someone asserts two theses, both of which cannot be true at the same time.)
  • Illustration of the thesis through examples
  • self-reflective examination by the writer of the thesis and argumentation he or she has chosen
  • the language of the essay should be understandable and follow current grammatical rules; personal concern and enthusiasm cannot replace comprehensibility; Clarity and accuracy in expression, order of thought and logical sharpness are expected
  • any existing task must be included.

(see: Rosenberg, Jay F .: Philosophieren. A handbook for beginners. Frankfurt / M. 1997, pp. 81-87.)

Preparatory work: Table with student names and the links for 1.
  1. Create your own pad in the ZUMPad. Use a pseudonym. Enter the link to your pad in the table.
  2. Write an essay on the subject of "Is (s) t the vegetarian better?"
  3. Read the texts of at least three classmates. Write a short comment underneath (what do you like, which formulation do you have difficulties understanding, where would an additional example help you, etc.)
  4. Revise your own essay after receiving at least three comments. (Note that you do not have to implement everything that is required in the comments. Weigh!

Notes and tips

  • Tips and examples for essay writing
  • Wittschier, Michael: Textkey Philosophy - in the book you will find an essay workshop that is completely meaningful for use in the classroom. Possibly more examples should be made available to the students. ISBN 978-3762704256

See also