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The advice below is taken from the Philosophy Handbook for Undergraduates 2017/18.You should also read Jim Pryor's essay writing advice for Harvard and Princeton students (follow this and you will not go far wrong).
Importantly, also see the University’s Good Academic Practice Policy.
Writing assessed essays offers you the opportunity to show your comprehension of some of the material covered in the module, and to demonstrate your own philosophical skills.
But you may do better if you go on to "chance your arm" a bit, and say where and why you disagree with certain views or arguments, or offer suggestions of your own.
We encourage you to think for yourself; you do not have to agree with the views of your lecturer, your tutor, or current orthodoxy – we mark your work more for clarity of understanding and cogency of argument than for the views expressed in it.
Another useful site is the Writing Tutor for Introductory Philosophy Courses.
which illustrates how to revise a short philosophy paper through several drafts.Finally: it is very important to leave yourself enough time to write a good essay. on the day it is due to be submitted will not do you justice!Allow yourself enough time to write at least two drafts, and to read over the first carefully before beginning the second.", you would do well to begin by defining the term "functionalism" as it is used in the relevant context.But often in philosophy there are no very technical terms involved, and the focus is on the puzzling nature of very familiar concepts.It greatly helps to give concrete examples of the application of abstract concepts and theories – and preferably to give your own examples, rather than merely repeating those given in lectures and/or books.If you do not understand what you are saying, and are unable to explain it or illustrate it with examples, you will run into trouble.However, it will be relevant to examine what we mean when we say that certain sorts of things exist, or are now past.An uncontroversial initial definition is often impossible, but what you can seek is conceptual clarification or elucidation – a clear overview of the basic concepts involved and how they relate to one another.Mere statement of opinion, or of the views and arguments of others, is not enough: opinions, views and arguments must be .In short: substantiate your opinions; give arguments for your views.