Philosophy Paper Introduction

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One is a belief in some fundamental cleavage between truths which are analytic, or grounded in meanings independently of matter of fact, and truths which are synthetic, or grounded in fact. When this paper was first published, many philosophers reading this believed in those dogmas: they used the analytic/synthetic distinction as a tool, and their goal was to present reductions. Then he tells us why this matters - we can’t draw a line between science and metaphysics. The opening tells us this paper will be a bombshell - if Quine can give us good arguments against the dogmas.

The other dogma is reductionism: the belief that each meaningful statement is equivalent to some logical construct upon terms which refer to immediate experience. One effect of abandoning them is, as we shall see, a blurring of the supposed boundary between speculative metaphysics and natural science. But let’s face it, not all of us can be Quine, and this is not just any paper by Quine, it is probably his most celebrated paper.

Unfortunately, your reader (likely your marker or instructor) has no access to those thoughts except by way of what actually ends up on the page.

He or she cannot tell what you meant to say but did not, and cannot read in what you would quickly point out if you were conversing face to face.

Third, including many different arguments will result in spreading yourself too thinly.

It is far better to cover less ground in greater depth than to range further afield in a superficial manner. In order to produce a good philosophy paper, it is first necessary to think very carefully and clearly about your topic.It does not present the latest findings of tests or experiments. Above all, it means that there must be a specific point that you are trying to establish - something that you are trying to convince the reader to accept - together with grounds or justification for its acceptance.And it does not present your personal feelings or impressions. Before you start to write your paper, you should be able to state exactly what it is that you are trying to show. It simply will not do to have a rough idea of what you want to establish.Second, the ones that will stand out will be the very best ones and the very worst ones. Only the most compelling one or two arguments should be developed.Including weaker ones only gives the impression that you are unable to tell the difference between the two.In a recent article, ‘How to derive ‘ought’ from ‘is’, Professor J. Searle attempts a feat which many before him have thought to perform.Quine’s paper is a bomb-shell, Hare’s paper is going to be like a technician fine-tuning a complicated piece of machinery.For better or for worse, your paper is all that is available. The responsibility for ensuring the accurate communication of ideas falls on the shoulders. Can he or she read your entire paper through without getting stuck on a single sentence? In general terms, do not be content simply to get your paper out of your hands. Clear writing reflects clear thinking; and that, after all, is what you are really trying to show.You must say exactly what you mean and in a way that minimizes the chances of being misunderstood. There is no such thing as a piece of good philosophical writing that is unclear, ungrammatical, or unintelligible. A poor writing style militates against both of these. 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.


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