How to Write a Philosophy Paper

How to Write a Philosophy Paper

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Philosophy is the love of wisdom, and wisdom is a technique of dealing with knowledge so that humanity can achieve its highest ideals. So in the daily work of a philosopher one has to:

  • Create and manage knowledge

  • Exercise techniques for using knowledge

  • Ensure that your being is at its optimal state

  • Use wisdom in the day to day matters of life

This is the tradition of the philosopher since the Masters and ancestors of the great Pythagoras, and is the ideal being that can enable one to be strictly, of wisdom. Remember Thales of Miletus was Pythagoras’s Master and go deeper back into Persia, and into ancient Egypt and India. The tradition of the philosopher is one. The differences that may emerge are as a result of knowledge management and an ideal example of how to write a philosophy paper. In the past, knowledge management followed an oral tradition, but the contemporary philosopher has to write a philosophy paper aside from making an oral presentation.

In this article, we’ll learn how to write a Philosophy paper that attains the highest standards required in philosophy as a living practice. It is such a paper that we call a good philosophy paper. The highest standards are not just achieved when the philosopher infuses the daily practice of philosophy as outlined above into the paper, but when the consequence of his/her work illuminates on the darkness within and ultimately shines a light to the world.

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Using the Four Basic Elements in Learning to Write a Good Philosophy Paper

Knowing how to write a good philosophy paper entails having a basic understanding of the four basic elements, which alas, are mathematical forms that combine to generate the universe. These are basic instances on what Plato called the eternal forms. These forms that were, and are, derived using geometry as the basic practice, are given the names; air, fire, water, and earth. In our case, we define these elements by using the concept of a mathematical function as explicated by Lejeune Dirichlet (1850) the illustrious German Mathematician. Dirichlet shows how we can conceive a function as a system with certain inputs and outputs; and that a number is such a system. From the most ancient times, mathematics has been the basic language of philosophy. ‘All is number’, Pythagoras said.

When we trace the history of mathematics, we realize that most great leaps in knowledge have been facilitated by inductive reasoning. One induction made by the ancients is the form of the ‘Tetractys’ on which the Pythagoreans swore. Basically, it’s based on the premise that all the numbers are from 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 … 9 with the basic numbers being (0, 1, 2, 3 and 4). After that, all numbers are combinations of these numbers. Therefore with regards to the basic elements we have;

  • Air As the number 1. Its function definition is a system whose input is zero and output is a unit and can add a unit to any other number. Traditionally this has been associated with being ‘Warm and Moist’ and has the archetype of ‘identity’

  • Fire As the number 2; a system with 1 as input and adding a unit to itself and can operate on any other number as a system. The quality of this system has been known as ‘Hot and dry’ giving it the archetype of ‘Divider or Seeker’

  • Water – As the number 3, a system that combines the systems of 1 and 2. Its quality is ‘Cool and moist’ and its archetype is ‘Power’ and ‘Control’

  • Earth – As the number 4, a system that either combines 3 and 1 or 2 and 2 with the quality of being ‘Cold and dry’. This archetype is one of ‘Completion’ or ‘Affirmation’.

Knowing the basic secret of numbers and the elements we can now begin to prepare to write a good philosophy paper.

Appreciating the Thematic Problem

All philosophy papers involve a beginning that is often an instance of knowledge by another philosopher. Therefore, if one is a student, the Master will present a knowledge instance by some philosopher and will ask for your reaction on how to write a philosophy paper. We’ll call this instance ‘the knowledge statement’. The process for dealing with any thematic problem is as follows:

  • Converting the Knowledge statement into the mathematical/logical form

  • Following the mathematical argument and checking for logical errors

  • Developing a proof or proofs for the knowledge statement and testing counter proofs that may invalidate the knowledge statement

  • Use the outcome of the above step to conclude the findings of the above mathematical operations

  • Develop a proof for the conclusion

Once you have completed these steps, then you are ready to develop and write a good philosophy paper that is also coincidentally, a philosophy research paper. The research is not the poring of other philosopher’s works per se but is mathematical research on the knowledge statement that has been presented to you. To write a good philosophy paper is to participate in writing a philosophy research paper.

Writing the Philosophy Research Paper

How to write a philosophy research paper then entails a structure of 4 parts corresponding with the 4 basic elements and computations which when joined together form a whole. Yet, this structure must conform to the overall structure of the normal essay that comprises of;

  • The introduction

  • The main body

  • The conclusion

The best strategy, in this case, is to divide the main body into two. The first of the main body is to be allocated the element fire while the second half of the main body should be attributed to the element water. Then the conclusion is of the element ‘earth’.

The Introduction to the Philosophy Paper

The element air is that of adding a unit to zero and setting up the trend of adding units to the initial number. Taking the knowledge statement given as zero, then 1 is a statement of the thesis you developed after checking for the validity and truth of the knowledge statement in the preparations above. Hence, the opening statement is that which sets up the opportunity for you to state the thesis as a consequence of an understanding of the knowledge statement. A quick summary of the exegesis or mathematical expression of the knowledge statement that has been converted to English is then given, then the main reasons that make the body of the argument are stated, and the thesis is provided finally.


Wittgenstein’s assertion that; ‘If there’s nothing to be said, then let no one speak’ is a provocation for us to think about the foundations of human knowledge and to establish whether if all assertions can be reduced to statements about other statements in a circular form amounts to no utterance effectively. This paper intends to show that such a philosophical system as explicated by Wittgenstein is true only to the extent that statements can’t be reduced to number systems that are very clear on what the number zero is, and that other systems that have clear mathematical systems do not fall within his injunction … ‘

The Main Body

  • The Fire Element

After stating the thesis, one transition to the next stage where the logic of the knowledge statement is analyzed and any untruths and inconsistencies are exposed on how to write a philosophy paper. The writer’s logic is then explicated regarding the key point under investigation and a standard is set for the ‘water’ section of the body.

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The assertion of circularity of arguments fails a fundamental logical analysis if the logic statements can be substituted with numbers. If for example, an argument starts at zero and is taken through a series of mathematical operations, then the consequence of the operations may be reduced to the basic elements but whose relations are fundamentally different from the basic constituent parts, hence, any utterance under such circumstances affirms a distinct reality that can’t be reduced to lesser components …’

  • The Water Element

So far, we’re developing the technique of how to write a philosophy paper a process that we’ve said is akin to how to write a philosophy research paper. At this point, we already have an introduction and the main body that has a paragraph or similar paragraphs of the ‘fire’ element.

The next step then in how to write a good philosophy paper is that of creating the part of the main body that has the ‘water’ element. In this case, the first paragraph containing the water element begins by stating a key point that touches on the water element and its consequences explicated with a view of coming with a fair appraisal of the argument.

For example:

Not having the power to speak, then contradicts the argument provided by Wittgenstein because we can’t know the validity of what he says since everything is circular ….’

The Conclusion / Earth Element

After the main argument that entails both fire and water, one is now ready to affirm the thesis by providing a conclusion that justifies that one knows how to write a philosophy paper. Such a justification is made by showing that one has followed the steps outlined above that guide one on how to write a philosophy research paper that is rigorous by providing a recap of the process and stages that have been followed in coming up with the thesis that is also the conclusion.