Most philosophy assignments will ask you to demonstrate your understanding of the subject through exposition of arguments and theories, and many will also test your ability to assess these arguments and theories by writing a critical evaluation of them.
Write your paper so that the reader understands how your exposition and evaluation answer the questions and address all parts of the assignment.
Good writing is the product of proper training, much practice, and hard work.
The following remarks, though they will not guarantee a top quality paper, should help you determine where best to direct your efforts.
It is common to overestimate the strength of your own position.
That is because you already accept that point of view. It is safest to assume that your reader is intelligent and knows a lot about your subject, but disagrees with you.
As you read, ask yourself the following: Take notes as you read.
Then put your ideas for the essay into a logical order.
Road maps often rely on first person (“First, I will analyze . For example: “Explain what Plato means by Forms.” Subsequent assignments in the course usually involve evaluation as well as exposition (e.g., “Outline and evaluate Plato’s theory of Forms”). When studying a philosophical theory, you will need to think about both its strengths and weaknesses.
In some courses, assignments may call for detailed interpretation of a text rather than an assessment of it. For example, is a particular theory of art (such as the view that art is the expression of emotion) comprehensive: does it apply to all the arts and all types of art, or only to some?