Philosophy as a Conversation

Teaching Philosophy 40 (2):231-254 (2017)
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Abstract

There is an array of resources on how to write a philosophy paper, both in print and online. However, the existing resources rarely discuss writing a research paper within the discipline of philosophy. What is typically missing from philosophical writing instruction is the point made by Richard Watson: a philosopher should seek to “enter the dialogue—the conversation—that is the lifeblood of philosophy.” Philosophical writing happens within a community, and what occurs in journals and monographs is the continuation of a conversation that has been going on for over 2000 years. Here I argue for the merits of encouraging students to think of philosophy scholarship as an ongoing conversation, as this will help them to discover significant problems to write on and form more manageable theses; I also describe specific methods for helping students to find scholarly conversations on topics that interest them and enter into that dialogue.

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David Sackris
Arapahoe Community College

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