How to Argue - Philosophical Reasoning: Crash Course Philosophy #2

How to Write Philosophy

There is more than one way to skin a cat; there is also more than one way to write a philosophical work. Most are well acquainted with the essay and the long winded book, but for those who just can't write an essay, then this is for you; unlock your philosophical potential.


  1. Begin by freeing your mind of all conventional restrictions or inhibitions you might have.There are many ways to write, so don't hesitate just because you feel someone won't take your work seriously. Most people who won't take you serious are those that are stuck in a rut, usually with a fear of change, so don't listen to them. If you're having difficulty freeing your mind try meditating, to calm yourself down and clear your mind of unwanted thoughts.
  2. Write letters.The letter is a brilliant way, whether to yourself or to another, writing a letter is less time consuming and generally a lot easier. Seneca's letters of a stoic are a good place to learn how to write philosophical letters. There are a few ways this can be done, you can write letters to someone, who replies to your letter. You could write letters to yourself, though written in a manner as if to another. Finally you could write a letter to yourself and reply to that letter in your next letter, in a way that shows you have thought X one day and after contemplating think Z.
  3. Keep a diary.Another way, similar to a letter, is a diary, writing in a diary regularly will help you build your writing skill and you will be able to look back over, seeing how your thought process developed. Like a letter, it only requires small amounts of writing input, however you need to be dedicated enough to write regularly, at least once a week. See how to write a diary.
  4. Keep a notebook, which is similar to a diary, but rather captures the singular thought and not the development.If you do a notebook, it is best to combine it with another way, as the notebook is more of a preparation for your main work. Leonardo Da Vinci kept notebooks which where filled with illustrations of different inventions and sketches of the human body, all of this was annotated. Read them to get a sense of writing notebooks.
  5. Use poetry.One of the most provocative and exciting styles is philosophy in poetry, which is much easier for people to read and will improve your poetry skills too. Goethe's Faust is the best example, although yours doesn't need to be so long. This is good for someone with a fertile imagination, it is also a lot easier for others, who are not as interested in philosophy to read being not so preachy as the other forms.
  6. Use Socratic dialogue.This is the original way of writing down philosophy, pioneered by Plato. Read his works to get a grounding of how to write this type. For those not familiar with Plato, a Socratic dialogue is like a play in which a group of philosophers discuss philosophical ideas, the writer can then use the people in the dialogue to put across his point of view or rubbish someone else's. However do not write it as a play, a play should be a story with a message at the end, a dialogue should be like two old men sat talking to each other.
  7. A short story, a play or an opera can also put across philosophical ideas.These are more popular and easier to write if you have an ability for creative writing. However you must make it clear at the end that there is a moral to the story at the end and it's not just a nice little story.
  8. The novel is one of the best ways to put across ideas.However it requires a lot of input and you yourself will have to be pretty good at creative writing if you want to perform this type of writing. One example would be Ayn Rand or Dostoyevsky's 'The brothers Karamazov' or 'Crime and Punishment'.
  9. Philosophical works also good ways to get your ideas across.It is a basic stating of your philosophical beliefs in a precise and condense format. The best way to start would to be to write down your basic beliefs in a philosophical statement (i.e. My basic beliefs are: x,y,z). After writing a basic philosophical statement add some more "big" words to replace more common ones (i.e. good, bad, nice, etc.)and transitions to get your basic idea across. Then begin writing a chapter about x, then y, then z. After doing so re-read and make sure you make sense; afterwords read it to a friend or relative and see how they react; after correcting what mistakes they are able to find in your grammar or logic you are practically done. Feel free to and an introduction and/or conclusion or have a friend/relative do that for you. Publish and have fun! Read Thomas Paine's Common Sense, or some Immanuel Kant to get a good format as well.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    Before I start writing, I want to read some books about philosophy. Can you give me a good list of books.
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Start with Idiot's Guide to Philosophy and go from there. A typical place to start would be with Plato and Aristotle then move to the Rationalists and Empiricists and so on, but you'll get a good overview with the Idiot's Guide and then you can figure out what you want to follow up on.
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  • You must be reasonably good at writing, both formally and creatively, if you aren't take a writing course.
  • Dedicate time regularly to both writing and thinking.
  • Don't spend to much time writing and thinking otherwise your performance will go down and the quality of your writing.
  • Always carry a notepad and pencil with an eraser on it, this will ensure you can correct any mistakes quickly. Capturing your thoughts quickly is vital to being a philosopher and writer, lest you lose it.

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Date: 03.12.2018, 12:08 / Views: 32571