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“In its origins. The ultimate goal of learning philosophy was to live a good. philosophy also came closer to what we now regard as religion.” Philosophers will raise: . As a result.Conceptual questions . and to practice what they taught.Normative questions .” “Philosophy today is an academic discipline clearly distinct from both religion and the sciences. philosophers like Epicurus and Epictetus thought it imperative to present an account of god (or the gods). to explain the implications for everyday human life. not merely an academic subject. allround flourishing life. It was a discipline intended to shape people’s lives.
to behave differently. clarifying concepts that we use in everyday discourse 2. to work at improving our characters or our community . exposing assumptions that we make without noticing them 3. pointing out inconsistencies in our reasoning 4.Reading Philosophical Texts The primary goals of philosophical texts include: 1. persuading us to see ourselves differently.
Highlighting is no substitute for note-taking because you can do it without much thought. or some other philosopher means by it. reasons. 2. Epicurus.Read for claims. .Don’t assume you know what even familiar terms mean (i. 3.How To Read a Philosophical Text 1. then decide from the text what Epictetus. “happiness”). Slow down Read thoughtfully and critically . It’s best to accept "happiness" as the vague term it is. . reason or evidence. a basic idea that Stoics and Epicureans share. Ex. . and evidence . happiness is often described as tranquility (or freedom from disturbance).From our readings so far.Get in the habit of taking notes as you read (or making notes in the margins when you identify a key term. claim. Take time to reread .e.
[Ex. or presents a hypothesis. if.Look for claims in topic sentences. Reasons: provides a rationale or a condition for accepting the claim. for which the writer will provide evidence. .Look for reasons in the same sentence as the claim or adjoining material.] . read more systematically and analytically 1. . Using a cell phone while driving is dangerous because distractions are a proven cause of auto accidents.Reading for Claims. [Ex. transitional sentences.Reasons may be announced by expressions such as because.] . Reasons. to and so. or in summary materials and the end of sections. Using a cell phone while driving is dangerous. Begin by identifying the claims writers make and the reasons they make them Claims: passages in the text where a writer makes an assertion. For reading academic texts. & Evidence Browsing online has made many of us superficial readers. offers an argument.
Evidence: information used to support or confirm major claims or assumptions. They can be specific. always judging whether it’s sufficient.Ex. and unbiased.If you find yourself asking “according to who?” or “why?” you may have found an assumption the writer makes.Reading for Claims. . . . . Examine the assumptions they work from and the evidence they present. . We should discourage behaviors that contribute to accidents. or highly controversial. conventional. when people say “I know where you’re coming from” they signal they get your assumptions.Review evidence skeptically. . Assumptions (or premises): the values upon which writers and researches base their work.In oral arguments. reliable. complete. Reasons.Writers typically assume they share basic premises with at least some of their readers. & Evidence 2.
such as the word “happiness. if anything. Clear writing wins much higher marks than more beautiful but more ambiguous writing. just for the sake of variety. learn to distinguish exposition of a text from mere paraphrase.” can be ambiguous. or at least close enough.Writing Essay About Philosophical Texts 1. Paraphrase uses different words but contributes little. Even an ordinary phrase. Clarity. Long. Half the battle of writing a philosophical essay is explaining what you do. (Does it mean a human being’s love for god or god’s love for a human being?) Above all.” try to explain what you mean by it. to our understanding of a text. such as “the love of god. complex sentences can often be interpreted in more than one way. Think twice about introducing synonyms later in your essay. mean. Do not substitute “pleasure” or some other word for “happiness” on the assumption that its meaning is roughly the same. That holds for terminology also holds for grammar. and do not. If a word has exceptional importance for your essay. Exposition requires analysis: What theses does the text aim to prove? What are the arguments for them? What concepts and distinctions must one explain in order to clarify the arguments? Is the author’s reasoning valid? Does the author make assumptions that readers have reason to reject or assumptions never stated explicitly? .
Relevance.Writing Essay About Philosophical Texts 2. the more trouble readers have discerning what is indeed relevant. . Do they support only the conclusion you want to establish. When giving reasons or bits of textual evidence supporting your thesis. or could they also support a different conclusion? The more extraneous material you include. ask yourself how relevant they actually are.
Add some notes about what you need to say about each point. when beginning an essay you may have only a vague idea of what it is necessary to discuss. not just what you meant. Never worry when drafting that your work is running too long. • First.Writing Essay About Philosophical Texts 3. . the less likely it is that you will wander off-track when drafting the essay. There are two ways to solve this problem. Conciseness. with a cold. clinical eye. The more planning you do in advance. Unnecessary remarks should be avoided for the same reason that irrelevant remarks should be avoided: they make your essay harder to follow. Begin by reading it critically. outline the main points you want to make. (Is this passage actually relevant? Is it relevant but does little more than repeat what the essay says elsewhere?) Delete every single sentence that adds nothing of substance. and a combination of both works best. • Second. looking for parts that add nothing of substance. finish the draft soon enough so that you have ample time to revise it before the deadline. • Unfortunately. because drafts should be longer than the finished product. Then go through the draft again. considering what you actually wrote. and revising to clarify your statements. in a logical order.
You focus your attention with close reading. and enrich your in-class written analysis of assigned texts. the more persuasive your own interpretations will be. The skills you will learn to analyze texts will help you not only to understand other people’s arguments and locate key elements in their rhetoric. but also identify ways in which you can interpret and respond to it.” . but your own response. critique your peer partner’s essays or group powerpoint presentation. The better you are at “reading” what other people may say. and you develop not only your awareness of them.You will use these skills to contribute to classroom discussion.“Active interpretive skills are a key part of understanding others’ rhetoric. support original claims in your essays.
An ethos-driven document relies on the reputation or credibility of the author/speaker.Two Methods for Active Reading Method 1: Active close reading with Rhetorical appeals: Ethos-Logos-Pathos (and Time and Place) 1. underlining key words or key phrases that seem to you to suggest rhetorical appeals as presented in lecture. T=time. and emotional appeal can effectively be used to enhance an argument. are used to persuade. Note:You may find some statements invoke multiple types of appeals Ethos Ethos is appeal based on the character of the speaker. and cannot be emphasized enough. P=pathos. Giving reasons is the heart of argumentation. We can look at texts ranging from classic essays to contemporary advertisements to see how pathos. Pl=place). . and tagging them in the margin (E=ethos. Pathos Pathos means persuading by appealing to the reader's emotions. Language choice affects the audience's emotional response. Logos Logos is appeal based on logic or reason. emotional appeals. Read the passage through. L=logos.
on different levels.html . Close reading is a crucial skill for literature students to master and will be useful to you in writing many kinds of papers in the English discipline. a few lines) in a literary work.uci.Two Methods for Active Reading Method 2: Active close reading line-by-line What is a close reading? Traditionally. See the document titled “Close-reading guidelines” on our website.. with the goal of bringing forth a richer understanding of the passage and of the work as a whole.e. https://eee.edu/programs/humcore/Student/WritersHandbook/Ch2_ActiveReadingTextualAnalysis_F olkenflik. a close reading is a very detailed analysis. of a passage (i.
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