Remember that your essay should strive to employ philosophical method: it should seek to
build an argument (not just state an opinion); it should identify assumptions in or implications of
the views it examines; it should identify premises and conclusions explicitly and evaluate chains of
reasoning for soundness. All things being equal, essays that employ a philosophical methodology
will score higher than those that do not. It is best if your essay makes only one argument for its
thesis and then spends the rest of the paper defending that argument by offering evidence for its
premises or taking up (potential) objections to your argument and responding to them.
A safe paper structure would be something like the following: (1) an introduction of about
half a page that set up the topic you will discuss, states the thesis you will defend and gives a sense
of the reason supporting your thesis; (2) a summary of the philosopher’s view or argument that is in
question in the paper, heavily grounding the summary in the text (using references and quotations
where appropriate); (3) an analysis of the view or argument where you make your case for your
thesis and take up and reply to likely objections to your case; (4) a conclusion where you sum u p
and, perhaps, point out implications of what you’ve defended in the paper.