The field of Philosophy is considered one of the most general sciences. Since this field is so general, there are many different topics which one might choose to write about. Philosophy is simply known as wisdom. Runes Dictionary of Philosophy simply defines it as "both the seeking of wisdom and the wisdom sought" (Runes 251). When writing for a particular publication, choosing a topic and the form your paper takes may be made by the publication for which you intend to contribute because the field is so broad and general. Many journals that I have researched state specific subjects that their particular journals publish. Philosophy includes the subjects of metaphysics, ontology, epistemology, logic, ethics, and aesthetics mainly (Runes 251). So you can see that there are many different topics that a contributor may choose to write about. The journal, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, for example, states "PPR publishes articles in a wide range of areas including philosophy of the mind, epistemology, ethics, metaphysics, and philosophical history of philosophy. No specific methodology or philosophical orientation is required" ( Radford n.p.) Another journal, Philosophical Papers, informs the reader that "Submitted articles, notes, and critical studies in all areas of Philosophy within the broad analytical tradition will be considered for publication" (Bishop n.p.)
There are many general types of papers that may be written when being submitted for publication. There are also many different research manuals that may be of help to a new writer when writing for a particular field. One manual that I found to be quite useful was the Bertman Research Guide in Philosophy . This research guide gives examples of the scholarly research paper, the essay research paper, the bibliographic essay, and the book review (Bertman 31). All of these forms may be found in almost any publication related to philosophy, but I found in my own research that the essay research paper and the scholarly research paper are probably the most common. There is rarely any stipulation on which to use when writing for a particular publication from the information I gathered when doing my research.
When writing a research paper or essay, the philosopher usually attempts to come to terms with a specific philosophical problem. This process involves a lot more than just stating your conclusion to a particular problem. This process involves usually either philosophizing the problem or arguing one's position (Bertman 30). An author may try to convince or persuade the audience to his point of view by basing his argument on the criteria of rational inspection. In other words, when a philosopher makes his claim, he is expected to support it with a rational argument that can be justified by any reasonable woman or man (Bertman 31).
Now that I have given you some examples of the general structure used in the writing procedure when contributing to the field of Philosophy, I will try to give you some insight on the traditional discourse conventions of the field. Many of the journals had much in common yet many also had requirements that were completely different from the others. These differences range from how many pages the articles should be to how many copies you should send. Almost all of them required stamps along with a self addressed envelope if you expected to receive your paper back. One of the other requirements the journals had in common was that all followed the conventions in A Manual of Styles published by the University of Chicago Press. Along with that, all of the journals that I used to research this paper demanded that all of the material, footnotes included, be double-spaced with large margins on all sides of the paper typed on 8 1/2 by 11 paper. Two of the journals that only required the above issues were the Journal of the History of Philosophy and the Philosophy: Journal of the Royal Institute of Philosophy.
Many journals also require that all of the footnotes used be on a separate page at the end of your piece along with the Works Cited page also on a separate page. The Works Cited page must conform to the style handbook of which your particular publication intends you to use. One example of a Works Cited entry would look like this:
Sefafini, Anthony. "Norman Malcolm: A Memoir." Philosophy. 68.265 (1993) : 63-74This Works Cited entry came from the particular journal Philosophy as told in the information given in the Works Cited entry. A Works Cited entry must have the title of the book or article, the author, and any other publication information the book or article might offer. Another stipulation would be for an article to have in-- text citations. These usually consist of the author's name and page number the information can be found on. This way the reader can refer to the Works Cited page for more information. An example of an in--text citation would be "(Runes 251)."
Many other journals required the above aspects along with many other stipulations also. For example, the Philosophy and Phenomenological Research also requires an abstract of not more than 150 words be sent along with the paper, and that anonymity be part of the paper and the author's name may only be part of the abstract (Radford n.p.). Others, such as the journal Philosophical Papers, state that the paper submitted should not exceed over 12,000 words (Bishop n.p.). Another example is the American Philosophical Quarterly , this journal informs the contributor that his or her paper should be between 2,000 words and 7,000 words (Rescher n.p.). Many different publications have many different stipulations about publishing articles that have been submitted to them. So one of my suggestions would be that before you even begin the writing process you go by the publication A Manual of Style. My other suggestion would be to read the specific requirements of the publication of which you plan to submit your article.
In concluding this paper, I would like to remind potential research writers that if you do not follow the conventions and writing styles of the particular field that you are writing for, the knowledge you may have to offer may not be taken seriously and therefore lost in the shuffle. Each of us has certain knowledge that needs to be shared with the world, and as easily as following the rules and conventions of the field your information may be acknowledged and may possibly change the direction that the ideas are taking in the field.
Morristown, New Jersey. General Learning Press. 1974.
Bishop, John, ed. "Potential Contributors." Philosophical Papers 22 (1993) : n.p.
Makkreel, Rudolf A., ed. "Instructions for Authors and Publishers." Journal of the History of Philosophy 31 (1993) : n.p.
Potter, Vincent G., ed. "Notes to Contributors." International Philosophical Quarterly 33 (1993) : n.p.
Radford, Phil, ed. "Notes to Contributors." Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (1993) : n.p.
Rescher, Nicholas, ed. "Notes to Contributors." American Philosophical Quarterly 30 (1993) : n.p.
Runes, Dagobert D., ed. Dictionary of Philosophy 1983 edition.
Sage School of Philosophy of Cornell University, ed. The Philosophical Review 102 (1993) : n.p.
Return to Other Compositions in English 145
Return to Some Paper Assignments: English 145