The Essay: A Few Pointers
- The paper should be between 1900-2300 words (approximately 6-7 computer pages typed, double
spaced, Times New Roman, 12 font with 1 inch margins). On the title page you should include the
title of your paper (think of a good one!) your name, student number, course name, Professor, and
TA. Also include the word count.
- You are not required to use any secondary research material, but you may do so if you wish.
- You may use any established reference system you wish. (APA, MLA, Chicago etc). Probably the
easiest is APA where you list the author‟s name and the page number in the body of the text
- Example: “…Life without enquiry is not worth living for a man….” (Plato, 443).
- Keep quotes to a minimum (under 4 lines). Paraphrase whenever possible.
Understanding the Essay question
- The essay question is divided into two parts. The first part asks you to explain, as concisely as you
can, Socrates‟ philosophy. As we will see, Socrates‟ philosophy can be divided into three principal
components. These are (in no particular order): 1) Irony, 2) Method and 3) Ethos. All three
components must be explained as succinctly as possible. Use an example from the text for each.
- Most importantly, demonstrate how Socrates‟ famous statement “The unexamined life is not worth
living”, relates back to each of the above three components.
- The second part of the essay question requires some personal reflection. “Explain what you think
philosophy is and why is it important?”
- Rauhut claims that philosophy is the study of “open questions.” Is there a specific open question
you have wrestled with? How would you go about answering this question? Is Rauhut right? Is
philosophy really the study of open questions? If not, then what is philosophy? Ask yourself these
questions and structure the last part of your paper accordingly.
Structure of the Essay
- Introduction---no more than ¾‟s of a page. The intro must have a clear thesis.
- Section 1: Socrates‟ philosophy perhaps 3-4 pages. (The bulk of the paper).
- Section II: What philosophy is to you (perhaps 3-4 pages).
- Conclusion---no more than half a page. (Summarize your discussion in a pithy and thought
- It is a good idea to have a working introduction, but always write the introduction after you have
written your essay. Make sure the introductory paragraph(s) includes a clear thesis.
- The paragraph(s) should also state your procedure.
Sample introductory paragraphs
Plato„s Apology is an important philosophical work for two reasons. First, it represents the
clearest expression of Socrates‟ philosophy. Second, we are put on ethical notice; we have
a duty to ourselves and to others to philosophize. The aim of this paper is to explain
Socrates‟ philosophy and to state my view of philosophy.