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Philosophical Writing: An Introduction Paperback – July 15, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-1405131674 ISBN-10: 1405131675 Edition: 3rd
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Editorial Reviews


“A. P. Martinich understands that clear thought and clear writing go hand in hand. His latest revision of Philosophical Writing makes a good book even better. It should be a companion to virtually every philosophy course.” John Corvino, Wayne State University

“Every teacher of philosophy struggles to explain to students how to write a coherent, well-argued philosophical essay. Martinich solves this problem, explaining fully the steps needed for a successful paper. I strongly recommend it.” Avrum Stroll, University of California, San Diego

“Itself a model of lucidity, Philosophical Writing shows how to infuse clear thinking into prose. The new tips and sample essays make this edition an indispensable resource for both students and teachers." Jo Ann Carson, Texas State University

“Martinich’s guide to philosophical writing is a gem. Most exciting, I think, is the guidance about how to prepare an essay through a ‘successive elaboration’ of a first account of the paper’s argument. No teacher of undergraduates in philosophy should be without it.” Michael Morgan, Indiana University

From the Back Cover

Substantially updated and revised, A. P. Martinich’s best-selling text, Philosophical Writing: An Introduction, aims to help those with minimal experience in philosophy to think and write successfully. It helps students gain confidence in their essay-writing skills by improving their ability to present their knowledge and thoughts clearly.

This updated edition includes new examples of the structures of a philosophical essay, new examples of rough drafts, tips on how to study for a test, and a new section on how to utilize the internet effectively. Written with clarity and wit, this is an indispensable tool for all philosophy students.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 3 edition (July 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405131675
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405131674
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Joseph on March 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
While working on an M.A. in theology, I learned that there is life after grammar and syntax. I have always enjoyed writing in general, and my written work has always received high marks. Writing philosophy, however, is a whole new game, and in Philosophical Writing, A. P. Martinich clearly and concisely explains the rules. Although it is designed for students, anyone interested in arguing well through the written word would benefit greatly from this book.
Philosophical Writing consists of eight chapters and two appendices. In the first chapter Martinich points out that students writing philosophical essays are placed in the rather ironic situation: the student must play the role of a writer writing for an audience who (usually) knows the subject matter far better than the writer does. Martinich then offers practical advice for dealing with this odd situation.
The second chapter provides a nice, little introduction to the uses of logic in constructing that which is the heart of the philosophical essay: a well formed and well written argument.
In chapter three, the structure of a well-formed philosophical essay is discussed. The last half of this chapter contains a tiny essay on Hobbes, which Martinich uses to illustrate his points.
In "Composing", the fourth chapter, Martinich offers advice on everything from selecting a topic, through getting the stumped student started researching and writing, to polishing the final draft. From the information presented in this chapter, I have been able to develop an approach to philosophical composition that has been useful throughout the process of writing my masters thesis. This help alone has been worth the price of this book.
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Format: Paperback
Now in an updated and revised third edition, Philosophical Writing: An Introduction is a methodical guide intended for novice philosophers to successfully organize their thoughts on paper. New to the updated edition are examples of the structures of a philosophical essay, new examples of rough drafts, advice for studying for a test, and a new section on how to make effective use of the internet. Written by a professor of philosophy, history, and government, Philosophical Writing: An Introduction is packed from cover to cover with plain terms, good advice, and rigorous structural guidelines, making it a "must-have" reference book, especially for undergraduate philosophy students.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A. Hobbs on January 19, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was required to use this text for my undergrad thesis class. Martinich is a heavy logic guy, so your mileage may vary. His samples don't seem to be 'plucked from the wild' either, but that may not matter to you. I think this would have been an excellent book for a freshman or sophomore taking their first few philosophy classes, especially the comical but so so true short section titled something like 'help, may paper is due tomorrow and I haven't started writing yet.' M knows who his audience is and I think his style is easy to digest overall.

Like any writing primer, the author glosses over some things and takes a heavy-handed approach with others. I don't think there is anything harmful in here though. I'm a writing tutor so these things interest me.

However, once you're to the point of writing an undergrad thesis I feel that the lessons in this book have to have been learned before getting to that point. It was a nice refresher, but I feel it should have been given to me waaay before now to make the most use of it. We were also expected to rely on M's outline for philosophy papers, which didn't seem comprehensive for non-logic heavy papers, fist of all, and secondly it didn't seem detailed enough for the length of paper we are expected to write. It's fine for term papers but definitely not for a thesis.

So if you are just starting out taking a few philosophy classes I would say definitely look into this book and probably one or two others just to balance out the views, especially if you aren't getting productive feedback from your professor on your writing. If you're at undergrad thesis level and beyond though, you will want something different if you are looking for help on your writing -- unless you have never written a philosophy paper in your life somehow.
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