What is “Practicing Philosophy?”

The ultimate aim of a philosophy paper is to PRACTICE philosophy!

  • A thorough examination of your thoughts on a “Big Question” like: Is morality real? What is the nature of Time? How should we live? Etc.
  • This practice requires patience, time, and thought.

What is it like to answer these questions?

  • Writing in philosophy is creative. Philosophy is like few disciplines, in that it is not cut and dry. Each person has a valid AND nuanced answer to any given philosophical question.
  • Writing in philosophy is ambiguous, and there is a lot of room to interpret.
  • Writing in philosophy is crafty. In essence, writing in philosophy is crafting an idea.

Then what makes a philosophy paper good?

  • Clarity: you must be able to effectively communicate your idea.
  • Precision: you do not want to create room for misinterpretation.
  • Validity: though writing in philosophy is creative, at the very least, your idea must meet the standard of being valid. Being valid, means having logical integrity, or, being cogent. For example, if when you have A then you have B, and you have A, then it is valid to conclude B.

Ways to Get Involved / Meet Other Philosophy Students

The philosophy department may be small in faculty and students, but they’re passionate. Your best way to get involved or meet other philosophy students will be through your philosophy courses, especially at the 100 level or above (where those who choose to take philosophy as their study of choice end up). Professors welcome discussing all forms of philosophy with students—take advantage of office hours! UVM has a few philosophy clubs, which can be found online through UVM Clubs. You should also consider attending the multiple philosophy lectures, panels, and guest speakers which happen year-round, both on campus and around Burlington. You can find out about upcoming events through UVM’s calendar of events and the philosophy department website. Additionally, professors and email notifications will let you know about upcoming opportunities, so keep your eyes open!