Writing Philosophy: A Guide to Professional Writing and Publishing

Front Cover
SIU Press, 1992 - Philosophy - 96 pages

Richard A. ("Red") Watson has published fiction, general nonfiction, and scholarly books. His essay "On the Zeedijk," about Descartes in Holland and first published in The Georgia Review, was the lead essay in The Pushcart Prize XV, 1990–1991: Best of the Small Presses. Red knows writing.

He also knows academe and has written Writing Philosophy as a kind of survival manual for undergraduates, graduate students, and junior faculty members in philosophy. Also helpful to those in the humanities and the social sciences, the book is a guide to the professional writing and publishing that are essential to an active participation in the conversation and discussion that constitute these professional fields. To the extent that publication is the crucial factor in tenure decisions, it will help the beginning scholar meet tenure criteria.

Despite the importance of the oral tradition in philosophy and the influence of the dialogue, many philosophical points are so intricate and complex that they can be advanced, followed, and criticized only if they are written as stepwise arguments for study and contemplation at length and at leisure. Watson provides a set of basic principles and a plan for writing argumentative papers of 1,500 to 15,000 words (3 to 30 printed pages) and books containing a sequence of sustained arguments of 70,000 to 150,000 words (200 to 300 printed pages).

Because the first book of most professional philosophers is a revised dissertation, Watson presents a plan for writing that dissertation in such a way that its chapters will serve as publishable articles and the dissertation itself will need very little rewriting as a book. His discussion of the principles of reason, clarity, and argument ranges from such topics as dangling participles and the proper usage of ellipses to matters of categorization and univocity.

 

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Contents

Principles
3
Writing a Dissertation
14
Your First Book
23
Dangling Participles
27
Spell It Out
28
Generality and Specificity
29
Only
30
Both And
31
References
39
Space and Time
40
Title
41
Province or Focus
42
Sarcasm
43
Lists
44
More
45
Revision
46

He and She
32
Jargon
34
Categorization
35
Spelling and Meaning
36
Univocality
37
Contractions
38
Critique of a Discussion Note
47
Critique of a Journal Article
56
Conclusion 40
90
References and Recommended Reading
95
Copyright

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About the author (1992)

Richard A. Watson is professor of philosophy at Washington University.

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