Make it clear what the problem is, and why it is a problem.

It's even more valuable to talk to each other about what you want to argue in your paper.
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Literary Criticism: An Introduction to Theory and Practice.

Loisy is the most prominent figure in a growing movement within the Catholic Church known as Modernism—a movement which some think is the gravest crisis in the history of the Church since the thirteenth century. The Modernists do not form an organized party; they have no programme. They are devoted to the Church, to its traditions and associations, but they look on Christianity as a religion which has developed, and whose vitality depends upon its continuing to develop. They are bent on reinterpreting the dogmas in the light of modern science and criticism. The idea of development had already been applied by Cardinal Newman to Catholic theology. He taught that it was a natural, and therefore legitimate, development of the primitive creed. But he did not draw the conclusion which the Modernists draw that if Catholicism is not to lose its power of growth and die, it must assimilate some of the results of modern thought. This is what they are attempting to do for it.

If you have a good outline, the rest of the writing process will go much more smoothly.
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So tell the reader what it is you think X is saying.

While Mill was writing his brilliant Essay, which every one should read, the English Government of the day (1858) instituted prosecutions for the circulation of the doctrine that it is lawful to put tyrants to death, on the ground that the doctrine is immoral. Fortunately the prosecutions were not persisted in. Mill refers to the matter, and maintains that such a doctrine as tyrannicide (and, let us add, anarchy) does not form any exception to the rule that “there ought to exist the fullest liberty of professing and discussing, as a matter of ethical conviction, any doctrine, however immoral it may be considered.”

What Jung calls the persona is the outer or social self thatfaces the world.
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Thus in what we may call the earliest justification of liberty of thought we have two significant claims affirmed: the indefeasible right of the conscience of the individual —a claim on which later struggles for liberty were to turn; and the social importance of discussion and criticism. The former claim is not based on argument but on intuition; it rests in fact on the assumption of some sort of superhuman moral principle, and to those who, not having the same personal experience as Socrates, reject this assumption, his pleading does not carry weight. The second claim, after the experience of more than 2,000 years, can be formulated more comprehensively now with bearings of which he did not dream.

Don't wait until two or three nights before the paper is due to begin.
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Notice how much the paper improves with each revision:

If your paper sounds as if it were written for a third-grade audience, then you've probably achieved the right sort of clarity.In your philosophy classes, you will sometimes encounter philosophers whose writing is obscure and complicated.

But these forms of philosophical writing are difficult to do well.

A definitive interpretation of these issues has yet to gain generalacceptance in the literature. What is clear is that the brand ofknowledge Descartes seeks requires, at least, unshakably certainconviction. Arguably, this preoccupation with having the right kind ofcertainty — including its being available to introspection —is linked with his commitment to an internalist conception ofknowledge.

What can be left out?But neither should your papers be too short!

Don't write using prose you wouldn't use in conversation: if you wouldn't say it, don't write it.You may think that since your TA and I already know a lot about this subject, you can leave out a lot of basic explanation and write in a super-sophisticated manner, like one expert talking to another.

Is it obvious to the reader what your main thesis is?

In prehistoric days, these motives, operating strongly, must have made change slow in communities which progressed, and hindered some communities from progressing at all. But they have continued to operate more or less throughout history, obstructing knowledge and progress. We can observe them at work to-day even in the most advanced societies, where they have no longer the power to arrest development or repress the publication of revolutionary opinions. We still meet people who consider a new idea an annoyance and probably a danger. Of those to whom socialism is repugnant, how many are there who have never examined the arguments for and against it, but turn away in disgust simply because the notion disturbs their mental universe and implies a drastic criticism on the order of things to which they are accustomed? And how many are there who would refuse to consider any proposals for altering our imperfect matrimonial institutions, because such an idea offends a mass of prejudice associated with religious sanctions? They may be right or not, but if they are, it is not their fault. They are actuated by the same motives which were a bar to progress in primitive societies. The existence of people of this mentality, reared in an atmosphere of freedom, side by side with others who are always looking out for new ideas and regretting that there are not more about, enables us to realize how, when public opinion was formed by the views of such men, thought was fettered and the impediments to knowledge enormous.