• Amity
    931
    Inspired by thread, started by Drek.

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/4822/what-are-some-good-laymen-books-on-philosophy/p2

    Following an exchange on reading and note-taking, I wrote:

    ----------

    ' Other than writing essays to show your understanding of what you have read, have you tried to write an article?
    I think there comes a time to take head out of books. Use what you have learned or experienced to start thinking/writing for self. I am still working on that one...

    This forum might be a good place to start developing writing skills in argument.
    Here's an example. It also reconstructs arguments in to logical structure. Premises and Conclusions.
    How great is that !?

    http://articles.thephilosophyforum.com/the-argument-for-indirect-realism

    How interesting would it be to ask the author about the whole philosophical process.
    From initial idea, reading, note taking to end product.'

    ----------

    Understanding the whole process would be invaluable.
    We have book discussions regarding interpretation and understanding what we have read. The content.
    Why not conversations On Writing ?

    I would be interested to hear about how we progress from critical reading, thinking to creatively writing.
    Including the practical aspects of note-taking. How do writers tackle writing articles such as the above ?

    Is there a reason why there aren't more articles ?
    Any authors who would care to share the process so that others might try....
  • Baden
    8.9k
    Why not conversations On Writing ?Amity

    Good idea.

    I think there comes a time to take head out of books. Use what you have learned or experienced to start thinking/writing for self. I am still working on that one...Amity

    Well, you are an author, of fifty posts. And at its most basic, the process is no different to what you've been doing thus far. It's having something to say on a topic and saying it. It's only that the more you want to say, the more organization comes into play. How you write becomes as important as what you write. So, it becomes more like having (or finding) something to say, deciding how to say it, and saying and resaying it until it satisfies (along with certain recognizable writing conventions) your vision of how it should be said. So, as for writing, you are doing it already, but there are, as you suggested, strategies for approaching the creation of longer texts.

    I would be interested to hear about how we progress from critical reading, thinking to creatively writing.
    Including the practical aspects of note-taking. How do writers tackle writing articles such as the above ?
    Amity

    Here's one path you could make use of in writing a philosophical article:

    1) Formulate a rough thesis

    What is it in general that you want to say? What angle do you want to take on what? What would be a one-line summary of your article? (In @jamalrob's (the author of the article you mentioned) case, the basic thesis is argumentative and the argument is "Indirect realism is wrong")

    2) Research.

    Your rough thesis can direct your research. Look for information on the background and context of the issue you want to discuss in order to further understand the arguments surrounding it. Then focus on the arguments themselves, both for and against, and their key proponents. Make use of highlighting and note-taking on the texts you examine.

    3) Finalize your thesis.

    Are you able to gather enough information to make the case you want to make? Having read more about the issue, do you even still want to make that particular case? Here's your chance, now that you're more information-rich, to modify your approach and hone in on what you really want to say. Once you are sure of that then write your thesis out in a way that satisfies you and can serve as the fundamental basis of the rest of your work.

    4) Plan your article.

    The basic structure of most academic articles is going to be along the lines of:

    Introduction
    Say something about the background/context of your argument, state your thesis, provide an overview of your article etc.

    Body
    Present your argument paragraph by paragraph (consider subdividing into sub-sections for longer articles).

    Conclusion
    Sum up the reasons for your argument as you've presented it in the body.

    Within that framework, organize your approach. Most of the hard work will be done in the body section where you decide on the major reasons/evidence for your thesis and the counterarguments you'll present and refute.

    5) More research.

    Take what sources you have and match them up to your plan. The likelihood is that now you've thought more about the details of the overall structure of your essay, you'll need to dive back into the literature to shore up your thesis in places.

    6) Write your article.

    Write according to your plan, being flexible enough to make changes where necessary while retaining the overall vision of what you want to say (stick to your thesis).

    7) Revise.

    Edit, proofread and so on.
  • Baden
    8.9k
    Is there a reason why there aren't more articles?Amity

    1) They need to be pretty good to be published.
    2) We don't promote the articles section enough.
    3) It takes a fair degree of commitment and effort to write a philosophical article.

    I would like to see more articles up there though, so let this discussion serve as a call for them. The official editorial team (for whatever that's worth) is me, @jamalrob, @Michael, @Benkei and some dude called @Hansover or @Hanover or something. Anyone wanting to have an article published can PM it to any of us for consideration.
  • Amity
    931
    Why not conversations On Writing ?
    — Amity

    Good idea.
    Baden

    Thanks. I get them every now and again. It's putting them into practice...
    So how would that work in this forum ?
    I note 'Reading groups' are in the 'Learning Centre' section.

    Your excellent advice above could be the starting point for a pathway to write philosophy.
    From a beginner's first posts to a more academic article. Some might not want to commit to or have the ability to write the latter. It's pretty ambitious and perhaps more people would be inclined to tackle an essay.

    Just as in the 'reading group' where there are those who can lead, comment and contribute to a structured discussion, there could be similar in a 'Writing philosophy' group ?

    It would give practice in the whole philosophical process with something to show at the end.
    That would be more of a stretch than writing posts...but something to aim for...perhaps...
  • Amity
    931
    1) They need to be pretty good to be published.
    2) We don't promote the articles section enough.
    3) It takes a fair degree of commitment and effort to write a philosophical article.
    Baden


    1. As a matter of interest, how many articles have been submitted ?
    If they were not good enough, how good was the feedback and encouragement to resubmit ?

    2. Why not ? You editors need to get going. Why not submit ideal examples?

    I did find it difficult to find information about articles. It comes under 'article submissions' stuck between 'Feedback' and 'About TPF'. The headline 'ARTICLES' at top of page only takes you to the one and only article ever published ( as far as I can remember ).

    3. Yes. It always struck me that even a 2000 word essay didn't adequately reflect the hair-tearingly hard work involved..
  • Josh Alfred
    110
    I think there is a positive feedback between reading and writing. I think it comes with a third variable, that feeds into it, which is one's own interest. I find that my newest ideas come to me when I am:

    1) Reading and questioning what I read
    2) Thinking and questioning what I am thinking
    3) Discussing and questioning what others are thinking.

    _I am an Author, {essays} "On Being and Consciousness" various other essays, vlogs and poems.

    When I first started writing I read various articles on how to write better and the book series, "How to write a Damn Good Novel." I wrote two novellas and most of my essays after being armed with that critical thinking arsenal..
  • Drek
    93


    Keep doing what you are doing!

    • So when you are asking questions, is it the who, what, when, where, why and how? What do you have to keep in mind? Fact/opinion? There's also: valid invalid, true/false, sound/unsound depending on type of reasoning?
    • When questioning yourself there is a bit of reflection with yourself and memory of all other things you've experienced/read in comparison to the new idea?
    • With discussing, is there an etiquette or a way to do things?

    Writing is powerful. Poetry is something I never considered until I took a class in college, though it is what lyrics are. There's so so much to explore.
  • Josh Alfred
    110


    I keep notes when discovering by thinking. I than take those notes and try to get other people to comment on them, so I can think more clearly and develop my thoughts further.

    Here is my yahoo (an example of what I do with my ideas): https://answers.yahoo.com/activity/questions?show=D477Q6AXUM2UPV4MDHSY2Y6RKY&t=g

    Now if you check out my 1000+ questions on this account alone, you will find that I don't really have much of an regular audience answering me. Which is....too bad? xD But I can always go back there and find my questions and look at any answers and see if they can be added on.

    I use whatever question function helps me get from point A (ask what, where, when, why, how, relates?) to point B (I think this about that). First I don't know something, than I get curious about it. Its not like I am trying to be an engineer and understand all things mechanically, I am more prone to metaphysics and introspective revelation.

    If you have some background (like we all do) that background will affect how you think.

    For some time my intellect has been my own devising. Consciousness moves from one thought to another, entering and exiting, but it is my mind that makes a decision to follow some line of inquiry.

    Discovery is different than ordinary thought/self inspection. Discovery comes about through inquiry into something you know that you don't yet know. And if you can ask a question that leads to discovery that no one knows, you may have potential literary pay-off.

    I am all about putting effort into becoming a wise old man, and I think I am on the right track, but things could be going much better.

    ...Good luck on your journey from wherever your from to wherever your going...
  • jamalrob
    2.2k
    I did find it difficult to find information about articles. It comes under 'article submissions' stuck between 'Feedback' and 'About TPF'. The headline 'ARTICLES' at top of page only takes you to the one and only article ever published ( as far as I can remember ).Amity

    If my memory serves me right, I had the Submit an article for publication discussion pinned at the top of the forum for a year or more, and we got almost nothing.
  • Amity
    931
    If my memory serves me right, I had the Submit an article for publication discussion pinned at the top of the forum for a year or more, and we got almost nothing.jamalrob

    Interesting. So it Isn't that people don't see it. What other reasons could there be for lack of an article submission ?
    Perhaps:
    1.Those that have the ability to write such simply weigh up the pros and cons and don't think It's worth it. Wouldn't they be looking at publishing in a physical, established magazine like Philosophy Now.
    I am not sure about the monetary reward. I think someone once told me that they receive a free annual subscription. Are there copyright issues ?
    2. Some might be put off by the wording and don't feel ready to Submit. Encouragement and feedback throughout the writing process might produce more results.
    3. An initial stimulus or prod suggesting a theme that members could compete in writing about.

    Just a few thoughts. It would be good to hear other points of view.

    I think the 'articles submissions' could be positioned alongside heading of 'Writing Philosophy' or 'Writing club'. Writing for January. Theme: Resolution.
    Something like that ?

    [ BTW this forum is the best one I have found to encourage flow of thoughts and ideas. Lovely mix of threads and interests. Informative and inspirational. Challenging and creative.
    Thanks to all involved. Keep up the good work. ]
  • Amity
    931
    Writing for February. Theme: Love :love:
    Writing for March: Madness :smirk:
  • Amity
    931
    Writing is powerful. Poetry is something I never considered until I took a class in college, though it is what lyrics are. There's so so much to explore.Drek

    If poetry (writing) is something you never considered until you took a class in college, how do you feel your thinking/philosophy would improve if there was a Writing Philosophy group or class ?

    As you say, writing is powerful. In so many ways.
    Have you ever considered writing a philosophy article or essay based on your reading, your studies, your thoughts about a particular subject ?
  • Amity
    931
    I keep notes when discovering by thinking. I than take those notes and try to get other people to comment on them, so I can think more clearly and develop my thoughts further.Josh Alfred

    You are in the right place ! It's good practice to get from self taking note(s) to sharing/comparing with others via writing. Even as you write you think and can change your mind...
    Yes. It is all about development and growth - we can only do our best. As you say, with our background materials and ongoing stimulus.
  • jamalrob
    2.2k
    So it Isn't that people don't see it. What other reasons could there be for lack of an article submission ?

    Perhaps:

    1.Those that have the ability to write such simply weigh up the pros and cons and don't think It's worth it. Wouldn't they be looking at publishing in a physical, established magazine like Philosophy Now.
    I am not sure about the monetary reward. I think someone once told me that they receive a free annual subscription. Are there copyright issues ?
    2. Some might be put off by the wording and don't feel ready to Submit. Encouragement and feedback throughout the writing process might produce more results.
    3. An initial stimulus or prod suggesting a theme that members could compete in writing about.
    Amity

    Yeah, I had an article published in Philosophy Now a long long time ago, and I received a year's subscription.

    Otherwise I'm not sure. It could simply be that while that discussion was pinned, we didn't have many members. The forum's grown a lot since then.
  • Amity
    931
    Essays

    On a search, this type of feedback is the kind of thing that could be included in a 'Writing Philosophy' section ( or 'Writing groups' beside 'Reading groups' under the 'Learning Centre' ).

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/2364/university-marking-philosophy-essays-harshly
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/4691/review-of-my-philosophical-essays
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/4408/various-philosophy-essays-critique-me-up

    So, a separate space with guidelines, book recommendations - to develop writing skills in philosophy.
    What's not to like ?
    Thoughts welcome.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.8k
    Here's one path you could make use of in writing a philosophical article:

    1) Formulate a rough thesis...
    Baden

    I would be interested to hear about how we progress from critical reading, thinking to creatively writing.Amity

    The technical aspects of writing are important, just like brush techniques are important for an artist. We need to learn these techniques before we can create writing or art, but they aren't sufficient. Creativity is infinitely more than mere technique.
  • ArguingWAristotleTiff
    3.7k
    Why not conversations On Writing ?Amity
    Why not expand this into a "Short Story" writing contest?
    Bragging rights are priceless around here. :wink:
    Just ask @Benkei whose short story was about a trip to Oslow….EXCELLENT writing in that piece and in general has a very strong grip on story evolution and flow.
    @Baden is a hard on grammar but almost always accurate and
    @Michael , Michael, is so talented with the English language that I have wanted a pocket version of his knowledge and skills for years.
    Oh and once "S" is findable in the search field, I would put his name up as probably the most "critical" thinker here but that might be a biased view. :razz:
  • ArguingWAristotleTiff
    3.7k
    The technical aspects of writing are important, just like brush techniques are important for an artist. We need to learn these techniques before we can create writing or art, but they aren't sufficient. Creativity is much more than mere technique.Pattern-chaser
    :up:
  • Amity
    931
    Here's one path you could make use of in writing a philosophical article:

    1) Formulate a rough thesis...
    — Baden

    I would be interested to hear about how we progress from critical reading, thinking to creatively writing.
    — Amity

    The technical aspects of writing are important, just like brush techniques are important for an artist. We need to learn these techniques before we can create writing or art, but they aren't sufficient. Creativity is infinitely more than mere technique.
    Pattern-chaser

    Creativity is huge. And yes it much more than technique.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creativity

    'Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible (such as an idea, a scientific theory, a musical composition, or a joke) or a physical object (such as an invention, a literary work, or a painting).'

    I am not sure why you chose the quote by Baden ?
    'Formulating a rough thesis'. Do you see that as a technical or creative aspect in the writing process ?
    Doesn't the provision of a structure aid in creativity ?
    Can you explain further what you mean. This interests me.
  • Amity
    931
    Why not expand this into a "Short Story" writing contest?ArguingWAristotleTiff

    Why not indeed :cool:
    It could well be included in any 'Writing groups' section.
    My thoughts weren't initially around creative writing as in fiction. However, whatever sparks sparks :fire:
  • Baden
    8.9k


    I agree. I've written four books of fiction. None of which followed those rules because art is a different deal. But you can be creative within the confines of just about any text type to a degree.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.8k
    ↪Pattern-chaser


    I agree. I've written four books of fiction. None of which followed those rules because art is a different deal.
    Baden

    <like>
  • ArguingWAristotleTiff
    3.7k
    I agree. I've written four books of fiction.Baden

    I KNEW IT! :starstruck:
    What was your pen name?
  • Michael
    8.2k
    Why not expand this into a "Short Story" writing contest?ArguingWAristotleTiff

    Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived a little boy named Michael...
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.8k
    I am not sure why you chose the quote by Baden ?
    'Formulating a rough thesis'. Do you see that as a technical or creative aspect in the writing process ?
    Doesn't the provision of a structure aid in creativity ?
    Can you explain further what you mean. This interests me.
    Amity

    I thought that Baden's post offered technical guidance. This doesn't make it wrong, of course, or unhelpful either. Your OP targeted writing, but also specifically referenced creative writing. All the technical help in the world won't make us creative. But, I suspect, creativity can't be learned. We can sharpen up many aspects of our writing with technical stuff, even the most creative of us (?), but they won't enhance our creativity. I think this is why there are so many good writers, but also why so few of them are truly creative. Creative writing is a rare skill. I can think of few who are truly capable. Alan Watts is the best example I can think of, although (perhaps) his greatest skill is in the spoken word. He can explain stuff that others can't seem to, in a spellbinding way. The creative bit is not the explanations, which are exemplary, IMO, but in the spellbinding bit. His words are entrancing, and his use (and choice) of words as good as any poet I have ever read.
  • Baden
    8.9k


    If you Google "Paul Baden book" you'll see the names of some of the stuff I self-published. I recently unself-published though, so I could submit my stuff to outlets that don't accept previously published work. So, it's presently unavailable. But I'll happily PM you a copy of my short story collection of you like.

    (Unfortunately, if you just Google 'Paul Baden', one of the top results is some guy caught up in a sexual harassment case. That is emphatically not me. :monkey: )

    Reviving the short story competition seems a good idea to me as long as admins are allowed to participate. :up:
  • Amity
    931
    I thought that Baden's post offered technical guidance. This doesn't make it wrong, of course, or unhelpful either. Your OP targeted writing, but also specifically referenced creative writing. All the technical help in the world won't make us creative. But, I suspect, creativity can't be learned. We can sharpen up many aspects of our writing with technical stuff, even the most creative of us (?), but they won't enhance our creativity. I think this is why there are so many good writers, but also why so few of them are truly creative. Creative writing is a rare skill. I can think of few who are truly capable. Alan Watts is the best example I can think of, although (perhaps) his greatest skill is in the spoken word. He can explain stuff that others can't seem to, in a spellbinding way. The creative bit is not the explanations, which are exemplary, IMO, but in the spellbinding bit. His words are entrancing, and his use (and choice) of words as good as any poet I have ever read.Pattern-chaser


    No. It didn't specifically reference 'creative writing'.
    Here it is again:
    ' I would be interested to hear about how we progress from critical reading, thinking to creatively writing.
    Including the practical aspects of note-taking. How do writers tackle writing articles such as the above ?'

    I spoke of 'creatively writing'. Do you see the difference ?
    Baden also wrote: ' ...you can be creative within the confines of just about any text type to a degree'.
    So any philosophers can get creative during the whole writing process.
    The guideline of : 'formulate a rough thesis' can be rewritten as 'create a rough thesis' that would require some creative thinking - producing an idea. A thesis is a created item, new to you.

    I think the whole concept of 'Creativity' worthy of an essay or story.
    How about it ?
    Perhaps there could be a competition between creative philosophers and creative storytellers :chin:
  • Amity
    931
    Reviving the short story competition seems a good idea to me as long as admins are allowed to participate. :up:Baden

    Here's a challenge for you.
    Write 1. a short philosophical essay on ''Creativity' AND 2. a short story concerning creativity.
  • Baden
    8.9k


    Yes, I was giving advice specifically regarding academic writing, which would cover the article in question. As for "creative writing" per se, a different beast altogether. I don't know what I would say to someone about writing a short story or a poem, for example. Maybe, just read a lot in that genre and then write as authentically as possible. I think it's also useful @Pattern-chaser to make a distinction between genre and style. I'd see creative writing and academic writing as being different genres, but style can vary not only across but within genres. Alan Watts is, I guess, someone who writes engagingly and interestingly in his particular genre. Maybe it's just that his style reflects that of creative writing more than drier academic writing.
  • Baden
    8.9k
    ...a short philosophical essay on ''Creativity'Amity

    Well, we could certainly do with more philosophy on the imagination and creativity. It's a neglected area. I'm more likely to come up with the short story though.
  • Amity
    931
    don't know what I would say to someone about writing a short story or a poem,Baden

    What would be the equivalent of write a rough thesis?
    Perhaps in a creative writing class: Decide what you want to write about ?
    But if spontaneously poetic you don't need that as a starter for 10.

    Interesting.
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