Guide to Writing Philosophy:

Writing a good philosophy paper is difficult. The philosophy faculty at Fort Lewis work hard to make it less so. We want you to become better thinkers and becoming a better writer is an excellent first step in doing so. While you will be given explicit instructions in class regarding your particular assignment, this page provides standards for grades of A, C and F, and links to external web pages that provide instruction on reading/writing philosophy.

Grading Matrix:

The philosophy faculty at Fort Lewis look for similar features when assigning grades to philosophy papers. The following matrix displays common features of A, C, and F papers. For example, a paper that includes some A Paper features and some C Paper features will score in the B-range.

A Paper C Paper F Paper

Appropriate topic: philosophical, controversial, yet suitably narrow scope

Less-Appropriate topic: not philosophical, not controversial, or too wide a scope

Inappropriate topic: obviously not philosophical, not controversial, or too wide a scope

Clear Thesis

Unclear Thesis

No Thesis

Well Motivated

Poorly Motivated


Well Structured

Poorly Structured


Clear Argument

Unclear Argument

No Argument

Original (to the author)

Significantly Unoriginal (e.g. re-phrasing of class notes)

Totally Unoriginal (e.g. verbatim class notes)


Less Persuasive


Proper Spelling, Grammar, and Punctuation

Weak Spelling, Grammar or Punctuation

Poor Spelling, Grammar or Punctuation

Raises and Deals with Objections

Raises bad objections OR Raises good objections, but does not deal with them adequately

Ignores obvious objections

The paper provides a charitable, plausible and sufficiently-detailed interpretation of the view of another philosopher (if relevant).

The paper provides an interpretation of another philosopher that is in some respect uncharitable, implausible or insufficiently detailed (if relevant).

The paper provides an interpretation of another philosopher that is blatantly uncharitable, implausible or insufficiently detailed (if relevant).

External Guides on Writing or Reading Philosophy:



Undergraduate Journals in Philosophy:

Affectus                                                                Interlocutor

Aporia                                                                   Logos

Arete Philosophy Journal                                         Meteorite

The British Journal of Undergraduate Philosophy       Penn Bioethics Journal   

The Dialectic                                                          Perceptia

Dialectic: Journal of the University of York                Phi Sigma Tau Journal

The Dualist                                                            Princeton Journal of Bioethics

Ehemeris                                                               Prometheus

Episteme: Student Philosophy                                 Sophia

Ex Nihilo                                                                Stance

The Gadfly                                                             The Yale Philosophy Review

Geist: A Student Journal of Philosophy                    Philosophy

Geist: Undergraduate Journal of Philosophy              




Undergraduate Conferences for Philosophy:

Depauw Undergraduate Ethics Symposium

Eastern Michigan

Illinois State Undergraduate Philosophy Conference

North American Undergraduate Conference in Religion and Philosophy

Pacific University

Princeton-Rutgers Undergraduate Conference

Puget Sound

Santa Clara

Southern Illinois

Suny Oneonta



Guide to Philosophy on the Internet:

It should come as no surprise that much of what's available on the internet is unreliable. The following links should help navigate the flood of available information.

Philosophy References:

Graduate School Information:

Professional Organizations and Periodicals: