Why Writing Works

Disciplinary Approaches to Composing Texts

Reading in Philosophy

by Dr. Maureen Sander-Staudt

Developing good habits

Philosophy can be notoriously difficult to read because the thread of the argument can be hard to follow at times. Philosophy sometimes uses specialized language, which can only be defined through research and the use of Philosophical dictionaries. It is important for students to read slowly and to follow the line of reasoning presented by the author(s). Students will often have to read a piece two or three times to fully understand the complete argument. Students may find it helpful to outline or diagram the argument as they read, identifying the thesis, premises, counter-arguments and responses.

A tip for reading

Primary texts are much more difficult to read than summaries, especially when they are dated or subject to ambiguities of translation. It may be helpful to read a summary first, and then a primary text.


Philosophy: Disciplinary Perspective
Writing in Philosophy
Documentation in Philosophy
Research in Philosophy