Writing an Introductory Paragraph for a Philosophy Paper
An introductory paragraph not only introduces the topic of the paper, but it also provides a clear statement of the point that is to be made in the paper. An introductory paragraph should also include a brief statement about how the paper will be organized—a table of contents, so to speak, for the paper.
Here are several possible topics for your paper:
- Discuss what happens when you die according to Plato, Augustine, and Leibniz.
- Consider the treatment of women in theDhammapada, theAnalects, and theTao Te Ching.
- Which of our assigned texts presents the most coherent account of reincarnation:Upanishads,Phaedo,orShobogenzo?
- Describe the samurai relationship with Confucianism, Buddhism, and Christianity.
- Which of our philosophers has the most faith in knowledge based on empirical evidence: Aristotle, Dogen, or Hume?
Please choose one of these topics and practice writing an introductory paragraph for a paper on your chosen topic. Be sure to include a clear opening sentence that identifies what the paper will be about, followed by 2-4 more sentences addressing why this is an interesting/important/confusing issue. Then provide a single clear statement of the point you wish to make in the paper (e.g. “I plan to establish that Zen Buddhism lacks a coherent sense of the possibility of reincarnation”). Immediately following your thesis statement, provide a sentence or two that explicitly lays out the structure of your paper (e.g. “First I will describe X, and then I will talk about Y and Z. Finally, I will argue that …”)