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My Philosophy Of Life - With A Free Essay Review




I believe in God. I believe God will be with us through everything that happens to us and he will always be right next to you wherever you are. I believe God loves us unconditionally and will give us hope, love, grace, peace, and acceptance. I believe that he will forgive us for any wrong we have done because of his unconditional for us. I believe God will provide us with what we need. I believe that God has a good meaning for everything that happens to us.

I believe life is a journey. The long road makes us wiser, the wrong turns make us stronger, and the unexpected bumps bring us awareness. I believe that life is a great gift from God. I believe you should value and respect life. I believe God gave us life so that we can live the life he gave us to the fullest. I believe we are all special in our own ways and that if we combine all our talents and gifts we can make a better world to live in. I believe that we can all make a difference, even if were just a kid, if we put our hearts and minds to it. One quote that really inspired me is written by a girl who is my age, 14, named Abby Miller. This is what she says, "I'm just a person, a kid, there's not much I can do because I'm just a drop in a sea full of people, but every drop added can start a ripple which can start a wave of change. No matter what the outcome is we will always be that drop that starts that ripple that creates that wave that will reach so many people beyond our vision, so what's a better time than now to start our wave?" This quote really inspired me because I think a lot of kids including me feel like since we are just kids we can't make a change, but this quote really says that we can make a change no matter how old we are.

I believe that friends are a big part of everyone's lives. I believe that friends are as close as family is and that friends are one of the greatest things in life. Friends will support you and believe in you and be there whenever you need someone. I also believe that you should choose your friends wisely. I think that you should choose friends that lift of your spirits up everyday and not bring you down and make you change who you are for them. I believe that friends influence you as much as anything or anyone can. If you choose a friend that does bad things and puts down people you might follow them or get use to being around them so much that you start doing what they do too. If you choose a friend who does good things and loves life you will likely be a great person too. I believe that one of the greatest things about friendship is that no matter how different you guys are they are always there for you and accept the fact that you're not exactly like them.

What I make time for in my life are family, friends, joy, laughter, happiness, kindness, God, and music. I believe music can bring us all together as one and bring joy to life and awareness to things. I believe life is to short and that we should live it while we can and live appreciating everything we have. Since life is so short I believe that we shouldn't make times for things like bullying and crushing other people's dreams. I believe that we are human and we all make mistakes but that we have to forgive each other and enjoy everything until the end of our life.

I believe that all people are given the chance to be good. Some people take it or some people leave it. I believe that what we do is our own decision so if some people become evil it was their own choice and they have the choice to turn it around.

I believe in education. Sometimes I'm not a big fan of it but that's normal for a kid. I know that if I try hard it will pay off. I believe that our lives ahead of us partly depend on education. Education helps us with life. Education pays off by helping us with getting into good colleges and then getting a job and starting a family. Teachers will inspire us and help us to reach our dreams.

God's greatest gifts in my life are my mom adopting me, my dad, my sisters, my niece, and my friends. I believe God's greatest gifts to everyone are grace and forgiveness and everlasting love.

I believe everyone has a right to say what they believe, practice any religion they want, and that we each can make our own choices whether right or wrong. I believe that we choose our paths on our own. I believe that having a good reputation is very important, but that you should stay true to yourselves and not care what people say. I'm not perfect, none of us are, so that means we will sometimes care what people say and think about us, but if we think leas about what people think about us and more about how we feel about ourselves we will live a much happier life.

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ESSAY REVIEW

I don't want to critique any part of your essay specifically but talk instead about the kinds of things that are liable to end up in one's philosophy of life if one is not self-critical. We call the bits of wisdom or pseudo-wisdom that we encounter most frequently in life clichés. To call a statement a cliché is not to say anything about the truth of the statement; some clichés are true, some are false, and some occupy the grey zone between truth and falsehood. I use the word "cliché" just in the sense of that which is often repeated. The problem posed by clichés for writers is that they are the things that tend to come first to mind (just because we are exposed to them so often) and they tend to appeal to us on account of their apparent truth content or profundity (if they didn’t appear like clever statements to us and if they weren't appealing, they wouldn't become clichés in the first place). But it is a general and good rule that writers should avoid clichés. One reason this is a general rule is that clichés do not represent the product of our own critical thought. Again, when we use a clichés, we are using that which comes first to mind and which has been used by countless writers before us. We end up speaking someone else's thoughts with someone else's words. This makes life easy, because thinking for oneself is hard, and inventing new ways of articulating thoughts is hard, but anyone who wants to become a good writer needs to choose the difficult path, find her own voice, and actually speak her own mind. The fact that doing so is a challenge might be underscored by the fact that my previous sentence ended with three clichés (choosing the difficult path, finding one's own voice, speaking one's own mind). Like me, you have a tendency to resort to clichés. As a reader, then, I feel like I've read your essay a hundred times before. There is a hardly a sentence in it (beyond those devoted to giving specific examples) that I have not encountered before in some form. What you say about God, family, friends, education and so on is just what thousands of others have said before you. You haven't given us your philosophy of life, you've given us THE prevailing philosophy of life. I feel as though I've learned about what fourteen-year-olds in general believe, not about what you as a unique thinking being believe.

Let me emphasize what I said at the outset. To call a statement a cliché is not to call it false. I don't mean to suggest that you don't believe the things you say you believe. I do mean to suggest that there is no evidence in this particular essay of your having critically examined any of your beliefs. And I also mean to suggest that what is likely interesting about you is what is left over in your mind after you have exhausted all the clichés. The essay I would like to read is the one you would write now, once you're done repeating what everyone else, more or less, says. So instead of revising your essay, I think the most challenging and productive thing you could do is write a completely new essay in response to the same prompt without using any of the ideas or sayings that you have used in this essay. If you do that, please come back and share it with us.

Best wishes, EJ.

Submitted by: katie12198

Tagged...how to avoid cliches, cliches in essays, essay feedback



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Good writing is the product of proper training, much practice, and hard work. The following remarks, though they will not guarantee a top quality paper, should help you determine where best to direct your efforts. I offer first some general comments on philosophical writing, and then some specific "do"s and "don't"s.

One of the first points to be clear about is that a philosophical essay is quite different from an essay in most other subjects. That is because it is neither a research paper nor an exercise in literary self-expression. It is not a report of what various scholars have had to say on a particular topic. It does not present the latest findings of tests or experiments. And it does not present your personal feelings or impressions. Instead, it is a reasoned defense of a thesis. What does that mean?

Above all, it means that there must be a specific point that you are trying to establish - something that you are trying to convince the reader to accept - together with grounds or justification for its acceptance.

Before you start to write your paper, you should be able to state exactly what it is that you are trying to show. This is harder than it sounds. It simply will not do to have a rough idea of what you want to establish. A rough idea is usually one that is not well worked out, not clearly expressed, and as a result, not likely to be understood. Whether you actually do it in your paper or not, you should be able to state in a single short sentence precisely what you want to prove. If you cannot formulate your thesis this way, odds are you are not clear enough about it.

The next task is to determine how to go about convincing the reader that your thesis is correct. In two words, your method must be that of rational persuasion. You will present arguments. At this point, students frequently make one or more of several common errors. Sometimes they feel that since it is clear to them that their thesis is true, it does not need much argumentation. It is common to overestimate the strength of your own position. That is because you already accept that point of view. But how will your opponent respond? It is safest to assume that your reader is intelligent and knows a lot about your subject, but disagrees with you.

Another common mistake is to think that your case will be stronger if you mention, even if briefly, virtually every argument that you have come across in support of your position. Sometimes this is called the "fortress approach." In actual fact, it is almost certain that the fortress approach will not result in a very good paper. There are several reasons for this.

First, your reader is likely to find it difficult to keep track of so many different arguments, especially if these arguments approach the topic from different directions.

Second, the ones that will stand out will be the very best ones and the very worst ones. It is important to show some discrimination here. Only the most compelling one or two arguments should be developed. Including weaker ones only gives the impression that you are unable to tell the difference between the two.

Third, including many different arguments will result in spreading yourself too thinly. It is far better to cover less ground in greater depth than to range further afield in a superficial manner. It will also help to give your paper focus.

In order to produce a good philosophy paper, it is first necessary to think very carefully and clearly about your topic. Unfortunately, your reader (likely your marker or instructor) has no access to those thoughts except by way of what actually ends up on the page. He or she cannot tell what you meant to say but did not, and cannot read in what you would quickly point out if you were conversing face to face. For better or for worse, your paper is all that is available. It must stand on its own. The responsibility for ensuring the accurate communication of ideas falls on the writer's shoulders. You must say exactly what you mean and in a way that minimizes the chances of being misunderstood. It is difficult to overemphasize this point.

There is no such thing as a piece of good philosophical writing that is unclear, ungrammatical, or unintelligible. Clarity and precision are essential elements here. A poor writing style militates against both of these.


THINGS TO AVOID IN YOUR PHILOSOPHY ESSAY

  1. Lengthy introductions. These are entirely unnecessary and of no interest to the informed reader. There is no need to point out that your topic is an important one, and one that has interested philosophers for hundreds of years. Introductions should be as brief as possible. In fact, I recommend that you think of your paper as not having an introduction at all. Go directly to your topic.

  2. Lengthy quotations. Inexperienced writers rely too heavily on quotations and paraphrases. Direct quotation is best restricted to those cases where it is essential to establish another writer's exact selection of words. Even paraphrasing should be kept to a minimum. After all, it is your paper. It is your thoughts that your instructor is concerned with. Keep that in mind, especially when your essay topic requires you to critically assess someone else's views.

  3. Fence sitting. Do not present a number of positions in your paper and then end by saying that you are not qualified to settle the matter. In particular, do not close by saying that philosophers have been divided over this issue for as long as humans have been keeping record and you cannot be expected to resolve the dispute in a few short pages. Your instructor knows that. But you can be expected to take a clear stand based on an evaluation of the argument(s) presented. Go out on a limb. If you have argued well, it will support you.

  4. Cuteness. Good philosophical writing usually has an air of simple dignity about it. Your topic is no joke. No writers whose views you have been asked to read are idiots. (If you think they are, then you have not understood them.) Name calling is inappropriate and could never substitute for careful argumentation anyway.

  5. Begging the question. You are guilty of begging the question (or circular reasoning) on a particular issue if you somehow presuppose the truth of whatever it is that you are trying to show in the course of arguing for it. Here is a quick example. If Smith argues that abortion is morally wrong on the grounds that it amounts to murder, Smith begs the question. Smith presupposes a particular stand on the moral status of abortion - the stand represented by the conclusion of the argument. To see that this is so, notice that the person who denies the conclusion - that abortion is morally wrong - will not accept Smith's premise that it amounts to murder, since murder is, by definition, morally wrong.

  6. When arguing against other positions, it is important to realize that you cannot show that your opponents are mistaken just by claiming that their overall conclusions are false. Nor will it do simply to claim that at least one of their premises is false. You must demonstrate these sorts of things, and in a fashion that does not presuppose that your position is correct.




SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR WRITING YOUR PHILOSOPHY PAPER


  1. Organize carefully. Before you start to write make an outline of how you want to argue. There should be a logical progression of ideas - one that will be easy for the reader to follow. If your paper is well organized, the reader will be led along in what seems a natural way. If you jump about in your essay, the reader will balk. It will take a real effort to follow you, and he or she may feel it not worthwhile. It is a good idea to let your outline simmer for a few days before you write your first draft. Does it still seem to flow smoothly when you come back to it? If not, the best prose in the world will not be enough to make it work.

  2. Use the right words. Once you have determined your outline, you must select the exact words that will convey your meaning to the reader. A dictionary is almost essential here. Do not settle for a word that (you think) comes close to capturing the sense you have in mind. Notice that "infer" does not mean "imply"; "disinterested" does not mean "uninterested"; and "reference" does not mean either "illusion" or "allusion." Make certain that you can use "its" and "it's" correctly. Notice that certain words such as "therefore," "hence," "since," and "follows from" are strong logical connectives. When you use such expressions you are asserting that certain tight logical relations hold between the claims in question. You had better be right. Finally, check the spelling of any word you are not sure of. There is no excuse for "existance" appearing in any philosophy essay.

  3. Support your claims. Assume that your reader is constantly asking such questions as "Why should I accept that?" If you presuppose that he or she is at least mildly skeptical of most of your claims, you are more likely to succeed in writing a paper that argues for a position. Most first attempts at writing philosophy essays fall down on this point. Substantiate your claims whenever there is reason to think that your critics would not grant them.

  4. Give credit. When quoting or paraphrasing, always give some citation. Indicate your indebtedness, whether it is for specific words, general ideas, or a particular line of argument. To use another writer's words, ideas, or arguments as if they were your own is to plagiarize. Plagiarism is against the rules of academic institutions and is dishonest. It can jeopardize or even terminate your academic career. Why run that risk when your paper is improved (it appears stronger not weaker) if you give credit where credit is due? That is because appropriately citing the works of others indicates an awareness of some of the relevant literature on the subject.

  5. Anticipate objections. If your position is worth arguing for, there are going to be reasons which have led some people to reject it. Such reasons will amount to criticisms of your stand. A good way to demonstrate the strength of your position is to consider one or two of the best of these objections and show how they can be overcome. This amounts to rejecting the grounds for rejecting your case, and is analogous to stealing your enemies' ammunition before they have a chance to fire it at you. The trick here is to anticipate the kinds of objections that your critics would actually raise against you if you did not disarm them first. The other challenge is to come to grips with the criticisms you have cited. You must argue that these criticisms miss the mark as far as your case is concerned, or that they are in some sense ill-conceived despite their plausibility. It takes considerable practice and exposure to philosophical writing to develop this engaging style of argumentation, but it is worth it.

  6. Edit boldly. I have never met a person whose first draft of a paper could not be improved significantly by rewriting. The secret to good writing is rewriting - often. Of course it will not do just to reproduce the same thing again. Better drafts are almost always shorter drafts - not because ideas have been left out, but because words have been cut out as ideas have been clarified. Every word that is not needed only clutters. Clear sentences do not just happen. They are the result of tough-minded editing.

There is much more that could be said about clear writing. I have not stopped to talk about grammatical and stylistic points. For help in these matters (and we all need reference works in these areas) I recommend a few of the many helpful books available in the campus bookstore. My favorite little book on good writing is The Elements of Style, by William Strunk and E.B. White. Another good book, more general in scope, is William Zinsser's, On Writing Well. Both of these books have gone through several editions. More advanced students might do well to read Philosophical Writing: An Introduction, by A.P. Martinich.

Some final words should be added about proofreading. Do it. Again. After that, have someone else read your paper. Is this person able to understand you completely? Can he or she read your entire paper through without getting stuck on a single sentence? If not, go back and smooth it out.

In general terms, do not be content simply to get your paper out of your hands. Take pride in it. Clear writing reflects clear thinking; and that, after all, is what you are really trying to show.

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