What is the thin line between Description and Analysis

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What is the thin line between Description and Analysis

What is the thin line between Description and Analysis

Another major challenge in philosophical writing, a problem mostly faced by students, is the inability to write an essay that is not merely descriptive but also analytic and  argumentative. When an essay is purely descriptive, it generally lacks a clearly stated problem and thesis. It simply describes the issue at hand as well as the perspectives on the issue.

However, a philosophical essay does not simply describe; it  analyses positions and arguments  and takes a position. An essay on the concept of justice will not be philosophical if it only  explains and describes the concept of justice as well as the arguments for or against its types. Rather it is philosophical if it can identify clearly what theoretical problem is wrong with a particular theory of justice, analyse the reasons for the problem, state and defend a thesis.

What is the thin line between Description and Analysis

This is often the basis for the distinction between an excellent student and a good or fair student.  It  also explains why some articles sent to a philosophy journal for publishing are either rejected  or accepted. If an article sent to a philosophy journal does not but describes existing positions without any painstaking analysis, there is no basis for publishing it.


When an essay is purely descriptive, what does it lack?

When an essay is purely descriptive, it generally lacks a clearly stated problem and thesis.


 The Burden of Proof

Connected to the issue of evidence and authority is the issue of who bears the burden of proof in an argument. Roughly, the person who asserts or otherwise relies upon the truth of a proposition for the cogency of his position bears the burden. Recall, however, that it is impossible to prove every proposition.

In every science, some propositions are taken as basic and ground-level or taken-for-granted assumptions. They are simply assumed without proof. In geometry, these principles are axioms, which traditionally were considered self-evident. Further, there are many propositions, which, although they are not self-evident, need not be proven every time they are used, since  the evidence for them is very familiar.

For example, it needn’t be proven that the world is round and very old, that humans  use  languages to communicate, and so on. On the other hand, in most contexts you should not simply assume that only one object exists or that nonhuman animals use languages to communicate. These are controversial views and need support.

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