Characteristics of the philosophical essay

The essay is a mixture of several types of writings, interesting and suggestive. As we have seen, the essay lends itself to all subjects: science, journalism, literature and, now, philosophy. What do these types of tests have in common? It could be said that several things: a personal tone (subjective), an argumentative approach and a persuasive purpose.


And the philosophical essay? Many could say that it is the “quintessential essay”, since the essay genre is born with the ancient and classic Greek and Roman philosophers as a combination of oratory and epistle, that is, as a fusion of persuasive speech and intimate communication, family.

But although today the essay is not reduced to the service of philosophy, it is undoubtedly faithful to the philosophical exercise itself, understood as the practice of discernment, that is, as the putting into action of the intelligence that reflects, meditates, and runs.

Transcendent treatment of the subject

The issue of treating the philosophical essay is secondary, that is, any subject is valid. What gives character to this type of essay is the way this subject is approached or treated. The philosophical treatment of a content supposes a transcendent perspective, that is, that encompasses the essential, that which is beyond appearances. With this, the essayist accesses the great problems that concern the human being: life, death, love, justice, power, God, truth, coexistence, etc.

Logical argumentation

Although it may seem obvious, the philosophical essay bases its discourse on a careful argumentative logic. Philosophical thinking operates almost like a mathematical language. The order and the relationship between the ideas must be very clear and coherent. The essayist opts for an argumentative strategy according to the demand of the subject and, also, according to his own way of thinking: inductive, deductive, dialectic, etc.

Express the author’s thought

This type of essay allows to know how the author thinks, how he organizes it, what he believes in or what he is convinced of. It is a way to expose the ideas that matter, the vision of the world, the understanding of things. Who philosophizes, thinks and vice versa.

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Characteristics of the philosophical essay
Source: Education  
June 15, 2019


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