Higher Education

Doing Philosophy, 5th Edition

  • Joel Feinberg Late of University of Arizona
  • ISBN-10: 1285055012  |  ISBN-13: 9781285055015
  • 128 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2008, 2005, 2002
  • © 2014 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $49.50



Clear and concise, this brief text is designed to assist introductory philosophy students who have no prior experience in writing philosophy papers. Contents include topic selection, outlines, drafts, proper and improper citation, argument development and evaluation, principles of good writing, style, criteria for grading student papers, and a review of common grammatical and dictional errors. In addition, the book devotes several chapters to basic concepts in logic, which have proven invaluable for philosophy students in the course of critically considering and writing about the ideas and arguments they encounter.

Features and Benefits

  • Clear and concise, this brief text is designed to assist introductory philosophy students who have no prior experience in writing philosophy papers.
  • The book addresses Internet research and tips for avoiding plagiarism.
  • Extensive discussion of the use of logic in writing papers assists students in preparing arguments that exhibit basic logical practices that are expected in all successful philosophy papers.
  • A detailed examination of grammar and diction specific to philosophical writing prepares students for mastering certain idiosyncrasies of philosophy writing in particular.
  • DOING PHILOSOPHY may be packaged with Feinberg and Shafer-Landau's REASON AND RESPONSIBILITY: READINGS IN SOME BASIC PROBLEMS OF PHILOSOPHY, Fourteenth Edition at no additional cost to your students.

Table of Contents

1. METHODS OF PROCEEDING Introductory, Selecting a topic, The irrelevance of most library research, Resolving controversies, Appreciating philosophers of an earlier period, The outline, Preparation of the final draft, Writing blocks.
2. RULES OF THE GAME Plagiarism as a legal wrong (violation of another person's property right), Plagiarism as a moral wrong (cheating and lying), Quotation, attribution, and acknowledgement, Alternative formats for notes, Acceptable abbreviations in notes .
3. CRITERIA FOR GRADING STUDENT PAPERS Clarity, Presence of argument, Cogency of argument, Originality, subtlety, imaginativeness, Degree of difficulty, Ordering the criteria .
4. GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF GOOD WRITING Clarity again, Simplicity, Economy, Padding, Repetitiveness, Redundancy, Misplaced emphasis, Pretentiousness and fancy words, A miscellany of further judgments.
5. MISTAKES OF GRAMMAR Grammatical and nongrammatical writing errors, Criteria of correct grammar, A sampler of grammatical rules and their problems, Summary
6. SOME COMMON MISTAKES IN DICTION Diction and grammar, Linguistic correctness and controversy, Constantly changing usage, Linguistic liberals and conservatives, Sample mistakes of diction .
7. STYLISTIC INFELICITIES The concept of style, Prose writing as a source of pleasure, The paragraph, Motion metaphors, Smoothing the flow, Conspicuous over-use of favorite words, Forget adornment and eloquence, Types of poor writing styles.
8. LANGUAGE AND LOGIC Correct and incorrect reasoning, Deductive and inductive reasoning, Sentences and propositions, Arguments, Premises as unproved assumptions, Logical necessity versus psychological certainty, Necessity and contingency, Three types of impossibility.
9. BASIC DEDUCTIVE LOGIC Possible truth value combinations, Validity and soundness, definition of truth-functional connectives, Necessary and sufficient conditions, Valid deductive argument forms: a sampler.
10. LOGIC WITHOUT NECESSITY Informal fallacies, Some inductive inferences, good and bad, Begging the question, Analogical reasoning, A sampler of fallacies
11. VARIETIES OF PHILOSOPHY PAPERS Rules of strategy, Manageable philosophical tasks, Modest partial reasons, Interpretation, Generalization and counterexample, definition, Other categories of philosophical papers.

What's New

  • The section on research and the section on online materials have been updated and coordinated to resolve inconsistencies.
  • A checklist/rubric for evaluating philosophy papers has been added to help students evaluate their own work, and as a possible grading rubric for instructor use.
  • The relationship between the content of each chapter to philosophical writing has been more overtly stated in order to give the student reader a sense of purpose.
  • Information on style manuals and a few outdated cultural references have been updated.

Learning Resource Bundles

Choose the textbook packaged with the resources that best meet your course and student needs. Contact your Learning Consultant for more information.

Bundle: Reason and Responsibility: Readings in Some Basic Problems of Philosophy, 15th + Doing Philosophy, 5th

ISBN-10: 1285330692 | ISBN-13: 9781285330693

List Price = $246.95  | CengageBrain Price = $246.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $186.00

This Bundle Includes:

  • Reason and Responsibility: Readings in Some Basic Problems of Philosophy
    List Price = $181.95  | CengageBrain Price = $181.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $136.50
  • Doing Philosophy
    List Price = $65.95  | CengageBrain Price = $65.95  | College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $49.50

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Joel Feinberg

Joel Feinberg (Professor Emeritus, late of University of Arizona) was widely recognized as one of America's leading political and social philosophers. Acclaimed both for his ground-breaking scholarship and his exemplary teaching skills, Feinberg published widely on topics such as individual rights, legal theory, capital punishment, the treatment of the mentally ill, civil disobedience, and environmental ethics. Before joining the University of Arizona faculty, he taught at Brown, Princeton, and Rockefeller universities. Feinberg was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 1987–88 to work in Japan and served as chairman of the National Board of Officers in the American Philosophical Association in the mid-1980s. Some of the royalties from Reason and Responsibility have been used to establish the Regents Professor Joel Feinberg Dissertation Fellowship in Philosophy at the University of Arizona.