Philosophy Analytical Essay: Plato or Aristotle

Essay topics – choose from among these topics for an analytical essay.


Option A: Plato’s Theory of Forms Option


Option B: Aristotle’s Conception of Ethics


C: If you have a special interest in a particular topic, discuss it with me, it should be ok. Address the major concepts.



Write a minimum of 500 words. Let me know if you’d like me to look over a draft. 


General concept; The goal of the essay is to engage the selected topic in a conversation. Like any conversation, the essay needs a reason to begin (question,problem or issue).  This should be something that has drawn you to the topic and will draw the reader in.  

These essays should be a struggle with prejudice, a movement from surface thinking to depth.  You begin at the surface and end in depth.  


I.  Intro = Show the reader, which you should assume is not me, why there is somethingimportant to resolve.  Perhaps begin the essay as you would begin a short mystery.

Thesis = question, problem or issue.  This does not mean asking a lot of questions.  It means posing a thoughtful problem.

II. Analysis Identifying two sides of the issue, question or problem. This is an absolute necessity. Analysis is not an answer, remain open.  Allow your thesis to move you and the reader through an organized exploration of the topics, concepts or authors. Know what is at stake, not where you are going to end up. Demonstrate you have given the positions a fair read/ chance.

Use quotes wisely look closely at specific words and meaning. Don’t jump from point to point. This is a specific danger in compare-and-contrast essays.

III.  Conclusion = Only come to a conclusion after a fair analysis. Tie the strands of analysis you have been pursuing together. Don’t summarize or repeat previous analysis. Propose an answer.


Avoid 1) Filler.

            2) Broad generalizations.

            3) Sweeping statements about ideas and theorists.

            4) Finishing before you begin (allow the conversation to flow).  Essay should be a

                   thoughtful confrontation or dialogue, not a defense of your prejudice.

            5) Compare-and-contrast cliché; this cannot be the engine of an essay. If this is the 

                   way your essay reads there is a void as its core.  Find an issue of interest that is

                  at stake and caught between the two concepts, theories or authors. 

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