The study of philosophy occasionally entails questioning ideas through reasoning. Therefore, when asked to take a position between two conflicting concepts, a student of philosophy must present facts that support the side they choose. Defending a position also involves looking at the contrary side and discussing why it is inferior to the chosen one. Concisely, writing a position paper begins by taking one side, providing evidence for that side, and defeating any prevailing skepticism.
Different philosophical questions call for logical arguments. For example, some philosophers maintain that animals have the ability to think as human beings do. Therefore, a philosophical question from this statement is: “Do animals have minds?” The two positions in this paper are in support of the argument that animals have minds or the case for the argument that animals have minds. Taking either position requires a student to offer logical evidence to support one of the sides chosen
The evidence to accomplish this task comes from various sources. One of the sources is the argument held by notable philosophers. For example, Aristotle or Descartes have specific philosophical positions that most people believe in. Citing these philosophies and discussing them in detail suffices as evidence to support a point. Another source of evidence is the logical deduction from a primary statement. Deduction entails looking at the premises from a statement followed by a conclusion based on those premises. With these two sources, a student can convince the contestant that one side is stronger than the other.
Writing a position paper also involves defeating a contrary opinion. This calls for a close examination of all ideas that oppose the primary position. In the case of “animal minds,” a skeptic may say, for instance, that the mind is a function of the brain. Since the animal brain is different from the human one, animals cannot have the mind like that of human beings. Opposing this claim may start with deconstructing the premises in this argument. Specifically, it is important to ask whether the mind is indeed a derivative of the brain. Thus, the arguer will provide all facts that prove that the mind and the brain are different entities. By doing so, he or she would have defeated the skeptical claim that animals do not have minds. Here, the student should also provide philosophical citations for every argument.
Finally, a position paper should have a conclusion. The student restates the overarching statement, that is, a detailed sentence that highlights the contents of the paper. After this, the student summarizes the main points in the paper. He or she should, therefore, summarize the evidence for the primary argument as well as the counterargument. It follows, therefore, that taking a position is not a matter of mere citation. Instead, it is a strenuous activity that requires a deep understanding of the two contrasting sides and the existing evidence that supports one of the points. A student must offer convincing evidence that point A is stronger than point B, and seek to draw the opponent towards the position that overdoes the other.