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  1. moomawkm

    moomawkm New Member

    Nov 15, 2012
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    Can you footnote your own un-published work?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by moomawkm, Nov 15, 2012.

    I'm writing a philosophy paper and have to footnote every source and a lot of it is my own understandings gathered while studying the material. I'm unsure of how to footnote this, or if I have to footnote what I based my conclusions on?
  2. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Dec 30, 2010
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    If you've gathered understanding and knowledge from studying material - then you footnote this material. You don't footnote your own opinions, that's just silly. The whole point of footnotes is so people can see how reliable your sources are, where you got your info from, and judge for themselves whether you're right or not. If you footnote your own ideas, that's just like saying "Well I'm right because see here, this footnote, it says I'm right because I wrote that too! So, case closed!"

    At university it's usually: author's full name (surname, then first name), chapter title in quotation marks, followed by the book title without quotation marks but in italics, then publisher or place of publication (I don't remember), year of publication and finally exact page number.

    For example, this is taken from one of my university essays:
    And thereafter, if you're quoting from the same source, you can then footnote it as follows:
    The full reference should also be included in your bibliography at the back of your book - but each source should be referenced only once, unlike footnotes where you will footnote it even if it's from the same book. For example, Driskel's work should be written in your bibliography only once, even though it appears twice in the footnotes.
  3. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Alive in the Superunknown

    Jun 28, 2012
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    As noted above, footnoting your own opinions defeats the purpose of footnotes.

    If the point is crucial to your paper, you should flesh out how you arrived at the point in detail sufficient for your larger purposes, and footnotes the sources that informed the construction of that view.

    Footnoting your unpublished work is "because I said so" dressed up in academic garb, and it won't fly if your professor has a modicum of competence.
  4. Selbbin

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

    Oct 16, 2012
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    Footnoting (and the essay for that matter) is about showing evidence of your ability to research, understand, and explain in an academic framework. Your opinions about philosophy are largely irrelevant on their own.
  5. Andrae Smith

    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

    Jun 22, 2012
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    So what your saying is you have just been paying attention in class and to the course material, and now you have an argument, for your paper, that is based on your own understanding. If this is true, the best thing you could do is research essays and journals and texts that you can use to support your reasoning. If your received any hard text from a professor I would use that too as they can be visualized as an expert.

    If you are saying that you have other papers from which you'd like to draw evidence, then it would be best to ask if that is even acceptable for the course.
  6. digitig

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 21, 2010
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    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    If the paper builds on a previous paper you submitted then it can be sensible to reference that previous paper. It's available to your tutor and it avoids wasting wordcount (and boring the tutor) repeating arguments.

    Otherwise, your own views can't be cited; there's nothing to cite. You have to defend those views in the paper itself. That will probably involve references to other authorities. In philosophy that doesn't have to be the case: some philosophical arguments can stand alone. But you would be unwise to try that in a student paper, because the purpose of a student philosophy paper usually isn't primarily to demonstrate your own philosophical skills but is rather to demonstrate that you have understood the course presentation: who said what, and what they meant by it.

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