How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay in Philosophy: Just Do It!

Writing guide
Posted on October 7, 2019

What is a Cause and Effect Essay in Philosophy?

The main purpose of any cause and effect essay is to inform its audience about the causes and effects of a major event, phenomenon, or situation. In philosophy, the primary goal of a cause and effect essay is to explain the origin of different philosophical issues and their impact on the world. It is assumed that the reader of a cause and effect essay in philosophy is not aware of the essay topic; that is why the cause and effect essays should include the definitions, explanations, and interpretations of the concepts, theories, and phenomena that were mentioned in the text. Philosophers always seek causal relations between different philosophical notions, phenomena, movements, and ideas which help them discover the metaphysical glue that binds all the world events together. Since the causal reasoning is of central importance for philosophical tradition as a whole, the cause and effect essays are highly relevant in philosophy.

Selecting a Topic for a Cause and Effect Essay in Philosophy

Since every cause has its effect, and every effect has it cause, which is known in Philosophy as the First Cause principle, philosophers in all times explored the notion of causality in their works. Therefore, it is possible to select the topic for your cause and effect essay in three ways. The first way is to pick up the topic that was proposed by the instructor in the prompt. The second way is to look through the well-known important philosophical works by Confucius, Plato, Rene Descartes, Aristotle, or Kant and elaborate on the possible topic based on their teachings. The third way is to choose a topic independently by reviewing a vast amount of possible topics on the Internet and taking the best one from your point of view. However, the chosen cause and effect essay topic should be meaningful; that is why you should be informed about the necessary steps you are expected to take to choose a topic for a cause and effect essay:

  1. Within the discipline of philosophy, search the Internet and choose something that interests you.
  2. After choosing a topic that appeals to you, think about “How much do I know about this topic?” because you should know at least basic concepts from this topic to elaborate on it in the essay.
  3. Check out whether the chosen topic meets important essay requirements which are usually provided by the instructor.
  4. Analyze the chosen topic by determining whether it is broad or narrow. In this case, you should note that taking a broad topic can be disadvantageous since it is often unclear what you need to write about in the main body. For example, “The Cause and Effect of Cosmopolitanism” is an extremely broad topic because you can connect its causes and effects with a wide range of philosophical problems such as an inclusive morality, the Cynic Movement, Hierocles’ circle model of identity, and many others. However, if you choose to write about “ The Cause and Effect of Immanuel Kant’s Cynical View on Cosmopolitanism,” you will make a topic narrow and will be more focused on what you should write in your essay.
  5. Make sure that you will find a sufficient amount of sources to retrieve valuable information about the topic, provide evidence, and back up your ideas with logical reasoning.

After taking these five steps, you can start writing your cause and effect essay. If you still feel confused about how to choose a topic for your cause and effect essay in philosophy, you can look at the following topic list and select one that is interesting to you at most:

  • The Cathartic effect of Fake News on the Community of Birth and the Community of Aspiration;
  • The Notion of Causality as an Indicator of the World’s Progress;
  • The Metaphysical Cause and Effect of Stoic Cosmopolitanism;
  • The Causality Relations between Phlegmatism and Human Understanding of the World;
  • The Theological Cause and Effect of Usury.”

Pre-Writing Tips

Choosing a necessary topic for a cause and effect essay is the most important step of the pre-writing process unless the prompt is given by the teacher. In the process of the cause and effect essay topic selection, you should keep the reason for the outcome of a specific input in mind because the cause and effect essays in philosophy are focused on the analysis of the outputs and inputs to a movement, event, experiment, phenomenon, or situation. The first thing that you should remember is that the topic of the cause and effect essay can be neither too broad nor too narrow because it can affect the quality of the essay overall. That is why you should try to make up the essay topic that would be understandable to the reader, focus on a specific issue, and would contain relevant information from various perspectives. A topic of a medium scope will allow you to have enough maneuver to present the information and, at the same time, remain logical and focused.

When selecting a topic for your cause and effect essay in philosophy, you should avoid the topics in which you are not interested because, as practice shows, the lack of the writer’s engagement with the essay topic results in a poorly written paper. The context of your class should be considered when it comes to choosing the essay topic because your teacher and classmates will be more satisfied if the essay allows them to learn something new. When you write a grammatically correct essay but without interesting examples, there is little chance that you will earn the grade which you want for the essay. In most cases, the content of the essay tells the reader about the level of the writer’s engagement with the essay. If you do not want to frustrate or confuse your readers, you should make all efforts to raise their interest in the essay topic.

Unlike in informative or argumentative essays, where it is recommendable to uncover a current topic, you can choose a topic for a cause and effect essay in philosophy of your interest because philosophical questions do not become irrelevant or outdated. Even modern philosophers struggle to find the cause and effect of the soul’s immortality and the afterlife which Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates attempted to reveal in ancient times. If you choose a topic which was explored and interpreted by other famous philosophers many times, do not forget to keep the reader engaged by examining the topic from different angles. However, it is important to stay focused on the essay’s target audience because they will read and judge your essay in terms of relevance, credibility, novelty, and actuality. For example, if you write an essay for your teacher in philosophy, who is an expert in the field, you should do your best and conduct in-depth research before writing the essay.

Although every student has his/her own writing style and some can create a perfect structure of an essay in the process of writing, it is better to come up with the basic structure of your cause and effect essay in advance. To develop main claims and formulate a thesis statement, you should find credible sources for your essay. For that purpose, you should know the hierarchy of sources credibility that determines which sources are better to use in your essay. The most credible sources include academic journals, periodicals, and books which were reviewed by experts in the field. Less credible sources involve popular magazines, newspapers, and websites which were reviewed by an editor, more for grammar than content. The least credible sources represent blog posts which are not reviewed at all, and their authors express their personal point of view rather than reveal the real things based on reliable evidence.

After choosing the most credible sources based on peer review, you should conduct your own assessment of the source credibility using the following questions:

  • Who published the source?
  • Who wrote it?
  • For whom it is written?
  • Is the information relevant?
  • Did the author provide sources?
  • What type of publication is it?
  • Is there any bias?

Structure of a Cause and Effect Essay

The structure of a cause and effect essay in philosophy partially reflects a typical structure of an academic essay because it also contains an introduction, main body, and conclusion, but its main body looks something differently. In essence, there are two ways in which you can structure your cause and effect essay in philosophy, including the block and the chain model. According to the block model, you should present all your causes in the first part of the main body and then elaborate on effects. In this model, the two parts of the main body should be connected with the use of a transition paragraph that would signify another main point. Following the chain model, you should present every cause and its effect separately. In such a model, a student is expected to identify one cause and one effect in each paragraph in the main body of the essay. Both models are right and widely used by students who are to write an academic cause and effect essay in various disciplines, including philosophy.



A cause and effect essay begins with an introduction that should present a general overview of your topic and thesis statement. Since an introduction is the first portion of your essay that the reader encounters, you should try to attract the attention of your target audience and convince them that the essay is worth their time. That is why the introduction should be appealing to the audience to make them read the rest of your essay. In the introduction, you should reveal the background context that will inform the reader about the essay topic. An introduction of a cause and effect essay should end with a clear and concise thesis statement. In general, a thesis statement offers a brief summary of the main ideas and claims that you will present in the main body of your essay. In the cause and effect essay, the thesis statement should include the main causes and effects of a particular phenomenon that will be helpful for the understanding of the whole essay.

Main Body

The main body paragraphs of a cause and effect essay in philosophy should follow a clear structure model, which is either block or chain. The most significant thing for the body paragraphs is to be logically developed and informative. Each of the body paragraphs should start with a topic sentence that will notify the reader of what this paragraph is about. For better understanding, look at the following two topic sentences, one of which is correct, while another one is wrong:

  • Kant’s idea of the cosmopolitan law is a necessary complement to the political and international law since it shapes a universal law of humanity. (correct)
  • In recent years, it has become fashionable for philosophers to explore the cause and effect of cosmopolitanism in the social context. (wrong)

The first sentence is a good example of a topic sentence in the cause and effect essay in philosophy because it informs the reader that the paragraph will be about Kant’s idea of the cosmopolitan law and its effect on a universal law of humanity. The second sentence is too general and does not specify the sub-topic of the paragraph; that is why it cannot be used as a topic sentence.

From the stylistic perspective, it is essential to have a smooth transition between the body paragraphs to ensure the flow of the essay. You should note that each body paragraph should relate to the thesis statement and include the main claims that are used to support the given point. Each claim should be supported with strong evidence from the assigned text or other credible sources that are connected with your topic essay. At the end of the body paragraphs, you should give a concluding sentence that summarizes the main idea of the paragraph. The main peculiarity of the cause and effect essay in philosophy is that the writer should include a transition paragraph which is designed to indicate the change of ideas.


A conclusion is the final part of the cause and effect essay in philosophy that provides a concise summary of the main essay claims. However, you should consider that the conclusion of your cause and effect essay should not merely restate the thesis statement but also offer additional insights into the theme that you have gained while writing the essay. Like any other type of an academic essay, the cause and effect essay ends with a concluding statement that explains the general value of the given causes and effects of a certain phenomenon.

Post-Writing Tips

When you finish writing the draft of your cause and effect essay in philosophy, you need to check it for grammar, style, and spelling mistakes. You should edit the language of your essay to make it sound more clearly and professionally. Correct grammar and style add legitimacy to the main claims that you present in your cause and effect essay. If you doubt the quality of your essay, the following questions for self-check can help you:

  • Is my essay topic specific enough to inform my reader about the issue?
  • Did I share all the important information that I found while searching through the sources?
  • Did the thesis statement in my essay reflect the main purpose and idea of the essay?
  • Is the main body clear to understand?
  • Did I include the transition paragraph in the middle of the essay?
  • Did I use credible sources and reliable evidence to support my claims?
  • Did the essay achieve its goal?

When after self-checking and making all the necessary changes you feel that your cause and effect essay is of high quality, you can transform it into the final draft. A final look at the essay will allow you to identify minor mistakes that were not visible before. Having confidence in what you wrote in your cause and effect essay in philosophy is an essential element of the writing process that signals the high quality of the essay.

Emerson, R. W. (2016). Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson – Plato, or the Philosopher. S.l.: Editora Dracaena.
“Library Guides: Evaluating Resources: Hierarchy of Credibility.” (2018). Retrieved from
Lorkowski, C. M. (2017). David Hume: Causation. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from
“Unit 6: Cause-Effect Essays.” (2015). National Geographic Learning. Retrieved from
“Writing Cause and Effect Papers – TIP Sheet.” (2018). Butte College Learning Center. Retrieved from

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