Style Guide

Pharos Magazine welcomes all styles of creative work related to and engaging in philosophy. These may include original narratives, verses and poems, sets of aphorisms, or high-quality coursework that wishes to garner additional appreciation. While we do not discriminate between types of submissions, we always value and encourage authors to write original, extracurricular pieces of philosophical prose. In order to better understand what kind of standing Pharos wishes to exemplify, we have provided a series of short template descriptions about what kind of submissions we value most.

The following are general values Pharos wishes to espouse. However, we consider interest and passion in writing second to nothing. Hence, in any step of the writing process – whether having an idea, writing a first draft, or editing a final piece – you may wish to contact our Submission Editors who will help you shape whatever it is that you have into something more exemplifying our style.  

Original Philosophical Article

Audience: Although you may assume your audience is intelligent, and familiar with academia, this does not mean that they will be well-read or closely familiar with philosophy. When using technical terms please provide definitions, and in cases where appropriate examples, to further your audience’s acquaintance with the topic. Want to write about moral realism – explain that this is a school of thought where philosophers believe ethical dilemmas have objective answers. Writing about Intuitionism in Mathematics, detail how this school of thought stipulates that mathematics is invented, rather than discovered. Please do not let this discourage you from using philosophical terminology, instead use this as an opportunity to clarify your writing. 

Purpose: Pharos highly values articles which have a clear and well-defined purpose. What does this mean? An article that is argumentative aims to establish a strong case for its thesis. An article that is explanatory aims to give a viable account of the many sides of the problem. An article that is explorative aims to establish a new fashion of doing philosophy, and have it rest alongside all others in harmony. To help you make certain that an article has such a clear through line consider these three points: (1) What are you writing about? (2) Why are you writing about this topic in particular? (3) Why do you think people should pay attention to this topic? 

Context: Philosophy is vast- there is not one special way to write it. There may however be important aspects of the context of the article which are useful for its philosophical content. We would like to suggest considering a couple of approaches towards writing philosophical prose:

  1. Original: Pharos is an avenue to really explore your own voice, opinion, and idea of philosophy. Whatever topic interests you, try using philosophy to better understand the principle behind it: why is it the way it is? Could it be otherwise? What consequences does it have on the lives of others, or even your own? 
  2. Investigative: Try applying a philosopher’s work to an original problem, or expose how two areas in or around philosophy are more connected than once thought. Investigate the history of a particular movement of philosophy, or argue which was more beneficial to the philosophical community. Introduce a new term or concept which you think clears up a lot of philosophical trouble. In general, these are all possible ways to be more investigative and detailed in your work.
  3. Proactive: Pharos values seeing philosophy in all places and forms; being proactive in finding interesting cases of philosophy where ordinarily no philosophy would be thought to be found is always highly entertaining and insightful. This could include anything from trying out new formats of writing, to interviewing people or reviewing items which are ordinarily thought of as unphilosophical. Naturally, trying to avoid being fringe, polarizing, and extremely specific is a virtue in our eyes. Being proactive in philosophy entails finding cases many if not all can relate to and have catharsis with, rather than appealing to a very particular set of people or ephemeral historical circumstances. 

Passion: At Pharos we believe philosophy is not an activity that has to be separate from our everyday lives, or that has to be alienated from normal life. Pharos encourages you to involve yourself in the philosophy you are writing, embody and exemplify that which you actually believe. Contrast this with the way you write course-work, for unlike in course essays where your opinion and passion should be abstracted, in original articles passion should be evident and active. 

Tone: Original articles are neither pieces of academic research being submitted for review or casual discussions written for friends; they are somewhere in-between. An article that is enjoyable to read, having a good mood, is highly prized; however, an article which sacrifices content for the sake of being relatable or pleasant loses some of its value. Likewise, a highly insightful and competent article is valuable, but at the cost of a hostile tone becomes less so. In general, Pharos hopes that its pieces are read by a curious public for both insight and entertainment.

Original Fiction

Fiction is a creative enterprise; Pharos welcomes creativity and originality so long that it espouses philosophical elements. Because the discipline of philosophy is so broad, and much can be technically counted as philosophy, in writing fiction it is especially important to consider how to integrate philosophical spirit into the art.

Inspiration may be held from philosophers such as Nietzsche, Camus, and Sartre who wrote impassioned fiction with great philosophical overtones. Further novelists like Dostoyevksy, Tolstoy, and Huxley show how fiction has an ability to deeply capture the human imagination and engage in genuine philosophy therein.

The maxim to follow in fiction is that it is a form which tells something about the human condition through the medium of human art that otherwise would not be so easily grasped and understood. This is perfect for philosophical expression, as often it can be arduous and tedious to sieve through arguments and deductions to establish something which in actuality is rather human and profound- thus can be conveyed through the medium of character, verse, or song. 

In general, Pharos values submissions of fiction which provide catharsis with philosophical concepts that otherwise seem distant and cold.    

Coursework

Submissions of high-quality coursework that elicit pride and garner recognition is an honour to publish. However, you should note that Pharos is not a journal but a magazine. Hence, while a coursework may score highly or foster great confidence, it may not be suitable to the standards and styles of Pharos.

In order to best approach that style, a couple of structural and tonal edits could help construct the academic piece into a piece of prose. 

  • Imbue the academic diction and voice of the piece with a personal impassioned tone. Remove the abstraction of the personal voice that is necessary in academic work, and develop the unique style of the piece. 
  • Where technical knowledge is assumed, elaborate on the concepts with supplementary definitions and examples.
  • Where content was omitted due to word count, or arguments streamlined in complexity, endeavour to reintroduce these adjuncts to bolster the piece.
  • Where a narrow and technical question was explored, further elaborate and explicate the implications, connotations, debates, and significance this question holds. Broaden the scope of the piece by exploring further moments of the work and their interrelation. 
  • Attempt as much as is reasonable to approach the descriptors and categories explained in the “Original Philosophical Article” section.