Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Philosophy Textbook Publishing and Guides

If the following is true, then learning how to write a good textbook for philosophy could be a decent career move. Some of the material I have read online suggests that only 1 out of 5 professors (in all disciplines) actually finish textbooks they have started. The textbook writing tutorial below is crammed full of information if your interested.


One of the most noticeable trends in Philosophy publishing in recent years is the proliferation of books aimed directly at students. This is, of course, driven by thought that if a book gets on an 'essential purchase' list then it will make quite a lot of money for the publisher, but it does mean that publishers have started to do more to produce philosophy books that are both readable and useful, which once looked like an endangered species.

Some notes about text book writing:

Textbooks, in language research seems to be identified as a genre (or genres). Most research focuses on structural analysis of textbooks, but some research also produces knowledge that can be used for prescriptions: According to Jones (2005), textbook writers have three choices: simplification, easyfication, or the scaffolding of concept knowledge. We shall summarize some prescriptions can be derived from this article.
Simplification strategies - enhanced cohesion/coherence
  • simplification of content: explain new technical terms as they arise
  • simplification of form: make sure that the text has cohesive links and restores implicit relationships, e.g. when using general-specific of problem-solution progressions.
  • simplification by including explanations and exemplifications
  • using similar structures, i.e. syntactic repetition acts as a form of syntactic scaffolding.
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