Here’s a whine about a growing, relatively new practice I see in papers I referee. The structure of the paper involves a nice intro, a quick presentation of the view and argument for it, followed by a section titled “Objections” or “Objections and Replies”. There may be occasions on which this kind of structure is appropriate, but most of the time it isn’t, I think.
The reason is this. It makes the last section of the paper look like a compendium of what I’ll call “conversations with Alexes” (named after my valued colleague, Alex Pruss, who always has interesting things to say about any topic in philosophy). As such, it has no internal structure, merely bouncing from one issue to another, leaving the reader in despair for wont of a natural stopping point.
I prefer the more obvious strategy: state a thesis and then provide an argument for it that includes nothing not necessary to defend the thesis and everything necessary, really necessary, to show that it is true. If the pre- “Objections” parts do that, it’s not clear why we need the “Objections” section. After all, there is nothing one can do to block the possibility of an objection, so I prefer a strategy that focuses on what papers really need to do instead of on things one would like to say to Alex.
OK, whine over.