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AS and A Level: Political Philosophy

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  1. Assess how far there is or isn’t a distinction between authority and power.

    According to conservatism the authority of the state originates from custom and tradition, and is therefore very reluctant to change out-of-date theories of legitimacy. As it is traditional, it is also therefore adopts an authoritarian principle. But where does the state's authority and power derive from, it is the strongest who rule. The ability to use force compels obedience from the state people. It has been seen many times in history that when the power fails, the state ultimately collapses.

    • Word count: 735
  2. Compare the importance of the 3 major reasons why Britain joined the Scramble For Africa’ 1868 – 1902

    This theory is taken further by the competition between the great powers for the raw material markets of Africa, as Britain was incapable of producing all the raw materials it needed, so needed to go further a field to a country rich in raw material and cheap labour, but poor in leadership and resistance. A newer theory surrounding the British economic interest involves the idea of 'Gentlemanly Capitalism' this involves the idea that the elite of London could 'open up' Africa, e.g.

    • Word count: 908
  3. “Marx’s political philosophy is a mixture of German Philosophy, French Politics and British economics.” Do you agree?

    This is considered progressive because each stage in human development would be more advanced than the previous, similar to a human progressing from infancy to adulthood. These stages would continue until the conclusion of history is met, when man could attain self-consciousness and liberty. The freedom that was accomplished, according to Hegel, could only be true when all human beings were adequately conversant that they realise the morality of law which everyone would follow without doubt. Hegel's dialectic represents a necessary process of human development as a series of stages or civilisations.

    • Word count: 1107
  4. What is the meaning of the distinction between Left and Right in western political thought?

    There are obviously extreme parties that are at each end of the spectrum but if you move away from the Anglo-Saxon two party systems of Britain and America does left and right exist as a meaningful concept in the same way. In a multi-party system such as France, Italy or especially Ireland where is the boundary? The Irish Dail has seven parties and eight independents. It would be hard to classify the two main parties as left and right. Their origins go back to the Irish Civil War of the 1920s.

    • Word count: 1483
  5. To what extent was the Tsar a Liberator?

    These social changes affected many different peoples and groups in different ways. But by far the largest upheaval was that of the effect of the emancipation on the serfs. Perhaps the clearest argument for the accolade of "Tsar Liberator" going to Alexander is his involvement of the emancipation of the serfs. In 1861, the emancipation edict was decreed. In theory it gave perfect freedom to the millions of Serfs and State Peasants. But on closer inspection this was not true.

    • Word count: 1528
  6. Idealistic Thought and the Remains of the Day

    Interwoven with these political and historical themes in the novel is Stevens's parallel attempt to understand how he and Darlington's former housekeeper, Miss Kenton, never were able to act upon the strong romantic feelings they had for each other. The idealistic, political world in which Lord Darlington exists is counteracted with Stevens' encounter with an outspoken villager, Harry Smith, in a small English village in which he stops for a night. Stevens, the narrator, recounts his journey to a small village some twenty years after the events of the interwar period.

    • Word count: 758
  7. What is the most plausible moral justification of democratic government?

    Democratic governments can also be held accountable for their actions to the electorate. While governments can make decisions in office, the electorate can remove them from office in an election if they are unhappy with the actions of the government. Most liberal democracies are representative democracies, which require elections to allow the public to choose who to represent them and to remove those who they feel do not. Democratic governments place a high value on assuring their subjects rights such as liberty and equality. Liberty is essential for moral autonomy and the development of a person's potential, providing that they are psychologically capable of rational independent action.

    • Word count: 640
  8. Marxism, Idealism and Nationalism

    A couple of ways to achieve this would be by the removal of class divisions and the disappearance of bureaucracies. Weber, a 20th century state theorist, also believed that the removal of bureaucracies was important. Weber felt that these bureaucracies were violent, and used terrifying tactics to keep the people in check. Marx and Weber were both strong critics of capitalism, and they claimed that violence and terror were part of the success of capitalism. We will now analyze the concepts of the two writers, and later we will see how relevant some of their ideas are today, in the 21st century.

    • Word count: 2374
  9. Is “reason” helping?

    Now what is "reason"? Reason is the be00nlief and idea that more educates people will make better decisions. Now has "reason" helped the United States? Yes for the most part, intelligent people have created a free-based country, made a constitution meant for change, and overall that believes in the good of the world. Now the United States is not all good, our country is based off of slavery for a long time and women couldn't vote for a long time, only about 40 years ago did they get the vote.

    • Word count: 725
  10. What are the main features of ‘Utilitarianism as an ethical theory? (10)

    Utilitarianism is based on the idea of 'utility'. Utility means usefulness. What utilitarians suggest is that everyone should do the most useful thing. However, there seems to be an immediate problem with this idea in that it is not obvious what 'useful' means. The answer to this problem, according to Utilitarians, is that 'useful' means happiness. This is in fact, a development of another ethical theory known as Hedonism.

    • Word count: 361
  11. Are political parties better understood as reflections of ‘social cleavages’, or products of strategic action?

    Before looking at these arguments more in depth, one needs to look at what 'social cleavage' means in political science. Rae and Taylor define cleavages as "The criteria which divide the members of a community or sub community into groups, and the relevant cleavages are those which divide members into groups with important political differences at specific times and placesiv. Furthermore, Lane and Ersson identified three relevant dimensions of cleavages in Western Europe; religion, ethnicity and classv. Moreover, Lipset and Rokkan maintained that two successive revolutions in the modernization of Western societies--the National Revolution and the Industrial Revolution--created social divisions that still structure partisan competition today.

    • Word count: 2621
  12. “How important are politics to characters’ relationships in ‘Middlemarch’ by George Eliot and ‘The Masters’ by C.P. Snow?”

    Indeed, the only points where the two could be drawn together (apart from the fact that they both have political elements) would be their respective differences. On the advice of my History teacher, I read 'The Masters' by C.P. Snow, which has a political element to it but on a more intimate basis, within a Cambridge college. It almost goes without saying that I was relieved that 'The Masters' was not another 900-page tome of a work, and I am grateful to Snow for that.

    • Word count: 3578
  13. Why did caudillismo triumph over liberalism in the politics of Latin America before 1880?

    But, as there was little popularity amongst the powerful provincial elites for a new centralised regime to replace the old, especially a system underpinned by an ideology which valued personal liberty and equality for all, a system which they could only view as being in opposition to their priviledged position in societies which Edwin Williamson describes as "seigneurial, hierarchical, racially divided and often based on slavery," a political conflict was bound to arise. But for the idealistsic leaders and thinkers who had envisioned independence and championed progressive reforms based on enlightened European ideas, the days when "the support for the goal of political independence cleary transcended class and regional differences," as William Katra puts it, were gone.

    • Word count: 2396
  14. Capitalism Consumes the Globe

    I pose the following questions: how has the national concept of capitalism turned into a completely global way of life, what are the benefits and downfalls of this system, and how do the national and global perspectives differ from each other? First I would like to explain the origins of capitalism, why we are so enwrapped in this economic system and the transformation of it from a national division to a global one. The earliest structured form of capitalism, called "mercantilism" which originates in Rome, the Middle East, and the early Middle Ages.

    • Word count: 843
  15. The Political Economy of the Hunter and Gatherer

    Hunters and gatherers had in their possession very few items; they took only what they needed to survive. People of modern times often viewed this constant movement as an enslavement to a quest for food, but according to Marshall Sahlins, author of Stone Age Economics, "their food quest was so successful that half the time the people seem not to know what to do with themselves"(Pg.11). Hunter and gatherer tribes like the Hemple Bay Group in Australia worked on average four to five hours a day, significantly less than the average work day in modern times. Food was rarely or never carried and most of these people used prodigality-- "the inclination to consume at once all stocks on hand, as if they had it made"(Pg.2).

    • Word count: 1062
  16. Key Concepts In Politics.

    Therefor correlating to a popular or democratic government. Democracy A system of government in which effectively political power is vested in the people. In ancient Rome the term democracy was reserved exclusively for governmental systems in which the populace exercised this power directly through general assemblies of referenda to decide the most important questions of law and policy. In more contemporary usage democracy refers to a system in which the power of people is exercised only indirectly through freely elected representatives who are suppose to make government decisions according to the popular will or at least according to the supposed values and interests of the population.

    • Word count: 1629
  17. The Search for independence, Macedonia

    Macedonia is the heart of Balkan Peninsula. Something that is shown, as true is that Macedonian geography had its contribution to a lot of problems connected with Macedonian's independence. Macedonia with its valleys full of graves, rivers and lakes with churches and monasteries built around them, a mountain with caves is the right place where History and Geography meet. Looking at the past, we can see that Balkan Peninsula usually mean endless conflicts and wars, conspiracies and murders, undignified human being, misfortune and suffering. And however, Macedonian's lakes have shined like mirrors among all the rivers of blood and the towns in flames.

    • Word count: 5035
  18. Describe and account for the decline of the Green Party

    Since then it has experienced a modest but steady recovery, currently approaching 5000. In the 1997 General Election the party adopted a strategy based on the reality of the political situation. Green supporters would be inclined to use their votes to oust the Tories, whilst competition for the protest vote included the well-funded Referendum Party and a strong showing by the UKIP. The squeeze on the Green Party would be greater than ever - they saw their brightest prospects lay in the 1999 European Elections under proportional representation - a firm Labour manifesto commitment.

    • Word count: 1718
  19. Discuss Machiavellian political thought and the circumstances which caused to him to write 'The Prince'

    To become a perfect prince is true a difficult task, but if done correctly, it can be very rewarding. Machiavelli also believed that human nature does not change. In general, Machiavelli thought people were ungrateful, selfish, and insincere people, who only care about themselves. Therefore the government must realise a human beings true nature and use his qualities for its purposes.

    • Word count: 456
  20. The basic human need of being included in society is essential for a fulfilled life.

    Everyone longs to be accepted by others and being lonely is ultimately the worst feeling in the world. Henri, William, Frankie, and Mack's gang all exemplify the basic human need of being included in society. The characters that Steinbeck creates in Cannery Row are made powerful through incisive descriptions. He introduces each character or group, and then, using a few brief side stories, describes events and happenings that broaden the character and reveal more of his personality. The reader knows more of Henri than his physical appearance and daily life; We are told even more about him being a painter, and the reasons why he never will finish the boat that he has already been working on for the past seven or so years, as well as his isolation dilemma.

    • Word count: 1025
  21. How Successful Was The Labour Party In Increasing Support And Achieving Its Aims 1906 – 1914?

    In 1851 the population of Britain was spread evenly between 50% living in rural habitats and 50% in urban habitats. By 1911 this had changed to 20% in rural habitats and 80% in urban habitats. The need for the working class to have a political voice was now clearly evident. By 1906 the intention was clearly there but the labour party was still nothing but a small pressure group. But this year was the most successful in Labours early history in terms of policies it supported being passed through parliament.

    • Word count: 655
  22. Is New Labour either?

    It illustrates the party members' ideology and heart. However, is it still the case at all, that the Labours are social-democratic? In regarding the 1997-manifesto and the underlying Third Way ideology we get the best information. At first however, I would like to describe the term 'social democratic'. Paterson and Thomas defined it as 'a belief that social and economic reform designed to benefit the less privileged should be pursued within a framework of democracy, liberty and the parliamentary process'2. In the 1997 manifesto Tony Blair emphasised, next to the promotion of the family in particular, the improvement of the educational situation.

    • Word count: 3569
  23. "Responsible for remarkable and radical reforms." How justified is this verdict on the Liberal administration 1906-14?

    The new labour regulations, including selective minimum wages and maximum working hours, were seen by many as a direct attack on the freedom of the market, and a dangerous precedent for socialism. The Liberal administration tackled issues which for a long time had been excluded from the process of government, and this aroused passions on both sides. The "People's Budget" of 1909 caused the creation of the "Budget Protest League" and the "Budget Defence League"; the National Insurance Act

    • Word count: 3923
  24. An analysis of the Marxist perspective on religion

    What we believe of God is really true of our selves'. The essence of God is thus nothing but the projected essence of man, who is the true God. Marx felt that religion therefore was derived as a tool to control people. Marx began with anti-Semitic ideas. Accepting the common stereotype of Jewish people as obsessed with money and bargaining, Marx describes the every day Jew as 'merely a special manifestation of... the dominance of society of bargaining and financial interests generally'.

    • Word count: 3600

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