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AS and A Level: Political Philosophy

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  1. An essay on David Ricardo's Major Contribution to Economics

    This paper later formed the basis for the classical approach to the theory of money. In 1814, Ricardo retired to a newly bought country estate where he continued to write articles and papers on the economics issues of the time, and in 1817 released his most famous paper 'Principles of the Political Economy, and Taxation'. This paper was based on Adam Smiths' paper but was designed to set it out in a much clearer way. In 1819, after a lot of persuasion by his good friend, James Mill, Ricardo entered parliament, representing a small county in Ireland, he held this post until his death in 1923.

    • Word count: 1360
  2. What are the dilemmas of a pluralist democracy?

    According to Held these factions could be thought of as 'a structural source of stability and a central expression of democracy' (p.211). However, like any political theory there are many critics of pluralism. To outline the dilemmas of a pluralist democracy it is first necessary to critically outline the main characteristics of classical pluralism and then look at the general disadvantages of such theory. A fundamental characteristic of pluralism is the protection of individual rights. Like the principal concepts of liberal democracy, totalitarianism and absolutism are completely undesirable and must be avoided.

    • Word count: 1347
  3. Compare and contrast Pluralist and Ruling Elite accounts of political power.

    Firstly, the state must have complete social diversity, in that there must be a large number of different groups and respective interests in society. Therefore, there must be no one majority within society, so that every interest is a minority. In a pluralist society of social diversity everyone can be divided into groups and society fragmented by gender, race, values, beliefs, religion, such that there are so many different groups that all interests will be a minority. This is because with a coherent unified majority, they will use democracy to rule the state as they see fit to benefit only themselves.

    • Word count: 2367
  4. Discuss the factors which were necessary for the emergence of liberal democracy in Britain

    Britain also had the commercial, financial and political power to edge out rivals at home and abroad. Large-scale production led to a long-term decline in agricultural employment and rural population. Workers were needed in coal mines, steel works, railways and ship yards, in labour that pulled them away from agricultural employment. The factory system was largely responsible for the rise of the modern city, as workers migrated into the cities in search of employment in the factories, for instance Sheffield grew in the middle of coal fields near iron ore and plenty of cooling water.

    • Word count: 1672
  5. How can charisma (Max Weber) be used as a political instrument?

    It is universal theory and posits that all cultural "traits" are functionally interrelated and form an integrated social whole. In addition, it posited that all parts of society functioned to satisfy the individual's biological needs (in this case, seeking power, or generally gaining an advantage over another). Functionalism was thus a less system-oriented theory than structural functionalism and more oriented towards the individual. It was also more open toward social change. The political leaders of Melanesian societies are characteristically 'big men', individuals who have acquired power because of their personal qualities and their personal achievement. There is a constant competition, a constant yearning for upward mobility between the men of the village to achieve the statues of 'big man'.

    • Word count: 831
  6. Describe Jean Baudrillard's concept of the orders of simulacra in relation to design in a modern / post modern age. Assess the influence of Baudrillard's ideas on the film The Matrix (or a film of your choice).

    back to the capitalist in return for subsistence, therefore social control in exerted over the working class, whilst providing the capitalist with excess commodity. The labourer consentingly becomes a slave to the system on which he depends. In addition Marx states that as the relation between capitalist and labourer (manufacturer and consumer) develops, so competition between rival capitalists becomes apparent. In effect the capitalist is forced to capture more of the market by selling goods more cheaply by the consolidation and exploitation of labour power e.g.

    • Word count: 2302
  7. A Study of Carl Rogers' Theory of Personality

    The "self" is a central construct in this theory. It develops through interactions with others and involves awareness of being and functioning. The self-concept is "the organized set of characteristics that the individual perceives as peculiar to himself/herself" (Ryckman, 1993, p.106). It is based largely on the social evaluations he/she has experienced. Self-Actualizing Tendency A distinctly psychological form of the actualizing tendency related to this "self" is the "self-actualizing tendency". It involves the actualization of that portion of experience symbolized in the self (Rogers, 1959).

    • Word count: 2220
  8. How valid is this interpretation of Disraeli's career and achievements in the period 1846-1880? In my opinion John Walton makes valid interpretation of Disraeli's political achievements

    One of Disraeli's greatest achievements within his career was the second reform bill. However, being that it wasn't an original idea and merely a failed Liberal bill. The controversy of whether Disraeli genuinely wanted reform is not relevant. Despite perhaps the want of reform Disraeli again grabs opportunity with both hands and put through the reform bill in order to benefit his career. So Disraeli's great achievement within his career was merely achieved through opportunism, which is a valid interpretation of this achievement and many others that the conservatives passed.

    • Word count: 790
  9. False and Class Consciousness Relationships (between fellow workers)

    - an exploitive one The working class can't withdraw labour as they need the wages - effectively the Bourgeoisie control them Culture Marx believed culture gave you an insight into the way capitalism was successful Two key things: * class consciousness * false consciousness * The term 'consciousness' in Marx's work refers to idea systems shared by social classes * False consciousness is where both capitalists and workers have incorrect assessments of how the system works and of their role and interest in it.

    • Word count: 334
  10. Question How did power in the UK's social democratic state shift in the 1950s? What do you understand by the statement 'I'm alright Jack'?

    The social democratic state has passed through a lot of steps and shifts of policies, theories and laws before it succeed to settle. A large mass of production, flexibility in work and extensive laws and systems were some of the solutions enabling individuals to work in more than one job and so raise their income. Re-distributing wealth among poor people was a step to diminish indigence by raising taxes. Social Democracy's goal is to achieve a peaceful world where freedom, justice, and solidarity are enhanced and through which individual can live a meaningful life with the full development of his or her personality and talents and with the guarantee of human and civil rights in a democratic framework of society.

    • Word count: 1259
  11. John Stuart Mill was the son of a philosopher who worked with Jeremy Bentham. However, Mill thought that Bentham's idea of pleasure was vague and thought that different forms of pleasure had different values

    This version of the theory can be known as hedonic utilitarianism as Bentham himself was a hedonist and believed in pleasure being of large importance. To help determine the amounts of pleasure and pain, Bentham devised the hedonic calculus. The hedonic calculus ruled by seven criteria. These are the intensity, duration, certainty, extent, remoteness, richness and purity. In principle using this calculation will help you to choose the correct action to produce the most happiness, by measuring how much pleasure will be derived from each of the conditions to make a decision.

    • Word count: 1289
  12. What is politics & why is power difficult to define

    Those hypothetical situations involve politics because, the two children have to interact to gain something out of it, they have to protect their interests, in this situation both children have the interest to play with the toy, but they both cannot have it at once because of the lack of recourse for this instance is the toy, so they will have to resolve this conflict, if they both wish to play with the toy. Unlike the children, the two nations are conflicting over the borders of their countries, if one way to resolve this conflict was to rewrite the map

    • Word count: 1316
  13. Rousseau is commonly called a `radical` thinker. Does the term plausibly describe his approach to law?

    Rousseau argued that writers before him had been unable to understand the natural conditions of man, because they `carried over to the state of nature` ideas they had acquired in society, they spoke about the savage man but were actually describing the civil `man`. For Rousseau, the earliest human was a simple animal like creature `wholly wrapped up in the feelings of [his own] present existence`, he was not inherently dangerous to his fellows as Hobbes suggested. Rather he has led a solitary indolent life, satisfying his basic psychical needs, mating casually without formal ties and possessed a natural feeling

    • Word count: 1261
  14. Briefly describe Lister's ideas about hospital infection and his suggestions for dealing with this problem. Did these ideas have more impact in the short term or in the long term?

    Lister triumphed in the end, and his theories were adopted into the medical profession. His revolutionary methods caused him to becoming known as one of the greatest surgeons in the history of medicine. In 1897 he was made Lord Lister. Lister's theory discussed that surgeons passed on germs when they operated. It also discussed how the instruments and all of the equipment used also carried germs and they were also to blame. He said that it was vital to clean all instruments used and the surgeon's hands should be clean at all times. The germ theory discussed this and it is this vital piece of knowledge that the medical profession would not accept.

    • Word count: 1201
  15. How Far Can the Weimar Constitution be Described as Creating an "Effective" Democracy

    In fact those very same elections show that the main democratic parties won the elections. The SPD were up from 100 to 153, the DVP remained unaltered on 45. Albeit the DDP and Centre party losing 5 seats between them, overall the radical extremist parties fell from 187 seats to 149, and the moderate parties increased from 237 to 285 seats. The difference in seats between the two groups widened by 86 more seats; indicating statistically a rapid calming down of Weimar politics, proving stability.

    • Word count: 1450
  16. How Far Can the Weimar Constitution be Described as Creating an "Effective" Democracy

    Politicians were accountable to the people, with regular elections, no longer than 4 years apart, giving people the opportunity to vote members out, which is democratic. Proportional Representation meant that every party got the percentage of seats mirroring the percentage of the vote that they received, this means that the number of seats each party got directly reflected the views of the people and so directly democratic. Proportional Representation also allowed tiny parties to gain seats in parliament, as instead of the most popular party in each area gaining a seat, every party that had enough votes nationwide gained a seat.

    • Word count: 1170
  17. Utilitarianism theory was developed first by Jeremy Bentham. His student John Stuart Mill who is the most famous Utilitarian then took on this theory.

    Utilitarianism is a teleological theory as it is interested in the end result of people's actions. Jeremy Bentham (1748 - 1832) was born in London and he devised the Theory of Utilitarianism. Bentham was a hedonist. He believed all human beings pursued pleasure and sought to avoid pain. Bentham said: " Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do."

    • Word count: 868
  18. Can feminism be thought of as a theory of law or, otherwise, fundamental in some way?

    Liberal feminists accept the basic organisation of our society but seek to expand the rights and opportunities of women. Liberal feminists support equal rights and oppose prejudice and discrimination that block the aspirations of women."3 2) Socialist feminism is an evolution from Marxist conflict theory, essentially made in reaction to the little attention Marx paid to gender. Socialist feminists argue that the "bourgeois family must be restructured to end 'domestic slavery' in favour of some collective means of carrying out housework and child care. The key to this goal, in turn, is a socialist revolution that creates a state-centred economy operating to meet the needs of all.

    • Word count: 2438
  19. "Ideology played relatively small role in the revolutions of 1848" Discuss.

    Another problem in the pre-revolutionary period was unemployment among artisans and workmen - they were loosing battle with modern industry, due to e.g. new machinery and railways, which pushed them to even greater poverty. No wonder that the revolutions were widely expected and predicted. Because of overall crises, many reforms were needed, most of which had an ideological background. Nevertheless, the ideology did not play a huge role throughout the whole revolution. Year 1848 can be divided into three periods which were characterised by variable importance of new ideas of 19th century.

    • Word count: 1967
  20. Year 12 Essay On Utilitarianism

    Utilitarianism is the greatest goodness for the greatest number of people. The rightness of actions depends on their utility, and the utility is measured by the consequences, simply meaning the greatest good by moral actions. If the consequences are good, then the moral actions are not as relevant. A positive example is "Lucy wins the lottery. Instead of keeping it all to herself, Lucy decides to share it out with some of her friends, because she thinks it will make them happy." Lucy is doing the greatest good for the greatest number of people and is doing it using goodness from her morals.

    • Word count: 1235
  21. Analyse one model of abnormality I am going to analyse the biological model

    There have been plenty of studies into identical twins compared with fraternal twins to try and justify this assumption. Most of these studies have shown a distinct positive correlation when each identical twin is studied to see whether they at some point become mentally ill. Most studies show that if one identical twin becomes mentally ill, the other has a very high chance of doing the same. Whereas with fraternal twins this is not so much the case. An Identical twin is around five times more likely to become ill if the other twin does than if they were fraternal twins.

    • Word count: 1353
  22. How does Karl Marx account for the 'industrialisation' of society?

    Marx's writings are a true outcome of the times that he was writing in and thus focus on the economy, and class struggle. Due to this Marx's account of the industrial revolution mainly focuses on these aspects. A detailed account of Marx's account of the industrial revolution will now be detailed, with criticisms highlighted and a brief conclusion drawn. Marx came up with "The materialist theory". The materialist theory of history starts from the proposition that human beings are creatures of need, and hence that the material side of human life physical needs and economic action to satisfy them is primary and basic.

    • Word count: 1544
  23. "Hegel legitimised the French Revolution but not the Revolutionaries themselves" Discuss.

    Yet it was not enough for the individuals in the state to simply feel free. Hegel saw the freedom being obtained through thinking and not through feeling. Through his studies of the bible and Kant he saw a self-enslaved consciousness that acted as an external master on the individual.2 Freedom for Hegel was more about freedom of will. Rather than just having free will, which were the ideas of Kant and Rousseau, he saw it as the will becoming free and that man finds his identity by seeing himself as a vehicle of spirit of geist "If the substance of

    • Word count: 1590
  24. How democratic was Britain by 1918

    Also, it was mainly the rich that could vote so the country was basically being run by the better off. However, gradually democracy was extended in the political system. This was done by a series of reforms. Fairness was incorporated when the secret ballot was introduced by the ballot act 1872. No longer could Mp's openly bribe people however, it didn't stop them trying. Also, the redistribution of Acts ballot in 1885 got rid of the rotten boroughs and evenly spread out MP's.

    • Word count: 1023
  25. Assess the view that most power in modern western societies is held by people who have not been democratically elected.

    He argues that an understanding of power requires an awareness of all three faces. The first face of power is success in decision-making (this has been adopted by pluralists). The second face of power is managing the agenda and the third is manipulation the views of others. Weber is usually considered the starting point in the study of power. Unlike Marx he believed that power was not automatically linked to ownership of wealth. Ordinary people with little or no money could exercise power by joining parties, not only political parties but pressure groups. He defined power as 'the chance of a man or a number of men to realise their own will in a communal action even against the resistance of others'.

    • Word count: 1494

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