• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Examine the key features of utilitarianism and its strengths and weaknesses

Extracts from this document...


Examine the strengths and weaknesses of the cosmological argument. The cosmological argument has been debated thoroughly by different scholars since it was introduced, with each having their opinion on the various strengths and weaknesses of the argument. Both one of the key strengths and one of the key weaknesses of the Cosmological Argument is the fact that it is an a posteriori argument, meaning that it is based on our empirical knowledge of the world. As a strength being a posteriori means that it is testable, for example, when we say that all events have a cause, ultimately this is something we can test ourselves, in nature we observe that things don't usually happen without a reason. However, other philosophers such as Hume would say that we can't trust knowledge which is purely a posteriori cannot be trusted, since, as Hume says we can never know it to be absolutely certain, we can only deal in hopeful probabilities. ...read more.


Despite this many other philosophers would disagree and see the argument as weak. For example, Bertrand Russell famously refused to even debate the issue since as far as he concerned, it was something we just couldn't ever know for sure, and therefore wasn't even worth talking about, as Russell said: "The idea that things must have a beginning is really due to the poverty of our imagination. Therefore, perhaps, I need not waste any more time upon the argument about the First Cause." Coplestone also argues that partial explanations are unsatisfactory and that an adequate explanation is one to which nothing further can be added therefore the idea that the universe 'just is' is insufficient. This though is completely ignoring one of the key points of the cosmological argument, the concept that God is self-causing and does not need an explanation. It can be considered a 'logical' argument as of course we see order, cause and effect all around us everyday. ...read more.


really the case as he believed that infinite regress would be impossible as if God exists he would always be there, so Leibniz states some of the strengths and weaknesses in this book. One of the remaining criticisms of the argument is that, if God caused the universe, who caused God? The answer from the proponents of the argument is that God is omnipotent and the rules which apply to our world don't apply to them, therefore God can be without cause. But, as David Hume said: "But if we stop, and go no further, why go so far? Why not stop at the material world?" What Hume is saying is that if we are willing to accept that God is uncaused, why can't we accept that the universe is uncaused to? In some ways this is using the idea of Oakham's Razor (simplest explanation is the most satisfactory), usually used to support the Cosmological Argument against the proponents by saying surely the easiest way to stop looking for causes is simply to accept that the universe is uncaused. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Practical Questions section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Practical Questions essays

  1. What are the Main Features of Utilitarianism as an Ethical Theory?

    if we were asked by a mass murderer the whereabouts of his next victim, the utilitarian would lie to the murderer) For the person who believes in rules, they are forced to break one of these rules either way.

  2. Outline and explain the ethical theory of utilitarianism b) ...

    In Mills theory, it clearly addresses the problem of the pleasure of the majority being abused by them to the detriment of the minority. The benefits of utilitarianism are sizeable, as one can see where in modern day life and in organisations it would work, for example hospitals where budgets

  1. Examine the Strengths and Weaknesses of Kants Ethical Theory

    A key weakness being its in-flexibility. It doesn't take the circumstances of a situation into account whereas others such as Utilitarianism or Situation Ethics do i.e. an absolutist approach 'do not kill whatever the circumstances' can lead to all sorts of strange circumstances as the circumstances have not been taken into account i.e.

  2. Analyse and explain the strengths and weaknesses of deontology

    Therefore, it is entirely possible to view Kant's theory in a teleological light. Having said this, it is in the practical application of the categorical imperative that we can see the contrast to teleological ethics. This is best exemplified in Kant's story of the inquiring murderer.

  1. Examine the key features of utilitarianism and its strengths and weaknesses of utilitarianism

    John Stuart Mill was the Godson of Bentham and grew up a utilitarian, he adapted some of the ideas of the Bentham, Mill believed that happiness was the basic standard for utility and not pleasure. Mill adapted his form of the utilitarian theory so that it would reflect the fact

  2. Outline the main features of Utilitarianism andExamine critically criticisms that have been offered against ...

    This type of calculation would be mostly used by an act utilitarian who believed it is always 'the greatest good for the greatest number' and maintaining whenever possible the principle of utility. This type of utilitarianism has the benefit of being more flexible, being able to take into account individual

  1. Examine the key features of situation ethics, and the main criticisms of it, and ...

    In the book Honest To God, Robinson wrote "It is not a question of 'Those whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder': no man could if he tried. For marriage is not merely indissoluble: it is indelible".

  2. Evaluate Korsgaard's discussion of the Universalizability Argument. In what ways does she conform with ...

    could be a legislator without the power to impose sanctions to enforce his law. For them the power of the legislator to enforce law is necessary to give moral commands the special force of requirement, and duty and obligation is only possible if there is this legislator backed by the power of sanctions who can lay down the law.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work