• 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. 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.

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

    He believed that pain and pleasure are the only ways in which we can really decide whether the action will be intrinsically good in the end. However John Stuart Mill felt that the big problem with Bentham's theory was that it could lead to a 'swine ethic'.

  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 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. Explain Aquinass cosmological argument

    This is Aquinas' first way, the unmoved mover, the basis to his argument that there must be a God to be the starting point that brought the universe into existence. Everything in the world has a cause, nothing is the cause of itself and therefore there cannot be an infinite regress of causes.

  2. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of Natural Law.

    G E Moore considered this jump from scientific observation to moral behaviour to be illogical and declared: "Defining the 'good' can't be done, because good is a simple property. We may list any number of other things or qualities which possess the property good, but thinking of any of these

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

    This was shown as early as 1956 when the Pope Pius XII anticipated this, and consequentially banned the view from all seminaries. Protestants, however, were equally suspicious, as they realised it meant that nothing can be labelled as universally 'good' or 'bad'.

  2. Explain the strengths and weaknesses of Utilitarianism

    For example, a number of philosophers have asked whether the utility principle is sufficient for an adequate, variable ethic - can a moral judgement be reduced to the question of maximizing the benefits? Moreover, the principle has been criticized for being impractical.

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