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AS and A Level: Philosophy

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  1. Theories of Resurrection of the body are logically coherent - Discuss

    The most poignant account of resurrection is that of Jesus, where he arises from his death and entombment, although it's noteworthy that it's claimed he was 'transformed'. Whilst Christianity appears to be in favour of body and soul unity, it also mentions the separation upon awaiting judgement, this could be seen as vague and incoherent. Contrary to this, the proposal of Hell is often associated with physical suffering and pain, for instance fire. This idea suggests a bodily resurrection and a materialist approach to body and soul unification.

    • Word count: 1610
  2. Religious Experience is a construct of the mind - Discuss

    On the other hand, William James did believe in religious experience. He thought that through analysis we could determine if an experience qualifies as a religious experience, or has any legitimacy. James believed are four characteristics prominent in all religious experience. The first, ineffable; whereby the experience is on such an individual and personal level it defies all means of expression through language. Second, the experience should be noetic i.e. insightful into the knowledge of God and gaining knowledge that is not otherwise available. Thirdly he said the experience should be transient, short in duration, but transpiring to a change in lifestyle.

    • Word count: 1351
  3. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the teleological, deontological and hybrid systems of ethics for use in 21st century decision making.

    Another presumption that supports this stength is relativism. As this system is relative to situations, it is easy to apply as it takes into account the complexities of human life and tries to base the decision of what ever will result in the most loving consequence. Another strength argued here is that the teleological system is individualistic. This then allows us to look at situations individually on a more case-by-case basis, which is more suitable when applying this system to medical issues such as whether or not to turn off life support to create space for a different patient who

    • Word count: 1542
  4. Examining Descartes' Ontological Arguement

    Thus he demonstrates how he is able to verify his ideas. Then using those he examines the idea of a perfect being. He believes the idea of a perfect being needs to be examined in order to circumvent the idea of an 'evil demon' Paragraph 1 and Paragraph 4. The main example of a perfect being is, in his mind; god. The idea of this perfect being who is unable to deceives us whilst at the same time being perfect in terms of power, is very interesting in regards to his doubts Paragraph 4.

    • Word count: 550
  5. Augustine's theodicy

    For many years the traditional Christian church has used the Augustinian theodicy as a main part of their teaching, in particularly using it for its Doctrine of Original Sin. Augustine begins his theodicy with the concept that God is perfect. The world he has created is one that reflects perfection. He then also continues to say that in this perfect world, for it to be perfect, humans were born with free will and this was harmonious. After sin and death entered the world through not only Adam and Eve's disobedience but also the fall of the Archangel Lucifer, disharmony was brought about in both humanity and the Creation.

    • Word count: 1005
  6. Is free will compatible with determinism?

    things we do are based on influences on our behaviour; the influences themselves ranging from our upbringing and social position to the smallest of factors e.g. what we read, eat, see, feel etc. Thus overall our lives have in fact been determined by these external forces and have no control them. Thus it would seem that overall, we are unable to freely choose for ourselves and thus we have no choice in what we decide to do as it has determined by previous effects over which we have no control.

    • Word count: 1024
  7. What are the principles of natural law? Every adult has the right to become a parent. Discuss

    From God's perspective, it is humanity's participation in eternal law (the rational plan by which all creation is ordered). For this reason, Natural Law is not compatible with agnosticism, as it requires commitment to God's existence. From a human perspective, Natural Law represents the principles and laws laid out by God that are knowable by human nature through reason, and which contribute to individual and communal good. Animals follow natural law through necessity, but we as humans have been given not only rationality but the capacity for choice, and obey these laws because we recognise their reasonableness. Aquinas believed that the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude are perceivable in this way.

    • Word count: 3096
  8. Assess the view that conscience is given to us by God.

    As a result of this we are duty bound to obey our conscience. Newman states that the feelings that conscience draws out of us imply a higher order that is able to instil fear into us and inflict punishment onto us. Newman states "there is a sanction higher than self" and as we regard the conscience as an independent arbiter it cannot instil fear into us itself. Newman states that this then implies the existence of "one to whom we are responsible" this means that conscience is the voice God. Newman's view holds some strength as it accepts the strange nature of conscience in naturalistic terms (unlike Aquinas), conscience is an intuition.

    • Word count: 1532
  9. Cosmological argument

    Does everything really have a cause? Hume argues that we cannot know if every event has a cause as it is not an analytic truth, this also applies to the principle of something cannot come from nothing. Since synthetic truths are known a posteriori we would have to make an assumption to say that our knowledge of cause and effect applies to the beginning of the universe as we do not have first-hand experience of the beginning of the universe and beginning of the universe is different from events that happen within the universe as it does not take place

    • Word count: 1617
  10. What are the limitations on our personal liberty? Are all of them justified?

    The areas of law that I will focus to examine existing laws that regulate liberty in the public domain are roaming laws and drug/drink driving laws. The areas that I will focus on to examine existing laws that regulate liberty in the private realm are drug laws and SM laws, focusing on comparisons between those states in which drug use is severely punished and those in which it is not, the 1990 police operation 'Operation Spanner' and the 2008 ban on possession of extreme pornography.

    • Word count: 1781
  11. The existence of the external world is a reasonable hypothesis. Consider what can be said both for and against this view.

    Therefore, if the external world exists, we do not perceive it directly. A more sophisticated hypothesis is presented by representative realism. Representative realists claim that the external world is not perceiver-dependent, but we perceive it indirectly. This means that we perceive it through an intermediary, which representative realists claim to be 'sense data'. Sense data and the external world are distinctly different: sense data exist only within the perceiver's mind (are private), are infallible (they may present us with false information about the external world, but there is no difference between our perceptions and our sense data)

    • Word count: 965
  12. Analyse how different ideologies treat the concept of liberty.

    interpretations of liberty. Most conservatives believe that human nature is intrinsically irrational and thus conservative interpretations of liberty are complex. Conservatives focus on some aspects of positive liberty and some aspects of negative liberty. For example law enforcement is an important institution to make sure people are safe and secure, but free market capitalism is important as it gives businesses the freedom to grow and provides the best service for consumers. This interpretation of the importance of different forms of liberty is based upon the idea that a hierarchy of individuals will always exist in society and that it is impossible to change.

    • Word count: 1108
  13. Explain how Descartes developed Anselm's argument that God's existence is necessary

    For the fool to say there is no God, the fool has to have an idea in their mind what God is like. Anselm suggests that the definition in mind is that God is the greatest possible being, hence, Anselm claims God is the greatest possible being that can be conceived. Anselm then points out, that it is greater to exist in reality than in the minds alone, for example, people have an idea of what a unicorn is and can give a description of it, however while we can happily talk about the idea of a unicorn and its nature or qualities, it does not make it exist.

    • Word count: 689
  14. The Ontological Argument is convincing

    So God must exist to meet our definition. The argument is convincing because it is logical. Although Anselm's Ontological Argument was critiqued by Gaunilo, his argument still remains convincing. Gaunilo critiqued Anselm's argument by replacing the concept of God with the concept of an island. He explained that we can imagine the most excellent island, the 'greatest conceivable' island. Therefore he said, by Anselm's logic, we can go on to say that for this island to exist in our minds, it must be inferior because it only exists in our minds.

    • Word count: 463
  15. Examine the contributions that two of the following may make to a study of religious language

    There are three senses in to which the word myth can be incorporated into religious language and texts. The myths could be a story which is not true but has some other value, Braithwaite argued that religious stories are inspirational to us, and they also provide us with the motivation to lead a moral life. The myth could also be a method of interpreting ultimate reality. So myths have a symbolic meaning in the sense that they open up new levels of reality or their purpose could be too bind communities together and to urge us to take action.

    • Word count: 2054
  16. Outline the main features of virtue ethic

    Each of the moral virtues is a midpoint between excess and deficiency, this being the 'golden mean'. Aristotle did not say what the midpoint was, and it was clearly not a precise middle. In other words, you don't need to have a specific amount of, generosity. It was more about being generous at the right time. For example to give a few pounds to a beggar on the street is not good as it keeps them trapped into being dependant on others, and that it would be much better to give to else where like a shelter.

    • Word count: 1719
  17. Examine the key features of the cosmological argument

    St. Thomas Aquinas in his book 'Summa Theologica' established the argument as we know it today. Aquinas had five proofs for the existence of God - the five ways, of which three are cosmological; they are 'from motion', 'from cause' and 'from necessity and contingency.' The other two ways are a form on ontological and teleological argument. The First way argument is concerned with the fact that all things have a cause - nothing can move itself and if we trace back the chain of movers, there must be an initial cause or mover which causes motion in all things.

    • Word count: 662
  18. Outline the key ideas of the Teleological argument and identify at least two if its strengths.

    Thus, the argument is both a posteriori, based on experience, and inductive, containing a conclusion that we are likely to accept if we believe the premises to be true. Although the argument was one of Aquinas' five 'ways' in his book, Summa Theologica, the most famous version of the Argument from Design was put forward by William Paley in his book Natural Theology, and therefore, this essay will focus mainly on Paley's version of the argument. The main structure of the argument is centered around the view that whenever we see things made by people which are in a pattern

    • Word count: 1054
  19. Identify key ideas associated with the problem of suffering. Examine two solutions to the problem of suffering.

    There are fundamentally two types of evil, Natural and Moral evil. Natural evil is evil that no one can control, for example recently in the news the floods in Australia killed 15 people to which they have counted and many more are missing, people's homes have been destroyed and have no were to live in result of this. This evil is natural, no one could stop, control or be warned as no one knew this was to happen.

    • Word count: 452
  20. Natural law is the most reliable approach when making judgements about sex and relationships. Discuss.

    Although Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) is given the name as the founder of natural law, natural law owes lots of its existence to Aristotle (384-BCE). As for it was Aristotle who originally had the idea that people like every other natural objects have specific nature purpose and function and then later Aquinas linked these ideas with that of the teachings of the Catholic church. Even still to this day natural law is a basic for Roman Catholic teachings and beliefs. When dealing with the idea of judgements relating to sex and relationships there is many points which need to be given consideration.

    • Word count: 1719

    St Augustine of Hippo, who lived from 354 to 430 AD in the Roman Province of Africa, was a Manichaean (Persian and Dualist religion) in his early until he later converted to Christianity. Augustine proposed a theodicy, which is an attempt to reconcile the existence of an omnibenevolent and omnipotent God with the undeniable fact of evil and suffering in the world; it is derived from the Greek words 'theos' or God and 'dike' or justice. Augustine's theodicy explains that according to Genesis, God being perfect created a perfect world where because of 'His' goodness and perfection, God gave humans free will.

    • Word count: 1019
  22. Analyse the key strengths for the existence of God based on religious experience

    Testimonies often show that recipients feel a sense of being in the presence of the Divine power but yet remotely separated from it. This is perhaps best articulated by Otto who coins the phrase numinous in describing such an experience. Religious experiences often "draw people into" having a deeper connection with the Divine and can have a profound impact on one's life.

    • Word count: 496
  23. Explain how belief in the Sanctity of Life may influence ethical approaches to Abortion.

    These people are referred to as pro-life whilst the opposition, who believe in the mother's right to have an abortion, are known as pro-choice. The latter prefer to argue from a Quality of Life view, which allows the mother to choose the fate of her baby, especially under circumstances such as rape or the disability of the child. Therefore they do not, like the pro-life campaigners, adopt the belief that all life has intrinsic value - that life is deemed valuable because it exists.

    • Word count: 725
  24. How convincing is the claim that art is valuable to the extent to which it informs us? (30 marks)

    These shadows are representations of the Forms, and are the objects that we see. Schopenhauer, an idealist, suggested a similar theory, however there is a clear difference. Schopenhauer believed that the forms (or ideas as he called them) were caused by 'the Will', which is a non-physical energy/force which lies within everything. In this essay I will discuss different ways we can value art, and many philosopher's responses to these. One way we can value art, is to the extent that it mimics or imitates reality. Plato calls this mimesis. Both Plato and Schopenhauer believe the role of an artist is to imitate the Forms as best as possible and traditionally art is valued if it looks like its subject.

    • Word count: 1085

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