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AS and A Level: Political Philosophy

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  1. Compare and contrast the pluralist, elitist and Marxist theories of the state.

    Since no one group or class is able to dominate all other groups; as of checks and balances are built into a democratic system of government, a "plurality" of competing Interest groups, political parties and so forth is seen to characterise democratic societies. Pluralists argue that there does not have to be a value consensus in any society. As societies become larger, they become more differentiated and such differentiation is expressed in terms of sectional interests. This is where groups of people organised around a set of interests particular to that group, which they look to advance at the expense of other subsequent sectional groups.

    • Word count: 2071
  2. From a Marxist perspective, assess the claim that work in Capitalist society is both Alienating and Exploitative.

    Capitalism is all based around the maximisation of profit. Marx would explain the source of this profit using the following example; If you are working in say a shoe factory, and you are paid the value of your labour, and the shoes are sold at the value of the labour expended on the production, then there is no room for profit as both amounts would be equal. Therefore profit can only occur through some form of dishonesty or unfair exploitation. Thus there is no such thing as a fair days wage for a fair days work.

    • Word count: 1452
  3. Accounts for the changes in voting behaviour in the last 30 years in UK general elections

    and the emergence of Psephology, or the study of voting behaviour. During this time voting behaviour was easy to explain with the majority of voters identifying with one of the two major parties developing a tradition and trend for the two-party vote. Social class at this time was a massive influence of the way in which people would vote, individuals were perceived as being either middle or working class with regards to their occupation and studies indicate that there is a strong correlation between social class and the preferred party of the voters within that class.

    • Word count: 2649
  4. This literature review is concerned with defining comparative politics as adiscipline.

    Comparative politics, as its name suggests consists in comparing different kinds of politics, its ways of application in particular. The fact is that the purpose of existence of comparative politics has been wrongly aimed for a long time to study each country on its individual merits, separately. Mark Pennington defines the main objective of the discipline as "to overcome the shortcomings of approaches focused purely on case studies of individual countries and of those that build purely abstract theoretical models of decision-making."(2004) Hague and Harrop come with a bit different definition, which is to "encompass the major political similarities and differences between contries...

    • Word count: 1099
  5. Andrew Jackson: Common Man or Common Scoundrel

    The growing demise of the use of caucuses for presidential nominations and the expansion of suffrage emphasized for politicians the need to attract the support of the common man. The uncurbed speculation, expansion, and wildcat banking of the economic boom following the War of 1812 produced the panic of 1819, another factor of the new democratic temperament. Widespread foreclosures resulting from the panic effected, as John C. Calhoun noted in 1820, "a general mass of disaffection to the Government...ready to seize upon any event and looking out anywhere for a leader" (Hofstadter 67).

    • Word count: 2441
  6. Legacies of the totalitarian system and the political transformation of Romanian society after 1989.

    1.1 Single party "system" Another step to totalitarianism was the consolidation of the single mass party composed of an elite and dedicated membership. As Linz and Stepan (1996) mention, totalitarian trait is that" party has eliminated almost all pre-totalitarian pluralism". This was achieved in Romania by dissolving the major opposition parties, the National Peasant and National Liberal parties in summer of 1947, and by the forced merger of the Social Democrat Party with the Communist Party in November 1947 as the result of Communist infiltration.

    • Word count: 2883
  7. Have village elections democratized rural China?

    Another problem with the Organic Law was vagueness of it; election procedures were not made clear and were interpreted ambiguously. Most importantly the law did not state that voting in village elections was to be conducted by secret ballot. The Organic Law was intended to cover all rural villages, this meant that even the smallest of villages with populations of less than a hundred, would also enter in to the democratic election process. It was to set up as a system of governance that would be established through elected villagers' committees.

    • Word count: 1564
  8. Insofar as globalisation results in the 'end of history' (Fukuyama), what are the prospects for social and political change in contemporary society?

    Recent years have witnessed dramatic changes in Eastern Europe. The dismantling of the Berlin Wall in 1989 signalled the general collapse of the socialist regimes. The 'satellite' states (e.g. East Germany) have won their political freedom from Soviet Union control, and the old USSR itself has fragmented and splintered into breakaway republics. The economic and political crisis in these countries has resulted in a move away from centrally planned economies towards Western Style free markets. Many commentators after the collapse of such regimes had predicted an increasing convergence between East and West in the following few decades.

    • Word count: 1474
  9. What are the main advantages and limitations of the trait and type approaches to the study of personality?

    In Allport's theory, traits are defined into three categories: cardinal traits, central traits and secondary traits. This interpretation emphasizes that all traits are interdependent sets of attributes which come together to produce an effect on behaviour. That means traits are very central to an individual's makeup. For instance, an author can create perfect literature since many traits contribute but not just good literary talent, such as verbal skills, imagination, etc. In Cattell's approach, he has reduced the list of personality traits into a small manageable number by using factor analysis. One of the main advantages of this method is that it allows links to be made between surface traits and source traits as surface traits can

    • Word count: 1223
  10. Idealistic Politics

    These conflicts in turn affect the political ideologies and actions since the politics is the arena where the battle of principles occurs, primarily due to two reasons. The first being that these conflicts will not surface in the first place except in the political arena due to the austere nature and secondly the outcomes will not be accepted unless at a level were they are made public and irreversible. Evidence of these conflicts exists in our texts and films, however in differing contexts.

    • Word count: 2463
  11. Why Do Liberals Place Such Importance On The Concept Of Liberty?

    The ideas of liberty promoted by classical liberalists and social liberalists are therefore somewhat different. In his book, 'Two Concepts of Liberty', Berlin highlighted this and called the concept of liberty favoured by classical liberalists 'negative' liberty and that preferred by the social liberalists 'positive' liberty (Heywood, A. 1998. p.30). This was because social liberalists appeared to believe in a kind of liberty which seemed to have a far more 'positive' effect, as some rules were still present. Classical liberalism was the first of the two and began with Locke in seventeenth century England after the English Civil Wars, during which there was a battle between the parliament and the monarchy.

    • Word count: 1587
  12. The cold war

    That is, the ICRC and other agencies who take such a position are in no position to make a judgment upon right or wrong sides, or just or unjust causes of war. They believe that speaking out publicly about political or military issues will lead to the loss of access to all victims who might otherwise be left to their fate.1 Hence they claim that neutrality is the best means to gaining access to all victims in need of help, and its logical consequence, confidentiality is also required to obtain the trust of warring parties.

    • Word count: 1383
  13. Liberalism has a dual commitment both to individual freedom and equality. How does liberalism try to reconcile these two commitments? Does it succeed? Can freedom and equality really co-exist?

    Due to the emergence of the two strands the ideology of liberalism was now subject to inherent contradictory beliefs. Almost all supporters of liberalism argue the supremacy of the individual and believe that every ones greatest concern should be their individual happiness. Liberalism promises all individuals equal rights and freedoms regardless of their economic or social status. Liberalism commits itself to individual freedom and to equality. A big problem with this is that a classical liberal would hold a different idea about what individual freedom and equality should entail, in comparison with a modern liberal. "Many of the disagreements within liberal ideology can be traced back to these rival ideas of uniqueness and equality1".

    • Word count: 1088
  14. The Evolving Shape of Elite Politics

    This was done through enforcement of norms and procedures, as well as a forge of policies and consensus. Because of these changes the National People's Congress (NPC) and special committees have been able to take a more active role as well as force some constraints. The role of law (or the need for it) has also found greater emphasis in Chinese politics. Since Tianenmen the economy in China has more than doubled it's size. The structure of the economy has drastically changed with the growth of the private economy. There has been a continual growth in foreign trade.

    • Word count: 2318
  15. What is New Imperialism?

    Then I will describe the changes in the balance of power between Britain and Europe. I will also examine the political and economic systems and the resulting theories and ideologies. Finally I will look at new imperialism in the context of a 'civilising mission'. In terms of history it is clear that imperialism has been around for a long time. Imperialism in its different forms pervades all history, from first tribal raids to the latest Wall Street conspiracy (Kiernan, 1995). The actual start and finish of the era of new imperialism maybe hard to define but there is some consensus that the period 1870 to 1914 is of the most importance (www.nationmaster.com).

    • Word count: 1828
  16. How far was Luther's message used by different groups across Germany to advance their own cause between 1517 and 1531?

    Luther's message became popular because he was bringing back the fundamental Christian doctrines that were evident in Jesus' teaching in the New Testament. Hence the message appeared pure within the surroundings of the Church's immorality, and its focus on individualism suited various types of people for different reasons. Different groups interpreted it in various ways in order to suit their position in society and to advance their own cause, be it political, economic, social or religious. Politically support of Luther's message offered different groups independence, because it gave them a reason not to respect the authority of the church.

    • Word count: 2075
  17. A materialist rejection of the view that the mind is merely reactive

    Dave discusses cause and effect in the essay (Can we have free will? - Dave's theory of destiny / choice duality) However, the theory of destiny / choice duality is still a materialist theory, and surely the tenant that we make no intentional thoughts, but merely respond to experience stands? Two points stand against this position. Firstly, we do not experience the world directly. By the time the qualia caused by the outside world reach our consciousness, they have been filtered through our minds, and in a sense shaped by our experience, prejudices, culture and language, etc.

    • Word count: 581
  18. Styles of management in human resources.

    2. A difficult or tedious undertaking. 3. A function to be performed; an objective. Based adj 1: being derived from (usually followed by `on' or `upon'); "a film based on a best-selling novel" 2: having a base; "firmly based ice" 3: having a basis; often used as combining terms; "a soundly based argument"; "well-founded suspicions" [syn: founded] 4: having a base of operations; "a company based in Atlanta" [syn: based(p)] Situational 1. a. The way in which something is positioned vis-�-vis its surroundings. b. The place in which something is situated; a location. 2.

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  19. Why did Karl Marx think Communism was the ideal political party?

    His teacher soon became to be a big influence on Karl Marx's opinions in political issues. And Karl soon became aware of poverty and that government control was in place. And was also aware of the religious differences in society. Karl Marx had a poor reputation as a "Young Hegelian Radical." After his teacher was dismissed from the philosophy faculty, Marx abandoned philosophy and took up journalism. Here he travelled across into Paris, Brussels and London where he also adopted new views on society and democracy.

    • Word count: 907
  20. "A small, unpopular party whose success was due solely to the determination of the leader to seize power" Examine this assessment of the Bolshevik party's success in the USSR 1917-1924.

    "Nevertheless, Marxist theories did spread quite widely in Russia, especially through The Social Democratic Party," This shows how the Marxist ideology spread to the common people of Russia, not through the actions of the Bolsheviks but through the more aggressive Social Party. Another factor to consider is the split that occurred at the turn of the century between the more patient Mensheviks and the forceful Bolsheviks, supporters tended to side with the idea that "biding time" was better than forcing a revolution, one person in particular was Trotsky, who before 1917, was a member of the Menshevik Party.

    • Word count: 1137
  21. To what extent has socialism been defined by it's opposition to capitalism

    He believed, that to achieve 'social justice', there was call for a violent revolution in which the working class would rise against their exploitation and overthrow the capitalist system. This would then be followed by a transitional stage, the 'Dictatorship of the Proletariat', before a communist system based on production for need was established. Towards the end of the twentieth century, socialist academia were beginning to question the ideas of Karl Marx, as his prediction of the fall of capitalism had not come true.

    • Word count: 648
  22. Assess the view that liberalism has triumphed as the dominant ideology in contemporary British politics

    Classic liberalism consists of economic freedom, laissez-faire, individualism and personal freedom. Modern or progressive liberalism is more towards state intervention as long as it is beneficial to us as people, equality of opportunity and reason. Liberalism first emerged as an important movement in Europe in the sixteenth century. Today, particularly after the decline of communism, it is the dominant ideology in many parts of the world including the United Kingdom. A true liberal state does not seek to resolve conflicts, but rather provides a neutral framework within which citizens can pursue their diverse conceptions of the good life.

    • Word count: 1435
  23. What are the Strengths and Weaknesses of Utilitarianism?

    An example of this is shown through one of Roald Dahl's stories, 'Genesis and Catastrophe'. A doctor saves both the mother and child in a very difficult birth. His concluding words were 'you'll be alright Mrs. Hitler.' If the doctor was a utilitarian he would say he was doing the right thing because the most amount of people were made happy by both mother and child being alive, but the doctor couldn't see into the future to see what consequences this act would have.

    • Word count: 803
  24. This essay will firstly look at the divisions within Canada and how these divisions work to create a unique political culture. Secondly, it will compare the American and Canadian political cultures.

    Canada, as a whole can become stronger the more unified the country becomes. This essay will firstly look at the divisions within Canada and how these divisions work to create a unique political culture. Secondly, it will compare the American and Canadian political cultures. Thirdly, this essay will discuss the role of the Canadian executive with respect to Canadian political culture. The purpose of this essay will be to establish a place for the Tory component in Canadian contemporary political culture by analyzing Canadian fragmentations, comparing US to Canada and referring to the Canadian executive.

    • Word count: 2259
  25. Is Iraq ready for democracy??

    In a period when the US emphasizes the war on terrorism, new governments may have different definitions of terrorism and terrorists. Strong Islamic movements, long suppressed by governments in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world could emerge. Policies of the new governments could directly challenge the presence of US forces, efforts to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, US policies toward the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and significant American human rights initiatives (Newsom). According to David Newsom from The Christian Science Monitor from 07th January 2004: In the two countries today where US interests are directly tied to the development of democracy - Iraq and Afghanistan - new governments haven't yet been formed.

    • Word count: 883

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