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AS and A Level: Philosophy

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  • Marked by Teachers essays 13
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  1. Marked by a teacher

    Examine the strengths and weaknesses of the design argument for the existence of God.

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    * P2: Order, beauty, and complex do not arise by blind chance. * P3: We can look at the world and see that there is order, beauty and complexity in it, which work well to perform a function. This is a close resemblance to human inventions. * P4: Therefore the natural world, like machines, must have been created by an intelligent being * Conclusion: God is an intelligent being, therefore God exists. In the middle ages, design arguments were used by Thomas Aquinas in his 'Five Ways', which were five ways of demonstrating the existence of God through inductive argument, based on observation and evidence (a posteriori).

    • Word count: 1731
  2. Marked by a teacher

    Theories of the resurrection of the body are logically coherent.

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    For instance, the example of Jesus' resurrection fits exactly the category. The body is destroyed and then resurrected exactly to how it was prior death. According to the doctrine of the resurrection the body is a necessary element to ensure life after death. However, if we were dualists we would argue that we are not merely made of material substance; we are not merely a 'body'. Plato argued that we have a soul that constitute our spiritual -self (including our spiritual experiences, such as thinking and acquiring self-knowledge).

    • Word count: 1269
  3. Marked by a teacher

    Explain how moral decisions should be made according to: Act and Rule utilitarianism

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    He believed everyone had an equal right to happiness, irrespective of their situation. He wanted morality to be fair and democratic. Furthermore, because he was practical, he believed that things should be judged right or wrong according to whether or not they benefited the people involved. Therefore an act that brings happiness to an individual is right for the society. This was judged by the principle of utility. This means the rightness or wrongness of an action is determined by its utility or usefulness.

    • Word count: 1272
  4. Marked by a teacher

    Defenders of situation ethics would argue that one of its key strengths is its flexibility; it allows for pragmatic decisions to be made where rule-based ethical systems follow their own absolute commandments.

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    permissible, but the modern scientific technique of just removing the foetus, which has the significant advantage of letting the mother still bear children, is not. Opponents would say that doing something like murdering Hitler brings you down to his level, and point out that it is against our consciences. But the phrase 'bringing you down to the same level' which disguises the fact that most people just find killing uncomfortable.

    • Word count: 486
  5. Marked by a teacher

    Evaluate the weaknesses of design arguments for the existence of God

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    The design argument is also a posteriori argument which means everything is based on experience of the world. This means that we can find evidence in the world to support the premises of the conclusion. Although, Kant emphasised that the design argument depended on the assumption that there is design in the universe. The design must be the independent work of a designer who imposed order and purpose in the universe. The argument is based on the assumption that there is irregularity, order and purpose in the universe.

    • Word count: 708
  6. Marked by a teacher

    The design argument is also known as the teleological argument. The argument looks at the idea of purpose and order within the universe to argue for the existence of God.

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    and therefore it's not reasonable to assume that the watch came about without the agency of a watchmaker. Paley's analogy compared the watch with the universe, arguing that it is equally unreasonable to suggest that universe, with all its intricacies, came about without the agency of a world-maker. Paley proposed that this world-maker is God. This argument has also been applied to other comparisons between nature and manufactured items. Such as the human eye and an auto-focus camera. The basis of Paley's argument is that there is evidence of design in the universe around us. Everything appears to have been designed to fulfil some function.

    • Word count: 1445
  7. Marked by a teacher

    Give an account of Kant's ethics

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    According to Kant one should not behave out of any inclinations or love and compassion. In this essay I will be giving a clear and detailed account of Kantian ethics by explaining the idea of good will and duty, the categorical imperative and it's sub-sections. According to Kant, the highest form of good is good will. He mentioned that good will is carrying out one's duty and doing only the actions which are morally required whilst avoiding any thought of the benefits that will be achieved which are considered to be morally wrong. A duty is good because it is good within itself meaning that one does his duty due to the fact that it is his solely one's duty.

    • Word count: 712
  8. Marked by a teacher

    Explain how Benthams version of Utilitarianism can be used to decide the best course of action

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    An example of when Act Utilitarianism could be used to decide the best course of action would be in a group of people choosing what topping to order on their pizza. If, for example, 3 out of the four people wanted pepperoni but the fourth person wanted ham, it only seems logical to order pepperoni. This is because the collective pleasure or happiness to be had by the first three outweighs the possible unhappiness, or possibly pain, of the fourth person.

    • Word count: 916
  9. Marked by a teacher

    Give an account of Kants Ethical Theory

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    Only good will can be unconditional love. So for his theory, we humans must do our duty, which makes the will good. He says that duty is done for its own sake and not for any kind of benefit to our self. He says we know what is good by using reason. Kant says we have an obligation to do our duty; he calls this the Categorical Imperative. Kant has 2 categories, hypothetical and categorical imperatives. The hypothetical ones involve achieving specific targets and goals.

    • Word count: 922
  10. Marked by a teacher

    Situation ethics

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    to decide what's best and what action has the best outcome which is in some ways more demanding for the person as this will make us stronger emotionally and spiritually closer to God than any conformist could ever be. Fletcher has some basic principles that are the basis of his beliefs. He says that love alone is intrinsically good and that it should be the sole guide of more decisions and actions, which is the opposite of Utilitarianism. He also says that love and justice are the same as justice is love distributed to the community and nothing else.

    • Word count: 1538
  11. Marked by a teacher

    The strengths and weaknesses of utilitarianism

    Bentham being a hedonist believed that all humans naturally pursued pleasure and conversely avoids pain. To measure this pain and pleasure, Bentham created the 'hedonic calculus' which weighs up the pleasure and pain which might arise from moral actions to decide the best option. The formula should determine which act has the best tendency and therefore right. He measured happiness with seven different elements including; Intensity and duration; certainty and uncertainty. John Stuart Mill was concerned that Bentham's theory was limited to a certain extent that law was the primarily concern. So he introduced a theory of utility for the common person which also substituted 'pleasure' for 'happiness' and moved from mere quantity to evoking the quality of happiness as well.

    • Word count: 1049
  12. Explain and illustrate two ways in which art might illuminate human experience.

    One such example of an imitative piece of artwork which illuminates human experience is Michelangelo's David. This statue is an imitation of an idealised view of human nature; the statue is proportionally perfect, looks like it is above such trivial things as embarrassment, and appears to be contemplating something which is of more appeal to its nature than material things. This then, is illuminative of mankind's obsession with perfection and the lengths we often go to so as to ensure things are as perfect as we can achieve; the pyramids almost have exactly proportional corners and align almost perfectly to the four points of a compass.

    • Word count: 980
  13. Explain Hick's Irenaean Theodicy

    Anthony Hopkins, in his portrayal of C.S. Lewis in the film Shadowlands reflects on this idea when he says "the blows from the chisel that hurt us so much are what make us perfect". Hick also asserts that "virtues are better hard won than ready made", however, one must carefully unpack this statement and one could easily be seduced by Hick's protestant work ethic. It mirrors Thessalonians 3:10 "He who does not work shall not be fed" which later became a socialist slogan.

    • Word count: 584

    Although these characteristics aren't as well developed as those in humans, and only some of the characteristics are present, ASIMO does show us that machines can be persons to a certain extent, and possess the potential to eventually develop all of the necessary characteristics. If technology did develop far enough so that robots could possess all the characteristics of personhood, essentially creating androids, these androids would be capable of passing the Turing test - they would be able to hold a conversation and one wouldn't be able to distinguish it from a human.

    • Word count: 731
  15. How convincing is the claim that our personal identity through time is given by psychological continuity

    As a soldier he remembers that as a child he stole an apple. Under Locke's theory the old general would be the same person as the soldier, the soldier would be the same person as the child, but the old general would not the same person as the child. This is logically impossible, as it would mean that A=B, B=C, but A would not be equivalent to C. A simple revision to Locke's theory solves this. If we think of personal identity as an overlapping chain of memories it would show us that although the old general does not remember

    • Word count: 689

    He presents another example of when Socrates discussed geometry with a slave child. Socrates presented the child with a question on geometry which he happened to answer correctly, all without any prior knowledge or experience of geometry. Plato suggests that Socrates triggered innate knowledge within the child. An empiricist would respond to the concept of equality by stating that "almost equal" does not contain the concept equal, rather "almost equal" is itself a simple concept derived from sense experience upon comparing objects. The sticks would always differ in length by some amount; therefore we can form the concept of equal by abstracting two sticks which differ by no length.

    • Word count: 807
  17. Assess how the limits of our political obligations to the state might be defined

    The state of nature in the eyes of Locke is moral and rational; men live in relative harmony with enough resources and land for everyone to share. We enter the social contract to protect our freedom and natural rights. The limits to our political obligations to the state are that we can rebel in certain extreme cases if the state deliberately makes us miserable and violates our rights. The problem with this idea is that different individuals have different views on their rights, so they could rebel whenever they think state has violated their rights, possibly for the smallest thing, such as a fine.

    • Word count: 836
  18. Assess Humes reasons for rejecting miracles

    A violation of the laws of nature was therefore an improbable occurrence. Wiles' agrees with Hume's point that it is more likely the eyewitness was wrong than a miracle occurred, in doing so raising the problem of evil. It was illogical to suggest God was omnipotent and good if he showed clear favouritism through creating miracles whilst at the same time many people were suffering. It would be more likely that a witness made a mistake or did not understand what they saw than an ominbenevolant and omnipotent God showed clear signs of bias and favouritism through miracles therefore Hume's first argument is valid.

    • Word count: 1350
  19. Religious language is meaningless. Discuss.

    For logical positivists statements aren't only meaningful if they contain truths, they also have meaning if they can be proven false as long as the meaning behind the assertion can be concluded as certain. They concluded that it is meaningless to talk about God as the statements made about such a being cannot be analytically or synthetically verified. Therefore what logical positivist believe supports the statement that religious language is meaningless Many philosophers challenged the verification principle and rejected it.

    • Word count: 1492
  20. Atheism - my personal response.

    Yes it may be an onerous expectation that schools teach it, but minus parents, they seem the next logical choice. I think it goes without saying, also, that schools and religion should be kept as separate as religion and politics should be. Art has never been, and likely never will be, my forte. Beyond being aesthetically pleasing, for the most part; I see a limited shelf-life for art, as anything more then that, in modern times and would happily go so far as to question its purpose beyond the aesthetic in the past.

    • Word count: 629
  21. Free essay

    Discuss Plato's Theory of Forms

    (For example, an apple is red and sweet because it participates in the form of redness and sweetness.) Forms are the ''ideal'' of every entity. True knowledge can only be obtained if that person perceives the forms and understands the existence of the realms. Plato also classifies forms as unchanging since they are independent of the changes and developments occurring in the sensible world. Forms are basically the real entities which can be accessed through the mind by using reason.

    • Word count: 935
  22. Act utilitarianism vs Rule utilitarianism

    For Sidgwick, when making a moral decision you must respond to the immediate consequences of your actions but not the long term effect, as it isn't possible to be certain about the long term effects. Critics of Bentham and Sidgwick however would say that Rule Utilitarianism is more plausible because Rule Utilitarians believe that it is the quality of an act that is more important and not the 'greatest good for the greatest number' as suggested by Bentham.

    • Word count: 494
  23. Free essay

    Natural Tendency to do Good. Being around different people can make a human behave or act in ways that they normally would not. This is true in many possible ways and experiences that people go through.

    Human nature is to do good based upon the right surroundings in the exosphere and is supported where Mencius said, "Now you may strike water and make it splash over your forehead, or you may even force it up the hills. But is this the nature of water?" This is what shows that natural tendency to do good is what humans were created to do. I have been in times in life where I made poor decisions based on the forceful circumstances that I chose to be around.

    • Word count: 1249

    Faith demands evidence and because it demands so much trust and commitment. He says faith in delusional idols is expressly banned in the bible. Believers he says take their evidence from history, science and experience. Furthermore he says that we cannot speak of absolute proof, except in maths. Elsewhere we have to be content with evidence. What lies beyond science is not irrational; there are also important things like morality, which science cannot provide. Dawkins then argues that science supports atheism, not Christianity.

    • Word count: 683
  25. What are the tensions between modern and classical liberalism?

    The first cause of tension between classical and modern liberals is their differing opinions concerning the state. Classical liberals subscribe to the idea of negative freedom. This is the idea of an absence of and government interference and external constraints of the individual's self-regarding acts. Negative freedom suggests a clear distinction between the individual and the state.

    • Word count: 472

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Religious responses to the verification principle have been largely unsuccessful. Evaluate this claim.

    "To conclude, I think there are a few reasonable responses to the verification principle such as the falsification principle, as this does not limit God to our understanding but we can still talk about Him. Also the doctrine of analogy is a strong theory as we can compare one thing to another thing we are familiar with without properly describing the unfamiliar thing and this makes it easier for us to understand. However, symbols can often be misinterpreted and lead to confusion, as they don't say enough about God and religion for people to fully understand."

  • "The design argument is challenged far more by science than by philosophy." Discuss with specific reference to the work of Darwin and Hume.

    "In conclusion, which is actually the bigger challenge science or philosophy? Darwin can't explain the goal of evolution so he doesn't get rid of the idea of the designer. So, in effect Darwin's theory can work in tandem with the Design argument. On the other hand, some say that Hume destroys the Design argument whereas others say that it is just there as evidence for people who already believe. However, should you need proof? All in all, science provides evidence against the argument whereas philosophy only provides ideas and arguments."

  • Compare and Contrast the Philisophical Contributions of Nietzsche and Mill to our understanding of political and social tyranny.

    "Both have similar views on the topic of religion, arguing that no longer should one set of religious truths be imposed on a population. To move forward, to progress, is to explore the world through the exercise of human reason and critical enquiry. For Nietzsche, we must continually question everything, for there is no absolute truth. We have to find our own truth. We do this by being individual, and not following a herd. For Mill, we are rational thinkers, and bases his theory on this view - that we will come to sensible conclusions. Hence, both philosophers advocate maximising negative liberty as a necessary condition for human flourishing. With the freedom to be individual without the barriers or constraints of tyranny, we as a society and as individuals' progress and new ideas are formed. New values are made, replacing old ones. The Elitist vs. the Liberalist approach is where the two philosophers differ in attitudes. Taking into consideration a rejection of negative liberty, this could be used to pave the way for an alternative account. Hollie Mckechnie"

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