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AS and A Level: Philosophy

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  • Marked by Teachers essays 13
  1. 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
  2. Compare, contrast and evaluate Plato and Mill on the relationship between individual and society

    In Plato's view, an individual is fulfilled by the contribution that he or she makes to the overall functioning of the community, and the Kallipolis is designed to make this possible for everyone. Plato's state also respects the individuality of its members and treats them equally. In Plato's republic, the state limits the freedom of its individuals, but only to ensure that all the members receive the same amount of freedom. In effect, Plato believes that the repression of individual freedom results in equal freedom for the society as a whole.

    • Word count: 3417
  3. Philosophy - Conscience (90/90)

    Herein, at the outset, lies an issue. 'Surroundings' and conditions are clearly noted by both definitions, yet the human acknowledgement and 'response' to them are not so. This irregularity is highly relevant when trying to determine the conscience's r´┐Żle in the individual's 'decision'-making. The mind's influence on the individual, the individual's place in society, and, indeed, individuals themselves, are key to this matter. ***************** "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" 3 Presented above is the Biblical proposition most considered to be supportive of the tripartite theory of the Godhead.

    • Word count: 3443
  4. Plato and Nietzsche on Authority

    Plato and Nietzsche both argue for a de facto authority (sensibly - who wants to impose an authority that is ignored?) and they both outline what they believe to be justification for this authority. This justification is at the centre of much of political philosophy, as it is important to discover if the justification works. Authority differs, therefore, from justified power, as justified power in itself does not involve subordination of judgement - if they're not recognised, then they cannot require that people follow their rule.

    • Word count: 5049
  5. Nietzsche and Mill on Conventional Morality

    However, let us take it as a strong, sound, altogether brilliant piece of logic for a minute. Whilst it is true that I desire my own happiness, and quite plausibly the happiness of those around me and those I hold close to me, to say that I desire the happiness of someone I have never met, and further more am not even aware of the existence of seems impossible. However the argument that people desire happiness and so happiness is desirable could be used with some strength to justify Nietzsche's Egoism if we take the feeling of happiness to be a by-product of the affirmation of the will.

    • Word count: 4099
  6. Examine and Comment on a philosophical analysis of religious experience

    As they are so deeply personal the imposition of external definition, although from an intellectual point of view appears a necessity, may be unrealistic. CAROLINE FRANKS DAVIES' attempt to define religious experience as "something akin to a sensory experience... an intellectual intuition which is analogous to our intuition of other human persons... a roughly datable mental event which the subject is to some extent aware of"1 may help illustrate the immense difficulty in providing a definition that does not appear hopelessly vague.

    • Word count: 3478
  7. Compare and Contrast the Philisophical Contributions of Nietzsche and Mill to our understanding of political and social tyranny.

    - His ideas were and still are enormously influential and the ideas presented remain the basis of much political thought. In "On Liberty" Mill refers to tyrannical societies of the past where liberty meant protection from the tyranny of political rulers. They consisted of a governing One or a governing tribe, who derived their authority from inheritance or conquest. (NZ) To prevent the weaker members of society from being preyed upon by "innumerable vultures" it was thought that there should be an "animal of prey" stronger than the rest.

    • Word count: 3181
  8. Synoptic Study, Satre, Engels and Marx

    The view that some people are born to do certain things to become certain people disappears. To illustrate this point I will use an example of a murderer. The person who commits the murder was not born a murderer or destined to kill by some strange fate like force. The person simple, using there own free choice, chose to kill. A less extreme example would be of a great musician. He is a great musician because he freely chooses to practice his instrument and to learn not because it was his pre existent purpose. Because of this freedom we can define our self's as anything we want.

    • Word count: 4237
  9. Compare and contrast the contributions of Descartes and Humes on the issue of the existence of God

    Descartes used a triangle as an example, the three angles have to add up to 180 degrees or the shape could not be defined as a triangle. In the same way existence can't be seperated from the concept of God. According to Descartes that would be a contradiction. However Kant objects to Descartes by claiming that there would no contradiction if one was to reject both the subject and predicate. Kant wrote in 'Critique of pure reason' 'It would be self contradictory to posit a triangle and yet reject its three angles, but there is no contradiction in rejecting the

    • Word count: 3357
  10. Plato's Theory of Forms

    The beauty or justice that we see in society around us is always imperfect, as even though we have never seen perfect justice or beauty we know what they are according to Plato, because we have knowledge, which is kind of a recollection. We have some kind of understanding of the Forms as for example we know that a chair should have four legs but it might be different from another chair which also has the same form but is better as it might be more comfortable.

    • Word count: 3492
  11. Introduction to Philosophy.

    What is the basics stuff of the universe and all about reality? * Thales --> The World * Anaximender --> Boundless in the form of tension of opposites. The polarity of life as for everything there is an opposite. Example : LIFE AND DEATH. * Anaximanes --> Air...He is assumed that all are formed by means of air. All three philosophers are attached to mythology. * Empedodes --> he studied fire , water, air & earth and he was the first one to identify these elements. FOR EVERY THEORY THERE MUST BE ASSUMPTIONS. ASSUMPTIONS ARE THE BASIC POINT OF DEPARTURE.

    • Word count: 3946
  12. The Metamorphosis: Existence.

    In The Metamorphosis, isolation and alienation are at the heart of this surreal story. Prior to Gregor's metamorphosis, he confesses to the reader of his alienation from the real world. He states, What a gruelling job...I've got the torture of traveling, worrying about changing trains, eating miserable food at all hours, constantly seeing new faces, no relationships that last or that get more intimate...That's all I'd have to try with my boss; I'd be fired in the spot...If I didn't hold back for my parents sake, I would have quit long ago.

    • Word count: 3118
  13. Sartre is a very strong proponent of strong determinism, that is, he does not merit any sort of determinism at all when considering human action.

    We do have choice; however, this choice is only between limited options, as determined by both the mental and physical worlds. It seems essential to define the two extremes. The first of these, determinism, is the belief that everything has a pre-noted physical existence and that interactions of physical elements are a set of known processes. Typically, this isn't an explanation of a religious merit, rather, it is in terms of science and of causality. According to determinists, the universe follows those rules that we observe and record in our sciences.

    • Word count: 3817
  14. A Critical Analysis of Lao Tzu's Tao Teh Ching - Chineses philosophy.

    This short book is written in an aphoristic and poetic style as a guide to good living and government. It suggests that there is a source and principle of the cosmic order (tao, eng. the way) and the constant flow of the life force (chi, eng. breath, vital spirit, force) in unceasing change of the world. It also claims that because tao of humanity and that of the universe are the same, humans should try to live in tune with nature and the universe. The cosmic principle of tao is elusive, deep and obscure and cannot be expressed properly in words.

    • Word count: 4294
  15. Compare and contrast arguments for and against belief in life after death.

    According to Davies, although the arguments may seem ingenious, in actual fact they are severely misguided. Things may have opposites, but it does not follow that if something comes to be, there is something which is its opposite from which it comes. Nor does it follow that if something ceases to be, something comes to be which is opposite to something existing earlier. Davies adds that Plato's second argument does not work because it mistakenly assumes that if all who have lived come to be dead, it follows that everyone has come to be dead. It is true that someone who has gone to sleep has not awoken but it is not true that nobody is

    • Word count: 4096
  16. Describe the main strengths and weaknesses of the cosmological argument for the existence of God.

    Therefore, since time is infinite, there must be some time in which none of these things existed. But if there were nothing at that point in time, how could there be anything at all now, since nothing cannot cause anything? Thus, there must always have been at least one necessary thing that is eternal, which is God.5 The Cosmological Argument has one tremendous advantage. It starts from an invulnerable first premise which we all accept, the existence of the universe. It is a posteriori argument, an argument that starts from something we experience, in this case, the universe.

    • Word count: 6050
  17. Outline one version of the design argument for the existence of God

    Others have included Plato and St Thomas Aquinas on whom much modern catholic theology is based. The version that I will investigate is that of William Paley. Paley (1743-1805) was an Anglican churchman who had a strong interest in the apologetics. Apologetics were those who used natural theology to defend the existence of the god of classical theism. To quote Colin Crowder in his essay on the Design Argument, "The apologist need not rule out a subsequent appeal to revelation, provided that he or she gives good reasons for believing that any purported divine revelation (such as the bible)

    • Word count: 3001

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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