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AS and A Level: Philosophy

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  1. How might we combat the Gettier Problem? In giving your answer set forth two of your own Gettier - Style counter examples

    According to the tripartite definition to have knowledge; we have to a justified true belief. This can be broken down and looked at in three parts. Part one; Beliefs can be described as something that we accept as true, these beliefs can come from many different sources such as other people, our senses or from reasoning. Part two of the tripartite definition is Truth. This is obviously something that we want from our beliefs. However the idea of truth itself is a controversial one.

    • Word count: 1833
  2. Outline the teleological argument for the existence of God.

    Paley initiates his argument with the simple analogy of the watch. We are asked to imagine walking along and finding a watch in an isolated, deserted place. Paley claims that if we were to examine the watch we would notice its complicated and intricate workings, and from this would assert that some intelligent designer has designed it. The basic premise is that design (i.e. the watch) implies a designer (e.g. a human). This, Paley holds, is analogous to the world. The watch represents the world; its complex and intricate workings representing those of nature, for example the way that all animals are so well adapted to their surroundings.

    • Word count: 717
  3. Describe three characteristics of mental states which are held to distinguish them from physical states. a***s the view that the characteristics of mental states make it impossible for those states to be within the physical world.

    Mental states are known from direct or immediate acquaintance. Intentionality is the feature whereby many mental states posses a representational content. They seem to be about or directed upon other states of affairs. Some intentional states, such as beliefs, portray how the world actually is. If a the world is as a belief represents it as being, the belief is true, otherwise it is false. Other intentional states, such as desires and intentions, represents how a person wants the world to be.

    • Word count: 555
  4. What is the Mind?

    According to materialists, all mental states are simply different brain states. This means that different neurons fire at different times, and therefore form different states- bringing on different feelings and emotions. A situation often supporting this theory would be that of pain. When we feel a pain, we immediately think that the pain is in the actual body part where the pain was inflicted. The thing that proves this wrong would be that of in the case of amputation. Someone may have amputated his foot, but he would still complain about a pain in his foot.

    • Word count: 982
  5. 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
  6. Does Aristotle regard the description of an ideal state and the analysis of actual states as distinct or as related subjects of political enquiry?

    Aristotle clearly intends actual state and the ideal state to be considered simultaneously. This is immediately apparent in the way that the actual constitutions he considers are presented with a view to their defects in the light of an discussion of the ideal state. Aristotle outlines his goals at the very beginning of Book II where he states that "We only undertake this inquiry because all the constitutions which now exist are faulty."1 This statement illustrates well the thrust of Aristotle's purpose.

    • Word count: 1743
  7. Teenagers are too immature to discuss relationships like those featured in the poems.

    I think that younger people are not mature enough to discuss relationships, like those, which are discussed in poems, because of two reasons. The first reason being, that I think people who are older have had more experience as to being in these situations in real life, so the more they discuss them, the more mature they get about handling those situations and talking about them.

    • Word count: 523
  8. Is active citizenship necessary to the achievement of eudaimonia?

    It is easy to discover in The Politics a theme of encouragement to the active life. As Aristotle seeks to define the best form of state, he establishes that the best form of life must also be understood. Breaking down the best form of life into its constituent elements of external good, goods of the body and goods of the soul, Aristotle concludes that the state must supply its people with these determinate types of good, or at least provide an environment in which they may be gained. These goods, when possessed, create the self-sufficiency that Aristotle believes a state must represent.

    • Word count: 2089
  9. Islam’s Problems come from within

    * Rushdie continues by introducing a vital key point to his article. He criticizes such political groups for blaming outsiders for all "the ills of Muslim societies." He then suggests that they are to accept responsibility of their problems and then they may be able to solve their problems by themselves. * Rushdie continues by showing how many Muslims are beginning to ask themselves such questions.

    • Word count: 464
  10. What are Mill’s four main arguments in defence of freedom of speech?

    These arguments will be explained in more detail in turn. If one assumes that one's opinion is wholly true, complete and accurate one assumes infallibility, there being no conceivable possibility of being wrong or incomplete in any aspect of it. If this were the situation there might be a basis for the suppression of alternative views but, as human beings, this is manifestly not the case. Mill held that one could not hold a view with certainty until it had been rigorously and openly challenged and even then must be continuously open to such scrutiny for it to approach absolute certainty.

    • Word count: 1636
  11. There are many arguments for and against Utilitarianism and whether it provides an adequate basis for making moral decisions

    It clearly takes pleasure to be desirable as it recommends producing greatest pleasure and minimal pain. If something is intrinsically good, it is god in itself no matter what its consequences are. If something is instrumentally good, it is good because of its consequences. A Utilitarian would say that pleasure and only pleasure is intrinsically good. For example they would argue that health is only good as it makes us feel good and it is that which causes us pleasure, whereas being unhealthy makes us feel bad. There are a few minor problems with the application of the Utilitarian argument.

    • Word count: 1177
  12. ‘Taken as a whole, the Sun, Divided Line and Cave present us with a coherent picture of Plato’s ideas’. Discuss.

    The divided line goes into more depth on Plato's previous idea. Although an abstract example, Plato uses it to try and make his idea simpler. Plato believed that there were four different states of the mind, and four different states of reality, both progressing from a lower level (illusion / images and shadows) to a higher level (intelligence / Forms). The lowest level is the second hand images of physical things. As Plato thought that physical things were just in the mind anyway, a shadow of a physical thing is the lowest form of knowledge, which corresponds to illusion in the mind.

    • Word count: 1702
  13. Outline the Cosmological Argument-

    The big bang is an obvious beginning in time. The Thomistic Argument envisages a chain of causes. It considers that every incident in the universe has a cause it was caused by something and will be the cause an event to come. The argument is set out in two of Aquinas' five ways. Nothing can cause itself because this means that the thing is prior to itself, which is impossible. The idea of infinite regression is not comprehendible and impossible; therefore there must be a first cause, which is itself uncaused.

    • Word count: 1518
  14. Fathers and Sons - The Quarrel – Chapter 10 .

    "I do not share the same opinion", said Pavel igniting the debate. Bazarov then asks Pavel what can be proved about the supposed superiority of the aristocrats. Though Pavel does answer the challenge I feel Bazarov is trying to change the subject when he chooses to personalize the argument and begins to talk about what the point of all of Pavel's trouble is. He implies that Pavel doesn't achieve anything in his life and so his aristocratic way of life has been a useless one with no progress.

    • Word count: 1418
  15. Socrates’ View of Persuasion

    Everything is relative and there are no values because man, individual man, is the measure of all things. Nothing is good or bad since everything depends on the individual. Gorgias was a well-paid teacher of rhetoric and famous for his saying that a man could not know anything. And if he could, he could not describe it and if he could describe it, no one would understand him. Socrates was not a Sophist himself, but a philosopher, a lover of wisdom. He did not reveal answers. He did not reveal truth. Many of his questions were, on the surface, quite simple: What is courage?

    • Word count: 1422
  16. The differences between the Cosmological Argument and the Teleological Argument for the existence of God.

    This example is simplifying how that everything must have an event and effect in history to this very day. However, this theory does not prove that God exists as being the cause or effect. It is however stating that every event will cause another event or affect and that it does not happen spontaneous by chance. The Teleological argument plainly states that the world is too complex and far too detailed just by chance, that is has a designer. It argues against the Big Bang by putting it into prospective and comparing a watch with the world. On a smaller scale, it explains that if all the small pieces of a watch were put in a tray and thrown

    • Word count: 763
  17. Outline the Cosmological Argument for the existence of God.

    He then moves on to state that if everything cannot exist (if everything is contingent), then given infinite time, there will be a time when everything does not exist (a time when there will be nothing). Aquinas has taken 'can' from the first statement, added infinite time, and arrived at 'must' in the second premise. His next premise states that if there was once nothing, nothing could come out of it, which leads to the first conclusion of the argument; that something (not necessarily God)

    • Word count: 997
  18. Prayer in Public Schools

    But its purpose is to argue all forms of religion in schools, high school in particular. He states that high school is a place where you begin to separate from your parents and begin to form your own ideas. Keeping this in mind, it's the absolute worst place to start forcing values and beliefs on you. He further states that religion will never be non-discriminatory; it can never totally include everyone. There will always be someone who doesn't fit in simply because of a personal belief, and high school is not the place to institute isolationism and criticism on any level outside of an academic level.

    • Word count: 1249
  19. “The Ontological argument will never be of any use when trying to prove Gods existence”. Discuss. (17 marks).

    However in Anselms reply he said that 'God is a special case' in that this only applies to necessary beings and to something that has all the perfection's. Gods perfection is ultimate so nothing more can be added to it, unlike an island where more things such as more beaches could be added to improve it. God is immutable, is perfection is unchangeable and unique and this is why the ontological argument can only apply to Him. Some of the strengths of the argument are that it is clear and very logical which if looked at step by step makes sense and seems to prove its point.

    • Word count: 1129
  20. Examine and consider criticisms, which have been made against Utilitarianism.

    Mill attempted to adapt Bentham's thoughts by introducing a number of different ideas and distinctions. One of the criticisms of Bentham's philosophy was that it was a 'swine' philosophy. The accusation was that, with its emphasis on pleasure, Utilitarianism made human beings no better than pigs. The first criticism that was made was that 'what is pleasure'. Utilitarianism is based on the idea of Hedonism. Indeed this is what led many philosophers to suggest that Utilitarianism was a 'swine philosophy' as it was simply based on pleasure.

    • Word count: 433
  21. Which of Kant's formulations of the categorical imperative offers the most plausible account of what it is for an act to be right?

    or the Formula of Universal Law. Consider the example Kant gives of giving a false promise. Making false promises is wrong, because it can not imagine everyone adopting this as a principle of action. If everyone did, then promising would make no sense i. Cases in which there simply could not be a world in which everyone acts on the maxim because everyone's trying would be destructive of everyone's continuing ability to do so: "Some actions are so constituted that their maxim cannot even be conceived as a universal law of nature without contradiction."

    • Word count: 1694
  22. Assess the claim that religious experiences prove that God exists.

    These tests included sensing a positive change in the room and within the person, whether the person looked at peace or disturbed as the experience and if the experience fits into the teachings of the church. St Teresa of Avilas’ theory presents an open argument to religious experiences proving that God exists. She herself had an religious experience so she is speaking from a person with experience. She believes she was visited by Jesus Christ and her remaining feeling was peace and tranquillity not at all disturbed.

    • Word count: 781
  23. How do we know what we know, and how do we know that we know it?

    Based on the understandings of assertions and propositions, we can now understand the definition of a belief. Belief is just when you take a propositional attitude of truth. I believe that this is a book, if in reality i think it is a book. And even if I?m wrong, even if it wasn?t a book, if I really thought that it was a book, that would just be my belief. What all this means is that people can have false beliefs.

    • Word count: 1398
  24. Explain the Ontological Argument + Kant's Argument has Finished all Arguments

    It is greater to exist in mind and reality together than in mind alone. Therefore, then God, TWNGCBC, must also exist in mind and reality. Anselm strengthens his argument by giving God the predicate of existence. A predicate is a characteristic or a quality belonging to someone/thing. This means for God to be God, God must have existence because existence is perfect. Anselm has another deductive argument found in the Proslogion 3. In this argument, Anselm is using a negative choice of words where he states that ?God is the being that nothing greater can be thought of.? Anselm linked this to the idea of necessary existence.

    • Word count: 1198

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