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AS and A Level: Philosophy

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  1. Philosophy - analysis of Nietzsche, Sartre and Tolstoy

    - Considered all such morality an expression of our "herd instinct". - Since what is in its best interest will vary from herd to herd, our morals will vary. - Nietzsche argues that there were two different sorts of morality which include : *The positive "MASTER" morality that came naturally to the conquering warrior in our history *The reactive "SLAVE" morality that developed among the people who had been conquered. - The master morality works with intuitive characteristics of 'good' and 'bad' * Good properties being those that were manifestly desirable to members of the conquering class (good looks, strength, honour, wealth, etc)

    • Word count: 1781
  2. Benthams theory Act Utilitarianism has many strengths and weaknesses.

    Another strength would be that this theory is always seeking the ?Greatest Good for the Greatest Number?. For example if I was going to b**b the world with a b**b I planted in a secret location and the only way to get the information was to torture me.

    • Word count: 486
  3. Conscience is innate. Discuss

    The argument that conscience is innate comes from a religious point of view. They argue, apart from Aquinas, that our conscience is given by God as a moral guide of what is right and wrong and that we should never disobey what our conscience says as it would be going against the word of God. Joseph Butler devised the idea of ?Intuitive Conscience?, which stated that your conscience immediately comes into play when faced with a moral situation or dilemma. He described conscience as being ?our natural guide, the guide assigned to us by the Author of our nature?, meaning that it is assigned to us by God.

    • Word count: 2095
  4. 'Utilitarianism works'. Assess this view

    Bowie says that ?It is a common sense system that is practically applicable to real life situations. It has no need for special wisdom?. It is a moral system that is people friendly. For example in the management of hospitals, where fixed budgets must be best used to alleviate the suffering of many. There are many weaknesses regarding utilitarianism. Firstly Utilitarianism relies on accurate predictions of the future and this is impossible. Consequences of actions may not become clear until years in the future. For example if a person were to have an affair, get pregnant and keep it secret for years until one day 20 years later that child needs an organ donated and finds out that his ?dad? really isn?t his dad.

    • Word count: 586
  5. Explain what a study of Religious Experience may reveal about the nature of God. Comment on the significance of this study with reference to the topic you have studied.

    William James explained four characteristics of a Religious experience. One is that it has the characteristic of ?ineffability? which is a quality similar to Otto?s numinous feelings from the mystical. Cole explains that the ineffable occurrences ?defy expression?. St Teresa of Avila who said that she wishes she could give a description of what she felt from her religious experience, such as the positive pain she felt when an angel came and thrust a spear of fire into her, but found it impossible. God would want to communicate with His creation, so when there are individuals that receive these experiences it would be because God is personal.

    • Word count: 2329
  6. Compare and contrast proof and probability. (10 marks)

    For example, 1+1=2 cannot be incorrect as it abides the laws of mathematics. The statement is proven if it is beyond reasonable doubt and there is no evidence to prove otherwise. Deductive arguments are difficult to attain as the premises are hard to establish. On the other hand, probability develops from a posteriori grounds which are inductive. ?a proposition is probable not in isolation, but in relation to other, evidence stating from propositions? (Hick).

    • Word count: 426
  7. Reflection on Descartes' Second Medtitation

    So what is true in that world? Descartes suggests that the only thing that is true in that world is the fact that nothing is true and certain. However, if there is nothing certain in the world, can there be something that is not concerned even by the slightest occasion of doubt? Descartes assumes that if it is not God, who sends him these ideas, it could be himself. Earlier he persuaded himself that nothing exist in this world so that his body and senses are also do not exist, so he is full of doubt whether he exists without his body and senses or not.

    • Word count: 1011
  8. The Concept of Life After Death is Incoherent - Discuss.

    If they kept their dharma then they would have good karma bringing them wealth and good karma in the next life. The reincarnation, however, is not the conscious self, rather it is an eternal spiritual reality that underlies the whole process of lives. The Hindu faith also believes that there is a 'subtle body', this carries the karma onto the next life. Another faith which believes that once we die we are reborn is Buddhism. This belief however does differ from the Hindu belief.

    • Word count: 2110
  9. Explain how Aquinas uses the three Cs to prove the existence of God

    The physical rules of the universe only work inside the universe therefore anything outside of the universe the rules don?t apply. The thing that started the universe must exist outside of the universe. God is not seen as a man with a lot of power, God in these circumstances is just seen as something that created the universe and can be given any name but the chosen name was God. The first C, Change Aristotle?s idea was that everything in the universe is in motion therefore everything has the ability to change or become different in some way.

    • Word count: 684
  10. There are many challenges raised against utilitarianism that weaken the theory.

    An action may not result in a good consequence, but if it is done out of good will then surely the attitude with which the action is performed should be worthy of some credit. Utilitarianism is a consequentialist theory which is its strength but also a major weakness. You have to predict the long-term consequences with accuracy, however we cannot know the consequence of an action until it has actually been carried out. Although we may anticipate an action to produce a good consequence, it may not in reality.

    • Word count: 682
  11. Bertrand Russell disagreed with Berkeleys argument for objects existence.

    This raises an immediate problem. If everything is perceiver dependent, what happens when an object is not being perceived? Does it simply pop out of existence? This argument does not seem coherent. This is due to the idea being an extremely irrational understanding of the world. The concept can also be disproved. This is because if we could put a video camera into a room and leave it so no one perceived the room and the objects in it and it would not disappear.

    • Word count: 429
  12. Explain Aristotles idea of the four causes.

    Aristotle explained that something has its own form opposed to sharing in the ideal form. The form is immanent rather than transcendent. The efficient cause is the thing that happens to bring about certain results. For instance with a clay pot the efficient cause would be the person who made the clay pot; the act of the person forming the shape of it. This is the cause that brings the substance of an object into a particular form. Aristotle believed that the efficient cause is where potentiality is turn to actuality, the person sees the potential of the clay and actualises it by making it into a clay pot.

    • Word count: 970
  13. What Is Time?

    It exists always. It is an important concept to understand and comprehend but yet very difficult to explain. Among various fields and disciplines it holds a different understanding in different ways. According to view of mathematicians time is speed divided by distance, a concept which rationally proves what time is and makes it a unit of measure. But important to distinguish between the existence of a physical - mathematical term of time and the existence of a consciousness term of time within each human being is an unorthodox view to look at what time really is. Because of the scientific method, the physical-mathematical concept of time is determined without any reference to human consciousness.

    • Word count: 645
  14. What is Natural Law (Religious Studies A Level 30 Marks)

    It focused on people?s character rather than their actions. He believed that in order to be a good person we should aim to possess certain virtues and avoid bad qualities of a character. If we did this then we would flourish as humans and best the best we can be. He said the aim of human beings was to be happy, but not happy acquired by please or success, but happiness instead attained by living a virtuous life. Aristotle also concluded that there were three types of soul. The soul of plants is a Vegetive soul that is only capable of growth and reproduction.

    • Word count: 1225
  15. Meta- ethics is a branch of ethics that is mostly about the question Whats goodness? and How do we define what is good and what is bad?

    There are three common questions that define meta- ethics, according to Richard Garner and Bernard Rosen: 1. What is the meaning of moral terms or judgments? 2. What is the nature of moral judgments? 3. How may moral judgments be supported or defended? The first question is mostly aimed to define ?what do the words good, bad, right, and wrong mean,? while the second one is about whether moral judgments are universal or relative. The third question is about ?how can we know if something is right or wrong, if at all?? According to Garner and Rosen, the responses to

    • Word count: 1135
  16. How far must a religious view of life be fatalistic

    The idea of this is that God is the potter and the human is the clay. God?s best work will gain salvation with him, where as his worst work will not. St Paul in Romans stated that ?and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his son, and those he predestined and, he also glorified?.

    • Word count: 665
  17. Aristotle's four causes

    The second cause is the Efficient Cause. This asks the question, how was the object made? For the statue, it was made by the mason. However, this cause is not always a person, for example, trees are made from the soil, water and oxygen, not but a human, however, this can be questioned as our universe is an object, but who created that?

    • Word count: 525
  18. Plato's allegory of the cave

    This concept suggests that the soul, like the prisoners, has been there since birth therefore showing that Plato believes the soul is immortal, this is backed up by the fact that despite the prisoner (Socrates) died, his ideas and teachings live on forever hence showing the soul is immortal. In the story the prisoner wants to escape the cave and go into the world of reality, by this Plato could be suggesting that the world we live in now is like the cave, misty and unclear and that the world what our souls want to escape to is the world of enlightenment.

    • Word count: 1121
  19. Examine two solutions to the problem of suffering

    Augustine believed that God is right not to intervene to put a stop to suffering. He firmly thought that God is a righteous one who at the end of time will deal with those who rejected him. A key idea central to Augustine's defence of God is his Principle of Plenitude. This principle shows the great diversity of the universe that God created so a whole range of 'eternal ideas' should become incarnated in a world of sense and experience.

    • Word count: 800
  20. i) Outline the key features of the cosmological argument ii) To what extent is it a weak argument

    If we trace the sequence of movements to the beginning, we must arrive at a first mover. He concludes that, that ?unmoved mover? must be God. Secondly, he refers to the second way which is similar to the first way. He states that, every effect must have a cause because nothing can cause itself. If this was possible, then there will be an endless chain of effects (infinite regress).Referring to Aristotle, he argued that, if nothing caused the chain then there would be nothing, and there would be no chain at all.

    • Word count: 1050
  21. Happiness or Duty: Aristotle and Kants Approach on Moral Reason

    Both thinkers possess some validity but also have flaws. Backing one thinker proves to be a difficult decision. However, Kant?s idea of universal law does not give flexibility to other cultures and societies. Kant imprints a western philosophy which does not correspond with cultures that have not come into contact with the western society he was raised in. Therefore, Aristotle?s basic theory of happiness stretches across many cultures and civilizations, meaning that it is more applicable in general. Kant?s Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals revolutionized the way people thought in the late 18th century; many of his ideas have true meaning and need to be acknowledged.

    • Word count: 1741
  22. Assess whether Descartes succeeds in establishing the existence of God

    Descartes? seeks to prove the existence of God through the Trademark Argument as to allow for the use of clear and distinct ideas as foundational. Descartes? first argument in favor of God has become known as the Trademark Argument; here Descartes attempts to show that the only way he could have had an idea of God would be if there was a God in existence to put it there. His argument relies on the Causal Adequacy principle that states that the cause of something must be at least equal to or greater than it?s effect.

    • Word count: 930
  23. Determinism and free will can never be reconciled. Discuss.

    This idea is very closely related to Soft determinism. John Locke was seen to believe in both ideas and he provided a brilliant way of understanding this idea through an example where a man who is fast asleep, is placed in a room where a person he longs to see and speak with is, and is fasten to the bed where it is beyond his power to get out. As he wakes up he realises he is in such good company and chooses willingly to stay, even though he has no choice as he is locked fast in, this choice can be seen as a free and voluntary decision.

    • Word count: 727
  24. Paleys teleological argument for the existence of God consisted of a famous analogy of an old fashioned mechanical watch,

    For example, the human eye, is compared to a highly sophisticated automatic focus camera, the eye is designed to fulfil its purpose, which is to see. The foundation of Paley?s argument for the existence of God is that all things in the universe have been designed to fulfil its purpose, this argument is known as Design qua Purpose, which means that the Universe appears to behave according to some kind of order or rule; consequently Paley argues that there is a need for an Intelligent Designer.

    • Word count: 428
  25. Discuss Aquinas' Cosmological Argument to try to prove the existence of God

    Therefore everything in existence is in motion. Aquinas further on mentions in his theory that everything has the potentiality to change for example, babies are born, grow old then die and that this change is caused by something because nothing can be moved on its own thus the unmoved mover, thus there must have been a first mover or a prime mover which in itself was unmoved and quote ?motion must be put in motion by another?. Aquinas then argues that the prime mover is God.

    • Word count: 732

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