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AS and A Level: Philosophy

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  1. Examine the strengths and weaknesses of utilitarianism

    The empirical knowledge proves to be very useful, because it is reasonable to link morality with the pursuit of happiness and the avoidance of pain. Bentham makes happiness the ultimate goal. He arrived at this conclusion using his knowledge of the pattern of the world and human behaviour. Bentham concludes that human nature is like ?pleasure seeking, pain avoiding organisms?. This means that, human beings just want to be happy. The consequential theory of ethics is taken into account. The utility principle was developed because; it is natural to consider the consequences of our actions when deciding what to do.

    • Word count: 956
  2. Discuss Plato's analogy of the cave

    He then thinks that the fire and puppets are the most real things in the whole world. The freed prisoner then leaves the cave and at first he is blinded by the light outside and can only look at shadows. His eyes adjust and he is then able to see objects that are real such as trees and flowers and reflections. He realises these are real; even more real than the puppets. The prisoner lifts his head and sees the sun and realises the sun causes everything, such as the seasons and light and everything around him.

    • Word count: 1095
  3. Critically Assess the Claim That the Religious Believer Dies a Death of a Thousand Qualifications

    However, the believer then suggests that the gardener must be invisible. So then put up an electric fence, and also guard it with sniffer dogs, but still no evidence was found of a gardener sneaking in a tending to the land. Yet the believer continues to believe that there is a gardener, but now he claims that not only is the gardener invisible, but is also intangible and odourless. The sceptic eventually gives up and asks the believer how the claim that there is an ?intangible, odourless, gardener?, differs from the claim that there is ?no? gardener at all.

    • Word count: 1286
  4. How Can the Religious View Be Defended As a Way of Seeing the World?

    In Paley?s argument he imagines himself walking across a field and coming across a stone and a watch. He ponders the same question about both objects; ?how did that object come to be here?? In the case of the stone for all Paley knows, it could have simply been lying there forever. However in the case of the watch, Paley found that answer unsatisfactory because there are many differences between a watch and a stone. A watch for example, has many moving parts that are arranged intricately in a specific order so that they work together to tell the time correctly.

    • Word count: 2203
  5. Outline and assess the main objections to representative realism

    Unlike direct realism, representative realism is able to accept that on some occasions, our senses may be deceiving us, because the theory does not claim that the world is exactly as we perceive it. This means it can tolerate the idea that sometimes our mind might play tricks on us, or that optical illusions like the narrowing or railway lines, for example, do not match reality. As the theory takes into account two elements; the world and sense data, it can provide an illustration of what hallucinations are. They take place when sense impressions fail to represent the world accurately.

    • Word count: 1282
  6. The world appears designed, so God exists - Discuss

    Thomas Aquinas offers five ways in which God?s existence can be demonstrated, in his book the Summa Theologica. His ?fifth way? is a version of an argument from design, and in particular it is an argument from analogy. It compares how the natural world appears to have a purpose and goal, with human activity, which does have a purpose and goal. Aquinas uses an example of an archer in his argument by analogy: Things that lack intelligence such as living organisms, have and end (a purpose). Things that lack intelligence cannot move towards their end unless they are directed by someone with knowledge and intelligence.

    • Word count: 1760
  7. All ideas are derived from sense experience which they copy Discuss:

    However, Hume believes that all our ideas are fainter versions of our impressions. I would be unable to see a table in my mind, as vividly as I would in real life. Hume also believed that there are different forms of ideas, some are simple, and some are complex. One example of simple idea would be feeling the coldness of ice. It is an idea that cannot be broken down into any simpler ideas. On the other hand, an example of a complex impression would be the idea of a unicorn. This idea can be broken down into many things, but mainly the idea of a horse and a horn.

    • Word count: 849
  8. Critically discuss the view that all knowledge comes from, and is justified by, sense experience

    When an empiricist says that ?all knowledge comes from sense experience?, they mean substantive knowledge. This is knowledge about ?how the world is? rather than knowledge about the meanings of words. On the other hand, there are a few strengths to this statement. One strength is that it is supported by the plausible scientific data that, we need to use observation and experiment to find out about the world around us. Empiricists believe that since we are born with our minds being a ?tabula rasa? we need sense experience to acquire all substantive knowledge about the world.

    • Word count: 978
  9. Critically Assess the View that, Without a Predetermined Conceptual Scheme, Our Sense Experience Would Be Unintelligible

    However some would say that, this idea wouldn?t work at all. They would claim that the statue would just receive a flow of uninterpreted sensations: noises, shapes, colours and tastes. They would argue this by saying that the statue must at least have the concept of similarity to compare and contrast experiences. Therefore, if the statue doesn?t have a pre-existing method of categorising and storing all this information then it can?t form concepts or even recall its ideas. Furthermore, this problem can be shown through the analogy of the office and the filing system.

    • Word count: 1544
  10. To be is to be perceived Discuss

    The philosophy of idealism was founded by Bishop George Berkeley. He termed sense impressions, as well as other contents of the mind, as ideas, and claimed that physical objects don?t exist independently of the mind but are in reality just collections of such ideas. One advantage this philosophy had over realism, indirect realism in particular was that it doesn?t face the challenges of the linking problem. Representative realists have a lot of difficulty explaining how we can know that there are physical objects ?behind? the sense data that we perceive.

    • Word count: 1255
  11. Outline the key ideas of the design argument.

    Paley uses the analogy of a watch to explain his argument; if we were to come across a watch we would assume that it had a creator, this is mainly due to the fact it has such an intricate design, like a machine, so it must have been designed with a purpose in mind, proving it can?t have been made by pure chance. If it was designed any other way it may not have worked. ?When we came to inspect the watch, we perceive that its several parts are framed and put together for a purpose?.

    • Word count: 1740
  12. What makes a person valuable?

    First definition is by their consciousness, their rational reasoning of one situation and generally understanding and knowledge about what is deemed to be right or wrong. But one can not have no conscious at all as it all about acknowledgement of what is right and what is wrong, this is just thought, however those whose consciousness are very high would follow the righteous actions as opposed to doing the opposite and this makes them very conscious, however those who

    • Word count: 2309
  13. Utilitarianism revision notes.

    Since this theory is based on the greatest number it is quantitive. Since good is defined as pleasure or happiness it means this is a hedonistic theory. This theory is based on the ancient idea of pursuing physical pleasure and avoiding physical pain. The most moral acts are the ones which maximise pleasure and minimise pain - Utilitarian Calculus "The principle of utility aims to promote happiness which is the supreme ethical value" "An act is right if it delivers more pleasure than pain and wrong if it brings about more pain than pleasure" Happiness = pleasure minus pain It has 7 elements.

    • Word count: 691
  14. Compare the film the matrix with Platos allegory of the cave.

    The prisoner is dragged out of the cave and into the world above. At first, the prisoner is so dazzled by the light that he can only look at shadows, then at reflections, then finally at the real objects like trees, flowers and houses. He sees that these are even more real than the shadows were, and that those were only copies of reality. The prisoner has now reached the cognitive stage of thought. He has caught his first glimpse of the most real thing, which is the Forms.

    • Word count: 1344
  15. Philosophers Views on Miracles Essay

    Scholars throughout the centuries have been divided I their views on the definition on a miracle. It is argued that the main features of the definitions contain three basic attributes. The event must be against regular experience, the event has a purpose and significance and it is also ascribed to religious significance. Thomas Aquinas identified three types of miracles under his definition of miracles as ?those things done by divine power apart from the order usually followed in things? Firstly he considered those things that God did that nature could not do.

    • Word count: 1472
  16. The concept of God is incoherent. Discuss

    From the aforementioned quote from the bible, one can see that it mentions, god knows what one will say before it is actually said; before the word is in my tongue or the thought in my brain or an action I undertake, god knows the aftermath, thus I can see that I must have no free will, as my future is predetermined. Omnipotent another accredited attribute of god is again from the Latin ?omni?: all and ?potens?: power.

    • Word count: 606
  17. Explain Platos concept of forms and in particular the importance of the form of good

    These realities are what Plato called ?forms?. Plato suggests that the world we live in is a ?world of appearances? but the ?real world? is a world of ideas. He would use an example like; you recognise a chair because you know what a chair is. This basically means that we have an idea of what a cat is and this is just our souls remembering what a chair is from the world of forms. We can recognise lots of different types of chairs because it has set characteristics but it has come from the perfect form of a chair in the world of forms.

    • Word count: 1067
  18. Explain Freuds challenge to Kants moral argument for the existence of God

    However, Freud easily undermines this first stage of Kant?s argument by stating that our moral awareness cannot originate from God because of the differing opinions to ethical issues, we would then not debate over ethical issues as we would all think the same. Kant said that an ?average? level of virtue is not enough, we are obliged to aim for the highest standard possible and that True virtue should be rewarded with happiness. However according to Freud, the Superego acts as the parent influence and a person will act through the values that their parents have given them.

    • Word count: 964
  19. ) Explain the theodicies of Irenaeus and Augustine ?

    This would therefore mean that evil must exist in order for us exercise our choice. It is obvious from his writings that Irenaeus believed s that God did not make us perfect, but with the ability to advance towards perfection. This is done through making our own mistakes in life and suffering because them, so that we obtain them from making the same mistakes in the future. To Irenaeus, suffering is a necessary part of Gods created universe. As it is through suffering that our human souls are made noble.

    • Word count: 931
  20. Discuss the concept of Natural Law with reference to the ideas of Aristotle and Aquinas.

    Aquinas believed that God gave us our power to reason so we could share in his nature. He stated that ?Man should not seek to know what is above reason? his argument was that men need reason to understand all of gods truths, yet there are certain truths that are beyond reason which men cant understand, we can, nevertheless see a reflection of these in the world that god created if we use our reason correctly. Primary precepts are what Aquinas believed everybody knows instinctively and rationally, they are ?written on our hearts?.

    • Word count: 1725
  21. Physical Objects, Which Exist Independently of us, are the Immediate Objects of Perception. Discuss

    This dedication to the real existence of matter with real properties is what makes them both ?realists?. However, the difference arises in the perception of these objects. The representative realist disagrees with the direct realist on whether we perceive the properties of matter directly. Indirect realists distinguish our sensations from the objects that are perceived. The claim here is that, there is a mental component, the way in which objects appear to the observer, and then the objects as it is in reality.

    • Word count: 1088
  22. There is nothing wrong with being ignorant as long as you are contented Dicuss.

    Plato continued this story of saying that the prisoner was finally ?englightened? by the real truth, and then returned to tell his fellow prisoners of what he had learnt. This evidently shows us that Plato did in fact agree with breaking free of ignorance, as it is the whole meaning of the analogy of the cave. Plato also believed that we as humans are ignorant, in the sense that we believe the real world is the Empirical world, and that no other worlds exist.

    • Word count: 1357
  23. Descartes - Philosophy

    No Heavens?? (page 463 Kindle). He acknowledges that he judges others sometimes for their mistakes when they feel they have all the knowledge. Descartes views this is a deception on God?s part. Descartes argues that since God is said to be supremely good, why would he deceive us? Since God did not create me to be deceived all of the time, why would he allow me to be deceived on any occasion? An argument Descartes makes on the doubt that God exists, is that some people view God as only good and that if He really did exist, no evil things would ever happen.

    • Word count: 1379
  24. Explain Anselm and Descartes ontological argument

    Moreover as Anselm is a Benedictine monk he already believes in God therefore it is easier for Anselm to understand the concept of his argument. However for an atheist the argument is harder to understand. The second part to the argument is ?that it is impossible for God not to exist? this is stating that God is a necessary existence. Similarly the argument work as if god is that nothing greater can be conceived, something that can be thought to exist is greater than anything which can be thought not to exist e.g.

    • Word count: 717
  25. Does Religious Experience offer a convincing argument for God

    For example, a religious experience could be seeing apparitions such as ?Our Lady of Lourdes? (1858) as people would feel that God made the apparitions possible so people could realise he existed and he was working closely with the community, however religious experience could also be experiencing stigmata, which originated from the line at the end of Saint Paul's Letter to the Galatians where he says, "I bear on my body the marks of Jesus." with other case studies such as Marie Rose Ferron , who experienced stigmata such as ?a crown of thorns? on her forehead.

    • Word count: 2023

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