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University Degree: Philosophy and Theology

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  • Marked by Teachers essays 5
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  1. Marked by a teacher

    Compare and contrast rationalist and empiricist approaches to human nature.

    3 star(s)

    Empiricists use observation, facts and experience to guide them on what can be known. In psychology empiricist believe that all behaviour is explained in terms of learning through experience. Empiricism tend to thrive in England, Ireland and the USA The first modern psychologist, Rene Descartes was also a French scientist and mathematician and had a rationalist approach to human behaviour. His belief was that the human being was made up of two kinds of 'stuff' (this being known as 'Cartesian dualism'), body and mind. Descartes described the body as a machine that has no influence on the mind; he also described it as being a separate entity from the mind.

    • Word count: 1012
  2. Marked by a teacher

    How, if at all, does the Cogito help to ground our knowledge securely?

    3 star(s)

    For this reason, it can be said to be very effective at securing knowledge of oneself: even if a sceptic were to claim that the malicious demon could influence the mind as well, Descartes could reply that even if he were to doubt that he exists, then he will still be existing, because the act of thinking requires existence. Moreover, as Descartes points out when he begins to contemplate the evil demon hypothesis, for the deceiver to be effective, there would have to be someone to deceive.

    • Word count: 1690
  3. Marked by a teacher

    Outline the arguments for and against life after death?

    3 star(s)

    Dualism is believed mainly in religions such as Islam. Dualism states that the world is made up of two elemental categories which are incommensurable. This includes distinctions between mind and body, good and evil and universal and particular. Dualism supports the claim that each mind is an individual package that is attached to a physical being. From this theory our mental states and actions derive from uniqueness of our non physical substance. The great philosopher Rene Descartes (1596-1650), proposed several theories that make an important contribution to the ideas surrounding dualism. Descartes' idea of what is called Cartesian Dualism first proposed the idea of the mind and body relationship.

    • Word count: 2843
  4. Marked by a teacher

    Does Descartes manage to defeat scepticism and leave room for human error?

    3 star(s)

    Since God is not the source of human error Descartes works on finding an alternative explanation. Descartes says as humans are not supreme beings they are prone to making mistakes. Thus human error is not due to God but due to the fact that they are defects. In other words God has not given me a faculty that makes me go wrong, it is just that my 'faculty of judgement' is finite unlike God's. However it is incomprehensible that a perfect creator does not create something which is perfect. If God has the power to make me error free why does he choose not to?

    • Word count: 1026
  5. Marked by a teacher

    What kind of claim is, 'cogito ergo sum'?

    Despite being unable to provide any characteristics of 'I' Descartes believes he has established that he is at least 'something', which is an improvement from the First Meditation. After coming to this conclusion, Descartes is confused as to why he has a 'more distinct grasp of things which I realise are doubtful...than I have of that which is true'. In light of such analysis Descartes attempts to show that his concluding claim, 'cogito ergo sum' is unshakably sound and thus one of certainty.

    • Word count: 2583
  6. Cognitive Psychology - Reasoning and decision-making.

    If you think about it the other way around, at the problem faced by a little human being, a child, that doesn't know very much at all about anything in our complex adult world, it is difficult not to be impressed at the speed with which he or she assimilates many different types of knowledge, at the inevitable and interesting mistakes the child makes while on its way to eventual mastery of different ideas, and the way in it copes with an understanding of the world that is in a constant and radical state of flux.

    • Word count: 1373
  7. The Two-Part Morality of Machiavellian Politics

    is about achieving the ultimate goal: winning "the game of skill" (Adams 214) through whatever means necessary. Berlin believes that for Machiavelli to accept-and even promote-the use of force by rulers as a means to the end, is a result of his belief that force is the only way to achieve the moral end proper to man; in order for the ideal of a perfect patria to be achieved, the ruler must be a physician, ready to burn, cauterize, and amputate (Adams 218) anything that may cause the state to weaken. If the sole goal of society is to promote the welfare of the patria, the sacrifice of a few individuals for the sake of the community is not only necessary, but also justified and "normal" (Adams 224).

    • Word count: 1965
  8. Do we have duties either to animals or to the environment if so on what basis?

    According to Kant duties are appropriated through moral law, which is defined by the categorical imperative (1). Kant states that the categorical imperative is influenced by rationality so that a rational being must 'act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law.' Essentially what Kant is saying is that in order for a person to be moral they must only act on a principle which they would wish everybody else to be able to do. Secondly the categorical imperative also dictates that humans should be treated as ends in themselves 'Act in such a way that you would always treat humanity, whether in your

    • Word count: 1736
  9. The Motives of Foreign Aid: Ethical or Rewarding?

    In order to show clear examples one will be made about a government, the United States' Marshall Plan, and one will be made about an organization, the International Monetary Fund's global capitalist partnership. Body Paragraphs: There are two main reasons why donors provide foreign aid. The simplest one is altruism, otherwise known as the concern for the welfare of others. Many government officials and organizations feel that because of traditions, cultures, religious beliefs and/or values, every human being should have access to basic necessities such as food, housing, health care and education.

    • Word count: 1394
  10. Philosophy - Evaluate Rachels Claims against Cultural Relativism

    Cultural relativists view ethics as an entity, which operates within cultures, where every culture has differing morals, beliefs and traditions. This of course means that there are no universal truths in ethics. Thus, a "moral agents behavior is to be evaluated in reference to [their] culture" (Park, 2011) where "what makes an action right is that it's approved by ones culture" (Schick and Vaughn, 2010). Rachels and Rachels (2010), further reiterate this by saying that "if the moral code of a scoeity says that a certain action is right, then, that action is right, at least within that society".

    • Word count: 1513
  11. Plato and Epicurus views on the Best Life

    How can we be happy if we constantly worry about things we have no control over? Epicurus states this in his principal doctrine: "It is not possible for a man to banish all fear of the essential questions of life unless he understands the nature of the universe, and unless he banishes all consideration that the fables told about the universe could be true. Therefore a man cannot enjoy full happiness, untroubled by turmoil, unless he acts to gain knowledge of the nature of things."

    • Word count: 1011
  12. Epicurus theorized that what one considers as living a good life is just learning how to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. This is contained in the Philosophy of Hedonism,

    Whenever any one of these is lacking, when, for instance, the man is not able to live wisely, though he lives honorably and justly, it is impossible for him to live a pleasant life."(Epicurus 5). Having wisdom provides us with the tools needed to make choices. Epicurus theorized that what one considers as living a good life is just learning how to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. This is contained in the Philosophy of Hedonism, which is that pleasure is the most important pursuit of mankind.

    • Word count: 1231
  13. I Pledge Allegiance to a Monotheistic God. Arguing in favour of using the Pledge of Alleigance in American Schools.

    The phrase, "under God", was not added until 1954 during the height of the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union (The U.S. Pledge). The United States added the phrase to differentiate itself from the "godless atheistic communistic Soviets" (The U.S. Pledge). Even the original body language of the pledge changed, due to the original "stiff, uplifted right hand salute" comparing to the gesture of n**i Germany in the time of Hitler (The U.S. Pledge). The Pledge has adapted as the United States has adapted and has begun to distinguish itself as a nation.

    • Word count: 3446
  14. Plato and Descartes. In the works we studied by Plato (Apology, The Idea of the Good, and On the Shadows and Realities in Education) and Descartes (Meditations on the First Philosophy), both philosophers argue that we consist of a mind, or soul, which is

    He comes to this conclusion from the two points within his argument that argue God exists. The first point being that we have an idea of God and the second being that the only way to have an idea of God is if God exists. "By the word God I understand a substance that is infinite, eternal, immutable, independent, supremely intelligent, supremely powerful, and which created both myself and everything else...there is more reality in the infinite substance than in the finite on" Descartes deduces that God provided us with a mind and senses that do not deceive, inferring that we can rely on the reality our senses provide us.

    • Word count: 805
  15. Connectionism. his essay critiques the connectionist model, with specific references made to the neurological plausibility of the model, the differences the connectionist model has with the classical theory of mind and the strengths and weaknesses of the

    It will be argued that connectionism provides a more suitable conceptual basis for theorizing the mind than classical theory. The connectionist model of the brain has derived from the findings of neuroscience. It has been established that the brain is the part of the body where all cognitive processes occur (Plunkett, 2000). Poersch (2005) describes the brain as a "complex ... parallel computer" (p. 170). The brain is composed of large numbers of densely interconnected neurons, which are separated by a small gap called the synapse. Effectively, information is passed from neuron to neuron via the synapse (See appendix 1).

    • Word count: 2163
  16. The Problem of the Grudge Informer describes a situation that two major philosophical theories of lawLegal Positivism and Natural Law Theorygreatly disagree on.

    For them, the acts of the informers were immoral and should not go unpunished, which the Positivists simply don't care about. Thus, as the newly appointed Minister of Justice, I adopt the third deputy's suggested plan as the most logical and appropriate ruling because of the fact that an objective moral order, among other things, must be an integral part of all legal institutions and that the grudge informers shall not go unpunished for their wrongdoings. First, I urge that an additional and better plan could be implemented combining a couple of the steps each of these deputies has to offer.

    • Word count: 1654
  17. How convincing are Platos arguments for the immortality of the soul in the Phaedo?

    Hence why Socrates claims that "death is the ideal home for the soul."4 Socrates then puts forward four different arguments to his friends why the soul must be immortal. The first of these is the Argument of Opposites (also known as the Cyclical Argument), where Socrates states that "everything comes to be from its opposite,"5 as wake comes from sleep. He asks his friends to assume that one existed before a certain time, but the body did not, which would lead to the conclusion that one does not equal one's body, and so the soul and the body are two different entities.

    • Word count: 1678
  18. The Influence of Repentance on the Self and Society. In his essay Of Repentance Montaigne argues that all people are born with a certain nature, some lean toward good and others toward evil, but we cannot change who we are. Therefore, if we

    For instance, if a person is a serial killer and lacks emotional capabilities, it is unlikely he or she will stop to think about what they do and then end their destructive habits. Since this person is the judge of their actions, they cannot be impartial and therefore, he or she is a threat to their community. People are judged solely based on their public appearance and actions, and therefore express a false image to the world. Montaigne offers a solution to this false judgment: act the same in public and private and then one will feel a personal responsibility

    • Word count: 1941
  19. Descartes tries to doubt reality to find out if it is indubitable and therefore really be the foundation for knowledge. Descartes doubts reality by telling that reality might all be a dream

    This thing that is indubitable will be foundation of all knowledge. Descartes states that doubting each opinion "would be endless" (60), so he must doubt only "the principles which supported everything" (60). Descartes doubts the senses, since we know everything through the senses, so they are the foundation of everything. Descartes states, "I have noticed that the senses are sometimes deceptive; and it is a mark of prudence never to place our complete trust in those who have deceived us even once" (60). The senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch sometimes lead us to perceive the world in a false way.

    • Word count: 1201
  20. Does quantum mechanics, in particular the phenomena of superposition and entanglement, provide a case for the revision of classical logic?

    Despite this, I shall conclude that - while we are not compelled to revise classical logic - the priority of logic over empirical theorising has not escaped unscathed. Superposition Described Out of all of quantum mechanics, it is perhaps the phenomena of superposition and entanglement which most clearly undermine classical logic. A superposition of states describes how a system may be not just in any given state, but also somewhere 'in between'. An often-used experiment to demonstrate various aspects of quantum theory is that of the 'two slit experiment'.

    • Word count: 2684
  21. In this paper, I will explain why I believe compatibilism is a better explanation to the issue of determinism versus free will than incompatibilism.

    The ability to choose what we do would be impossible because it is nothing but an illusion (39). It may seem to us that we can choose differently than what we do, but in reality, we are just following the causal chain of events that has existed since the beginning of time. If every one of my actions is predetermined, then I cannot be held responsible for anything I do. Free will cannot exist in a world where future actions are predetermined, only the illusion of it can.

    • Word count: 1391
  22. Questioning Abortion. Marquis's argument gives us the view that we lack when looking at abortion. He states that it is prima facie wrong killing an innocent adult human. This is wrong because it deprives us of our future. However, on the other hand, Sum

    In other words, when it develops sentient. (Sumner at p. 7)4 After a close examination of the two presented arguments, I will prove that viewing abortion with Marquis's argument gives us a better understanding of the fetus and it should be promoted. I will also develop two arguments to show that Sumner's argument is weak. Firstly, I will argue that giving the child up for adoption is better than abortion. Secondly, I will highlight that contraception is completely different than abortion.

    • Word count: 2764
  23. Famine purposes a great problem to humanity. Singer explains how famine in east Bengal took a swing at humanity. (Singer, 1972 at p.1)[1] He argues that the reaction of people in relatively affluent countries is unjustified to situations similar to like t

    Singer begins his argument by criticizing the public for not giving large sums to relief funds, among other criticisms. (Singer, 1972 at p.1)4 Then again, he criticizes the public for spending their money on new clothes and cars instead of giving to the relief funds. (Singer, 1972 at p.2)5 I would like to point out that the income of a household in an affluent society is earned by the household. Anything earned by an individual is their property. A person can do whatever they wish with their property, because it belongs to them and they have a right over it.

    • Word count: 1774
  24. Religon & Extremism - philosophers such as AC Grayling, criticize religions by suggesting that it is outdated and that the society is due for a change. This change would require placing religion in private domain, leaving the public domain free of religio

    As John Murray clearly explains that is "to insult the goodwill and hard work of the many people involved in these schools".3 Clearly, AC Grayling's argument requires a second thought due to the fact that Grayling's argument shows the lack of understanding in religions and faith-based schools. He suggests that faith-based schools should not be funded. In other words, they should be eliminated because their teachings cause division, tension and conflict in the society. However, It would be unreasonable to agree with such a claim because it is only one point of view.

    • Word count: 1060
  25. Do you agree with Jeremy Benthams dismissive view of human rights as rhetorical nonsense upon stilts?

    All you can hear is a bang, a crash. Then, I assume, there is no perfect situation as we all live in imperfect circumstances. But what makes us different is our point of view and all the different approaches to one and the same topic. This essay aims to reveal some of the main ideas concerning positive and negative liberty in a discussion between their advocates. Negative liberty is the kind of liberty where people are free to the extent to which they are not prevented of making choices of their own.

    • Word count: 2209

"The punishment of every disordered mind is its own disorder."

?Augustine of Hippo

If you routinely annoy your friends by questioning their every view, then a university degree in philosophy or theology might be perfect for you. Whether it be Socrates or St. Augustine, you'll study the history of thought in your chosen field, and equip yourself to criticise established ideas and construct your own thoughts. If taken together, the two disciplines complement each other nicely, allowing you to use the tools of philosophy to investigate the texts and ideas of religion.

Strong writing skills are absolutely crucial to success when studying philosophy or theology. If you need any help translating your brilliant thoughts intowriting, study Marked by Teachers' collection of teacher-annotated historical and philosophical studies essays. With the techniques you learn here, you'll soon transform your writing into a fitting showcase for your ideas.

Philosophy and theology students might stay in academia, become religious leaders, or pursue careers in fields like policy, teaching, management and media.


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?
  • Outline the Cosmological Argument for the existence of God and assess its claims to prove that God exists.

    "The Argument attempts to proves Gods existence but in many cases jumps from one conclusion to the fact that God must be the cause of this with no evidence to lead from the conclusion to a God. It would be wrong to say that the argument does not prove the existence of God at all but the evidence it is based on is weak and not very persuasive."

  • I intend to assess two pieces of such knowledge Descartes which believes himself to prove with logic. The two ideas being the existence of God and the duality of the body and mind.

    "I think in the contexts of the meditations the ontological argument and the arguments for dualism don't work due to the Cartesian circle, as Descartes never gets past proving undoubtedly anything but; I think therefore I am. Descartes reasoning in my opinion does not prove God's existence or the duality of mind and body but more shows that it may be possible. This is largely due to the criticisms raised in this essay, such as the problem of interaction. It is maybe that we do not yet now enough about the essence of the mind to understand it completely."

  • Explain and discuss the significance of Descartes' work on Epistemology.

    "In the conclusion, Descartes made a large impact of Epistemology, as he did not rely on others teaching to assist him in his search for indubitable knowledge. He founded the 'Cogito ergo Sum' - which managed to show that he could be certain that whenever he was thinking or doubting, he was thus at the same moment existing too. Descartes also managed to prove the existence of God, through various arguments, such as the 'Trademark' and 'Ontological' argument. Other philosophers prior to him, like Aristotle and Aquinas, were also in search for certain knowledge, although, Descartes, discovered, how to find indubitable knowledge of the world, simply by his 'clear and distinct' rule, and by confirming this rule by the existence of God. Thus, forming his infamous 'Cartesian Circle.' Descartes inspired and influenced other philosophers, such as Baruch Spinoza."

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