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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

    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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. Free essay

    Philosophy Essay. Evaluate the view that life is absurd through reference to the views of Camus and Nagel.

    He tells us that it 'awakens our consciousness and provokes what follows', also saying that there are two paths we can go down; 'the gradual return to the chain or the definitive awakening'. This portrays that Camus is suggesting that we are forced to make a decision, to either accept our fate and 'awaken', or ignore all the questions and return to the mundanity of everyday life. The absurd life is described as being more about quantity then quality of living; to live as long as possible as life is transitory.

    • Word count: 1118
  13. Is there a crisis of meaning in the contemporary world? Support your argument with reference to at least one critical contemporary phenomenon (geological, environmental, social, political, or economic) and at least two philosophers

    In the Western world especially, the rise of atheism has also contributed towards an individuals lack of belief and sense of meaning; as one turned to religion and the belief that there was a higher power, which was substantial enough to give the individual meaning and a place in society. However, the rise of atheism, has led people to question the idea of an all powerful God. The seeds of modern day atheism were sown by Karl Marx, who felt that religion was a form of control, and that the idea of a God was an illusion.

    • Word count: 1430
  14. Knowing what ethics is and what makes up the study of ethics centers around understanding ethical behavior. There are nine major theories have been created to explain ethics and to determine whether a decision is ethical or not

    The ethical dilemma there: which is more ethical, lying or being unkind? Another ethical dilemma become more complex: for example, is it right to steal from the rich to give to the poor? Is it right to fight wars in the name of a good cause, even if innocent people are injured? The answers to these ethical questions depend on your definition of ethics! Besides that, people from different cultural backgrounds and different situations may have different moral perceptions. Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to what is ethical or to what ethical behavior is.

    • Word count: 1635
  15. An Analysis of Fanon's "The Wretched of the Earth"

    This violence comes from two polar ideas that cannot survive with the other still remaining. In Fanon's writing, one really gets to know about the perspectives of an exploited "species" (Fanon, 1). Fanon describes these factors in such detail that it justifies the use of violence amongst the colonized. In Fanon's "The Wretched of the Earth" On Violence, the essay describes how the colonist tries to force their realities on the native, and while doing that strips the native of his/her identity. This act of decolonization removes the emotional ties that the natives have to their previous culture and their nation.

    • Word count: 1223
  16. The history of moral philosophy since the 17th century recapitulates the ancient debate between Stoics and Epicureans. Explain this view, giving the basic ideas of Stoicism and Epicureanism.

    John Bramhall labelled Hobbes a Stoic for his determinism, and Hobbes did not reject the label. One thing Hobbes disagreed with the Stoics on was that moral was based on right reason. This was also one thing on which he agreed with the anti-Stoic, David Hume. The two never debated with one another directly, but their philosophies are contrasting and could perhaps be likened to a post-renaissance debate between the Stoics and Epicureans. Though Hume has never been labelled an Epicurean, his criticism of the Stoic philosophy could justify such a labelling, alongside his theory of justice which can be considered utilitarian.

    • Word count: 1454
  17. 'Mental states are behavioural dispositions'. Discuss!

    Verificationism is the theory of meaning. It asserts that the meaning of a statement is its method of verification. For example, if we take the phrase 'Ben is sad', then we would observe that Ben's sadness consists of his behavioural dispositions. The interchange from verificationism to behaviourism would have been a smooth one and thus this is the reason for its relative popularity. However, there are arguments against credibility of behaviourism. One such argument that has been pitted against it is that of the robotic dog. Consider a theoretical robot which simulates a dog. When presented with dog food, the robot responds to the stimulus with actual dog-like behaviour. It displays behavioural dispositions such as drooling through its mechanism.

    • Word count: 1415
  18. What is the Self? Philosophers have long debated about the essence of a human being. Some have come up with an answer, calling it dualism. In this dualistic approach, humans are comprised of two different substances: a physical entity and a physic entity.

    He shows signs of introspection, self-doubt, tenderness, and even remorse, over Dr. Lanning's death. In a second scene, the robot, Sonny, is being prepared for decommissioning. As the procedure rolls out, Dr. Lanning is heard in voiceover speculating about the consciousness, free will, and "soul" of robots. 196 words _____________________________________________________ Philosophers have long debated about the essence of a human being. Some have come up with an answer, calling it dualism. In this dualistic approach, humans are comprised of two different substances: a physical entity and a physic entity. The biological aspect of a human is evident; we all are composed from the same basic human genome and born by two other humans who are similar to ourselves.

    • Word count: 1192
  19. The Continuity of the Self. Many philosophers are unsatisfied with memory as the sole means to psychological continuity. In the movie 50 First Dates, the main character, Henry Roth, tries to remind Lucy, a girl with a severe mental handicap, of their lov

    Lucy still has no memory of Henry, but she takes him into her studio and shows him painting after painting she has made of him. "I don't know who you are, but I dream of you every night," she tells him. 200 words ------------------------------------------------------------------------ The Continuity of Self Philosophers have long debated how humans remain the same from day to day. Are we, both physically and psychologically, the same people we were yesterday? In my opinion, continuity of the self requires that the physical self communicates and works in tandem with the psychological self.

    • Word count: 1171
  20. What is Free Will? Modern philosophers have many explanations for and against free will. In The Adjustment Bureau, The Chairman acts as a god, dictating the past, present, and future. Philosophers would classify this as top-down hard determinism.

    Norris continues to rebel against the plan, and finally his self-sacrificing love for Elise compels "The Chairman" to change the plan so that they will be together. 199 words ------------------------------------------------------------------------ The Choice For ages, philosophers have struggled with the idea of free will. Are we in control of our own actions or have they all been predetermined by some external force? The Adjustment Bureau proposes an explanation: our entire lives have been written out by an external force in a sort of master plan; therefore, we have no true will.

    • Word count: 1237
  21. Philosophy:Theories of Personal Identity

    This also leads to problems when alterations arise, such as injuries and surgery. Lets say scientists use Johns DNA and replicate it into another person who then has the same body. Just because there are two identical bodies, surely they cannot be the same person. Two different lives would be lived. This diminishes the preceding body theory and its definition; therefore meaning the body theory alone cannot be considered a necessary and valuable explanation when defining personal identity. The second perspective into defining personal identity is the soul theory. This theory explains that a person has a personal identity if and only if they are identical to their soul.

    • Word count: 1536
  22. Critically discuss why an existentialist might prefer to speak of finitude rather than death.

    Humans are finite beings. "Finitude in itself enables us to account for what is "creative" in the capacities of the finite human creature. Heidegger calls fate the association of the two senses of finitude: as project of being and as dependence upon pregiven being.(Kerszberg 1997, p238)" It can be said that there is no absolute freedom for humans, and this encompasses the tragedy of existence. One way of defining this tragedy may be seen as "a clash between the aspirations of human freedom and creativity with a cosmic order that is stronger and defeats man (Macquarrie 1972, p189)".

    • Word count: 1669
  23. Critically compare Act Utilitarianism with Rule Utilitarianism.

    But after the parent has died, will there still be any need to care for the child under act-utilitarianism? The promise from the person has already created happiness for the deceased parent; so as long as the child is being cared for by somebody, you could argue that the person who made the promise has no real obligation to keep it and they can focus on creating their own happiness again. With rule-utilitarianism the promise would have to be kept and would not allow for an alternative even if the child was being properly, or even better cared for.

    • Word count: 1670
  24. Biology gender

    or 23XY (for males).Traditionally, this biological classification has been heralded as an important in defining gender because, although definitions of gender vary, it is generally considered that gender is "a social construction organised around biological sex. Individuals are born male or female, but they acquire over time a gender identity, that is, what it means to be male or female. Gender is a package of expectations which a society associates with each sex1" So, the concept of gender was, throughout much of Western history, considered to be synonymous with sex and this remains the case to a large extent even today.

    • Word count: 1669
  25. Reality is the state of a person, place, or entity being true or actual. But how do we come to the conclusion that it is real or actual?

    The news would be an example of physical reality, although we may sometimes receive inaccurate information, the news overall is based on real life occurrences and tragedies. However, mental reality includes nonphysical entities such as spirits. For example Religion would be an example of mental reality because religion is something one believes in and it becomes their form reality. With that said, there would be an aftermath to this model which would consist of my reality vs. your reality which then would be alternated into "the reality".

    • Word count: 1248

"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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