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University Degree: Philosophy and Theology

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  1. India has been described as the "country over our shoulder". To what extent does Arundhati Roy both explain and exploit the culture of Kerala for the English reader in 'The God of Small Things'?

    "The book is not about what happened but about how what happened affected people" [2]. I think that it is wholly implausible to expect an author to entirely enlighten English readers to the Indian traditions, but what Roy does is open up our minds to small things in a small community; thus containing these apparent 'flaws' to a specific set of people. Whether we as readers take it as a fundamental generalization for Indian society as a whole remains to be seen.

    • Word count: 3014
  2. Nagarjuana's conception of reality and its implications.

    Thus, the notion of a reality that is more immediate or even separate from ours can be thought of in pseudo-scientific terms. We can then start to look at the biological and psychological implications of our relationship with this theoretical higher world and incorporate them into Nagarjuana's views. The idea of hierarcheal realities is certainly a facinating one but, superficially, it seemes to be just that; an interesting concept without much basis or reason. Like much of Nagarjuana's philosphy it is impossible to disprove and difficult to prove (unless one was to travel to a higher reality and then bring back evidence of the journey!).

    • Word count: 3842
  3. Free Will vs. Determinism.

    Determinists claim that the nature of the universe is such that it is governed by certain universal scientific laws, so that each action is caused by a specific prior cause, and human action is no exception. They claim that the human mind is also governed by these rules so that no alternative course of action is possible to humans other than the specific and unique set of prior factors that caused that human action to be made. Thus, human choices are not free because they are determined ahead of time by whatever environmental, social, genetic, biological and any other unknown factors caused such choices to be made.

    • Word count: 3095
  4. Explain and discuss the significance of Descartes' work on Epistemology.

    Descartes, as shown at the beginning of his 'Meditations,' was in search for indubitable knowledge (i.e. knowledge that which cannot be doubted). In order for knowledge to be indubitable, Descartes believed that it must first be 'clearly and distinctly' shown to the mind. He adopted the idea that anything clearly and distinctly 'perceived' is true, and later the same for 'conceived.' Also, for knowledge that cannot be doubted to be found, Descartes' 'Cogito Ergo Sum,' meaning 'I think therefore I am,' was the starting point to his search for indubitable knowledge. In this essay, we will 'explain and discuss the significance of Descartes work on Epistemology' with reference to various authors such as Cottingham, John Shand, William Reaper and Linda smith, and to different philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, and Augustine.

    • Word count: 4100
  5. Natural Law.

    When God created creatures and humans He ordained them and directed each and every one to come an end. Like all the rest of creation, Man is destined by God to an end, and receives from Him a direction towards this end. This ordination of man, God granted us human intelligence and freedom. God is not a lawless Supreme Being, in a constructed universe. In his constitution of nature He has his laws too, which is eternal law. The rule that God wants us to follow that is prescribed is found in nature itself. The actions that we perform, lead to our destiny, and thereby constituted what is right and morally good; those who are against this nature are wrong and immoral.

    • Word count: 3575
  6. What are the main differences between Sikhism and Jainism?

    The meditative focus of the Jains is on the inner light or the Tirathankaras (ones who reached salvation). They believe in energy having it's own intelligence - the theory of evolution. In Jainism there is no concept of a holy book. It was only introduced when the British courts of Law in their time in India, required one for oath taking procedures. It was at this time that the Kalpasutra containing a biography of Lord Mahavira written by a monk called Bhadrabahu, after the demise of Mahavira.

    • Word count: 3736
  7. How have aspects of Jewish belief been modified in the light of modern scholarship and scientific enquiry?

    Thusly Orthodox Jews still view the Torah as the word of God and literally true. Whereas, Reform Jews realise it has been written by people and is therefore truth bearing rather than actually true. I have looked at the work of Joseph L. Blau who I found has provided an in-depth account of the origins of variety with Judaism and its basic history. Blau proposes that with most religions or denominations change is relatively slow and not usually noticed. However, Judaism has developed so rapidly and moved to so many corners of the globe that its changes seem impulsive and hard to live with.

    • Word count: 3335
  8. Ever since the beginning of human existence, humans have lived as individuals, solely concerned about their own individual self interests.

    Force was found to be the only tool by which governments could control these growing populations with a wide range of conflicting ideas and views. And as we observed throughout history, governments being much stronger than their subjects found nothing to prevent them from using force towards all opposition groups and acting according to their own well being. As a result of this, the concept of a government lost its real essence and meaning. Did the introduction of the Islamic religion help reform and revive the concept of the government?

    • Word count: 4343
  9. A Critical Review and Comparison of the Decalogue and the First Two Commandments.

    In the film Kie�lowski examines how the father, son, and aunt interact and expands upon their belief systems and their individual idiosyncrasies. In the Decalogue, Kie�lowski shows how the first two Commandments are being broken; he uses a modern computer as a replacement of a traditional pagan idol, and the father's belief in pure logic as the primary sources of conflict with the classical teachings of the Commandments. What exactly are the Ten Commandments and why did God give Moses the Commandments on Mount Sinai?

    • Word count: 3567
  10. Descartes’ Discourse on Method.

    ) which is especially pertinent in today's world of political instability and religious fundamentalism. Indeed, the two most widely known of Descartes' philosophical ideas are those of a method of hyperbolic doubt, and the argument that, though he may doubt, he cannot doubt his very existence. The first of these comprises of the fundamental ideals of Descartes' philosophical method. He resolutely refused to accept the authority of previous philosophers - but he also declined to accept the obviousness of his own senses. It is clear throughout the text that the Aristotelian and Scholastic paradigms that had been predominant during the medieval period were being wholly discarded in favour of a revised philosophy that was

    • Word count: 3039
  11. The disordered society can find no solution except in the rediscovery of the human psyche. An exploration of myth through Jungian psychology for the modern age.

    This is best shown by the fact that it closely corresponds to the principles on which Rawls based his revision of Utilitarianism. The statement that "each person possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override" (Theory of Justice Ch 1) clearly surmises a principle on which both Jansen and Rawls clearly deem as important in establishing an ordered society, namely that of respect for the individual. Similarly Rawls stated that society is "well ordered when it is not only designed to advance the good of its members but when it is also effectively regulated by a public conception of justice" (TJ Ch 7).

    • Word count: 4194
  12. Kant's Philosophy

    The truth of this type of proposition is evident, because to state the reverse would be to make the proposition self-contradictory. Such propositions are called analytic because truth is discovered by the analysis of the concept itself. Synthetic propositions, on the other hand, are those that cannot be arrived at by pure analysis, as in the statement "The house is black." All the common propositions that result from experience of the world are synthetic. Propositions, according to Kant, can also be divided into two other types: empirical and a priori.

    • Word count: 16496
  13. Language as Freedom in Sartre's Philosophy

    examples from La Naus�e to illustrate the link between language, consciousness and the expression of freedom and subjectivity; third, I refer to The Psychology of Imagination and What is Literature? to illustrate further the importance that Sartre places on writing and reading as means both to freedom and subjectivity. 1 In Existentialism and Humanism (1946), Sartre states that "if God does not exist there is at least one being whose existence comes before its essence, a being which exists before it can be defined by any conception of it.

    • Word count: 3830
  14. Biblical Theology

    Here, water becomes a means for God to destroy the inhabitants of the earth. Scripture says that "...all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened."2 The power and vastness of water felt at creation resurfaces here. Water is a mighty elemental force, subjugated to God's purposes, moved around simply at His direction. All the waters of the heavens and the earth were used by God for His intentions here - not just vast amounts of rain falling from the sky, but water from the "great deep," too.

    • Word count: 3847
  15. My Practical Theology of the Church

    Or, somehow the notion that sacrificial love means letting other people walk all over you. Many of us equate the adage If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all as obedience to this second half of the commandment. But is this really love? Indulgence and smiley-face bumper stickers that advise don't worry, be happy? I think not. If great love is described as laying your life down for your friends,3 I have a hard time equating that with spraypainting "Jesus Saves" on a local mailbox or allowing someone to abuse you.

    • Word count: 4747
  16. Religion and Resistance in the Nazi Regime

    Religious persecution was different; Jehovah's Witnesses, for example, were given the choice whether or not to renounce their faith. If they refused, they were marked for deportation to the camps. Even after arriving at the camps, they were often given an open invitation to sign a document renouncing their beliefs, which would be their ticket home. The Jews were not included in the persecution of religion because they were given no such option; they were persecuted regardless of their beliefs. The examination of resistance still cannot be conducted, however, until some definitions are established that will prevent any semantic confusion.

    • Word count: 4854
  17. ‘Unless we assume that everyone is free to make moral choices, we have no right to punish criminals’. Discuss

    We may think that we are free when we make decisions, but our decisions are in fact causally determined. However, the defining feature of a moral act is that it is a free act; an act without a sufficient set of causes. A choice cannot be made if there is only one option. Herein lies the difficulty. If human nature is the result of certain external factors, behaviour is, at least in theory, predictable. We can only make one choice-that which is compatible with our nature, having been determined by factors beyond our control.

    • Word count: 3516
  18. The treatment of faith in the writing of the Victorian period.

    John Keble, one of the central figures in the Oxford Movement, was also Professor of Poetry at Oxford from 1832 to 1841 and a strong advocate of poetry as a 'handmaid' of the Christian faith, seeing it as a vital theological tool that helped bring Anglicans closer to God. He published a book of poetry based on the Anglican liturgical cycle entitled The Christian Year, designed to encourage devotional practice, was perhaps the single most popular verse publication of the age, suggesting that the established Church was still a powerful force in the lives of much of the population.

    • Word count: 3572
  19. United States History. Religion has always had a central role in the history of this country and to a certain extent, was a fundamental player in the establishment of the American state.

    Having landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620, the Pilgrims established a colony bearing the name of their place of landing where they established self rule in accordance to their puritan values. Despite initial hardships, the colony of Plymouth was rather successful, self sufficient, and given the general sentiments and beliefs of the population, it was a colony of a people united through faith. Though the Pilgrims sought the freedom to practice their creed, being Puritans they wanted to as the name suggests, ?purify? the Anglican Church from years of perversions by the English monarch.

    • Word count: 4043

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