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University Degree: Philosophy and Theology

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  1. The body/ soul distinction is a myth derived from philosophers such as Plato and Descartes. Discuss.

    For Plato, the body and soul are in opposition as the soul wants to learn knowledge about the true forms whereas the body is just interested in empirical pleasures and needs which "takes away from us the power of thinking at all". Descartes reaches the conclusion that the nature of the mind (a thinking, non-extended thing) is completely different from that of the body (an extended, non-thinking thing), and therefore it is possible for one to exist without the other.

    • Word count: 884
  2. Oranges are not the only fruit compared with Empire of the Sun

    Day and night, the boy dreams of flying. He knows the names of all the airplanes and can spot them by their silhouettes. When they fly overhead in Shanghai in the last days before World War II breaks out, they may be a threatening omen for his parents, but for him they are wonderful machines, free of gravity, free to soar. Ballard captures the imagination of a young boy very well. This is in contrast to Jeanette, in "Oranges" who does not seem to have any specific ambition others than the ones her mother forces her to have.

    • Word count: 2151
  3. "Heaven and Hell are concepts without philosophical foundations". Discuss.

    Even within the evangelical view there is a debate about the nature of heaven and hell. For some, heaven and hell are everlasting conscious reward/ punishment for the individual, for others is it the ultimate extinction of the individual in hell. Universalism has never gained wide acceptance amongst evangelicals; a more immediate challenge to the traditional Christian view is what is known as conditional immortality. Instead of accepting that unbelievers will suffer endless punishment in hell, conditionalists believe the bible teaches that unrighteous people will ultimately be annihilated. The idea of heaven and hell leads to a major challenge for Christian apologists: "How can a loving God send people to hell?"

    • Word count: 2843
  4. The Ontological Argument

    Anselm's starting point was to propose a definition of the word 'God'. From this point he tried to show that it is absurd to suggest that God does not exist. His argument was in two parts, formed around an objection raised by another monk. Anselm says 'God is the thought than which nothing greater can be thought'. Even the suggestion that there is no God requires the concept of God. Since the greatest thought must have an equivalent reality to be greater than even the least significant thing in reality, for God to be the greatest thought, God must exist.

    • Word count: 2058
  5. Arvaipa Canyon

    Twain declares that God is excused for many things for which humans would not be excused, such as the creation of the fly. The real question is, why do we excuse God for violating the moral code when humans in the same situation would not be given the same favor under the same circumstances? If God is the symbol of man and man relies on his moral and ethics, what does God rely on? This implies that there must cease to be a true concept of morality if the one person we incorporate these laws from can't even abide by them himself.

    • Word count: 786
  6. Theories of life after death do not provide a solution for the problem of evil. Discuss.

    Then Augustine continues and develops the ideas of heaven and hell, and how moral wrong is corrected there too. The next theodicy, known as the Ireanean theodicy, is the belief that humans are working towards perfection, just like the earth, and was not born in perfection like the teachings dictate. Even though this goes against the traditional understanding of God and creation, the Irenean theodicy firmly hold that perception that God made us in His image, such as we are, and that we are working towards His likeness. In order for us to do such, He gave us free will.

    • Word count: 1245
  7. 'It is impossible to reconcile any kind of determinism with the concept of freewill.' Discuss

    Within this view point of determinism the are the view points of scientific determinism, psychological determinism and theological determinism. Scientific determinism suggests that cause and effect determines everything. All behavior is a response to stimuli. Hobbes thought all emotions and behavior were a result of chemical reactions in the brain. He argued against Descartes who thought our thought were free and this made us who we are "cognito ergo sum" I think therefore I am. Hobbes thought that science would eventually have the answer to everything and explain our emotions and behavior.

    • Word count: 787
  8. Cloning Argument

    I personally believe that cloning should be allowed, and the government only banned it for fears of what destruction it could lead to. There are many arguments for cloning to either be banned or accepted. My opinions, however, are mainly to do with justice to those who deserve life, your opinion is frankly up to you. The standard (and most popular) reason for cloning to be banned is because, "It was not intended by God." In a sense you could say that this is true, however, you could also say that if it was only meant for God, then why did he let us discover it?

    • Word count: 788
  9. Discuss the presentation of the spiritual in Tim Wintons novel Cloudstreet.

    The characters of Cloudstreet are thus exposed to a supernatural dimension and their spiritual journeys bring them to "find meaning in the chaos of existence"3. Many Christian biblical references are interwoven throughout the novel, however, "rather than 'religious', 'numinous' is a safer word to use ... for though they reflect his personal quest for the highest ideals in life and focus on the spiritual attitude of those who recognize a controlling power, they are not expressed in terms of any conventional religion."4 Winton avoids direct association with any particular form of spirituality but instead refers to one which transcends all religions.

    • Word count: 2553
  10. Critically examine the problem of evil

    On the other hand, it could be that while it may be rationally possible to believe such a God exists, it is highly improbable or unlikely that he does. We have evidence of so much evil that is seemingly pointless and of such horrendous intensity and effects. For what valid reason would an all good and powerful God allow the amount and kinds of evil which we see around us? -David Hume, stated the logical problem of evil when he inquired about God, "Is He willing to prevent evil, but not able?

    • Word count: 936

    Of all the things he discovers the last thing he sees is the sun which he regards as the cause of everything around him. Realising that what he thought to be real up until now is wrong and that his fellow prisoners are still in the cave, not aware of the real world he just discovered, he decides to go back and free them to make them experience reality. At this point Plato presents us with a problem: The prisoners in the cave don't want to be saved.

    • Word count: 2126
  12. Introduction to Philosophy

    Universality implies objectivity, since what is true for everyone that cannot be based on our subjective and variable nature. I now have very serious doubts about universality, the third of the three traditional hallmarks of philosophical truth. Well I never had any beliefs on any of this but I find it very interesting. What then of universality, although I have given it up as a test of philosophical truth, it remains for me a goal, in somewhat altered form, for I continue to seek ways to widen the circle of those with whom I am able to form a human bond and make a moral commitment.

    • Word count: 1367
  13. "The Magdalene Sisters" is a film about the lives of 30,000 Irish women who passed through the Magdalene Laundries run by Catholic Nuns that established in the 19th Century. The women who worked in these institutions had been branded as sinners

    The release of this film brought major concerns to the Church. "Why people should have to suffer so much for forgiveness?" The answer portrayed was that fornication was a mortal sin, meaning you would have to confess and obtain forgiveness for the sin before dying, or you would be eternally sent to hell. However, one of the foundation beliefs in God is that he is all loving. This brings into question "Why he would want people to suffer so much to be forgiven?" There is no answer for this. Most Christians believe that God can forgive easily and one does not need to suffer much, if at all, to receive his/her forgiveness.

    • Word count: 867
  14. It has sometimes been remarked how much has been written, both by friends and enemies, concerning the truth of religion, and h

    In the present period of history, however, we seem to have arrived at a time when, among the arguments for and against religion, those which relate to its usefulness assume an important place. We are in an age of weak beliefs, and in which such belief as men have is much more determined by their wish to believe than by any mental appreciation of evidence. The wish to believe does not arise only from selfish but often from the most disinterested feelings; and though it cannot produce the unwavering and perfect reliance which once existed, it fences round all that to ask the use of believing it could not possibly occur to them.

    • Word count: 13132
  15. Greek Philosophy

    These are always in a state of becoming, and may participate in a succession of forms. Plato likens the opinions derived from our senses, to the perception of shadows of real objects, cast upon the wall of a cave. He believed True knowledge however, is the perception of the standard forms themselves, which are real, eternal, and unchanging. Whilst the forms are invisible to the eye, our souls have participated in the eternal world of forms prior to being in material form in a physical body, and retain a memory of them.

    • Word count: 1174
  16. Why do you think Alfred Russel Wallace's scientific reputation was eclipsed? Discuss in an essay of not more than 1200 words what evidence could be drawn upon to answer this question. Alfred Russel Wallace was a nineteenth century surveyor who early

    The charge was apportioned property-by-property or field-by-field, and required an accurate survey.' (Block 4, 2003, p111) However the 'rent charge' seemed only to benefit the owners of the land, not the farmers working it, as a result there was an uprising within the farming community. Wallace was witness to this and sympathized with their plight, this consequently added to his knowledge of politics and socialism. In 1843 at the age of twenty he wrote his first essay entitled 'The South-Wales Farmer' which demonstrated his awareness and experience of the farmers dilemma.

    • Word count: 1395
  17. It can be argued that natural moral law does not depend on a religious out look is because the law itself pre-dates Christianity. Therefore it originally was not designed to make us believe in God and the designers of it themselves

    It is an absolute deontological theory, this means that the actions in a situation are the most important thing to focus on, not the consequences. In many respects Natural Moral Law does depend on a religious outlook. This is because it has been inspired from the bible and most of the theory is based on Christianity. Paul in Romans 1-3 of the bible also backs up the Natural Law theory. Many beliefs within Natural Law are also similar to those in Christianity for example do not murder is one of the Ten Commandments within the bible.

    • Word count: 764
  18. Angels and Demons by Dan BrownGenre: MysterySetting:Lurking in Modern Rome is an ancient secret brotherhood known as the Illuminati. The

    Intellectual miracles were created without ethical instructions. All scientific technology did was brought us down the path of destruction. The tough moral issue rages the battle between science and religion. Plot Orientation: When a world renowned scientist is found brutally murdered in a Swiss research facility, Langdon was summoned to identify the mysterious symbol seared into the dead man's chest. What he discovers is that the Illuminati had surfaced from the shadows. Their resurgence was to carry out their bitter vendetta against their sworn enemy, the Catholic Church. In Rome, the College of Cardinals assembles to elect a new pope.

    • Word count: 1469
  19. I shall show how it is possible for an Epicurean to put someone else's pleasure before his own. I shall show how this is possible in at least one situation with a lack of knowledge of an interpersonal nature.

    The magnitude of pleasure reaches its limit in the removal of all pain. When pleasure is present, so long as it is uninterrupted, there is no pain either of body or of mind or of both together. (Principle Doctrines #3) Also, I shall show how there is a problem with this modus operandi: that it offers no assistance when putting pleasure before myself, in an Epicurean fashion, as I cannot certainly know which course of action I will take. Pleasure is the absence of pain (see Doctrine #3, above), and: All desires that do not lead to pain when they remain unsatisfied are unnecessary, but the desire is easily got rid of, when the thing desired is difficult to obtain or the desires seem likely to produce harm.

    • Word count: 1383
  20. It has been suggested that The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner may be read as a religious text, presenting nothing less than 'the fall of man'. How do you respond to this interpretation? Begin your answer by considering the extract above.

    The Ancient mariner contains natural, gothic and biblical symbolism, however nature and religion tend to coincide. The apparent existence of religious imagery is in the mariner's revelation that good will triumph over evil, and his acceptance of all nature as God's creation. It may be argued that the extract draws in subliminal aspects of religion. The killing of the Albatross may be seen as an association with the crucifixion of Christ. The reader is told that the polar spirit, "loved the bird that loved the man who shot him with his bow" this internal rhyme highlights that it is evidently doubtful that a man of Colleridge's Christian background and faith could fail to see here an analogy with God who loved his son who loved the men that killed him.

    • Word count: 1009
  21. The following work concerns the now grown-up Antonio Marez from Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo A. Anaya.

    Unlike her, I respected my dad's love for the llano, and I myself enjoyed the llano and the feeling that overcame me whenever I visited the place. I moved away from my family after my high school years, but I came to visit them and both the llano and El Puerto every summer. Both the llano and El Puerto were a part of me and being a priest would not change that. After searching for the right college, I moved away from Guadalupe in order to attend the University of Southern Mississippi.

    • Word count: 1372
  22. "A Pyhrronian must acknowledge, if he will acknowledge anything, that all human life must perish, were his principles universa

    So the question must be asked: is it impossible to live without opinions? From the outset it seems that society, particularly modern society, is built on the assumption that we all have beliefs, even if only fundamental ethical beliefs, for example the assumption that murder is wrong. We are brought up with set ethical beliefs before we are old enough to philosophise for ourselves, and it is this social conditioning that allows us as humans to live without the constant threat of being murdered hanging over our heads.

    • Word count: 1196
  23. "An acceptance of the practice of abortion is incompatible with Christian belief in the sanctity of life, but not with the attitudes of ethical philosophers or popular politicians." Discuss.

    Alternatively, methotrexate can be injected to terminate the pregnancy by halting the growth of the foetus; this is again followed by the administration of misoprostol. Clinical abortions are physical, rather than chemical, procedures to terminate and expel a foetus. The varying techniques employed depend on the length of gestation, but are most commonly used during the second trimester of the pregnancy. Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) is appropriate up to the eighth week of pregnancy, and involves the use of a syringe to pull the foetal tissue out through the cervical opening.

    • Word count: 7001
  24. "Critically assess Descartes'

    Decartes' theory on the existence of God is debated in his fifth meditation entitled 'Of the Essence of Material Things; and, Once More of God, that He Exists'. During this meditation several analogies are presented and some mathematical facts are used as proof between the minds ability to perceive and the irrefutable essence of things. I shall attempt to summarise concisely his key arguments and proofs. Decartes asks us to consider what we think of as being a triangle, what is the "certain determined nature or form or essence of this figure" (Decartes, Discourse On Method And The Meditations, p143).

    • Word count: 1192
  25. Why Captain Vere executed Billy Budd for killing Claggart.

    He was a confident leader who was often ridiculed, behind his back, by his fellow officers because of his "pedantic streak". They compared it to "King's yarn running through a coil of navy rope", which symbolized his meticulous attention to detail, knowledge of the naval code, loyalty to his country and unwavering sense of duty. I feel his "pedantic streak" is the most important part of understanding Captain Vere and his decision concerning Billy's situation. Captain Vere opposed the political opinions of his day, because he believed they were detrimental to the good of humankind.

    • Word count: 1052

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