Study "Philosophy / Logic / Reason" Essays 661-715

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Cicero in Circles the Nature of Miracles Term Paper

… Cicero in Circles

The nature of miracles has at certain points in human history been almost as hotly contested, debated, and theorized on as the existence of God. This was true during the Enlightenment, when scientific advancement was examining the sheer possibilities of many things previously believed from the Bible and other collections, written and spoken, of folklore. But the debate over miracles is even older than the enlightenment; older, in fact, than the Christian faith. The nature and possibility of miracles was debated even in pre-Christian Rome. Cicero, the first century BCE Roman statesman and philosopher, once wrote, "What was incapable of happening never happened, and what was capable of happening is not a miracle...Consequently, there are no miracles." His position in this debate is made eminently clear by these simple lines, yet the assertion he makes seems too unequivocal and unexplained. This does not mean it is incorrect, however. Frankly, no fault can be found with the logic of this statement. If we accept the stated definitions and suppositions that Cicero makes here, then his logic is self-fulfilling. But does that make it correct? Circular reasoning and self-definition are considered logical fallacies, and though they might not make a statement untrue, they do not speak well of the strength of the argument being made. A close examination of Cicero's explanation of miracles -- or explanation of no miracles, to be more precise -- reveals that whole his circular reasoning holds true despite an application of heavy skepticism, his statement is ultimately worthless outside of itself.

Skepticism is, in my opinion, the healthiest way to go about examining a philosophical quandary. With that in mind, let us examine each aspect of Cicero's argument with a mind pointed towards doubting this statement's truth, to see if we might not be able to prove it so. Let us take the first clause: "what was incapable of happening never happened." The skeptical mind demands that we try to prove the reverse of this. To do so, we need only to think f an event incapable of happening that has happened. We quickly see the futility in this exercise -- one can hardly argue with the fact as Cicero states it. If something is incapable of happening, then by definition it can never have happened -- if it ever did happen, even just once, then it was obviously capable of happening. So despite our skepticism we are forced to agree with Cicero's first conclusion, that things incapable of happening have never happened. This first steps self-reflexive quality mirrors that of Cicero's argument as a whole, as we shall see, but we must proceed cautiously.

The next part of Cicero's argument takes the assumption (now proven through are skepticism) of the first and extrapolates slightly: "what was capable of happening is not a miracle." This is where we begin to see a true glimmer of doubt about this statement. One might argue -- and many have -- that God or the gods or some… [read more]

Philospphy Phaedo Is Centered Essay

… Philospphy

Phaedo is centered on the idea according to which the soul is immortal. There are four general arguments that Plato uses to justify this idea: the opposites argument, the theory of recollection, the affinity argument and the argument from form of life.

The first argument draws upon the rational argument according to which the soul acts as the body's opposite and, in this quality, carries all the opposite characteristics of the body. These include the fact that the soul must be immortal, since the body is perishable and mortal. The soul also acts as the instrument that brings life to forms. The Affinity Argument is constructed along similar lines, with the opposition and antithesis between body and soul, one mortal, the other immortal.

The Theory of Recollection is centered on the existence of knowledge at birth, some instinctual form of knowledge that Plato argues is passed on through the existence, which proves its immortality.

In my opinion, Plato uses some truisms and transforms them in arguments for something that cannot be proved rationally. The souls immortality is not depending on the fact that knowledge is present in the individual at birth, which can be explained in many different other means as well. The soul's immortality is more of an individual belief in this.

2. One can probably argue that Eastern and Western systems of philosophy differ, at most, in the way they interpret things, although the basic premises and the main questions that each of the systems asks is similar. For example, both systems are centered around basic ideas such as the individual and his existence, his role on this Earth and his relationship with the Divinity.

At the same time, many of the Western philosophers incorporated into their own writing Eastern principles of philosophy, which comes to strengthen the idea according to which the differences are mainly in approach and style rather than in the fundamental, profound issues. Hegel had Taoism influence his writings, while other German philosophers such as Schopenhauer used many of the Hinduism's philosophies and beliefs to create their systems.

So, the most appropriate conclusion for this point would be that there is definitely a point of congruence between the Eastern and Western philosophies, which makes them less different in their substantial beliefs than one might initially think, given the differences in environments and societies.

3. The dialogue between Croesus and Solon gives perhaps a better idea of…… [read more]

Friedrich Nietzsche Thesis

… Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche is one of the philosophers who caused huge controversy through his conceptions. Today still he is perceived as one of the harshest observers of the world and human nature. In his philosophical works he claimed that the… [read more]

Kant's View on Euthanasia Research Proposal

… Kant's View On Euthanasia

Euthanasia is the process through which one individual's life is taken in order to spare him from misery. The term derives from Greek and its literal meaning is "good death." The moral implications of this particular… [read more]

Existence and Nature of Matter Thesis

… ¶ … Existence and Nature of Matter

Stating that matter is whatever entity which has a mass and occupies space is an oversimplification. The philosophical issue of matter is a complicated one, giving rise to numerous questions, from the nature of its existence to its characteristics and the consequences of these aspects upon the conception of the universe, god and ourselves. People have tried to explain the existence of matter ever since the Antiquity through various perspectives and the debate has not yet finished.

Taking for granted the fact that matter exists in itself and outside our mechanisms of perception and conception still leaves several important issues to be discussed. For example, what is the origin of matter or in other words, what made it and why? Did it create itself out of necessity or is there a superior entity (God)which created it? And if there is a God, then was it his will to create matter or does matter derive from his very existence and independently of his will? Furthermore, if God exists and he is matter, does this mean that matter initially appeared out of nothing? Stating it appeared out of itself is a self-contradictory statement, therefore, the only option which remains is the one according to which matter appeared out of chaos. However, does this mean that chaos is not matter? What happens then to the concept of "space"? And since time and space are connected, we could continue to speak about Time and eternity. Furthermore, the existence and nature of matter have consequences upon the conception of the self and demonstrating how and why one exists.

These are only several questions which come into mind when analyzing the concept of matter. There are various philosophers who have tried to answer them, starting with Democritus and Aristotle, continuing with Descartes, Bertrand Russell, Marx, Engels, etc. The scientific contributions of people such Newton or Einstein have played an important part upon the development of the philosophical debates regarding matter.

Descartes concentrated upon the existence of matter. He stated that everything can be doubted and in fact, it is this philosophical exercise which brings the awareness of the self. Dubito ergo cogito. Cogito ergo sum. The fact that one undergoes experiences proves that he exists and that is the only certainty one can have

Russell for example discusses the possibility of things existing independently and outside of our conception. On the one hand we have the sensory data which allows us to perceive the objects surrounding us and the other people. However, do things disappear completely when we don't have the sense data? Since they do not, it can be assumed that there is more to the existence of matter other than the sense data. Even so, one could wonder if the world is not a mere dream, since the data that one can trust most is in fact the subjective one. In addition, one can doubt the existence of everything other than itself. The conclusion that Russell arrives… [read more]

Socrates and Philoctetes Thesis

… Philosophy

Isolation in Philosophical Tales and Modern Day Examples

Socrates and Philoctetes are examples of characters in philosophy books who experienced isolation, both physically and mentally. While both men had different experiences, the end results were the same. They felt alone and spent long periods of time thinking about their lives. In the end, they were depressed and felt lost. The stories focused on how isolation changed their lives for the worse.

Today, there are millions of people who feel isolated from the world in similar ways. Some feel disconnected from society, while others are physically separated from mankind. This paper discusses the ideas of isolation presented by philosophical tales and how these ideas apply to isolation situations today.

In the Apology, Socrates becomes isolated when he tried to discover the truth about himself. His main goal was to prove the Delphi oracle's statement that Socrates is indeed the wisest man alive. Socrates believed that, if this were indeed true, it was only because he achieved self-awareness. He said, "when I do not know, neither do I think I know; so I am likely to be this small extent, that I do not think I know what I do not know" (Brickhouse and Smith, 1989).

Socrates wanted to improve life for his fellow citizens. However, his quest to achieve this goal led to his isolation from these people. Socrates began his downfall when he took it upon himself to teach the state's youth. He was sharply criticized by the people for poisoning the minds of the young people. However, when asked to explain himself, Socrates was adamant that there was no way he could have single-handedly corrupted the state's youth. He felt that it was impossible for one person to even reach all of these children. In addition, he strongly felt that education could not corrupt people -- it could only help the learn to think for themselves.

Socrates further alienated himself when it was discovered that he did not share the same belief in the gods that everyone else did. He never actually said that he didn't believe in them. Rather, he questioned their existence. He would not say that he fully believed; rather, he said that he does believe in divine beings and, if divine beings were indeed gods, then he must believe in the gods. This was unacceptable to the judge and jury, who wanted everyone to believe in the gods wholeheartedly.

Because of his beliefs, Socrates felt mentally isolated from his community, as they rejected him. This frequently happens to mentally ill people in today's society. A report by the mental health charity MIND (2007) recently surveyed 532 mental health service users and found that 84% felt isolated. When compared to one third of the general population, this number is alarming.

A lack of relationships and social support, stigma and discrimination were reported as the key factors causing this sense of isolation (MIND, 2007). MIND's chief executive Richard Brook said: "Many people with mental health… [read more]

Socrates and Oedipus Essay

… Philosophy

Socrates and Oedipus: A Comparison

In the book Tragedy and Philosophy, Walter Kaufmann (1992) describes Sophocles' play Oedipus Rex as a great tragedy that is built around Oedipus' search for the truth and self-knowledge. The play ends when he finally comes to realize just who he is.

Similarly, in the Apology, Socrates is also trying to learn the truth about himself as he seeks to prove the Delphi oracle's statement than Socrates is the wisest man. Socrates believed that, if this were indeed true, it was only because of his knowledge of himself. He said, "when I do not know, neither do I think I know; so I am likely to be this small extent, that I do not think I know what I do not know" (Brickhouse and Smith, 21).

In Five Dialogues and Oedipus Rex, further similarities can be drawn between the two characters. Both Oedipus and Socrates have good intentions when it comes to improving life for greater mankind. However, both suffer terrible consequences as the result of their actions. Oedipus doesn't actually do anything to harm the people of his state. Rather, he becomes a public enemy when he discovers that he has killed his true father. Socrates does what he thinks is right to improve the situation of his state but the people don't see it this way. Both are punished for their actions, even though their intentions were to be loyal and good citizens of the state.

Socrates downfall was his focus on teaching the state's youth. However, when asked to explain himself, Socrates did not believe that he alone could have single-handedly corrupted the state's youth. He believed it was impossible for one man to even reach all of these children. In addition, he strongly felt that education could not corrupt people -- it could only make them stronger.

Socrates also alienated himself by insinuating that he did not share the people's belief in gods. He would only say that he does believe in divine beings and, if divine beings were indeed gods, then he must believe in the gods. This was not enough for the judge and jury.

Even when presented with the opportunity to escape from prison and his imminent death, Socrates refused to defy the wishes of his people. He strongly believes that good citizens should obey the commands of his state, thus refusing to even consider a way out of his grim situation.

Oedipus had a similar state of mind when it came to obeying the rules and laws of his state. When the Sphinx threatened the city,…… [read more]

Stumbling on Happiness Research Paper

… Stumbling on Happiness

Gilbert's argument hinges around the basic premise that the future is fundamentally different from the way in which we imagine it. We act based on impressions of the future that are ultimately inaccurate. We exercise control over our lives in order to bring us to better futures, but the future is not going to be where we thought it was.

Gilbert also addresses the definition of happiness, and suggests that one of the reasons happiness is so elusive is because it is so ill-defined. It is, in essence a feeling, an endlessly subjective experience. This makes it difficult to specifically achieve happiness. In turn, this makes the quest for happiness a challenge.

He discusses our inability to question our vision of the future. One of the reasons is because our imagination is efficient to the point where we do not see the need to question its outputs. The outputs themselves are easy to believe as well because they are similar to the present. We, in general, are not creative when asked to imagine. His point leans towards the supposition that the far-fetched is easier to conceive than that which is realistic but markedly different than the present. Lastly, Gilbert points out that when we consider the future, we do not judge it. We assume we will feel good about it, but we rarely challenge that assumption.

Perhaps the most questionable proposition that Gilbert has put forth thus far is the notion that our imagination is not imaginative. This concept, which he dubs presentism, seems incongruous with not only many of mankind's great achievements but with the personal experiences of many individuals. He cite many examples of this (p.125) but these examples are based on aggregate studies and not indicative of the experiences many humans have. For some people, presentism…… [read more]

Spinoza There Can Be or Be Conceived No Other Substance but God Essay

… Spinoza: "There can be, or be conceived, no other substance but God"

Spinoza, in the first chapter of his work "Ethics" uses a set of axioms, propositions and definitions which correlated one to the other become arguments which support the… [read more]

Mcginn and Heidegger Thesis

… McGinn and Heidegger

Colin McGinn and Martin Heidegger have made significant contributions to the philosophical definitions of "being human." McGinn's concept of consciousness and Heidegger's concept of speaking play vital role in their definition of what it means to be a human. McGinn's explanation is simply based on senses and sensations. He says that a man when he starts feeling, hearing, seeing and smelling is then in a state of consciousness. Heidegger on the other hand gives serious thought to the power of speaking alone. Legein has then a pivotal place in Heidegger's work. He followed Aristotelian concept of 'zoon ekhon logon' i.e. 'being that has logos' and the power of language. By speaking, we need to understand what was actually meant. Heidegger was not concerned as much with oral speech as he was with the ability to express one's self. Expression is then the key to being human.

McGinn is seriously concerned with the connection between mind and body. He knows that a deep link lies between body and brain and this is what makes a man conscious or otherwise but he feels it is too hard to actually comprehend the extent of this connection or the very nature of it. Heidegger on the other hand is simply concerned with the power of expression. So if we combine the two views we might come to conclude that a man is human if he can express himself in a conscious state.

Being human doesn't mean having a body with a brain alone. It means having a body with a conscious brain that allows and facilitates expression. Expression is the ability to communicate thought through whichever medium one prefers. In his book, 'The mysterious Flame', McGinn explains that difference between consciousness and unconsciousness by giving example of a person waking up from a dreamless coma. He writes: "you struggle to open your eyes and a flood of bright…… [read more]

WV Quine Term Paper

… WV Quine

According to Gary Kemp (1), epistemology is the theory of knowledge, and metaphysics is the theory of reality. These two concepts have concern philosophers in various ways over many centuries. Concomitantly, philosophy has frequently concerned itself with the nature of "truth" as a concept that is central to reality. While some philosophers have made claims to having found a specific truth, others have acknowledged that this concept is ultimately not only subjective, but also illusive. WV Quine falls into the latter category. His philosophy focuses on the nature of existence and knowledge as subjective and therefore impossible to experience outside of personal subjectivity. The basis of Quine's philosophy is that epistemological truth is ultimately man-made (Mosher 1) and subjective. This however does not mean that the interpretation of the world as human beings see it should be abandoned. Instead, Quine suggests that the very subjectivity of epistemological truth opens it to multiple interpretations; each equally acceptable.

According to the Columbia Encyclopedia, WV Quine was born in 1908 in Akron, Ohio. He studied at Harvard, obtaining his Ph.D. In 1932. One of his main influences was Rudolf Carnap. Mainly, Quine's philosophy rested upon the premise that any statement could be held to be true, provided that appropriate adjustments be made in the language system as a whole to accommodate the statement in question.

As seen above, Quine holds that, while reality is a fact that cannot be denied, the specific manifestation of this reality is bound to individual perception, which differs from person to person. The only reality that a person can know occurs through empiric experience. This experience is then organized by thought, which is further organized by language. Human beings communicate their empiric experience of reality to each other and create a collective but somewhat deceptive sense of reality. Quine applies this to all areas of human knowledge, including those that are traditionally viewed as the most scientific, empirical, and logical, such as mathematics and physics. The philosopher views this holistically: collective human experience and thought are depicted and connected via language, which is created by human beings. In this way, human beings serve as creators of a subjective but collective reality by means of language.

A further aspect of this self-created reality is its fluid nature. Human experience and investigation often requires the modification of existing evidence. Hence, reality is modified according to the thought connected to scientific investigation. When evidence changes, language provides the framework for a changed reality as well (Mosher 2). This self-created reality and all its concomitant theories are then relativistic and indeterminate. There is no ultimate truth or reality; both truth and reality are created by thought followed by language, made up of fluid theories that are interconnected and dependent upon each other. This is Quine's holistic view of reality.

Kemp (1) notes that Quine departs not only from the philosophical viewpoint of knowledge and reality up to his time, but also from his contemporaries and immediate successors…… [read more]

Man on Wire Research Proposal

… ¶ … Man on a Wire

Suspended delicately, precariously in the air, the tightrope walker stands. The documentary "Man on a Wire" chronicles an improbable, one might say, seemingly absurd quest -- namely the French acrobat and performance artist Philippe Petit's desire to walk from tower to tower, across the narrow but seismic gulf between the then-proudly standing Twin Towers in 1974.

The documentary film directed by James Marsh offers no answer as to why Petit developed such an obsession -- Petit seems to wish to have done so seemingly because the towers were 'there,' the same reason often cited that people climb mountains. The film makes no mention of the events of 9/11, which at first seems like an odd choice, but then seems strangely fitting. How could a film about a strange, singular man's triumph also take on the subject of such a monumental mass tragedy? How could the complex tragedies and political circumstances of 9/11 be encompassed in a film about a high-wire act? The people who died in 9/11 did not want to die, but did, without warning, while Petit planned months to knowingly risk his life and survived.

What is so fascinating for the viewer about Petit is his arrogance --…… [read more]

Schools of Inductivism and Deductivism Argumentation Research Proposal

… ¶ … Schools of Inductivism and Deductivism

Argumentation in general has lain the way, ever since the philosophers of Antiquity, to two opposing schools of inductivism and deductivism. As opposed to inductivism, deductivism starts with the formulation of a hypothesis,… [read more]

Propaganda Techniques Term Paper

… Propaganda Techniques

Propaganda is one of the most common means used to influence the opinion of the population. In general terms it is not necessarily a negative aspect, but due to the connotations the term was given in the Second… [read more]

Star Wars Term Paper

… Star Wars

The Failures of Anakin Skywalker

There are many cases of fictional situations actually embodying the theoretical and philosophical elements of real religious beliefs. This is the case within the "Star Wars" series, directed by George Lucas. Within this fictional world of far away, there are elements of both Classical and Eastern philosophical beliefs. "The Force," is the underlying force governing all things both good and bad resembles the Eastern tradition of the Tao, which literally translates into "the way," (Tzu, 1993). However, one of the major characters within the epic tale fails to uphold the traditions of Tao, and at the same time goes against traditional Hindu and Socratic teachings. Through Anakin's rejection of "The Force," he rejects traditional philosophical values of humility and loyalty, despite any punishment he may have incurred for his actions.

Anakin Skywalker becomes a Jedi Knight within the second trilogy of George Lucas' "Star Wars." It is within this position that he is tempted by the Dark Side and looses his positive grip on "The Force." However, this transformation was not wholly based on his temptation alone. One of the major reasons he followed the Sith Lord was in fear of punishment and dishonor for what he had helped do to a fellow Jedi. When the Sith Lord was captured, Anakin tried his best to keep him alive for an honorable trial. However, when this was obviously not possible, things got ugly and Anakin found himself an accomplice to a Jedi murder. Fearing punishment from the council, as well as his own beliefs that he would in no way be forgiven for his actions, Anakin decided to finally give in to the temptation presented to him by the Sith Lord and pledged his…… [read more]

Socrates Said That the Unexamined Life Term Paper

… Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living, and the quest for knowledge, and especially for self-knowledge, is key to finding any meaning in life. We might consider the issue to be the meaning of living a good life and what is universally required to live a good life. One of the key issues in philosophy is what constitutes a moral life, which entails questions of the meaning of happiness and its importance, the definition of moral character and its necessity, conflicts between the two elements, and the question of what other elements are necessary for living a good life. Socrates was emphasizing

In the dialogues, Plato shows the relationship between the philosopher and the task of self inquiry. Plato has Socrates consider the role of the philosopher both in general and in the ideal city-state. The philosopher in Plato's conception is one who is inclined to be a philosopher. Socrates says that the common man must be dragged upward toward wisdom and the ideal, but the philosopher is naturally turned in that direction and seeks wisdom and knowledge of the ideal. The role of the philosopher begins with the realization of his own ignorance. For the philosopher, this leads to a rebirth, a new orientation. Plato follows his mentor, Socrates, in seeing the method of philosophy to be the dialogue, the asking of questions and the questioning of answers. For Socrates, it is the process of inquiry that constitutes wisdom, and knowledge is what one believes, which may or may not be true.

Socrates made inquiry not just a personal thing but a way for anyone to reach the truth, and so he went around Athens asking questions of those who would listen. He used this method to get them to think. He was not a teacher in the sense of imparting knowledge but in the sense of getting his students to think for themselves. His method of questioning would become known as the Socratic method and was used to guide the conversation into various areas in need of answers.

2. Socrates makes certain claims about his own degree of knowledge when he is on trial. Socrates says that the most important concern for him, and a concern that should be most important for everyone, is to search into himself and other men. He says that he has been charged with this responsibility by God, for that is the role of the philosopher. This is his manner of living, and it is his manner of living because God has said it shall be this way. Socrates makes it clear that he will obey God before he obeys his fellow man.

The precise charge against Socrates is that he is corrupting the youth, but for Socrates this is not possible since he is only introducing them to the vital and holy world of rational philosophical thought. In addition, he is humble about his own degree of knowledge and denies that he is a wise man or that he… [read more]

Descartes Rene Descartes: Historical and Philosophical Context Term Paper

… Descartes

Rene Descartes: Historical and Philosophical Context

Rene Descartes is widely considered to be one of the founders of modern philosophy. But geniuses are not born out of thin air - rather they are products of the era that they… [read more]

Inductive Deductive Argument Analogy Term Paper

… ¶ … Analogy #1: "You wouldn't steal a car or snatch a purse, so you shouldn't illegally download music and movies."

This is a middling argument. The above argument attempts to re-orient those who illegally download by showing them that… [read more]

Plato and Milan Kundera's Book the Unbearable Lightness of Being Term Paper

… Plato and Milan Kundera's book "The Unbearable Lightness of Being

When asked about his characters in the Unbearable Lightness of Being, and how they emerged, Milan Kundera said referring to the character of Tomas, "And once more I see him… [read more]

Applying Kant's Theory to a Specific Decision in Elliot's Middlemarch, Chapter 48 Term Paper

… Applying Kant's theory to a specific descion form Middlemarch: Chapter 48, G.Elliot

The Metaphysics of Morals in Middlemarch

Immanuel Kant's metaphysics of morals established a close connection between the reasoning faculty which is proper only to human beings and the… [read more]

What Is Wisdom? Term Paper

… Wisdom

What is Wisdom?

If I have learned nothing else from this course, what I have learned is that it is almost impossible to define wisdom. After all, wisdom cannot be defined in positive terms. It is not the presence of a certain degree of knowledge, because all people, no matter how wise, only know a fraction of the facts and data that exist. Therefore, wisdom cannot even be negatively defined as the absence of ignorance. In fact, even Plato's exhortations that wisdom is truth ring somewhat hollow, because truth is very subjective, while wisdom seems somewhat less subjective. However, there do appear to be some common characteristics among those who are considered wise, which may help shape a rough definition of wisdom. Wise people are people who are able to learn from their experiences and the experiences of others. They use logic to apply lessons learned in previous scenarios to new situations. They avoid scenarios that will likely cause them pain that is greater than the reward promised by that scenario. While wise people may not rely strictly on emotion to make decisions, like Solomon, they do not disregard the important role that emotions can play in such decision-making. Finally, wise people have the ability to recognize their own limitations, and seek counsel and input from people with more knowledge and skill. From those attributes, it appears that wisdom is learning, logic, rational, and humble.

My definition of wisdom has changed dramatically since I entered this course. When I initially began my study of philosophy, I would have defined wisdom as the presence of knowledge, and I would have automatically responded that the wisest person that I know is the person who knows the most facts. However, I realize that my definition of wisdom was very one-sided. Someone can have a photographic memory, and still be essentially unwise, because he fails to apply the lessons that he has learned to new situations. Likewise, someone can know a significant amount of information, but discount those facts and rely simply on emotion to make decisions. Neither of those people would be wise. In…… [read more]

Determinism vs. Free Will Term Paper

… Free Will vs. Determinism

Free-will and determinism are issues of faith. Some people believe that each individual has unrestricted free-will to act as he or she chooses no matter the obligations or consequences of the act. While others believe that… [read more]

Sexology as Defined by Wikipedia, "Sexology Deals Term Paper

… Sexology

As defined by Wikipedia, "sexology deals with the systematic study of human sexuality. It encompasses all aspects of sexuality, including attempting to characterize normal sexuality and its variants. The modern sexology includes a multidisciplinary field which uses the techniques… [read more]

Morality What Man Would Be so Foolish Term Paper

… Morality

What man would be so foolish as to tire himself out cultivating a field that will be plundered by the first comer, be it man or beast, who takes a fancy to the crop?" Many famous scholars, like Jean-Jacques Rousseau, have advocated the importance of individuals interests, even while set in the context of a society. Despite the belief of many within Philosophy, there is a strong case for believing the interests of the individual supersede those of a common people or group. One may adapt in order to still fulfill one's individual interests within the limits of society, as was the case in Rousseau's "social contract;" however, continually serving the interests of others above oneself results in a life of servitude -- leaving a life of hard labor with no personal gains to show for it.

Scholars and Philosophers throughout history have tried to convince the individual that his or her rights and interests were not as important as the fulfillment of the group's. This philosophy stems back from ancient Eastern and Classic beliefs about the importance of kindness and piety. The highest figure in Christianity reportedly gave his life for the greater common good. Great men such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr. have all shown the importance of this ideology in more recent society.

Additionally, tribal societies rely on help from each other to survive. Many in our society strive to great lengths to give to others, many times to their own disadvantage.

However, it is the individual interests which are the more important when compared to the needs of the greater good. In the world we live in, without special concern for one's own interests, failure is inevitable. If one were to constantly share one's assets with others in the capitalist economy of today, that individual would essentially be parting with his or her own invaluable resources, to their own detriment. Experiments in Communist and Socialist governments…… [read more]

Skepticism Against Term Paper

… Skepticism

Against Skepticism

One of the key problems in the history of epistemological inquiry is that of skepticism. There are some moderate skeptics who have argued that knowledge is theoretically possible. There are some skeptics, however, who are more radical… [read more]

Kant Rousseau Liberty Term Paper

… Kant, Rousseau, Liberty

Give Me Liberty and Give Me...the Categorical Imperative?"

Different concepts of liberty in "The Declaration of Independence," Rousseau, and Kant

We are a nation founded upon the principle of liberty. This idea of liberty as a universal… [read more]

Game Movie Term Paper

… ¶ … Game Movie

This is one of those keeps-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat movies. The Game is a movie about the impossible and one that would challenge the skeptic. It started when the lead man, Nicholas Van Orton, played by Michael Douglas, a… [read more]

Leadership Comparison Term Paper

… Political Science

Comparison of Leadership Styles and Philosophies

Politics and social history are dominated by the views of those who shape movements and events. These views include not only the basic assumptions of leaders in regard to ideas of human… [read more]

Interjecting My Own Personal Feelings and Biases Term Paper

… ¶ … interjecting my own personal feelings and biases into the equation, because my own judgments are always grounded in wisdom. But a more accurate and self-critical assessment of my persuasive strategies would be to say that I use a mix of pathos, ethos, and logos, or emotion, ethical appeals, and reason, to convince people that I am right during an argument or when I am attempting to make my case before a neutral or negative listener. The degree to which I use such strategies depends upon my audience and the context in which I am speaking. Finding the right persuasive mix can be as delicate as finding the perfect recipe for a souffle, and the final product can fall just as quickly if not sustained with the right ingredients, mixed at the right time.

To take two examples from my own life, when I had first learned how to drive and wanted to use one of my parents' cars, I was more apt to use logic when persuading my parents that I was a responsible driver and that it would be a good idea to give me the keys for the evening. I pointed out that unless I had practice, I was unlikely to become a good driver in the future. If I improved my driving skills, I could also later drive myself to work or school, lessening their burden. A strong driving record would enable me to take part in better employment father from home, work more frequently and work longer hours, and participate in more extracurricular activities. I wanted to seem level-headed when making my request, not seem like a whiny teen who did not understand that driving a car was a serious responsibility.

A also noted, when I needed the car for the entire evening, that if someone I was with drank or did something I did not approve of, I would be able to easily get home without being reliant on someone else's wheels. I would make reference to the fact that I had handled the car responsibly in the past, without a scratching or denting the vehicle. Of course, if I had not been a responsible driver in the past and my parents were more worried that I would be the individual drinking or behaving badly in my group of friends, my logical appeals would have fallen upon deaf ears. For logical appeals to work, they must be substantiated with believable evidence and verified with examples from history.

I do not always use logical appeals when dealing with my parents, I must confess. For example, sometimes I am at my parents' home, and I want to have take-out like pizza for Sunday dinner, or for my mother to make one of my special, favorite meals. I know, from seeing what is defrosting in the refrigerator that my mother has a very ordinary, healthy meal prepared for the family that evening, a meal that I don't particularly feel like eating. So I will use emotional… [read more]

Critical Thinking and Language Term Paper

… Critical Thinking and Language

Metaphorical Observations in the Hospital:

Working in a hospital is often extremely rewarding but just as often, it can be frustrating and depressing, depending on specific occurrences and interactions with patients, coworkers, and hospital administrators. Appreciative patients who progress toward recovery and cooperative coworkers make for a rewarding shift; unappreciative patients, worsening symptoms, and uncooperative coworkers can make the day feel endless as though the nursing station clock is standing still. In some ways, whether one has a day full of positive experiences or negative experiences is completely out of one's hands, much like the weather dictates a good or bad hair day.

Some of the specific tasks of Nursing Assistants can be unpleasant because they involve cleaning patients who have soiled themselves and their beds, necessitating full- body cleaning by hand, much the same way one must care for an infant. Many of those patients suffer from various forms of dementia, making it difficult for them to communicate or cooperate with the most basic elements of their care, such as simply swallowing pills. Often they exhibit what is called "Sundown" syndrome, because their cognitive abilities decline as darkness falls, as though their comprehension level is somehow linked to the sunset, fading out at night and rising with the sun in the morning. Physicians also contribute to the Nursing Assistant's working environment. They can be so busy with matters of life and death, that they sometimes seem like they have side-blinders on when we try to get their attention to remind them about comparatively less important matters such as ordering pain medications for less critical patients. Naturally, patients take their frustrations out on Nurses and Nursing Assistants.

The Importance of Language Diversity and Critical Thinking:

Language and language diversity play critical roles in the critical thinking process because language is the primary way that human beings communicate their thoughts, ideas, and desires to others. In my vocational occupation of nursing, language issues are frequently capable of empowering clinicians and caretakers to perform essential medical services, or of severely limiting our ability to do so where language barriers prevent patients and medical providers from communicating efficiently.

Likewise, critical thinking skills are important in communications related to persuasion because effective argument requires logical comprehension of issues and the ability to understand varied points-of-view (Copi 1998).

Language and Language Diversity in the Critical Thinking Process:

Language skills are crucial to the critical thinking process…… [read more]

Existentialism the Foundations Term Paper

… Existentialism

The foundations of existentialism, though the philosophy is often seen as a modern and new philosophy, according to Flynn is truly connected to the ideas of much older philosophies, but mainly the "ethic of care" associated with Socrates. This… [read more]

Subjectivism Is a Result Term Paper

… Subjectivism is a result of someone making a decision based on their feelings, which can affect the outcome of situations. "Simple Subjectivism: What does it mean to say that ethics is subjective? The simplest version of the theory says that if you say "x is wrong" then what you mean is "I disapprove of x."

In other words, you are reporting on your own attitude. It is hard to imagine anyone being mistaken about their own attitude (e.g. thinking they are pro-life but really being pro-choice), so if simple subjectivism is true then nobody who says "x is wrong" is likely to be wrong. This sounds strange. If someone says "Courage is bad" aren't they wrong? Well, it depends what you mean by 'wrong'. If you mean morally wrong then subjectivism does not say. Remember that it is not a theory about what is right and what is wrong. According to simple subjectivism people are only infallible in their moral judgments in the sense that people cannot be mistaken about what they feel is right or wrong. Strange as it might sound, this could well be right. After all, a mistake is a kind of accident, and people's beliefs about ethics might be misguided but they are surely never accidents.

So perhaps we really cannot be mistaken in our moral judgments" (Subjectivism in Ethics). Therefore, there cannot be a one moral code for everyone, which makes subjectivism valid.


In Jim Holt's essays about Sartre, it is clearly presented that Sartre believes that people create their own world in order to deal with their reality. Within his ideas, "Memories seem unimportant to Pablo now. The woman he loves no longer seems important. Death itself is an aberration, almost impossible to conceive. But psychologically the characters do pass from life to death before the guards come to take them away. However, there is an ironic twist to the ending" (the WALL Jean-Paul Sartre). This completely supports the idea of subjectivism because people create their own world in order to deal with reality, which means their feelings affect their moral judgment.

People justify everything by their own psychologically reasons, which are not by society's standards like Sartre's story of the woman with the unfortunate husband. "The Bedroom' begins with a woman suffering from some unnamed illness, lying in bed. She and her husband are concerned for their daughter whose husband is descending into some kind of hereditary and degenerative madness. The father wants his son-in-law put in an institution, and goes to see his daughter. She refuses to give up her husband. Not only that, she goes along with her husband's hallucinations, to the extent that they almost seem real to her too" (the WALL Jean-Paul Sartre). Sartre and Holt show people create their own psychologically escape in order to deal with reality, which subjectivism is based on.

Nietzsche believes there is an "order of rank" to where people's spiritual strength can be measured. Due to the fact that people are different,… [read more]

Critique the Theories of Libertarianism and Determinism Term Paper

… Libertarianism is a theoretical arrangement within metaphysics by means of admiration to liberated strength of character all along by means of determinism. It entails the credence so as to human beings acquire free will that free will is unable to coexist with determinism, and to facilitate determinism is false.

Even though not detained through the preponderance of up-to-date philosophers, libertarianism is still extensively discussed furthermore enthusiastically watched over as an outcome of numerous top philosophers in the meadow, for instance Peter van Inwagen, Robert Kane, Timothy O'Connor and Laura Ekstrom. It is still admired amongst non-academics with sanctioned by several religions as an ideology.


An intelligence which in the least certain split second be acquainted amongst every part of the force to sentient environment as well as the mutual positions of the beings with the purpose of comprising it, stipulation this mental power were immense adequate to put forward its facts to analysis, may perhaps compress into an only method the division of the utmost body of the universe in addition, so as to of the lightest molecule: designed for such brains nothing may possibly be uncertain; moreover, the future just like the precedent would exist in attendance before our eyes."

Theory and Critique of Libertarianism

Natural libertarianism


Naturalistic libertarians consider to facilitate the world contains an indeterminist component, such as established by quantum technicalities; in addition, so as to human beings make the most of this to pull off self-determination of preference. There is no detached, dualistic nature within this conjecture: the character is the entirety doings of the intelligence seeing that as a system.


protest to naturalistic libertarianism is with the aim it vestiges an inscrutability why a negotiator makes the selection she does, any enlightenment on the preference (ahead of a probabilistic one) would give the impression of making it gritty. On the other hand, according to David Hume, if the selection is not gritty, subsequently it is merely a casual experience, which is knotty in view of the fact that such a selection would be inadequate in purpose.

Though quantum technicalities provide several reasons for thoughts that determinism may well certainly be false, Roy C. Weatherford (in the Oxford escort to Philosophy) echoes Hume on casualty:

The casual behaviour of atoms undoubtedly does not by itself compose in favor of the independence and ethical conscientiousness asserted through libertarians.


Personal management is not an entity affair taking place at the infinitesimal intensity; it is an awfully multifaceted procedure concerning billions of neurons. It is habitually assumed that indeterminism can merely come into participation as fraction of a multifaceted procedure of supervisory when the deterministic constituent has reached a deadlock; in addition, indeterminism has the "casting vote" (similar to that of an internalized version of tossing a coin when you cannot make up your wits). This replica (which is nearly that advocated by Robert Kane) has the benefit that you encompass some echelon of pledge in cooperation courses of accomplishment; neither is unerringly adjacent… [read more]

Heidegger's Ontology vs. St Term Paper

… Heidegger Ontology vs. St. Anselm Ontology

Ontology is the branch of metaphysics, which deals with the nature of being (Online Etymology Dictionary December 28, 2007). St. Anselm was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109, Doctor of the Church,… [read more]

Compare and Contrast the Idea of Abstract Idea's From John Locke and David Hume Term Paper

… ¶ … John Locke and David Hume

John Locke, 1632-1704 was a British Philosopher, Oxford academic and medical researcher, whose involvement with Anthony Ashley Cooper directed him to turn into consecutively a government officer charged with gathering information regarding trade… [read more]

Rene Descartes Meditations Term Paper

… Rene Descartes Meditations

Rene Descartes- Meditations

It is widely known that Descartes' philosophy revolved around the issue of the division between the body and the mind. In the sixth meditation, Descartes deals precisely with the mind -body dualism and how he sees this separation.

According to the French philosopher, there are certain things that can be understood but cannot be imagined, and other that can be both understood and imagined. He takes this distinction as his main argument for the fact that the body and the mind can exist separately. Thus, if one can understand an object but not imagine it at the same time, as his example of a geometrical figure with one thousands sides, then the difference must be given by the sensuous perception. It is thus evident that the mind cannot imagine, as if it perceiving, an extraordinary object. However, the mind can understand the object by using simply pure reason: "If I desire to think of a chiliagon, I certainly conceive truly that it is a figure composed of a thousand sides, just as easily as I conceive of a triangle that it is a figure of three sides only; but I cannot in any way imagine the thousand sides of a chiliagon..."(Descartes). Thus, if the object can be understood mentally but not imagined, then imagination must be derived from sensuous perception. It is here that the great distinction between mind and body must be formed. The mind is the one that provides actual understanding.

To this example, Descartes adds the one with the piece of wax. He demonstrates that a man cannot understand what the wax is simply by perceiving its physical features. On the contrary, the wax can be understood when it is deprived of its psychical qualities and laid before the mind in its nakedness or in its essence. Descartes proves this by revealing how little there can be said about the wax from a mere physical perception of its properties, such as magnitude,…… [read more]

Concept of Justice in the Republic the Prince and Analects Term Paper

… Justice has different meanings in different cultures but the bottom line is always the same i.e. justice is a positive force that must be embraced in order to lead a good life. From epistemological view, justice is doing unto others… [read more]

Marx and Rousseau on Bourgeois Society Term Paper

… Rousseau and Marx

French educator and philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), one of the Enlightenment theorists, wrote on the fundamental concept of natural law, political freedom, free enterprise and the social contract between ruler and ruled, creating his critique on the origin of man and in the process creating a theory that civilization had been the great unequalizer of the noble savage. His ideas were the foundation for a convincing argument for political equality. Unfortunately for his fellow men and women, Rousseau's ideas did not immediately affect those who so desperately needed them, but his writings became well read and were influential later on, and have affected people throughout the world as they have struggled for equality (Fiero, 1998, 95). Karl Marx's theories, which he expounded in his Communist Manifesto in 1848, on the unjust differences between the proletariats and working people were written at a time when many countries were experiencing vast economic changes due to industrialization. In contrast to Rousseau's ideas, his were timely and were used immediately as a rallying cry to the working man, fomenting revolution throughout the industrial world, including the United States.

In Rousseau's Discourse on the Origin of Inequality Among Men, written in 1755, he expressed his belief that progress in the form of advanced society, laws, institutions and property ownership, corrupted the true nature of man and forced men to become competitive, which was "unnatural." He told of the noble savage who was free, innocent and uncorrupted and how reason had turned men's hearts away from instinct and nature. This was similar to Marx's ideal man who had become corrupted by the economic inequality of capitalism, where the bourgeoisie took advantage of the masses that made up the working class (proletarians).

In his writings, Rousseau bemoaned the fact that "man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains." He did not like authority and believed that the citizenry ruled the nation and the state was nothing more than "the general will" of its citizens. Marx, too, abhorred authority, but found, like Rousseau, that "Bourgeois Capitalism" corrupted the citizen and "established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones" (Marx 15) and all of them are based on money.

Karl Marx's economical theories of the freedom of the individual echoed Hegel in that Hegel is associated with "communitarian" politics. Hegel wrote that humans possess free will, which is limited by duty to the universal will in order to reach the harmonious stage of universal will and duty working together for the good of all (Fiero, 2002, 26). Though Hegel criticized Rousseau for regarding the universal will only as a "general will," it was this basic idea of the universal will that fueled both Rousseau and Marx in their writings, with ideas that overturned nations. Marx applied these ideals to economic theories, calling for action in the form of violent proletarian revolution that would end private ownership of the means of economic production. Rousseau simply bemoaned… [read more]

Misery the Rhetor for a Literary Work Term Paper

… Misery

The rhetor for a literary work may be the author, not present in the work itself, but clearly the voice that the reader "hears" through the characters, the situation, the descriptions, and every other element in the work. A character might be presented as a rhetor in the structure of the story, but the author is the primary rhetor. A film is usually thought of as the product of the director rather than the screenwriter, and the rhetor would thus be the director, to whom is ascribed the various elements of the film and the meaning they are meant to convey. However, the rhetorical situation for a film can be more complex, and this is especially true of a film made from a best-selling novel, where the author of the original work can still be considered the rhetor when that figure is strong enough to still speak through the material and to communicate with the audience more directly. Stephen King is such an author not because his writing is so powerful that it cannot be distorted and not because his works are so clearly formed as to have a life of their own but because King's audience is loyal, follows him from one medium to another, and indeed goes to a given film precisely because it is from a work by King. King shapes the communication and reaches an audience even when he is not present himself. The audience attends a King movie because it is a King movie and so experiences a communication event with King as rhetor and themselves as audience. This can be illustrated with reference to the film Misery, based on King's book of the same name.

Lloyd Bitzer describes what he calls the "Rhetorical Situation" and defines the rhetorical situation as "a complex of persons, events, objects, and relations presenting an actual or potential exigence" which can be completely or partially altered if human discourse is such that it can "bring about the significant modification of the exigence." (Bitzer 3). Bitzer states that rhetoric is situational and that the rhetorical situation always has at least one controlling exigence functioning as the organizing principle, specifying the audience to be addressed and the change to be effected. A second constituent is the audience, and a rhetorical audience consists only of those persons who are capable of being influenced by discourse and of being mediators of change. Every rhetorical situation also contains a set of constraints made up of persons, events, objects, and relations that are part of the situation because they have the power to constrain decision and action needed to modify the exigence. Standard sources of constraint include attitudes, beliefs, interests, motives, images, and similar elements. Bitzer writes:

These three constituents -- exigence, audience, constraints -- comprise everything relevant in a rhetorical situation. When the orator, invited by situation, enters it and creates and presents discourse, then both he and his speech are additional constituents. (Bitzer 8)

In the film Misery (Rob Reiner, 1990), based… [read more]

Aristotle and Cicero on Rhetoric Research Paper

… Thus, the inherent superiority of humanity over animals is found in the nature of speech to create and reinforce reason. Reason, then, is one of the core truths of humanity - it is the essential nature of what truly differentiates… [read more]

Rousseau's Natural Rights Term Paper

… Political Science

Rousseau's Doctrine of Natural Rights vs. Liberal Political, Social, and Economic Theory

The great philosophe Jean-Jacques Rousseau was one of the foremost proponents of the theory of the Social Contract and of ideas concerning the basic nature of… [read more]

Politics Since, According to Constructivism, Human Knowledge Term Paper

… Politics

Since, according to constructivism, human knowledge does not reflect reality, it therefore challenges the fundamental beliefs of rationalism.

Constructivism is a philosophy that holds that all knowledge, or how humans view their world, is constructed instead of being based… [read more]

Inventing Argument: Rhetorical Analysis Term Paper

… Inventing Argument: Rhetorical Analysis

For this essay, I have chosen to analyze the rhetorical devices used by Noam Chomsky in his article, "Selective Memory and a Dishonest Doctrine" found in Inventing arguments. Chomsky is a very well-known and highly regarded name in the field of political theories, linguistics and language. The first thing that strikes a reader about his work is his name. The fact that Chomsky has a reputation for being objective and deep, automatically lends credibility to his work. So whatever he says would usually be acceptable without much questioning or argument. This goes in his favor and thus we can say that Chomsky effectively used the device of ethos. Aristotle knew that ethos was an integral component of persuasive rhetoric. Ethos refers to the credibility and reputation of the author. Aristotle clearly indicated that, "Ethos is appeal based on the character of the speaker. An ethos-driven document relies on the reputation of the author." If the author were seen as an authority on a subject, people would not disregard his argument or question the validity of what he says. In the very beginning of the article, the one thing that reader is most concerned about is who the author is and how much he knows about the subject. This can largely determine whether he will disagree or agree with author's viewpoint. Having settled this, the reader moves on to see how else the author tries to win him over to his side.

It would be wrong to assume that Chomsky only rests on his reputation and doesn't really say anything credible. Of course a good argument is composed of more than just the author's name and thus Chomsky incorporates other rhetorical devices as well to make a sound argument. Chomsky effectively used logos to appeal to reader's logic. He does this with the help of facts, which are presented in easy-to-grasp manner. Chomsky tells us that, these facts as, important as they are to us, are usually ignored by the government as "boring, stale stuff" (Chomsky 18). Here the author is first building the ground for logic. He knows that people would trust what he is about to say because of a) his reputation and b) because of his objective stance against administration's policies and c) because of general resentment against Bush administration. Thus he doesn't only tell us what is wrong with the government and the numerous mistakes it has already made, but backs this up with logical facts. For example he informs the readers that, "As the State Department official responsible for Asian affairs under Regan, Wolfowitz oversaw support for the murderous dictators Chun of South Korea and Marcos of the Philippines. All of this is irrelevant because of the convenient doctrine or change of course." (Chomsky 18)

The author's use of logos and pathos is clear from the way he attacks the government…… [read more]

Justice in Plato's Republic Term Paper

… ¶ … REPUBLIC by Plato has one main concern and that is justice. The entire books deals with various facets of justice and injustice to explain what constitutes just behavior. However we must remember that often times, justice has been used as morality or in other words, moral behavior has been described in terms of justice. The two seem to mean the same thing and Plato, Socrates and others apply the term justice to morality on many occasions. For example when describing injustice at one point, Glaucon describes immoral behavior and calls it injustice. For us today, justice and morality are two different things. They may be connected to each other but are cannot be used interchangeably. However that is not the case with Plato so it's important to remember this distinction of the text.

The points made using the example of Ring of Gyges are important part of the injustice debate. Plato has Glaucon relate the story of a shepherd who had found the ring of gyges that could make him invisible to the world. He had found the ring on the hands of a corpse and had taken it off for his own use. Upon turning the bezel, he discovered something strange: "...he eventually found that turning the bezel inwards made him invisible and turning it outwards made him visible." (p. 47) Immediately upon making this discovery, his mind started brewing immoral thoughts. He went inside the king's palace to seduce his wife and with her help also killed the king. He became the king himself and continued his immoral behavior. Glaucon feels that the power of anonymity and invisibility would make any man reach for things that do not belong to him. "There is no one, on this view, who is iron-willed enough to maintain his morality... when he is able to take whatever he wants from the market-stalls without fear of being discovered." (p. 47-48) in other words, given the chance, everyone would commit acts of injustice. This was the bottom line of Glaucon's argument. He argued that people are just and moral because they have a fear of being discovered but if that fear were not a factor, everyone would do injustice if it makes him happy.

Socrates refuses to accept this logic and said that only an immoral person would be so deluded. If a person commits acts of injustice because he cannot be seen, he is still hurting his soul and that's the worst thing anyone can do to himself. But his views are again rejected by Adeimantus…… [read more]

Plato Study of False Rhetoric as it Pertains to Democracy Term Paper

… ¶ … danger of rhetoric to a Democracy, we have only to look at our electoral process. The 30-second sound-bite and issue-positioning are all that matter now in terms of elections. Philosophical position, the ability to carefully think through exceptionally… [read more]

Plato and Suzuki Term Paper

… Plato and Suzuki

What is the problem of truth? What are two of the main types of obstacles to the pursuit of truth? How does Zen practice help to overcome one type of obstacle? How does Socrates work help to… [read more]

Plato What Is the Problem of Truth? Term Paper

… Plato

What is the problem of truth? What are two of the main types of obstacles to the pursuit of truth? How does Zen practice help to overcome one type of obstacle? How does Socrates work help to overcome another type of obstacle to the pursuit of truth?

Two of the biggest obstacles to finding out what is true lie within us. We all have our own biases and prejudices. Also, we fall prey to sloppy thinking, merely accepting what common sense dictates, rather than rigorously questioning what is real and right. Zen practice encourages thoughtful and deep contemplation, encouraging the individual to look within him or herself and let go of the ego and thus the ego's negative and false assumptions. Socrates encourages people to overcome so called common sense and arrive at true wisdom by questioning conventional definitions.

Who is Socrates? Who is Plato? When and where did they live and work? Who are the Sophists? What is their (the Sophists') approach to teaching and argument? How is Socrates' approach to teaching and argument different?

Socrates was a philosopher living in 5th century Athens, during the classical age of Greek culture. Plato was one of his students. Although Socrates never wrote down any of his thoughts, Plato recorded what he witnessed. Socrates was a teacher who used probing questions to arrive at what be believed was the truth. The Sophists taught people to argue persuasively in the democratic Athenian assembly and law-courts. Unlike Socrates, they did not believe in a fixed truth, but rather believed that the truth merely depended upon who was the better persuader.

Polemarchus and Adeimantus ask Socrates to discuss justice with them. What is meant by justice? What are the three kinds of goods they discuss? According to Socrates what type of good is justice? What argument about justice do they want Socrates to prove?

Polemarchus defines justice as showing respect for the gods. Other participants define justice as speaking the truth, and paying one's debts, and other conventional definitions of justice. Socrates defines justice as every person doing the labor he or she is best suited to do, in other words, justice is a state of balance and harmony, and he attempts to disprove the idea that might makes right, and justice is only defined by who is stronger, not wiser.

What arguments about justice does Glaucon make (out of…… [read more]

Kuhn's Concept of the Paradigm Term Paper

… Kuhn's Concept Of The Paradigm

Austin, Michael (2007). Analysis as Model: Thomas Kuhn's Paradigm Shift in the Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

Austin takes a very interesting approach to Kuhn's writing, in that he offers the insight that Kuhn's philosophy is not only applicable to the sciences, but also to Kuhn and his theories themselves. Indeed, the simple brilliance of this insight is that, not only has Kuhn revolutionized the way in which various fields of scientific history is viewed, but has also himself proven the concept. The site does not contain links to the original page, but this can be found by removing the extensions of the URL. Indeed, the site itself appears to indicate that it will be dedicated entirely to Kuhn, his philosophy, its history, and how these relate to the way in which modern scientific endeavors are approached.

Healy, Tim. (2007). Thomas Kuhn. Santa Clara University

Healy takes an interestingly personal approach to the paradigm concept promoted by Kuhn. After a description of Kuhn's concepts, Healy applies these first to life in general, and then to his own life. In this, one might say that it is the opinion of one person only. Yet, it is particularly useful opinion, as it indicates that Kuhn's theory is useful not only in scientific circles, but indeed also to other disciplines and opinions. The site is legitimized by the citation of the University name, as well as the."edu" part of its URL.

Hubert, Christian (2007). Paradigm. Weird Science.

Christian Hubert gives a very clear and down-to-earth description of Kuhn's philosophy of paradigms. It appears that the site is aimed at researchers who are young, or those who do not move in philosophical circles on a daily basis. As part of his larger body of writings under the heading "Weird Science," the site does not appear particularly academic, but the information offered appears reliable, as it is based upon academic philosophy and writing.

Ritzer, George. (2007). Paradigm. Encyclopedia of Social Theory.

Ritzer begins by delineating the…… [read more]

Cultural Transmissions by the Italian Renaissance Term Paper

… Cultural Transmissions by the Italian Renaissance

European Renaissance of the 14th-17th century is considered to be a revival of antique culture and humanism ideas after prolonged Dark Ages of feudalism in Europe. it's generally agreed that starting from approximately 1000… [read more]

Dream Interpretation and Metaphysics Term Paper

… Dream Interpretation and Metaphysics

M.Msc. thesis for the degree of Master of Metaphysical Science

Every person dreams. Whether the dreamer remembers those dreams, or believes they drift into a dark see of absolute nothingness in sleep, the fact is that… [read more]

Critical Thinking Is a Mental Process Term Paper

… Critical Thinking is a mental process that an individual goes through when analyzing and evaluating either a statement or a proposition that has been put forth as being true. By going through the process of critical thinking, the individual will use logic to reach a conclusion on the truth of the statement or proposition. Typically the individual will reflect upon the statements meaning, examine offered evidence and reasoning, compare with what the individual already knows, and thus reach a judgment of conclusion on the issue.

However, there is no set procedure to follow in critical thinking. Instead, the essence of being able to critically think is to reach a conclusion through logic instead of steps. Thus, critical thinking can be said to be based on concepts and principles as opposed a set out, step-by-step procedure. Since critical thinking is a free-form method of reaching a conclusion and is heavily dependent on the individual thinker's personal logic, critical thinking is subject to the influence of bias.

Although one cannot take bias out of the critical thinking process, its effect can be reduced or at least minimized. An essential part of being a critical thinker is having the ability to remove oneself from their biases and to see the question from a neutral point-of-view, thus giving one the ability to fairly evaluate all arguments offered. In a sense, this means that a critical thinker has intellectual empathy and humility, allowing them to see and understand all sides of an argument. To be able to successfully accomplish this, the individual thinker must be able not only to critically think about the question at hand, but simultaneously evaluate the truth of the statements of truth that they have already personally developed.

There are several essential concepts that are involved in true critical thinking. First, the purpose of the thinking must be established, or the goal for an outcome must be known in order to guide the rest of the process. Next, there is the question at issue or the problem, the answer to which is most often the goal of the thinking. In order to get from the problem to the goal, the thinker will utilize concepts, assumptions, information, interpretations and points-of-view. Concepts include theories, axioms, principles, models, laws and definitions. Information includes observations, personal experiences, data and facts. Interpretations include inferences, solutions and conclusions. Points-of-view include orientation,…… [read more]

Plato the Republic Term Paper

… Plato -- the Republic

Why think that the soul has separate parts? Exactly how do Socrates' arguments go?

In Book IV of the Republic, the idea of justice in the ideal city follows the same structure as the classes around which the ideal city is organized. Moreover, similarly to the state - that is divided into three classes, i.e. The philosophers, the auxiliaries, and the artisans, traders and farmers - the soul also encompasses three parts. Thesis: The ideal city and the soul share the same structure, that is they are both based upon the concept that each part of the soul, respectively of the city, has certain characteristics, and is equipped to perform a certain task as established by nature: "And we surely haven't forgotten that the city was just because each of the three classes in it was doing its own work.... Then we must also remember that each one of us in whom each part is doing its own work will himself be just and do his own" (Plato: book IV)

The tripartite nature of the city is reproduced in the nature of the soul; this can be explained by the belief that the soul will ground the nature of the city by grounding the nature of its citizens. The ideal city encompasses three classes; within each class, the citizens are endowed with certain qualities which define them as members of that particular class, and make them suitable to successfully perform their class's tasks. Similarly, the soul is divided into three parts, each having a particular nature. The first important aspect is that the soul appears to be made up of at least two parts in the sense that if a soul can desire one thing, but refrain from acting in that particular direction, it is obvious that there are - at least - two distinct parts in the composition of the soul because as Socrates points out, one thing cannot have opposing interests in itself in relation to the same issue. Consequently, Socrates identifies two moments which correspond to different parts of the soul; on the one hand, there is the rational - i.e. The result of rational calculation - and the irrational appetitive part that is the element of desire within the soul. These can be considered the two extreme poles…… [read more]

Sophie's Character in Gaarder's Novel Sophie's World Term Paper

… Sophie's World / Foucault Theories

Sophie's World - like many novels and human stories as well - can bring truth to light in the mind of the reader and observer as a link between knowledge and power. The first theory of Michel Foucault ("Knowledge, Power, and Truth") holds that knowledge is always "linked to power" and knowledge has the power to "make itself true." Further, Foucault says, power is not necessarily brutal or "repressive" and moreover the power can be expressed through understanding (knowledge) and cultural values. These values are found throughout Sophie's World. It is Foucault's belief that when speaking of truth, one must understand the cultural context of that truth (i.e., what is believed as being true throughout time in a given culture at a given time); there is an underlying "regime of truth," he explained, based on the setting, and context.

Foucault-focused knowledge in one aspect of Sophie's story is plain to see when Sophie and Alberto become aware of the fact that they are fictional; they thought they were real, and the knowledge of their real nature over a period of time made itself true. What Sophie thought she knew about herself and the things around her guided how she behaved; she had no idea until her 15th birthday that she was a pawn in her father's philosophical work of fiction, which in turn, is merely the fictional approach to philosophical knowledge expressed in a novel by Gaarder.

In her "travels" through history, as she meets with high-visibility philosophical theories and witnesses cultural settings in the many time periods philosophers lived in, all of those instances have their own "regime of truth" for her, because her knowledge of them makes them true.

When the dog Hermes speaks, for example, is that just a fictional tool of the author whose manuscript Sophie is a part of, a character in? The knowledge of having believed that the dog spoke makes it true. To wit, on page 260 (paperback version) the dog "began to shudder violently" and his jaws "began to vibrate but Hermes neither growled nor barked"; he opened his mouth and said "Happy birthday Hilde!" And although she must have only imagined it, and in a moment the dog is barking normally as though to mask the earlier words spoken, "deep down" she became convinced that the dog indeed had spoken. Truth is linked to knowledge and that is power in the mind of Sophie.

The novel's characters and dialogue helps put forward Foucault's first "knowledge is linked to power" theory. Indeed, the theories and philosophies of the great men that Sophie…… [read more]

David Hume Philosopher, Historian, and Economist Term Paper

… David Hume

Philosopher, historian, and economist David Hume (April 26, 1711 - August 25, 1776) was born in Scotland (Penelhum, 1993). He was seen to be a very prominent figure in history both in the Scottish enlightenment and in Western… [read more]

Karl Marx and Individualism Term Paper

… ID: 76072
Paper Type:
Pages: 6
Topic: Karl Marx and Individualism
Citation Style: MLA
Bibliography: 3
Due: 2007-04-25 22:00:00
Worth: $48.00

Info: Topic:
Karl Marx is best known for his incisive analysis and acidic criticisms of
capitalism, including the ideology… [read more]

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