"Philosophy / Logic / Reason" Essays

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Philosophy the Greek Philosopher Plato Term Paper

Term Paper  |  6 pages (1,724 words)
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Augustine, and Taylor.

Locke and Aristotle argue that subsistence to intellectual development shall lead to material progress, a precursor to achieving social progress in human society. Locke demonstrates how the institutionalization of human society serves to temper the desires of humans to accumulate more property and create an imbalance in humanity's properties and resources, while Aristotle's belief in reason and empiricism advocates a learned society that only pursues personal development at the expense of social harmony.

Plato, Rousseau, and St. Augustine echoes Taylor's criticism of the rationalized society in the modern world, wherein the pursuit for intellectual development in order to achieve social progress is achieved at the expense of losing the individual's meaning as a human being. For these philosophers, if rationalization of society means losing the essence of being human by hindering his/her ability to discover and realize his/her potentials and capabilities in life, then social progress will also cease to happen in the modern society. Thus, the path towards rationalization takes into account the individual and his/her interaction with other people in the society.… [read more]

Black Studies - Philosophy the Value Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (513 words)
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Black Studies - Philosophy

The value of Philosophy

Every human thought, emotion and action is aimed at adapting to the external environment. However, we as human being do not simply adapt to the environment by controlling the environment, rather we try to find the underlying reason for human existence. The main value in philosophy lies that it engages students in disciplined and imaginative thinking about the philosophical questions that arise naturally in the course of human existence. As human being are not exceptional and in order to become better, we need the influence of souls that are superior to our own. Therefore, it becomes critical for us to study and critically reflect on the readings of Aristotle, Plato, Aquinas, Kant, Dostoyevsky, et al.

By reading these classics, we find that reflection and human thinking about the existence of life is a century's old perennial question.

Philosophy seeks answers to the ultimate questions we ask about God, the universe, and human existence. Philosophy does not claim to know the final answers to all these questions, but it does provide insights for all who reflect seriously on these fundamental issues. The aim of the philosophy thus becomes to analyze arguments and assess the value of various claims to knowledge. As a systematic discipline, philosophy develops an integral view of the world, with a special focus on the human person. As an ethical discipline, philosophy presents an account of the rational principles, which ought to guide one's moral life.

One aim of studying philosophy relies to reason the outlook…… [read more]

Philosophy Don't Dream Term Paper

Term Paper  |  3 pages (870 words)
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" (The Republic) This metaphor was powerfully recreated in the first Matrix movie, in which all of reality was a computer program that a few brave souls go surpass. So Socrates suggests constant thought and vigilance to seek out the world beyond our perception, to see the light beyond that cave of the universe, and to release our bodies from the prisons of their cells.

Yet the unexamined life may not be as imprisoning as Socrates seems to think. Many authors, such as David Abram of the Sensuous Life, speak of the vital and mystical importance of the physical. Socrates, it must be remembered, was generally opposed to the physical and placed it far behind the philosophical in importance. Yet for many millennia before that the wise were those who understood intuitively how to comprehend nature itself. What if the "unexamined life" is not ignorance, but rather a refusal to fill one's head with vain thoughts of some metaphysical reality beyond that which is both spiritual and present. Socrates seems to elevate thinking and examining to a place where it is the pinnacle of all human interactions with the world, yet the possibility exists that humans can just as appropriately approach the world through sensing and feeling and intuiting. What makes examining and dissecting any better than feeling and absorbing? The mere self-congratulatory thoughts of the examiner? Even Socrates will say that "such a one coming suddenly out of the sun to be replaced in his old situation; would he not be certain to have his eyes full of darkness?... before his eyes had become steady ... would he not be ridiculous?" (Republic) Is it possible that the sun at which such a man looks is not our natural element, and that he does not become enlightened by seeing it, but only blind and ridiculous? Perhaps, like nocturnal animals we were created for darkness and not for light -- would it not be foolish for a bat to try to hunt during the day, or a coyote to sing to the sun? What then makes it wise for a man to try to seek this sun of truth when he was born with eyes for the darkness of the…… [read more]

Hume's Problem of Induction David Term Paper

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However, arguing for the inductive rule on the basis of (unproven) induction is a circular argument which cannot be considered valid. If, as Hume suspects, induction does not work, than how can anything be proved inductively -- let alone the theory of induction itself? The conclusion that induction is valid is only true if the premises that proceed it are… [read more]

Philosophy Nietzsche Often Identified Life Term Paper

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In exploring the extent and limits of human understanding, David Hume arrives at the conclusion that justification for many common beliefs about the "natural world" is impossible. In An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, he writes,."..it is not reasoning which engages us to suppose the past resembling the future, and to expect similar effects from causes which are, to appearance, similar."… [read more]

Buddhist Philosophy Man Term Paper

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Whatever one wants can be so easily taken away from him or her.

On the basis of understanding the way that desires are built up one can set him or self free. Of course, this is something that may prove difficult because detachment from worldly attachments is difficult once habits are built up through experience.

In order to really be free, Siddhartha Gautama emphasized that in order to set one's self free from the round of being born again and suffering people have to realize the changing nature of everything in the world. Through comprehending and accepting the changing nature of substances, one can be free of experiences of pleasure that do not last, attachment to one's self and to a false impression of permanence.

Human nature however, is such that it attempts to hang on to the impermanent trying to make it permanent. This is done in order to gain a sense of security in the world. While trying to achieve this, dukka may result (Harvey 1990). Human beings attempt to hold onto a mass of something, which seem to satisfy one's ego.

This helps one to understand the reason why people strive to gain wealth and riches in this world, but no matter what one achieves it all passes away. This passing away does not necessarily refer to the wealth passing away but also means that a human being cannot live a life time to enjoy abundant wealth, as s/he has to die one day and leave it all behind.

Siddhartha Gautama, on the basis of his teachings regarding the impermanence of everything taught his disciples wisely. In order to escape the worldly desires he would meditate and also teach them how to do the same so that they would be able to break away from desires of all kinds.


In the light of all that Siddhartha Gautama taught his followers, it must be emphasized that his aim was to ameliorate their lives by showing them how to move away from things that are weakening to an individual, even though the individual him or herself is impermanent too.

Siddhartha Gautama's concept is very different from Western thought that includes the existence of a totality. Totality takes into account the possibility of being (existence) in form and content. This theory is considerate of possibilities way beyond what one has seen with the naked eye (metaphysics). The constriction of this theory is demonstrated in its ultimate form when beings confront each other, and this is because it is one individual (the self) that opposes another (other), and appear as two entirely different entities to each other. In contrast to this approach, Siddhartha Gautama implemented his philosophy in not just his own life but also in the lives of his followers and established almost perfect discipline in spite not recognizing that they might all be part of a totality.


Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, pp. 70-71 1997.

Indian Tradition, 2nd ed.,… [read more]

Philosophy of Science Scientific Theories Term Paper

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Science also challenges these convictions.

Some might also argue that scientific perspectives govern how we experience reality and thus make science without social acceptance impossible to be realistic. Science could not develop if new paradigms of the world that challenge existing social beliefs and acceptance were not proposed (Strauss, 2003). If paradigms did not question the realities as defined by society, "science would stagnate" (Strauss, 2003). Each member of the community is informed by tradition, and standards of ideas are typically handed down from generation to generation (Polyani, 1964, 52). Yet these very traditions need be challenged.


The Philosophy of Science according to Curd traditionally seeks to find rational conclusion and justification for activity, and allow for reconstruction of scientific theory logically (Curd, 1998). However, opponents of the traditional theory of science will argue that science is in effect rather what historically tends to happen within a community. Science as this paper has shown however, is in fact independent of social acceptance. Science is represented by theories which explain the manner in which realities present themselves. Science may be enforced by the general population but need not be. Science theory should be validated however via experimentation, however even when validated scientific theory may change, as supported by Popper and Kuhn.

Kuhn suggests that science is a means to introduce logic and propose models for existence, or paradigms that represent groups of concepts and models as well as standards for existence (Curd, 1998). Reason and rationality cannot necessarily rest on belief and faith alone. Science is a characterization and challenge between social sets of belief (Strauss, 2003). Science can't be simply defined as a matter of persuasion, or as the result of popular socially accepted outcomes, but rather must be the defined by valid verification and through experimentation.


Curd, Martin. Cover, J.A. Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1998.

Strauss, James D. "The Heart of Postmodernism" Lincoln Christian Seminary, Lincoln: 2003. Available:


Jones, Roger. "Philosophy of Science." Retrieved November 16, 2003, http://www.philosopher.org/uk/sci.htm

T.S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolution. University of Chicago Press, 1970.

K.…… [read more]

Ethics-Philosophy in This Reading Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (652 words)
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The only reason he interviewed the wise men was to "find out who is wise, and who pretends to be wise, and is not" and to urge them to seek true knowledge and not be driven by false pursuits of wealth and fame. But since the Greeks did not quite understand his motives and his theories, they accused of being a non-believer who denied the existence of god. However a close and careful study of this long dialogue reveals that Socrates was falsely accused for he indeed believed in the existence of God. For example he clearly indicates that the reason he interviewed the wise men of Athens was because he had been instructed by God to do so. "I went to one man after another, being not unconscious of the enmity which I provoked, and I lamented and feared this: but necessity was laid upon me - the word of God, I thought, ought to be considered first." This clearly suggests that Socrates did believe in the presence and existence of gods but being a wise man he couldn't digest the Athenian beliefs of supernatural influence and interference in every single matter. In short, he rejected the superstitions that prevailed in Athenian society and culture.

However it is clear from the reading that Socrates was fighting a lost cause. He was more educated, wiser and more intellectually inclined than the rest of Athens and thus couldn't convince others of his innocence. He declared himself the wisest man in Athens not because of the knowledge that he possessed but because of the fact that unlike other so-called wise men, Socrates admitted his ignorance. He was aware of the weaknesses in his knowledge and was thus more geared to discover the truth unlike his complacent counterparts. However needless to say, he failed to prove his innocence and was thus sentenced to…… [read more]

Prejudice Against Philosophy Plato -347 Term Paper

Term Paper  |  3 pages (867 words)
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The just soul like the Just City is an organized whole and is governed by reason. Like the notes in a symphony, the parts of a just soul or a Just City work together harmoniously [Bramann, 2000].

Plato explains why people think philosophers are useless by the use of a metaphor. He describes a ship where there is no leadership every soldier fights to navigate the ship and be the captain all the time. Regardless of how good a navigator someone might be, his getting the job is not based on navigational ability but rather on the ability to trick or convince his fellow sailors to allow him to navigate. Then the other soldiers might say that he is a good navigator, despite the fact that he has no skill, for he has these other skills, which gets him the position he desires. The sad thing is that there are a few soldiers who know navigation well, but they are stuck on the sidelines, "useless" because they lack the "other skills." These men are the philosophers who are tagged useless; they are the men who should be ruling, but because they do not have the political skills to assume leadership, they do not know how to fight for the position.

Plato then goes on to argue that the just person is not only just but because he is a philosopher as well, who knows the 'Forms' the ideal of things. He explains this by first arguing that because the philosopher is ruled by his rationality he is the one who understands truth. Then because he knows the truth he understands the pleasure of a hedonist (a person ruled by appetite) and an honor-lover (a person ruled by his spirit); whereas both hedonists and honor lovers only know their own pleasures. Thus, the philosopher has credibility in judging what way of life is best.

Plato in his support for the philosopher lays out his last argument, which is rooted wholly in his theory of Forms. He presents the idea that speaking purely in terms of pleasure, the philosopher enjoys his pleasures, the pleasures of the Forms, more than unjust people enjoy their pleasures, pleasures of appetite or honor, because the pleasures of philosophy are greater than those of the sensible world [Bramann, 2000].


Bloom, A. (Editor), [1991]. The Republic of Plato by Plato, Basic Books, 2nd edition.

Bramann, J.K. [2000]. Philosophical Films: "Network" and Plato's Cave, 2000, available at http://www.frostburg.edu/dept/phil/forum/PhilFilm5.htm

Parry, R.D. [1996]. Morality and Happiness: Book VI of Plato's Republic. Journal of Education, Vol. 178, No. 3.… [read more]

Philosophy Concept: Veil of Maya Term Paper

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Aristotle's philosophy is also a non-conventional one, similar to that of Plato's doctrine. Through his philosophy, he has made an effort to develop a theory of good life. He defined his theory on the basis of society's knowledge of the unchanging character of reality.

In Aristotle's opinion, metaphysics can be defined as a conception of one's existence as an individual being and what is the real philosophy of "to be." He referred to the objects or substances as the "primary beings." For instance, the basic meaning of their transformation, the procedures of their formation or their characteristics all relate to the objects as the primary beings. In this context, Aristotle defined the primary beings as humans or dogs and termed the group, to which they belong such as humanity as a secondary substance. On the other hand, Plato included the humans and humanity both in the category of primary substances. As far as Plato's two-tired philosophy on reality is concerned, which has maintained the ideology that world is divided into two separate sections, one as the illusionary and the other as the real, Aristotle has rejected this notion of Plato. He declares that whatever is real is a part of only one world and no two different worlds exists.


From the theories discussed above, one can draw a conclusion that we cannot totally rely on our five senses to gain knowledge of the external world and to explore new avenues of knowledge. However, Aristotle's ideology implies that whatever we see and experience is real and hence our senses can be trusted. Later developments in the field of sciences, especially physics have explored this avenue and have discovered several interesting facts. In short, our senses have a limited capability of assessing and analyzing our external environment in a complete manner and one need to unveil the concealment to discover new avenues of knowledge.


Steven Kaufman: Unified Reality Theory: The Evolution of Existence into Experience: Destiny Toad Press: 2001

Jerry Davidson Wheatley: The Nature of Consciousness: The Structure of Reality: Theory of Everything Equation Revealed: Scientific Verification and Proof of Logic God Is: Research Scientific Press: 2001… [read more]

History of Crime and Punishment Term Paper

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In spite of the utopianism of Rousseau, the rest had a sense of reality. Reason is still primary, but it is not rebellious or bloodthirsty. Only in society could man realize his full potential. They believed in the social function of knowledge. Except for Rousseau, none of the philosophes agitated for a radical transformation of society. All of them, like… [read more]

Existence of God Analysis Essay

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¶ … Dialogues are discussions covering the sagacity of spiritual belief between the fictitious characters of Cleanthes, Demea, and Philo. For the purposes of this essay, focus will be placed on Philo and Cleanthes. Philo takes the position of the philosophical doubter and agrees with what Demea said in that God is unfathomable but maintains that he may be ethically immoral. Cleanthes contends that one can know of God and about God by the reasoning found within nature, the evidence that exists within nature. Philo holds the belief, much like Demea that although there is a clear belief in the existence of God, there is no way of knowing his nature. God's nature, in the eyes of Philo is beyond the threshold of human understanding. Cleanthes asserts God's existence can be learned through observing nature. Cleanthes positions that the only sensible argument for God's presence is one founded on experience. The plan and direction of nature expose that there has to be an intellectual creator/designer, whose acumen look a lot like one's own. Cleanthes also declares that familiar and present things to the individual does not require any reason to demonstrate their truth, such as the awareness that food nurtures the body and the sun comes up from the sky.

When going into further exploration of Cleanthes argument and position, he takes on the side of empirical theism, or that human can come to recognize the existence of God as evidenced through the existence of nature. The basis of his belief within the realm of empirical theism comes from the concept of complex beauty and order existent within the universe that can only be rationalized through the existence of an intelligent creator. In his words, the world is similar to a finely tuned instrument. Machines of this nature are constructed by intelligent beings, humans. Therefore the world and nature itself, if it similar to a finely tuned machine, must then be created like humans create machines, by an intelligent creator, something he labels as divine intelligence.

Observation of nature, presents prodigious evidence that divine intelligence, similar to human intelligence exists, but in a more perfect form. This in itself is a flawed belief because religious belief thus is based not on reason but on "observation of nature." Cleanthes argues that not one individual can continually live the life of a skeptic. Meaning, people have to trust their senses at some point and use reason to make sense of the world. He uses the example of the door and seeing the door as a reasonable means of existence because of the convenience of going through a door instead of going through a window. He explains it is simply exhausting assuming the role of the skeptic because the attitude of a skeptic is unsustainable and unnatural.

Philo argues that Cleanthes' viewpoint is false because existence does not all have to be caused by intelligence, but rather, by vegetation and generation. Order then is not caused by intelligence, but by other factors, negating… [read more]

Comparison and Contrast of the Philosophies of 3 Greek Philosophers and Alexander the Great Research Paper

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Their collective philosophies align with that of Alexander in his later years, especially when he met with the Brahmans. When he told them to ask them anything and they asked for immortality, Alexander admitted to the lack of power to grant it. He also acknowledged that the greatest achievements in this world mean nothing in the end because everything in this world is temporary. Being a student of Aristotle, Alexander was necessarily influenced by the Greek philosopher's teaching on the moral life and the emptiness of all worldly victory.


Asirvathan, Sulochana R.2014. "Alexander the Philosopher in the Greco-Roman, Persian

and Arabic Traditions." Academia. 311-326. Retrieved on June 29, 2014 from http://www.academia.edu/911404/Alexander_the_Philosopher_in_the_Greco_Roman_Persian_and_Arabic_Traditions

Crisp, Roger 2002. "Aristotle's ethics: how being good can make you happy." Richmond

Journal of Philosophy: St. Anne's College, Oxford. Retrieved on June 29, 2014 from http://www.richmond-philosophy.net/rjp/back_issues/rjp_2.crisp.pdf

Fieser, James, general editor 2014. "Ancient Greek philosophy." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved on June 29, 2014 from http://www.iep.utm.edu/greekphi

Senyshyn, Yaroslav.2008. A review of "Plato: his precursors, his educational philosophies, and his legacy" by Robin Barrow. Vol. 17 # 2, Paideusis. Canada: Simon

Fraser University, pp 91-98

Vlastos, Gregory 1991. Socrates: ironist and moral philosopher. Cornell Studies in Classical Philology, Book 50. Paperback. New York: Cornell University Press

Waterfield, Robin 2009. "the historical Socrates." Vol. 59 # 1, History Today: EBSCO

Publishing. Retrieved on June 29, 2014 from http://www.historytoday.com/robin-waterfield/historical-socrates… [read more]

Descartes' Meditations Essay

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Descartes' contributions to philosophy have established him and indeed, many agree that he is the first modern philosopher. In fact, in the history of philosophy, Descartes marks the moment of a fundamentally new philosophical perspective. His treatise, Meditations on First Philosophy, was published in 1641 and this is the work that he is most renowned for nowadays. Because what we… [read more]

Apology by Plato (Topic Essay

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Apology by Plato (Topic 1)

In Apology by Plato, the author uses the philosopher Socrates to make several claims about what it means to be "good," as well as about life, death, and what might be expected after death. What makes this work interesting in the context of other Plato works featuring Socrates is that the philosopher encounters some legal… [read more]

Minds and Computers Dennett Term Paper

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It can only act within the parameters of its programming, and cannot think for itself. He says, "Research in artificial intelligence (which has produced, among other things, the chess-playing computer) proceeds by working from an Intentionally characterized problem (how to get the computer to consider the right sorts of information, make the right decision) to a design-stance solution -- an approximation of optimal design" (Dennett 1971, pages 99-100). The major difference between man and machine is the ability to apply experience, logic, and reason to a given situation, which only human beings are capable of doing. The other major difference is the fact that human beings apply emotion to situations, sometimes going so far as to trust the suggestions of the heart rather than those offered by the cognitive function. Machines obviously do not have emotions and therefore their actions will not be tempered by their feelings. Computers and other machines can be programmed with certain characteristics, even with an ability which we could call "thinking." That is to say, a computer can be programmed to behave in a certain way when confronted with certain stimuli. A computer will not be able to refuse an action unless it has program code within it which gives it the ability to do so. Machines do not have sentience or self-awareness. They are not able to overcome their programming and commit an action which they have not been directed to do by some human person. For this reason, machines are very different from people in terms of intentionality.

Works Cited

Churchland, P.M. (1999). Matter and Consciousness: a Contemporary Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind. Bradford: Cambridge, MA.

Dennett, D.C.…… [read more]

Philosophy -- Plato's "The Apology Essay

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42); death could be a blessing because it is either a deep, peaceful sleep (Plato, Grube, & Cooper, 2000, p. 41) or a change of place that would let him meet and talk with great thinkers and allow him to continue asking the same questions he has always asked (Plato, Grube, & Cooper, 2000, p. 42). Socrates finally tells all the jurors that he is going to die and they are going to live and only god knows which is better.

3. Conclusion

"The Apology" is Plato's recollection of Socrates' trial, conviction, sentencing and last words to the jury. In the first part, Socrates' principal speech to the jury, Socrates argues against the charges against him. He does so by first taking on the people who have accused him for years. He attributes their charges to the fact that they grew to dislike him because of the way he questioned them and found them unwise and, in fact, less wise than he is. According to Socrates, he does not believe he knows what he does not know; however, these people falsely believed they were wise in ways they were not; because he exposed them as unwise by his questions, they dislike him and trumped up charges against him. He then challenges the newer accusations, particularly by questioning Meletus and showing that the charges are inconsistent and untrue. In the second part of "The Apology," which is Socrates' counter-assessment to the jury after he is convicted and the prosecutor recommends the death sentence, Socrates explores different possible penalties and says he should be fed free meals in the Prytaneum or given a very small fine that he can pay or given a very small fine that Plato and others have offered to pay. The third part of "The Apology," which is Socrates' final words to the jury, consists…… [read more]

Inalienable Rights Although America's Founding Term Paper

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This would appear to be contradictory to the concept of inalienable rights, as the act of surrendering one's claim to a right would countermand its status as inalienable. This contradiction is important to consider because "within the will theory there can be no such thing as an unwaivable right: a right over which its holder has no power." When a right is inalienable, the implication is that no entity, even the rights holder themselves, possesses the power to invalidate that right, so the concept of inalienable rights is, on its surface, incompatible with will theory.

The clear discrepancies between will theory and the inalienability of rights are difficult to reconcile with the modern notion of personal liberty. When one considers that "within the will theory it is impossible for incompetents like infants, animals, and comatose adults to have rights" (Wenar, 2011), the legitimacy of will theory as it pertains to the explication of humanity's conception of rights is severely undermined. After more than two hundred years since its signing, the Constitution of the United States, including the Bill of Rights which grants every citizen certain unassailable liberties, and the subsequent amendments made to reflect society's slow progression in upholding these rights, is undoubtedly one of history's most significant and substantive texts. The philosophical debate over whether or not inalienable rights exist, one which raged for centuries as society slowly progressed, has been quieted by the nearly universal acceptance of the U.S. Constitution's central tenets. By signing similar Constitutions since America's birth, the vast majority of the world's nations are in agreement that human beings have been vested with natural rights, rights that cannot be superseded by governmental mandate or the misappropriation of power. Indeed, during the 1987 bicentennial celebration of the Constitution's first signing, TIME Magazine reported that "of the 170 countries that exist today, more than 160 have written charters modeled directly or indirectly on the U.S. version" (Greenwald), illustrating the extensive influence this essential document has exerted on mankind's conception of rights. Despite the lofty proclamations of the U.S. Constitution and its globalized interpretations, the course of American history demonstrated time and time again that, even when rights are designated as inalienable, the central premise of will theory is always applicable in that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness can be denied to individuals and groups for a variety of reasons. The institutionalized slavery which marred America's infancy and ascendency was the most striking example of ostensibly inalienable rights being systematically denied to millions of people, which confirms the will theory's proposition that the granting of any right necessarily involves the denial of claims and the removal of privileges.


Wenar, L. (2011). Rights. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (Fall 2011 Edition), Edward Zalta (ed.), Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2011/entries/rights/

Greenwald, J. (1987, July 06). A gift to all nations. TIME, Retrieved from http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,964901,00.html… [read more]

Mythos and Logos? Term Paper

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Q2. Who are the Pre-Socratics?

Pre-Socratic philosophers are not simply important because of the manner in which they reflected belief structures which influenced Socrates, or to which Socrates responded. In fact, in many ways some of their thoughts and beliefs are more resonant and commensurate with modern thought than with Platonism, with its highly abstract concept of the world of the forms. Pre-Socratic philosophers were the first thinkers to conceptualize atomic theory. Writers such as Leucippus and Democritus proposed that all structures could be broken down into the same, essential components. The radicalism behind this notion is that all objects are fundamentally the same, and there is no essential hierarchy in terms of what constitutes the essential substance of all things. This concept runs fundamentally counter against much of later Judeo-Christian philosophy which suggests that man stands atop a hierarchy of all animals, and that certain substances are inherently superior to other substances.

Pre-Socratics thus also suggested that what was evident to the eye was not necessarily all that was true in the universe. They demanded a rationalistic view of the world. Although Socrates would not necessarily have agreed with all of the actual ideas proposed by the Pre-Socratics, his essential method of rigorous questioning of all 'common sense' and supposedly self-evident truth does spring directly from their view of the universe. To understand the Socratic Method, it is important to understand Pre-Socratic philosophy. The Pre-Socratics relied upon logos rather than mythos as a way of apprehending and interpreting the world. Socrates, who took a rather deflationary view of the reality of Greek mythology, would of course be famously persecuted for impiety and corrupting the youth of Athens for embracing this viewpoint.

It is also important to study Pre-Socratic philosophy to understand classical Greek civilization itself. In Greek civilization, there was no fundamental divide between what we would consider science and philosophy. Philosophy was science (more so than religion, as it is often grouped with as a discipline today), and was grounded in analysis of the material world, and attempts to observe the material world to understand its mysteries. Although the concept that all things had the same atomic substance was not proven by other scientists until many years later, it is striking that the Pre-Socratics, based upon observation of the world, were able to act as harbingers of this notion. Even after the Pre-Socratics begin to lose some of their influence, their fundamentally dispassionate and anti-Romantic view of the world would influence philosophers for many years to come, and would finally be embraced by modern science.

It should be noted that even the ideological concepts of many Pre-Socratics still had great influence in Greece and later in Rome in the form of Stoicism. Almost Buddhist-like in its detachment, Stoicism advocates a calm, rational appreciation of the trials and tribulations of the world, advocating that its adherents bear both happiness and sorrow with the same dispassionate gaze. It could be said that Stoicism takes a fundamentally scientific and rational view… [read more]

Plato's Cave Essay

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Plato's Cave

Plato wants the reader to be both a philosopher and an agent of socio-political change. This is clear by the lesson that he draws from the cave allegory. This paper will explain the cave allegory and show how Plato reaches his conclusion concerning the role of the philosopher in the Republic.

The image of the cave is full… [read more]

Philosophers of Ancient Greece Research Paper

Research Paper  |  14 pages (3,936 words)
Bibliography Sources: 9


He belonged to the Ephesians school of thought. He is responsible for hypothesizing the notion of flow. Heraclitus hailed from a noble family and hence was the first aristocrat to be inducted in the Greek Philosophers' hall of fame. Heraclitus went on to negate all of his acclaimed predecessors and interestingly propose that insipidity and impudence were inherent human natures.… [read more]

Moral Worth Present Term Paper

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While Kant is perhaps correct that most people possess this capacity, his thesis appears to leave little consideration for people who are mentally challenged or simply suffer from the incapacity to consider the welfare of others. Kant's entire framework is predicated on a type of rational thinking that he feels humans possess, which endows them with the ability to separate their personal beliefs from those of the collective. He states that the only people capable of following laws are those who are rational (4:412); the focus on rationality suggests that Kant advocates a social dynamic in which people's intellectual differences are effaced in the interests of collective welfare.

One of the limitations of Kant's thesis that only acts done from duty have moral worth is that it presumes that everyone can distinguish between what is best for everyone and that universal well-being can be defined. Kant's framework for rational thinking suggests that everyone possesses the ability to inhabit an identical mindset if they desire, and there is abundant evidence within culture that proves that this is not the case. For example, the preponderance of wars worldwide testifies to the inability that people have to act in the collective interest. Kant also does not discuss how people should respond when the collective will is threatened; should the offender be punished? This critique is significant in that it exposes the potential limitations of how Kant's thesis works in practice. Oftentimes, people who are in conflict with each other both act in what they consider to be the collective best interest. Kant's thesis may make sense on an intellectual level, but in reality morality and duty are relative terms that evade stable definition. Thus, although Kant elucidates the benefits of acting in the interests of the greater good, it is impossible to expect everyone to agree on how universal laws manifest in the context of society.…… [read more]

Political Philosophy Plato and St Term Paper

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The analysis of the nature of man and knowledge changed for Aquinas through his studies (Torrell, 2005). The more he examined these issues, the more he formed a new interpretation of human law and the human soul. Originally he thought more like Plato, and even was considered to be one of the followers of Plato's thoughts and beliefs (Torrell, 2005). Over time, he developed his own philosophy of humanity and the soul. Being a man of God, Aquinas was always very focused on the soul, but he was also a man of intellect and was working out in his own head how to reconcile his belief in God with the belief that there is something highly valuable about the life spent in the human body (Torrell, 2005). Because he was so focused on understanding life and everything beyond it, he wrote many commentaries on the works of other philosophers and men of God. Additionally, he devoted much of his time to considering the works of others and examining why they thought the way they did.

If he could determine why Plato and others felt a certain way about the nature of the soul, he would be better prepared to form his own opinions about the soul and what he believed it to be. That is the way in which he developed a better understanding of the human soul, because he was willing to consider what everyone else had to say on the subject (Torrell, 2005). The strong beliefs held by Aquinas, coupled with the open-mindedness he displayed in the consideration of other people's works, allowed him to develop a fundamental belief about humanity and how it comes to be, along with what happens to it when it leaves the body. The strength of Aquinas's beliefs played a strong role in modern Christian thought, and many thinkers and philosophers throughout the world have adjusted and more carefully considered their views because of Aquinas and his beliefs (Torrell, 2005).


Alican, Necip Fikri (2012). Rethinking Plato: A Cartesian Quest for the Real Plato. NY:…… [read more]

Utilitarianism and Plato Philosophy Essay

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Those who violate the rules of that society must only do so within certain parameters, as proven exceptions of the established rules. In an ideal version of society, all people would be satisfied with the legislation put in place by those in authority. As that is wholly unlikely, the ideal utilitarian world is unlikely to be achieved.

The ideal form of governance of a people, according to Plato, would be based on the human body because the principles of government would be based on the needs of the human soul (Plato, 2009). Individuality would give way to majority need and there would not be infighting or concern for personal political power. He wished that people would think uniquely and would question ultimate and unchallenged authority. Only in this way can the problems within a society be remedied.

Both the theories of Utilitarianism and those posed by Plato deal with the ways that human beings act and react to and with one another. The major difference between the two theories has to do with individuality and individual culpability and responsibility. Utilitarianism asks that in creating rules which apply to society, those in positions of power should act for the greater good. Majority rule dictates what it is that is deemed good or bad. However, in the case of Plato, the philosopher acknowledges that there have been many historical incidences when the majority does not know what is best. Instead, it is the responsibility of the individuals to postulate new ideas and allow for their inclusion in government as well as moral and ethical decision-making.

Works Cited:

Kupperman, J. (2010). Theories of Human Nature. Hackett: Indianapolis, IN.

Mill, J.S. (2002). Utilitarianism. Hackett: Indianapolis, IN.

Plato (2009). Great Dialogues of…… [read more]

Humans Have Wondered About Certain Basic Paradigms Term Paper

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¶ … humans have wondered about certain basic paradigms of the universe -- how do we know what we know? Is there truth? Is there a central morality for humans? What is reality? What is perception? Although humans have evolved technologically, we still ponder some of the basic questions we have about ourselves and our place in the universe, much… [read more]

Toulmin Model and Sherlock Holmes Essay

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But even if the great Sherlock Holmes did have feelings for Irene Adler, he still maintained his investigation and tricked her into revealing the location of the photograph. Under the Toulmin model, this would be considered to be a "qualifying statement." Holmes' feelings of infatuation with Irene Adler did not get in the way of him carrying out his duty to the King of Bohemia. Firstly, he infiltrated her household, gathering information, and then concocted a scheme not only to get back inside of her house, but to have her inadvertently reveal the location of the photograph. With Dr. Watson's aid, Holmes faked a fire and a panicked Irene Adler went for the photograph. His seeming fascination for the intelligent and beautiful woman did not limit either his dedication or shrewdness. Holmes may have been experiencing feelings for a woman for the first time, but he did not completely lose his head, only his objectivity.

Finally, in a Toulmin argument there must be a "rebuttal" in which a counterargument is made; and in "A Scandal in Bohemia" a counterargument could be made that while Holmes did in fact have feelings for Irene Adler, these feelings did not lead to her outwitting him. Ms. Adler did escape with the photograph, this cannot be denied, but it may have been that Holmes intentionally allowed her to escape. Sherlock Holmes was not greatly impressed by the European monarchies, and his dealing with them often left him with a bad impression. And one should not forget that Holmes is the greatest consulting detective of all time, not easily fooled. Sherlock Holmes discovered the whereabouts of the photograph during the evening, but waited until the following day to attempt to retrieve it. Was he so preoccupied with his success that he did not notice a disguised Irene Adler on the street, or was he even further impressed by her wile? Holmes may have decided that his feelings for Irene Adler outweighed his duty to the King of Bohemia and deliberately appeared to be outwitted; allowing her to escape.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "A Scandal in Bohemia" is an unusual Sherlock Holmes tale, not only is Holmes asked to perform a robbery, but he fails. The reason for this appears to be the fact that he developed feelings for his suspect, and there is a great deal of evidence to support this. These feelings seem to have clouded his judgment and allowed Irene Adler to get the better of him, but it is also possible that the conniving Holmes only appeared to be outwitted and really allowed Ms. Adler to escape by design.… [read more]

Philosophy What Makes a Belief Essay

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Denial of truth, on the other hand, is an action that is taken and practiced by just as many people who believe in things that are false. Therefore, it is the choice of the individual to determine what his/her beliefs are, determine whether the beliefs are in something true or false, and then to choose whether to believe something is true or false after acquiring the knowledge of its truth or lack thereof.

More so than focusing upon what is true and what is false, the author focuses upon the act, structure, and function of belief. The author is additionally indirectly describing and advocating each individual's search for truth, as well as to challenge and validate beliefs based on that search. What make something true is alignment with universals and less so with particulars.

Among universals, there seems to be no principle by which we can decide which can be known by acquaintance, but it is clear that among those that can be so known are sensible qualities, relations of space and time, similarity, and certain abstract logical universals. Our derivative knowledge of things, which we call knowledge by description, always involves both acquaintance with something and knowledge of truths. Our immediate knowledge of truths may be called intuitive knowledge, and the truths so known may be called self-evident truths. (Russell, 1997)


Russell, Betrand. The Problems of Philosophy. Chapter 9 -- 10. Oxford…… [read more]

Does Idealism Make Sense? Essay

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¶ … Idealism Make Sense

In philosophy, idealism is a grouping of ideas that assert that what we know about our universe, that is reality, is really mentally constructed. For centuries, humans have been concerned about knowing -- what we know, how we know it, and can we prove it. Idealism is central to many other -- isms in that it emphasizes the mental character of all things. One way to understand the 20th century mindset of idealism is British scientist Sir James Jeans' comment: "The Universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine" (Haisch, 2007).

One of the finest minds of the late 19th and 20th centuries, Nobel Laureate Bertrand Russell, who is sometimes vilified in the modern world because of his views on atheism and agnosticism, wrote a great deal on logic and analytical philosophy. Like Stephen Hawking, Russell had comments and found ways of integrating his philosophical ideas into most disciplines, often seeing the elusive "commonality" between all human thought and action, as well as science. Russell says that we must be grounded in the three major branches of philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. There are, of course, other ways to study and address these problems, but the philosophical approach is self-critical, and based on a series of rational arguments (Monk, 2004). Rather than arguing from a specific point-of-view as most philosophers do, the seminal importance for Russell is that it is the act of contemplation that drives the ability to actualize and move forward on a topic -- not the viewpoint or epistemology:

One way of escape is by philosophic contemplation. Philosophic contemplation does not, in its widest survey, divide the universe into two hostile camps -- friends and foes, helpful and hostile, good and bad -- it views the whole impartially. Philosophic contemplation, when it is unalloyed, does not aim at proving that the rest of the universe is akin to man. All acquisition of knowledge is an enlargement of the Self, but this enlargement is best attained when it is not directly sought. It is obtained when the desire for knowledge is alone operative… (Russell, 2004).

Further, if we think of idealism as being what the mind perceives as being real, we can turn to Plato for an explanation of how this might remain relevant for the 21st century. In Plato's the Republic, Book VII, we are presented with a situation called "The Allegory of the Cave." In essence,…… [read more]

Philosophy Kant's Theories of Good Term Paper

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Kant's ideas intentionally or unintentionally have more eastern or Buddhist suppositions.

Another example that Kant provides as evidence of good will is reason. Kant writes that when people cultivate reason, the true unconditional wisdom of nature becomes clear. The greatest exercise of reason is the cultivation and practice of good will. He states that the greatest practical application of reason and of wisdom is the development and diffusion of good will in a person's life. Reason, wisdom, and good will help people find unconditional happiness by performing actions whose satisfaction are themselves. Actions of the Kantian sense of good will contribute to self happiness and societal happiness. Such actions also help people distinguish between what he calls will and what he calls duty. There is some overlap in his ideas, but the main difference is that will augments or diminishes reason, happiness, and wisdom depending on the nature of the actions taken.

Will increases or decreases a person's inner worth and inner value. Good will always is the more positive and supported choice for Kant. Later in the piece, Kant additionally explains how the cultivation and practice of good will decreases the likelihood that one suffers from or feels anxieties. Therefore, good will, wisdom, reason, and happiness bring upon a stress free and more blissful lifestyle. One could argue that Kant's point is that with enough good will that has been harnessed and practiced for long enough, leads to some kind of bliss or enlightenment. It at least makes a person feel connected to the world through his/her actions taken from good will and the world is a better place despite the precise outcomes of those actions.… [read more]

Socrates in Euthyphro, Socrates' Questioning Term Paper

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Therefore, Socrates shows Crito that he himself actually has the family's well-being at heart by accepting the court's decision and obediently facing death.


In the Apology, Socrates shows his wisdom even though he protests that he is unwise and that God alone is wise. It is in accord with the wisdom of God and the truth that the oracle… [read more]

Religion There Are Few Opportunities Research Paper

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Monism implies that anything that hurts the earth also hurts human beings. Moreover, if human beings are not hierarchically superior to the land, then humanity theoretically shares an "essential identity" with all life (Nelson 64). Advaita Vedanta theoretically encourages a sense of reverence for nature. In practice, however, Advaita Vedanta does no such thing. Nowhere in the Vedas is there specific reference to the relationship between a human being and the natural world. Such a relationship does not exist, because both human beings and nature are equally as much a part of Brahman. While this metaphysical construct would make human beings and nature equally valuable in the grand scheme of things, it does not mandate any specific ecological ethical behavior.

Nelson notes that the "dominant Western mindset" is of course far more destructive than that of the Advaita Vedanta. The Western worldview is "especially detrimental to ecological concern" because of the prevailing core belief of duality (61). Duality is embedded in the cosmologies of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, all of which have concepts of heaven and hell. Using this dualistic cosmology, a dualistic metaphysic and ethics is created. In turn, a dualistic metaphysic and ethic supports the vision of a universe in which spirit is separate from, and better than, matter. Nelson refers to "transcendental dualism," a paradigm in which matter is separate from and inferior to spirit. Advaita Vedanta does not have this worldview but still allows for a lack of cohesive environmental ethics (Nelson).

There is another potentially problematic paradox within the Advaita Vedanta. Advaita Vedanta seems to inform a more robust scientific inquiry by showing that there it is impossible to separate subject, object, and situation (Sriraman and Benesch). On the other hand, Advaita Vedanta suggests that scientific inquiry is groundless and debased because jnana (real knowledge) is only acquired via direct experience of Reality. Jnana is therefore only possible by renouncing the material world in favor of a direct experiential knowledge of the ground of being, Brahman, which cannot be cultivated via the scientific method.

The importance of paradox in Advaita Vedanta is that it has meaningful consequences on how the philosophy is applied to real-world situations. With regards to science, the Advaita Vedanta can enhance scientific inquiry by revealing two things: one, that subject, object and situation are inextricably linked and therefore difficult to study. And second, that a scientific understanding of universal phenomena may be incomplete without a direct encounter with the divine via meditation and renunciation. With regards to ecological ethics, and perhaps other ethics like social justice, the Advaita Vedanta is also paradoxical. On the one hand, the Advaita Vedanta recommends a denial of the physical universe and on the other hand, it draws attention to the inherent divinity in all of life.

Works Cited

Menon, Sangeetha. "Advaita Vedanta." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 5 Jan 2007. Retrieved online: http://www.iep.utm.edu/adv-veda/

Nelson, Lance E. "The Dualism of Nondualism: Advaita Vedanta and the Irrelevance of Nature."

Sriraman, Bharath and Benesch, Walter. "Consciousness and Science: an… [read more]

Ethical Philosophies Case Study

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Accepting it, however, can accomplish more good than not accepting it can, which would, from a utilitarian perspective, mean that the donation should be accepted.

Kay (1997) provides a suggestion that John Rawls' sense of justice also includes what he refers to as a "veil of ignorance." This implies that certain facts of reality are ignored in the interest of creating a fair and just society of all. Inequality and injustice, for example, are hidden behind this veil in order to serve the greater purpose of creating justice at least for the majority, if not for all. According to this philosophy, the charity owner might hide the fact of where the business person's income is from behind such a veil. Choosing to ignore this, the money can then be applied to serve the purpose of the charity, which is to help the local population live better and more productive lives.

Finally, Aristotle's golden mean philosophy focuses on finding a balance between two excessive opposites. From this perspective, standing on an ethical high ground by not accepting the business person's donation might be considered excessively moral for no purpose other than demonstrating that the refuser of the donation is publicly moral. The true purpose that this serves is, however, not far beyond mere appearances. Furthermore, Aristotle might advise that the business person's income is irrelevant in terms of the morality of the recipient of the donation. Indeed, because greater good can be accomplished by accepting the donation, it would serve little purpose beyond appearances to not accept the donation.

From all the above points-of-view, it appears morally more acceptable to accept the donation than not to accept it. Despite the probable initial reaction to refuse it, these philosophies would help to make clear the greater good that might be served otherwise.


Johnson, R. (2010, Summer) "Kant's Moral Philosophy." The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edward N. Zalta (ed.). Retrieved from: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2010/entries/kant-moral/

Kay, C.D. (1997). Justice as Fairness. Retrieved from: http://webs.wofford.edu/kaycd/ethics/justice.htm

West, H.R. (2012). Utilitarianism. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from: http://www.utilitarianism.com/utilitarianism.html… [read more]

I Ching Classical Understand Research Paper

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The lines themselves are based on the principal of yin and yang, as has already been mentioned.

I Ching from the point-of-view of Aleister Crowley:

In the West there has been a limited interest towards the Oriental philosophy, and "there remain entrenched Eurocentric attitudes which tend to marginalize the influence of Eastern thought on the West." However, the exception has… [read more]

Descartes in Philosophy Essay

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That is -- we cannot know without experimenting rationally, but we must be very careful of what we think we know because it must be proven again and again since our own minds and senses are often flawed.

In fact, the method named after him, "Cartesian," focuses on mathematical proofs but adds metaphysics and self-observations on a hunt for the truth. Basically, Descartes says that mathematics begins with principles called axioms, forming the very beginnings of questioning and scientific deduction. From the deduction then flows other propositions in a finite, logical manner -- even though those deductions may change, it is the movement and flow logically that forms the basis of the Cartesian Method. In basic principle then, there are four laws of the Cartesian Method: 1) Accept nothing as true which is not absolutely clear and distinct; 2) Analyze a problem and break it into its components -- then discuss those components individually, part by part; 3) Arrange any thoughts from simple to complex, let those thoughts evolve in the organization of the mind; 4) Ensure that enumeration must be complete, in total, and nothing should be omitted -- thus the truth will then emerge (Descartes).

Descartes is both logical and allows for intuition, believing that the combination of the two form a better process for argumentation that uncovers untruths. Once the object of the argument is thus deconstructed properly, it is possible to reconstruct into a new whole and find greater truth. In fact, one of the most famous philosophical quotes of all time, Cogito Ergo Sum (I think, therefore I am), comes from a Cartesian argument that allows both for skepticism, but finding truth and reality in the human ability to cognate and express past, present and future within the self.

Works Cited

Descartes, R. Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy. Trans. D. Cress. 4th. New…… [read more]

Locke v. Berkeley the Philosophers Essay

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It is our senses that provide man with the ability to distinguish between the two. In Book II of his essay, Existence of Real Things, Locke articulates the distinction between knowledge and opinion and he explains the importance of evidence in the formation of beliefs and knowledge. He strongly argues that it is not enough to want something to be true one must search for reasons to make sure that something is indeed true. Again, Locke would point out that everyone's experience in this search would be different and relative to what their individual senses revealed to them.

Berkeley's philosophy can be best understood by examining his famous quotation, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" According to Berkeley, the answer is no. Because Berkeley denied the existence of an external world he adopted the position that ideas are the only real things that exist and this is the reason that his views have become to be known as idealism. He challenged the concept that ideas can be traced to objects and that because physical things are constantly changing there is no way that ideas can be based on objects. We do not perceive things as they are but rather as we perceive them. This is where he takes issue with Locke who believed that it is through our senses that we understand what an object is and not through our preconceived perceptions or ideas. For Berkeley there was no external world. Everything was dependent upon the collection of ideas in someone's mind. Interestingly, Berkeley believed that our senses are not interrelated. For instance, he argued that touch and sight have nothing to do with each other and that it is only through experience that we come to associate each with the other. Similarly, this is how we come to associate the appearance, the taste, and the smell of an apple with each other. According to Berkeley, there is no reason to suppose that these three qualities are related to the apple as an object.

Where Berkeley's views fail is in their inability to understand relativity and apply it to objects. The essence of objects is not determined by their being able to be perceived. Berkeley would argue that size can only be determined through the sense of touch and that touch is the only way that we can begin to understand the real size of anything but sight can provide the same information but the determination of size will be dependent on how far away from an object one is standing while viewing the object so that relativity becomes important.

John Locke's contribution to western philosophy and politics is considerable. His views helped develop the philosophies that led to the revolutions in the Americas and in France and for this alone he should be well remembered but he also contributed to the breakdown in moral absolutism and the popularizing of moral relativism. This allowed for the… [read more]

Hobbes Believes That the Cruel Term Paper

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He had very good reason to distrust human beings. After all, civil war had just ripped his country apart. While he did not see it first hand (he remained in France during the duration of the war), no doubt he lost family and friends. Like the U.S. Civil War, brother was fighting brother. Certainly, families and friendships were torn asunder. Also, considering that he was in as much or more trouble with the royalists, one can be assured that he was speaking his own mind and was not in the pay of the royalists.

What Hobbes was trying to construct was a philosophical basis for a completely secular government, one that was rational and not subject to the religious and politically capricious whims of the moment. The government he dreamed of was stable, permanent and planned, the exact opposite of the world in which he lived. The social contract that was derived to bring it about gave it permanent legitimacy in the eyes of its subjects who had pledged to obey its dictates. Self-defense against death, Hobbes' highest human necessity, was fulfilled by the government portrayed in the Leviathan that protected the lives of all of its citizens. Like Galileo's heavenly bodies, this system would have had a constant motion, and therefore a constant legitimacy (ibid., 8-9).

This is why Hobbes adds a reasonable assumption that a state of nature there is an inherent scarcity of material goods. This brings about two or more people desiring the same goods and services and trying to possess the same things. This causes humans then to be constantly on guard to protect their possessions from being taken. Such pressures would make perpetual war inevitable and the perpetual lust for power to make this possible (ibid., 9-10).

This gives Hobbes then what he sees as the three principal reasons for people to attack in a state of nature, including for gain, for safety, or for glory/reputation. This tendency is held in check by the central power. For Hobbes, there can not ever be morality in a state of nature. Rather, in his system, an act of injustice is an act against order and rationality as imposed to reign in man's primitive, warlike nature and to channel these energies into positive directions (ibid., 10-11).

As mentioned earlier, this author found Hobbes to be extreme according to our view. In our view, there is an inherent right for the individual to exercise self-defense of their person and property. Indeed, this would even justify preemption as a valid and logical means of protecting goods and services that we perceive that we have a right to (ibid., 11-12).

In Hobbes system, however, there is order which obviates this need for civil war to have the material needs of human existence. This allows for every man then to seek out peace as opposed to war. This implies giving up individual rights in exchange for this. Most people of course could not decipher this order. For this reason, one needs… [read more]

Hume and Experience in Morals Book Report

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Hume was also highly aware of the limits of the human mind and senses, their fallibility, and therefore the limits on what could be known. He preferred the concrete, the immediate and the provable to flights of speculative fancy and imagination, whether in science, morals or political life.

For Hume, people were creatures of habit whose behavior was generally predictable from their experiences and circumstances. Human behavior was uniform and predictable, and that it necessarily had to be in order for society to function at all. Without such order and predictability, the only result would be chaos and irrationality, so political and social life depended on the belief that human behavior is constant. When people act in an irrational or unpredictable manner, then just as with natural phenomena, then some explanation is called for about why they deviated from expectations. Certainly in Great Britain of the 18th Century, the society with which Hume was the most familiar, the legal system was based on the concept that sane individuals were predictable and responsible for their actions. Hume thought that cause and effect in human ethics and psychology could be reduced to a science of habits and associations, such as a prisoner in chains who is obviously lacking in free will because he cannot leave and his life is determined and controlled by the jailer. Even so, he would predictably attempt to escape if the jailer was not vigilant. Similarly the jailer also operates under certain predictable constraints, such as his desire to obey the law and also to perform his duties well, so he will not let the prisoners escape. Nor would it be in his self-interest to do so since he might end up in jail himself, or at the very least lose his job and no longer be able to feed his family. Only if he had some secret reason to sympathize with the prisoner might he act in an unpredictable way and help him escape, but it would have to be a very compelling reason to inspire him to take such a risk that would not be in his own interest. In these areas, too, habit, order and regularly were the essentials for Hume.

Were Hume to return to live today, he would probably be shocked by the turn that science has taken in the last century, assuming he could comprehend it at all. Much of it is so far removed from common sense empiricism and everyday notions of common sense so as to be unrecognizable to someone like Hume. Physicists regularly create elaborate theories about the Big Bang, the Big Crunch, black holes, invisible particles, and mathematical constructs that seem to have no relationship with the ordinary person's life on this planet. He probably would have refused to accept most of these theories as anything except metaphysical superstitions and mumbo-jumbo. Even though many people benefit (or suffer) from the technology derived from these advanced scientific ideas, very few understand the theories and principles on which they are… [read more]

Descartes' Major Tenets Research Paper

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The essence of the mind is thought, and the mind has to powers: intellect and will (Hatfield, 2008). Moreover, consciousness may be the defining property of the mind (Hatfield, 2008). Descartes denied the existence of space separate from matter, in other words, there are no voids according to Descartes (Hatfield, 2008).

The fourth tenet in Cartesian philosophy has to do with the relationship between the mind and the body. Descartes acknowledges that he can doubt the existence of the material world. Moreover, that means that he can doubt the matter that makes up his body. However, Descartes states that while he could doubt the existence of his body and any part of the world that he perceived with his senses, he could not doubt his existence because of his thinking. Many people have distilled the essence of this part of Descartes' philosophy to the maxim, "I think, therefore I am." Once he establishes the fact that he cannot doubt the existence of himself, Descartes moves on to the conclusion "that his thoughts belong to a nonspatial substance that is distinct from matter" (Hatfield, 2008). Descartes approach to dualism is very complicated, and develops over the course of all of his Meditations. Clearly, there is some relationship between mind and body, but this relationship was not something that Descartes addressed. "Rather, he discussed the functional role of mind-body union in the economy of life" (Hatfield, 2008). He believed that the senses could provide helpful information to the mind, but the senses are imperfect. Descartes fell back upon his reliance upon God, and suggested that the "union of mind and body [were] instituted by God in the best manner possible for finite beings such as ourselves" (Hatfield, 2008).

Finally, Descartes fifth tenet focuses on God and error. "In discussing the mark of truth, Descartes suggested that the human intellect is as reliable as it is because it was created by God. In discussing the functioning of the senses to preserve or maintain the body, he explained that God has arranged the rules of mind -- body interaction in a manner that is conducive to the good of the body. Nonetheless, in each case, errors occur, just as, more broadly, human beings make poor moral choices, even though God has given them a will that is intrinsically drawn to the good (1:366, 5:159, Princ. I.42)" (Hatfield, 2008). There is no difference in the degree of freedom between God and man, but there is a huge difference in the capacity of man's intellect when compared to the capacity of God's intellect (Hatfield, 2008). Because life requires humans to make decisions in situations where they cannot necessarily fully assess the situation, it makes people error-prone. Moreover, the senses provide another area for error, and errors in the senses are much more likely because of perception issues.

Of course, even some of Descartes' contemporaries disagreed with his approach to philosophy. For example, objectivists like John Locke disagreed with Descartes belief that nothing could objectively exist. Instead,… [read more]

Philosophy -- Film Review Existentialism Film Review

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In Razor's Edge, Paris is also the birthplace of Larry's existential journey to enlightenment, inner peace, or at least some basic understanding about the nature of life. While in Paris, Larry is motivated by a book to travel east and seek the guidance of a monk. Many of the greatest philosophers communicate with us via their books, so in this way, the audience is aligned with the character of Larry. This book motivates Larry to seek inner peace or seek some answers, or at least more fully articulate his questions. Philosophy is concerned with answers, but not only that. Philosophy is furthermore concerned with asking questions and understanding why the questions exist at all. What about existence and experience make the question need to be asked?

Though Larry's war experience is not thoroughly expounded upon, the audience knows that he was deeply affected by it. As an ambulance driver, he must have had to drive through, into, and out of many perilous situations. He had to see the worst of the horrors because he and his friend drove wounded soldiers to safety and to medical care. It was not as if Larry was far away from the action, is lazy, and does not want to get married or get on with life. He may not have been a very brave soldier or a general on the front lines making tough decisions involving the fate of people's lives, but an ambulance driver is a key position in general, let alone during war. Larry was a relatively peaceful man who went to war, came home without peace, and goes on a peaceful journey to rediscover the peace he believed he once had.

This film is about awakening and ascension. Larry, like many people, are lulled into a waking sleep and hypnotized by dreams of a materialistic, consumptive life. WWI shocks Larry into awakening from that materialistic consumption and bourgeois boredom. Larry realizes he has a life to live. He, like each of us, must decide what he wants from this life and make that life come to pass. He is an individual and must make his own path. Like Morpheus said to Neo-in The Matrix, "There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path." Larry was on a path and he did not know it. Then he woke up and realized he was in fact on a path and became vested in where the path lead as well as where his life was headed. The film is ultimately bittersweet as Larry loses his war buddy and two chances at love. Larry's experiences and outlook on life also foreshadow modernism. The tone of the film is reminiscent of "The Song of Alfred J. Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.


Byrum, John (Director). Razor's Edge. Columbia Pictures,…… [read more]

Philosophy Scenario Evaluation Essay

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In understanding the differences between these answers in viewing them in a modern contemporary context, one can better understand that these answers cannot be viewed objectively as saying something common about the world we live in, aside from the assertion that some distinct action depicting the relationship between the sun and the earth is evident at twilight. However, science has improved over the centuries in order to shine a clearer light on the truth of the matter, eliminating the commonality of responses across the years and across societies.

Finally, one can gauge the quest to discover the truth in the following scenario. If asked when humans first populated the American west, scientific archaeologists would say, "Humans first populated the American west 10,000 years ago, when they came across the Bering Strait from Asia," while according to Paul Boghossian in his article "What the Sokal Hoax Ought to Teach Us," the belief is that Native American creation accounts hold that native peoples have lived in the Americas ever since their ancestors first emerged onto the surface of the earth from a subterranean world of spirits. In viewing this situation, many would believe that the first statement could be easily depicted as true while the second could be labeled as ludicrous. In actuality, neither statement can be regarded as pure truth despite the science that backs the first statement and the lack of science that backs the second.

As no one living on this earth today was around when the inception of the humanity began in the Americas, only what we have learned in times since then have we been able to garner an idea of what really occurred. As time passes and new science emerges and new artifacts are found which point to new realities, certain aspects of science that were once deemed "true" lose their credibility. Science and archaeology have proven that humans lived in the Americas 10,000 years ago, but this does not necessarily mean that these were the first -- the argument is therefore valid, but not necessarily a truth. On the other hand, the second argument holds no basis in fact or science and is merely a subjective thought of a specific individual. While we can argue that there is no evidence that goes against this belief, we can further argue that there is no evidence that supports it. Despite the lacking validity and notion that this belief is likely untrue, the fact remains that anything is possible, and without a definitive common answer held by the objective world, even the most seemingly ridiculous beliefs without evidence to counter them or aid them, can be viewed as questionable in terms of seeking the…… [read more]

American Pragmatism Essay

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American Pragmatism in the 20th Century

Pragmatism, as general maxim, endeavored to trace the truth of the theory in its practical consequences. Early 20th century pragmatism, pioneered by William James, expanded on by CI Lewis and John Dewey, applied this perspective to truth in general. Neo- or analytical pragmatism that appeared late in the century revered to traditional pragmatism of… [read more]

Philosophy Immanual Kant's Ethics Have Freedom Essay

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Immanual Kant's ethics have freedom as a central role. He feels that freedom is an idea of reason that serves "an indispensable practical function." (McCormick) Kant basically agrees with the common sense view that how we choose to act makes a difference in how we actually act. In other words, he is reiterating the basic "free will" of the basic Judeo-Christian religion. We all have a choice in every action that we do and if we believe that, then we cannot then say that we had no choice. For example, if I am deciding what car to buy, the fact that I am a diabetic has no power over the decision. I still have to make my own decision on which car to buy. Our natural aspect or the animal consciousness is entirely subject to causal determination. It is not an originator of the way humans are. Therefore, rightness or wrongness, as concepts that apply to situations we have control over, do not apply. For example, we do not say that it is morally wrong for lions to kill a gazelle and eating it, or even for killing their own young, but that doesn't mean that we as humans, such kill a gazelle with our bare hands and eat it or kill our young. It is purely rational for the lion to kill in order to survive, but not necessarily rational and especially not moral for humans to kill to survive.

According to Kant, the only thing that is good without qualification is the good will. All other things that are usually considered intrinsically good have problems. "Courage, health, and wealth can all be used for ill purposes, Kant argues, and therefore cannot be intrinsically good." (McCormick) He feels that happiness is not intrinsically good because in order to be considered "worthy" of happiness requires that you possess a good will. The good will is the only unconditional good despite all intrusions. Adversity may cause someone to not be able to achieve her goals, but the goodness of her will remains.

An example of Kant's philosophy states that if a shopkeeper does not charge a child for a piece of candy, let's say, because he feels that it is right, has a higher moral value, than someone who does not charge a child for a piece of candy because they have a generous nature.

Kant believes that everyone acts on a maxim or subjective rule or policy of action. "We may be unaware of our maxims, we may not act consistently on the same maxims, and our maxims may not be consistent with one another. But Kant holds that since…… [read more]

Rationalism vs. Empiricism Term Paper

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Plato and Hume

A Comparison of Humean Empiricism and Platonic Rationalism

Richard Weaver (1984) describes the breakdown of rational thought in the modern world as stemming from Occam's razor -- or, the gateway to Hume's idea of knowledge as an accumulation of empirical data: "Logic became grammaticized, passing from a science which taught men vere loqui to one which taught recte loqui or from an ontological division by categories to a study of signification, with the inevitable focus upon historical meanings" (p. 7). Weaver's problem is the problem that all modern philosophers must face and that is whether to accept the Platonic idea of rationalism or the skeptic's idea of empirical theory. This paper will compare the two and show why I agree with Weaver and the Platonic idea of rationalism as a better way to objective truth.

David Hume's empirical theory of knowledge is essentially a kind of mathematical philosophy. But rather than attempting to square words (the medium through which philosophers express themselves) with objective reality, Hume attempts to interpret objective reality without relying upon the intellect or, rather, intuition. All knowledge must be born from visible proofs. Thus, words (the meanings of which are doomed to corruption as much as is mortal man himself) fail to define reality, which is relegated to two categories -- "matters of fact" and "relations of ideas" (Hume, 1748) -- and instead, reality must be defined by facts. All facts must be observed and noted and then one can develop conclusions. Essentially, empiricism denies common sense and promotes instead a stubbornness in philosophy to ignore the humble lessons of poetry in favor of the cold, calculating figures of the "scientist."

Platonic rationalism, on the other hand, appeals to the intellect rather than to any accumulation of facts and figures. Reason is viewed as the ultimate component in Plato's philosophy, not "observation." Of course, observation is key in allowing one to inform his reason, but in Platonic rationalism the issue of transcendentals is also of supreme importance. It is,…… [read more]

Plato and Aristotle Metaphysics Essay

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Falcon, Andrea, "Aristotle on Causality," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .

Frede, Dorothea, "Plato's Ethics: An Overview," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2009 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .

Gottlieb, Paula. "Aristotle on Dividing the Soul and Uniting the Virtues." Phronesis 39.3 (1994): 275-290. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 3 Oct. 2011.

Kreis, Steven, "Greek Thought: Socrates, Plato and Aristotle." The History Guide (2000). URL = .

Losin, Peter. "Education and Plato's parable of the cave." Journal of Education 178.3 (1996): 49. Professional Development Collection. EBSCO. Web. 3 Oct. 2011.

Miller, Fred, "Aristotle's Political Theory," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .

Scaltsas, Theodore. "Aristotle's "Second Man" Argument." Phronesis 38.2 (1993): 117-136. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 3 Oct. 2011.

Silverman, Allan, "Plato's Middle Period Metaphysics and Epistemology," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2008 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .

van Inwagen, Peter, "Metaphysics," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2010 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .… [read more]

David Hume Philosophy What Is the Difference Term Paper

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David Hume


What is the difference between being and nature in relation to God, and how do these terms relate between cleanthe, dema and philo?

Being shows God's existence and that he created human beings in his own image and likeness which means human beings resembles God. It also shows how long God has been in existence (He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow). While Nature shows the attributes of God such as perfection, universal and infinite. These terms relate between Clenthe, Demae and Philo in such a way that they were all created in God's image and likeness.

(finite, weak and blind creatures, we ought to humble ourselves in His august presence & #8230; adore in silence His infinite perfection, pg141).

2.What portion of the debate does demea represent?

Demae represents Christians who believe that God exists. He says that people should humble themselves in God's presence and adore in silence his infinite perfection.

(He is a being, infinitely perfect… we ought not to imagine that He is clothed in human body, Pp 141-142)

3. What are Philo's views concerning Demea's argument?

Philo views Demae's argument as ridiculous since he feels that Damea is perfecting God for no good reason. Philo feels that whatever Demae is saying are just words that men honor. He feels that God is only important in the places of worship and He is more of the object of worship therefore He is not supposed to be discussed anywhere. Philo views Demae's views as a language which is just used by man.

(…and there is no more difficulty in conceiving, that the several elements, from internal unknown cause, may fall into the most exquisite arrangement… )

4. How does the tone or method of Philo's argument differ from Demea's argument?

The method of Demae's argument differs from that of Philo in such a way that Demae is talking positively about God without any doubt while Philo is supporting Demae at the same time he is disagreeing with him.

5. What portion of the debate does Cleanthes represent?

Cleanthes represents people who don't believe in Gods existence. He believes that God is given credit which He doesn't deserve. He presents people who feel that God's word is just a story told and not a reality.

(…that the proof of a Deity amounted to no more than a guess or conjecture. )

6. How does a posteriori used in relation to the argument?

Posteriori has been used to distinguish between the argument between Demae and Cleanthe. It is kind of a middle…… [read more]

Wittgenstein Ludwig Essay

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It would see through television cameras in the eyes and generally think and act in a human -- or at least humanoid -- way, and perhaps even develop intentionality. They regularly design machines that play language games of their own, and look forward to the time when computers will be able to mimic the neurons and synapses in the human brain. This mechanical or electronic brain, perhaps encased within an artificial body, would function exactly like that of a real human being in its ability to process language and understand other inputs. If the correct interpretation of Wittgenstein is in fact that no "ghost in the machine" exists, and that all such old-fashioned questions about the mind, spirit and metaphysics are simply nonsense, then the proper role of philosophy is indeed to assist all those new scientific and technological developments, and perhaps even help evolve these "new and improved" versions of humanity. Such notions are no longer in the realm of science fiction and fantasy as they were in Wittgenstein's time, but are very rapidly becoming science fact.


Biletzi, A. (2003). (Over)interpreting Wittgenstein. Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Leung, S.K. (2002). Language and Meaning in Human Perspective. Janus Publishing.

Ryle, G. (1949). The Concept of Mind. University of Chicago Press.

Wittgenstein, L. Philosophical Investigations, 4th Edition (1953, 2009). P.M.S.…… [read more]

Society as Reflected by Albert Camus the Plague Research Paper

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Camus -- the Plague

An Analysis of Social Representation in Camus' the Plague

The French philosophical novel of the 20th century was a self-contained worldview, best described by Camus in The Myth of Sisyphus. The worldview was absurdist -- an outgrowth of the demise of old world philosophy: on the one hand was man's desire for meaning, and on the… [read more]

Kant's Refutation of the Ontological Term Paper

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The conception of the abuser arose from the suggestion of the therapist and, as such, does conceptually exist. Further therapy assists the man to realize that the abuser is a construct of his imagination, and that the abuser does not exist outside of his imagination, nor did he ever exist. But a family member later reveals to the man that, in fact, that he was actually abused and that the abuser he thought he had imagined was real. Regardless of the actual existence of the abuser, the man's imagination cannot prove that there is or was an abuser. In a similar fashion, the existence of God cannot be proven by a concept alone. [10: Immanuel Kant. Critique of Pure Reason. Trans. Paul Guyer and Allen Wood. Cambridge University Press, 1998. (A597/B625 )]

In turning now to the idea of synthetic existence claims, the ontological argument hinges on this base: Synthetic existence claims cannot be proven with a single concept, requiring us to move outside or beyond that concept. Beginning with the concept, one must locate an object that will fall under that concept. Kant wrote,

If you concede, on the contrary, as in all fairness you must, that every existential proposition is synthetic, then how would you assert that he predicate of existence may not be canceled without contradiction? Since this privilege pertains only in the analytic propositions, as resting on its very character. (A5998/B626)[footnoteRef:11] [11: Ibid. ]

If analytic existence claims do not exist, and the ontological argument intends to establish an analytic existence claim, then the ontological argument must be thought of as unsound. The possibility that this could be true is based on the ideas that either the argument has false premises or the argument is formally invalid.[footnoteRef:12] If we hold that the ontological argument is valid and that it is based on true premises, then we may also hold that there are analytic existence claims.[footnoteRef:13] [12: DeVries, p.4.] [13: Ibid.]

If it is true that existence, "Being," is a type of predicate that cannot diminish or increase its quantity by adding other aspects to it, then there is no benefit to "predicating of the part the quality which it is believed the whole itself has -- either in virtue of its greater number of parts or simply in virtue of it being a whole."[footnoteRef:14] The concept is whole in its existence; there is nothing to divide or take away and there is nothing to compose or add. "One cannot, in other words, have other properties and still not have 'being,' and one cannot lose 'being' and still retain other properties."[footnoteRef:15] Even if, as Engel argues, the conclusion derived from this is that existence is not a real property or not a real predicate, the more substantive point is that there are circumstances in which it does not make sense to predicate of a thing certain qualities. This is because the something already has all the qualities which are predicated to it -- this, and not, that… [read more]

Uses of Philosophy Term Paper

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¶ … Philosophy

Admittedly, the academic study of Philosophy is a formal exercise in abstract reasoning that may sometimes seem inapplicable to everyday life. However, the more I study philosophy, the more I realize that philosophical reasoning is useful, even essential, in life. It plays a role in decision-making in business, in school, in interpersonal relationships, and in the perception and analysis of choices in relation to their consequences in many aspects of contemporary life. In the immediate wake of the successful assassination of Osama bin Laden in a United States Special Forces operation last week, philosophical issues have risen to the forefront, particularly in connection with the ethical lines distinguishing justified murder of individuals and unjustified murder of individuals by nation states.

Philosophy and Modern Politics

More than ever before in modern American politics, the era since the election of President Barack Obama has featured political tactics and campaign narratives that raise fundamental philosophical issues. Specifically, the promotion of false narratives such as "death panels" and "government takeovers" by various Republican pundits raise philosophical issues such as the degree to which rhetoric based on knowingly false premises is ethically appropriate in the realm of public discourse on political issues. Similarly, philosophical principles apply directly to the ethical propriety of holding hostage middle class tax cuts and social welfare programs based on an obvious but unofficial quid-pro-quo relationship between lawmakers and their wealthiest benefactors, especially in conjunction with the reliance on the fact that political opponents are less ruthless and would not call any bluff for political gain at the…… [read more]

Wittgenstein Essay

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Because Hume attempts to prove that there is no existence with regards to certainty in science, his statements of ideas and our knowledge thereof in philosophy is divided between the statements of a priori and a posteriori. For a proposition to be known as a priori, said proposition would have to be independent of one's experience with the world; whereas a posteriori statements cannot be known a priori (Blackburn, 1994). In this case, what Hume believes is that facts are facts independent of the words and ideas as defined by the philosopher. A posteriori statements are fallible; that is, they become uncertain because the human senses are imperfect and deceptive. Descartes also mentions this in his own mind-body problem. Hume also argues that whatever statement is given about the world has the possibility of being false, regardless of the expression and the definitions supplied in the sentence structure.

This relates to Wittgenstein in a two-fold manner. Firstly, both Wittgenstein and Hume believe in the fallibility of philosophy with regards to human interpretations. To Wittgenstein, language is imperfect because it is a device tooled by thinking beings. To Hume, the statements embellished by human experiences are imperfect because human experiences are unreliable and imperfect. On the other hand, Wittgenstein still believes in the definitive form of language; with properly defined statements and relationships between words, and the careful attention to detail, then the "real function of statements" is not missed (Russell, 2010).


Blackburn, Simon. (1994). The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford UP. Print.

Moore, A.W. (1990). The Infinite. London: Routledge. Print.

Russell, Bertrand. (2010). "Introduction." Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Project Gutenberg.

Wittgenstein, Ludwig. (2010).…… [read more]

Descartes: Wax Argument Descartes Philosophy Essay

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As a thinking thing, everything else is unknown and nonexistent, and the mind and intellect are the only proofs of one's existence. In the same vein, Plato agrees that there is a distinct divide between one's sense-perception and the knowledge inherent in a thinking being. Plato's Republic undergoes to argue over the difference between knowledge and opinion. To Plato, knowledge is the certainty discoverable from within, whereas opinion is one's imagination, unreliable and a mere "shadow" of the real world. In this case, both philosophers perceive that knowledge or intellect is certain. Both acknowledge that sense-perception opinion leads to false truths.

They differ, however, in both the origin of knowledge and the steps leading to the realization of said knowledge or intellect. Plato believes that knowledge is derived from principles set upon the idea of the Good -- the sun in one of his allegories. Descartes, on the other hand, believes one's knowledge can be determinedly based upon the intellect of the self. Plato understands that perception can still be an important stepping stone into fully gaining knowledge of an object; his dividing line as illustrated in The Republic mentions and acknowledges opinion as part of the realistic world. Descartes dismisses sense-perception entirely, claiming that it is a human failing and filled with falsehoods.

Descartes and Plato, while agreeing in the essence of sense-perception and knowledge being two different ideas, are not always so similar in the origination of said ideas. Knowledge to Plato comes from the Good, the higher being, the sun. Descartes sees intellect as an affirmation for a thinking being's existence. His wax argument fully realizes the nature of perception and the nature that man's intellect is the sole object that leads to absolute truths.


Descartes, Rene. Meditations on First Philosophy. Retrieved March 24, 2011. .

Plato. The Republic. Retrieved March 24, 2011. .… [read more]

Why Was John Dee Such an Enigmatic Figure in Western Europe? Research Paper

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¶ … John Dee such an enigmatic figure in Western Europe?

The character of 16th century mathematician and philosopher John Dee presents an intriguing conjunction of science, magic, and imperial patronage seemingly hand-crafted for his time. In order to fully understand the range of Dee's influence on both Elizabethan imperialism and the advance of the sciences, it will be necessary… [read more]

Philosophy Personal Worldview Out of the Hodgepodge Term Paper

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¶ … Philosophy

Personal Worldview

Out of the hodgepodge of education and personal experiences I have gained in my lifetime, I have managed to develop a "mixed bag" kind of personal philosophy or worldview. How I imagine the world working at any given moment depends on the circumstances at hand. When it comes to love, I tend to imagine a romanticized world of surreal spirituality and fate. On the other hand, when speaking of disease, my mind turns to biology and scientific fact. And I imagine that the view I choose to take of the world on any particular subject has something to do with how much I know about the subject, and with how pleasing it is for me to think along those lines.

Metaphysics has many interwoven and interconnected definitions, but the one that makes most sense to me is simply "the study of universal realities vs. appearances." In terms of this definition, I view the world in a metaphysical sense when it comes to many important concepts. I believe there are many universes and galaxies with planets capable of sustaining life similar to our own. I believe it has always been this way and always will be; however, I of course cannot answer why. I also believe in the basic reality of all life being interrelated through concepts of atoms, molecules, particles, and the different configurations of those atoms brought about by the forces of nature resulting in evolution. I believe that while human beings may exist on other planets, they will vary with the conditions of the particular planet on which they evolved. But overall, at the most fundamental and important levels, all living creatures are more alike than different; and our personal opinions and perceptions about those creatures are greatly distorted for the sake of mastering and navigating a difficult world. But all living things are made out of the same basic "materials" and have similar needs for survival. These are metaphysical concepts because they will never change, they are reality, and form the universal essence of things (Lowe, 1998). Of course the next questions that arise have to do with "why?" And "what is the meaning?" And "is there a God?"

Epistemology is the study of knowledge and belief, and the justification of beliefs (Steup, 2010). This subject leads into what I believe is the source of human weakness -- that we tend to believe what makes us feel good rather than what is most true. If something does not fit with what we want to believe, we ignore it or use "selective learning" to fit the "square peg" into our comfortable and familiar "round" worldview. I know I am as susceptible to this kind of error in knowledge and belief as anyone else; therefore, my view is that our beliefs and knowledge are always skewed and sort of "happen" to us based on our personality, upbringing, preferences, and emotional attachments.

Axiology is the study of values and goodness in terms of ethics and… [read more]

Metaphysics Let Us First Start With Understanding Research Paper

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Let us first start with understanding metaphysics. We can define metaphysics as the philosophical formulations of answers to questions like 'what is there'? In other words it can be a speculative analysis of reality and its nature. Science is a form of investigation of reality and metaphysics is further contemplation of what is known and established to finding that… [read more]

Philosophy Essay

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Philosophy, it seemed, was one of those disciplines that involved professors in tweed coats and thick glasses, playing chess and smoking their pipe, arguing over things that were so esoteric and complicated they had no real relevance to anyone's life, save other academics. In fact, philosophy attempts to answer questions about what really makes one human -- about the similarities and differences we all share, but more why we tend to think and act the way we do. What is fascinating is finding out that many of the same questions have been debated for over 10,000 years -- since humans first began to group together in cities and organize a cultural hierarchy. The most fascinating part, though, is that many of these same questions remain unanswered after so many thousands of years of debate, interchange of ideas, and technological evolution.

This is really echoed in Bertrand Russell's Prejudices of a Practical Man. For Russell, the practical man is concerned with the here and now, the tangible, the visible, not the strategic or esoteric -- even though he acknowledges that they exist. Philosophy, though, takes that mind a bit further and provides a different set of values and perceptions that while difficult, help the individual grow and actualize. The practical person sees what they perceive by their senses as real -- the philosophical mind knows that it is the individual perception that is real, not the actuality of the object or event. In fact, Russell is surely right when he says that philosophy helps define what knowledge is, and focuses us on ways to move beyond what we thought in the past to "why" we thought what we did, or think what we do now. To have a way of establishing a moral template -- the ethics of being able to live together in a cooperative society in which the positive outweighs the negative, we must have a way to consider (cognate, think, ruminate) over issues that defy perception. That, it seems, is why we have so many types of knowledge -- from metaphysics (what is really real…… [read more]

Ethics and John Stuart Mill Essay

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Ethics and John Stuart Mill

The subject of gay marriage has been a controversial issue in the United States for many years and more so in recently with attempts by conservative politicians to create laws banning its practice. Many of those opposed to gay marriage base their feelings and judgment of gay marriage on their moral beliefs, most of which are grounded in religious foundations. The political, moral, ethical and social philosopher John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) wrote many important essays on the pursuit of liberty and happiness and pleasure based on many of the principles surrounding social justice and cohesion. Would John Stuart Mill have been opposed to gay marriage? Based on his writings it is difficult to conceive of the idea that he would have been opposed to the institution at all. However, Texas law now forbids same-sex marriage. By the standards upon which Mill based his writings, is this law ethical? Upon examination of Mill's work on notions of liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the Texas law is unethical.

Mills expounded a particular version of what was known as Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is basically defined as being the greatest good for the greatest number. Within the context of Mill's version of this social philosophy, the nature of the pursuit of happiness is based on the level of harm that pursuit may subject to other members of society.[footnoteRef:1] According to Mill's principle of harm, the only legitimate grounds for the use of social or governmental coercion are to prevent someone from doing harm to others.[footnoteRef:2] The question then becomes, what social harm is caused when two gay people are allowed to legally marry? Putting religious morals aside, there seems to be no physical harm that can be caused by this type of union. Mills is very specific concerning the nature of hurt and inconvenience that one can cause which should in any way involve the interdiction of society. [1: Outline of Mill's philosophy, p. 3.] [2: Ibid.]

There is another aspect of Mills writing which supports the notion of gay marriage, although it may be considered somewhat indirect as it was not his intention to address the issue of gay marriage in his day. This is what is considered an early form of support for feminism. Mills also wrote on the subjugation of women, specifically within the context of marriage. This argument was that the union was one in which the woman was subordinate to the man. Although Mills intention was to point out the subjugation of women, his call for the marriage partnership to be one equal standing would certainly apply to same sex marriages as well. This notion fits well into the percepts of Utilitarianism and the basic concept of the philosophy in adhering to the pursuit of liberty and happiness.

Although the basic concept is simple concerning harm to society in general, the Utilitarian nature of John Stuart Mill's essays on ethics would not find the marriage of same-sex couples unethical. The…… [read more]

Aristotle on Incontinence Greek Philosophy Term Paper

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Intemperance is the worst because the person has both bad desires and bad reasoning; it includes acting deliberately and not necessarily according to passion.

Aristotle is not a hedonist, however, to him; pleasure is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, he shows that it is one of the necessary conditions for a person to be virtuous is that he take pleasure in acting virtuously; so a person needs to know how to act on his passions or pleasures to be able to be a virtuous person. A virtuous person's desires should be in par with right reason so that virtuous action is pleasant; this is the whole nine yards of being virtuous. Additionally, since acting in accordance with right reason - that is, virtuously - is supposed to lead to happiness, it is fitting that that acting virtuously should also be pleasant at least in some sense, even if not in the physical sense. Pleasure is not defended by Aristotle to be the highest good or even an end in itself, but it accompanies the highest good as well as lesser goods, and this comes with being human in nature.

In his argument, Socrates refuses to see that sometimes people just fall because of the weakness of their own judgment or sometimes their own will. He believed that there is no such thing as incontinence because a person's judgment is above all, and therefore a man who knows what the right thing to do is, will always act on the right thing. He did not consider the possibilities of pleasures and passions which come so easily to humans, and how humans can fall short of their own standards of virtue because of an irrational act which was not necessarily done deliberately due to bad judgment. Socrates overlooked the characteristics of humans to be able to make mistakes due to giving into temptation which is led by passion and desires. These passion and desires, for him, are seen as secondary to judgment and there is no possibility for moral incontinence. This comes as a worry because if there is no such thing as incontinence, then everyone who acts on something bad is therefore a bad person and had done this bad thing deliberately, thinking it is bad. This is because no one individual has been acting righteously for his or her entire life.

It is therefore easier to believe Aristotle in his argument for incontinence because this is seen normal within people, and it is also the nature and characteristic of people to act accordingly to their passions and desires. A person is not necessarily bad or one who has bad judgment when he or she acts in a way which is not good, this only means that during the time of the act, his or her judgment was overruled by humanly pleasures or passions. Socrates does not give room for this and believes that one's judgment is above all; this means that people always act deliberately, even when their… [read more]

Philosophy in Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics Term Paper

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In Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, he defines an imperative as a command (an "ought") that declares something is good to do or not to do (24). In addition, he distinguishes between two kinds of imperatives: hypothetical and categorical. A hypothetical imperative represents "a possible action as a means to achieving something else that one wills (or that is at least possible for one to will)" (25). In other words, a hypothetical imperative involves an action that is done for another reason, or as a way to achieve something else. In contrast, a categorical imperative "represents an action as objectively necessary of itself, without reference to another end" (25). This means a categorical imperative involves an action that has no other purpose but itself. It is not done to attain another end or motive.

For example, the declaration that I ought to feed my cat so she stays alive is a hypothetical imperative. An example of a categorical imperative, on the other hand, is that we should not kill other people. In the first case, I feed my cat in order to achieve the goal or end of keeping her alive. But in the case of killing others, I ought to refrain from killing because it is wrong in itself to take another person's life. If someone said that they did not kill others because they want to avoid jail, we would question whether their motivation was truly moral. This example shows that we usually think that taking another person's life is wrong for no other reason than itself. Therefore, according to Kant's definitions, not killing other people is a categorical imperative rather than a hypothetical one.

Furthermore, for Kant, categorical imperatives are objectively necessary because the "action is represented as in itself good, hence as necessary in a will in itself conforming to reason" (25). Hypothetical imperatives are only practically necessary because they represent "a possible action as a means…… [read more]

Logic Model for the Community Educational Center Research Paper

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Logic Model for the Community Educational Center

The center was founded five years ago and it aims to improve the life of the community members through education.

Despite the noble objective and the existent support it received from the community, the center finds it difficult to finance its operations accordingly.

Operations of the center

Reading and writing classes for children and adults

Classes on various disciplines

The creation of an environment in which tutors and pupils can interact

Support for single working parents

The educational center is currently unable to fund its operations

Despite the fact that it does not retrieve profits, it must generate revenues for sustainability

The program to raise more funds will be described using the Logic Model

The Logic Model





The Logic Model (continuation)

The inputs are the resources to be used in the program

The activities are the actions to be implemented

The outputs are the immediate results…… [read more]

Metaphysics Versus Psychology Dissertation

Dissertation  |  40 pages (13,675 words)
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Metaphysics and Psychology have historically been at odds with one another in what is an unnatural although real separation from a somewhat new science and its mother science. Although many believe that psychology and metaphysics are actually joined together the view of many in these two areas of study are adamant that the two are opposed to… [read more]

Broken Down Essay

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¶ … broken down to the question of 'what exactly constitutes knowledge?' This is a question that has plagued philosophers since the beginning of time. Although the majority of the great philosophers seem to equate knowledge with belief, in at least its most basic sense, questions remain regarding what is fact and what is only believed to be fact. In… [read more]

Rhetorical Theory Applied to a Rhetorical Artifact Research Paper

Research Paper  |  4 pages (1,072 words)
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Rhetorical Implications of Modern Political: An Examination of Obama's Berlin Speech Through a Langer Lens

During the summer of 2008, nearing the height of the political tempest that was the most recent Presidential election in the United States, now-President Obama gave a speech in Berlin, Germany that was tantamount to a campaign speech for the world. Given the rampant pace of the financial and political worlds since that time, it is hardly surprising that this speech has faded from most memories, and it must be acknowledged that there is little of real substance in Obama's words. This speech is significant, however, for what it is -- a pledge by a Presidential candidate to create world of greater peace and of greater freedom, and above all to make his nation a good global citizen. This paper examines this speech from using Susanne Langer's identification of discursive and presentational symbolization, showing that in reality the speech promises little while inspiring a great deal of confidence.

Susanne Langer and Discursive v Presentational Symbols

The first prominent female American philosopher, and one of the first prominent female philosophers generally, Susanne Langer is not often cited by philosophers today, though her work remains influential in the works of others (New World Encyclopedia). It is her work distinguishing discursive and presentational symbols and processes of symbolization, heavily influenced and inspired by the writings and a later intellectual correspondence with Ernst Cassirer, that is perhaps her most enduring philosophical achievement (Liukkonen).

Essentially speaking, discursive symbols are those that have a discrete and independent meaning, such as those used in ordinary language and in science -- the words on this page, for instance, are discursive in that a discrete meaning exists for each word (Langer). Presentational symbols, however, are wholly dependent on the context in which they arise -- the collective groups of symbols that exist in a work of art, be it a painting, a piece of music, or a verse of poetry, serve as examples of presentational symbols (Langer; Brand). The different kind of symbols also have direct implications for the process of symbolization -- of creating these symbols in a way meant to communicate meaning, either discursively and/or presentationaly -- and for decoding symbols as in the process of reading a passage or viewing a painting, etc. Yet these symbols, despite their clear and seemingly insurmountable differences, are not actually entirely mutually exclusive.

The example of poetry provides an excellent example for demonstrating this fact. Most (though admittedly not all) poems are made up of real words with discrete or semi-discrete meanings -- i.e. discursive symbols. Yet in many poems, these words take on significant new meanings based on their context; though they retain the same basic discrete meaning, they obtain new meanings and shades of meaning within the context of the poem. In this way, a poem is both discursive and presentational, containing a literal meaning and a contextual meaning that must be interpreted individually and subjectively but always under the auspices of the… [read more]

Emanuel Kant Research Paper

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Emanuel Kant's

The Work of Kant and His Influence in History and Western Thought

The eighteenth century stands as the birthplace of the modern world. Influenced by the scientific advancements in astronomy and gravity in the seventeenth century and in art and literature in the sixteenth century, the eighteenth century sought to fuse together all the improvements in human thought… [read more]

Philosophy of Science Kuhn Essay

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Philosophy of Science

Kuhn does not consider himself to be a relativist. Relativism has to do with our beliefs as individuals and the value and importance we place on those beliefs. Kuhn has many different beliefs regarding science. He did not believe that scientist should abandon one method of research for another. Kuhn believed that once a scientific paradigm was established, it should not be challenged or tested. His reply to the charge that he is not a relativist is clearly inadequate. He argues that the truth of a paradigm is impossible to find. He acknowledges that some scientist have been able to improve upon a particular paradigm, but that these improvements do nothing to bring us closer to the truth of the original paradigm. In Kuhn's view, a paradigm is what it is and there should be no changes.

Kuhn felt that paradigms were immeasurable. Once a paradigm is set, he felt it was useless to test one theory against another or to try to prove a paradigm as false. When dealing with relativism, we know that what holds true for one individual may not hold true for the next. Because our world is constantly changing and evolving, to never test a scientific theory (as Kuhn suggests) means that science will remain stagnant and will never evolve. Kuhn states in his response that he is not a relativist that the testing of these paradigms and slight improvements on them take us in circles, but do not actually move us closer to the truth. Given this, we must ask ourselves what exactly is the truth? Are we to base our definition of the truth of these paradigms according to Kuhn's beliefs, or do we have the right to formulate our own truths based on our own knowledge and perceptions?

If we follow Kuhn's view, then there is no relativity because everyone will be on the same page that Kuhn was on. However, in order to constantly evolve scientist must continue to test theories and determine ways to improve upon existing paradigms so that science can keep up with our ever changing environment. Kuhn rejected these ideas based on his belief that it was impossible to find neutral evidence with which to test an existing paradigm because all evidence pertaining to any particular paradigm is derived from that very same paradigm. Therefore, according to him, no evidence could be neutral. Based on this, it is easy to view Kuhn as one who did not think outside the box and did not value change. In his view, paradigms were absolute and were not subject to change and were not to be challenged. This method of thinking is ontological.

Kuhn only wanted to deal with what is and to him that meant whatever a specific paradigm what set as. He felt that once we saw what was set before us scientifically it should not be changed because these paradigms are immeasurable. Kuhn…… [read more]

Modern Rhetoric Essay

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¶ … President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech

Since he began his campaign for the presidency of the United States, Barack Obama has been consistently criticize for his "rhetoric." These criticisms seem as prone to using the epithet "high-flown rhetoric" as Homer was likely to describe the sea as "wine-dark." But both general comments on Obama as inclined to… [read more]

Plato's Metaphysics Research Proposal

Research Proposal  |  6 pages (1,645 words)
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¶ … Validity of Plato's Theory of Forms

Plato's theory of forms combines previously devised concepts and theories of science, of the Sophists and of Socrates. I intend to show that the amalgamation of these previously mapped principles lends enough credibility to Plato's theory of forms to make it valid. While there are certain points of contention to be made,… [read more]

Kuhn James Pierce Popper Descartes Al-Ghazali Essay

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Philosophy of Truth

One of the most intriguing and long-standing debates in philosophy is exactly what is worthy of philosophical consideration and debate, and what should be dismissed as futile and meaningless sophistry. For skeptics of both the rational and empirical schools, true and certain knowledge (in the traditional senses of these words) can never really be attained, and metaphysical… [read more]

Mind Essay

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Philosophy's Practical Value

From the moment we wake up in the morning to that last second before we go to bed, philosophy impacts us. Philosophy can be loosely defined as our beliefs, the principals that guide us. Of course, we have philosophies about many things. Most of us have philosophies having to do with family life, work, and the bigger issues -- such as death and dying, morality, etc. Each day, we live a philosophy, one that might even be contrary to the philosophy that we preach. For instance, if we are constantly working, our philosophy places work above friends and family. The way we talk, our actions, the decisions that we make, and the way we influence others are all a result of our various philosophies.

Not only does philosophy have a practical value for our daily life because it is a fact or our daily life, but the practice of examining our philosophies, of questioning…… [read more]

Socrates and Callicles Research Proposal

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Socrates and Callicles

We may view the Gorgias as offering competing visions of the good human life. Callicles can be seen as a proponent of the political life; Socrates as a proponent of the philosophical life. Compare and contrast Callicles and Socrates on the value of these two lives. What are their dangers and advantages, according to Callicles and Socrates? Who is right? Why?

According to Callicles, in the world of politics, might makes right, and the reality of the political life is that strength will triumph. Socrates values truth, and rather than pleasure and personal satisfaction, justice is a better goal to pursue in life. Physical, brute strength does not mean one is the superior leader, although Callicles would counter that in the real world, a stronger man can always use his violence to silence the philosopher's tongue. Callicles advocates the skillful use of rhetoric in politics to deal with the demands of the real world. While Callicles says that philosophy has its place in the education of the young, to discipline the mind and to teach eloquent speech, to focus overmuch on it to the exclusion of the other arts is not productive. It is not the way that 'the real world works.'

Callicles' attitude is analogous to some people who say that a liberal arts education is not valuable, because it does not translate into immediate job benefits. It is also analogous to the argument that diplomacy and understanding other cultures is pointless because ultimately, the world is governed on 'dog-eat-dog' principles. Callicles argues, prophetically, that even if Socrates may be technically correct on some of his points as a philosopher, Socrates does not have the ability to sway the emotions of the masses, as is necessary when making a case before a jury: "Neither in a court of justice could you state a case, or give any reason or proof, offer valiant counsel on another's behalf."

On a very basic level, Callicles' argument is tautological: he argues that because 'that is the way things are, then that is the way they must be.' However, on a practical level, he has some justification: "An art which converts a man of sense into a fool, who is helpless, and has no power to save either himself or others, when he is in the greatest danger and is going to be despoiled by his enemies of all his goods, and has to live, simply deprived of his rights of citizenship? -- he being a man…… [read more]

Film Pilosophy Philosophy in Films Essay

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Film Pilosophy

Philosophy in Films

Attempts to explain the universe and the world around us have consumed the human race since at least the beginning of recorder history, and likely for millennia before that. Understanding reality, and even simply determining what (if anything) is real, or can ever be known to be real; what can be known, and how can… [read more]

MLK Letter From Birmingham Jail Essay

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¶ … Martin Luther King's

"Letter from Birmingham Jail"

In 1963, Martin Luther King was arrested and jailed for demonstrating for civil rights in Alabama. While he was in prison, several clergy men addressed the situation and called for unity, noting that the fight for civil rights belong in the courts but not on the streets. King's letter is a response to their statements as well as a plea to all on both sides of the racial issue to consider the meaning of justice while respecting authority as much as possible. King's letter is considered an example of the classical argument because he appeals to all sides of the issue with logic as well as emotional appeal. His argument is sound, grounded, and, more than anything, it connects with both sides of the issue. King is addressing a situation and a group of people that are extremely divided. He did not simply want to appeal to African-Americans for they were already far too aware of their circumstance. He did want them to behave in a way that was rational but he also wanted to appeal to those that made and applied the law. Jo Farrar maintains that king uses the "classical appeals of ethos, logos, and pathos, and in language that appealed to the best in American Judeo-Christian values, King's 'letter' formed the blueprint for civil rights" (Farrar). King appeals to emotions, authority, and logic in order to present a case that is difficult to dispute from any angle.

Another reason why King's letter is so appealing is his ability to appeal to the emotions of his audience in a clam, reasonable manner. He is very aware that segregation is an emotionally charged subject and handles it in a calm, reasonable manner. He asks those on his side, "Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?" (King). While is aware of the passion that African-Americans deal with when they face this subject, he wants them to remain calm so they can act in a manner that actually achieves results rather than inciting violence. He does not want his supporters to back away from the truth but he does not want them to fall into an endless circle of violence that gets them nowhere. He states that those who are brave enough to have broken free from the "paralyzing chains of conformity" (King) are significant to the cause because they share the "struggle for freedom" (King). He recognizes their efforts stating, "Their witness has been the spiritual salt that has preserved the true meaning of the gospel in these troubled times. They have carved a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment" (King). King knew that the subject matter was clearly emotionally charged and he addressed it with a logical appeal to emotion.

King's letter is successful in that it appeals to authority, demonstrating ethos. King is no way wants to subvert or… [read more]

Do Rich Nations Have an Obligation to Help Poor Nations? Essay

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Philosophy - Economic Ethics


Rich and Poor by Peter Singer:

In Rich and Poor, Singer outlines the proportion of the global human population that lives in poverty and considers the respective arguments about whether or not (and to what extent) citizens of industrialized so-called First-World countries have a moral obligation to assist citizens… [read more]

Analyzing a Philosophical Text Thesis

Thesis  |  3 pages (871 words)
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¶ … Philosophical Text

Joseph Prabhu's "The Clash or Dialogue of Civilizations": An Evaluation

In his article, "The Clash or Dialogue of Civilizations," author Joseph Prabhu suggests that conversations about diversity need to move from "intranational dialogues to international dialogues" to achieve world peace (15). The author supports and develops his thesis by discussing the contradictory nature of the two trends that encapsulate today's international politics -- globalization and nationalism. Because these trends are contradictory, Prabhu implies that they are not working to create a world based on peace. Furthermore, he uses the events of September 11, 2001 to make this point even clearer, by suggesting it as both a "Clash of Civilizations" and an attack based on political and economic issues. Because of its dual characterization, Prabhu suggests that "dialogue between religions" and cultures is a tactic much more superior to war to resolve the international issues of the world (14). Finally, Prabu uses the example of the United States to support his thesis by stating that the United States has been able to use the grantee of rights to establish a common ground that opens dialogue among cultures.

When writing this topic, the author most likely considered an audience that was interested in and somewhat knowledgeable about International Relations. He speaks in a style that is, while intelligent, not necessarily formal, and he uses simple language and summaries of main ideas. This suggests that he is speaking to both those who are aware of the theories and paradigms associated with international relations, peace, and conflict studies. The author's purpose for his audience is to convince them that dialogue is a far more superior method than war in achieving peace in the international world. Although his article is certainly opinionated and argumentative, his argument is not overstated harsh. Instead, he makes a subtle argument, calling upon the reader's common sense to supplement Prabu's argument. Thus, it is clear that the author is speaking to an audience that is not hardened in its opinion on the topic, or at least open minded enough to intelligently debate different ideas. The academic community fits this description almost perfectly.

Certainly, the audience did an excellent job of communicating his purpose to his audience. This is true for three primary reasons. First, the author's clarity of speech and ideas allows even the student or professor with limited knowledge on the topic to understand and form an opinion about it. Second, the author uses familiar and adequate arguments to support his thesis. Third and finally, the author appeals to reason and logic to make an argument that does not require…… [read more]

Evolution of Psychology Thesis

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Evolution of Psychology


The Chapter on Rationality (and irrationality) is very well structured. It fully covers all possible areas of interest surrounding the topic, and investigates each of these to the extent that the chapter length allows. The reader is left with a much better understanding of the basis of rationality and the causes of irrationality. The author begins… [read more]

Socrates the Philosophy Term Paper

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The Philosophy of Socrates

It would not be an overstatement to say that the whole course of Western philosophy was influenced by the Greek philosopher known as Socrates. Although he did not leave any writings of his own or, at least, none of these were preserved, his philosophy and his personality are conserved in many of the works of… [read more]

Epistemology and Philosophy of Socrates Term Paper

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For example, my knowledge in math is in me as its subject, but it can be predicated of no subject, because of the fact that it is an individual thing. Thirdly, there are things that are both in a subject and can be predicated of a subject. Science, for instance, can be predicated of geometry, as it is in the mind as its subject. Finally, there are things that are neither in a subject, nor can they be predicated of any subject. These things are known as individual substances. They cannot be predicated because of their individuality. Nor can they be in subjects, as they are substances.

Aristotle rejected the Parmenidean notion that something comes to be out of something that is or is not. Aristotle claims that in a way something can be both a being and a non-being. What is more, in a way, something can be not a being, as well as not a non-being. The initial and resultant objects are thus shown to be compounds, rather than simple things, as the Parmenidean conception would have them.

Aristotle's four causes are as follows. First, there is the material cause, out of which a thing comes to be. Then there is the formal cause, which accounts for the essence of the thing. Thirdly, there is the efficient cause, which is the source of the main principle of change or stability. Finally, there is the final cause, which leads to the end of something - what it ultimately is for. Final causes exist not only for artifacts, but for natural things as well. The final cause for a natural thing comes about as the regular series of developmental changes that particular specimen undergo.

Matter and form are the fundamental constituents of the world for Aristotle.

Aristotle felt that ethics was something that was mastered through doing, rather than reasoning. Thus, there is no rational foundation of ethics for Aristotle. Ethical knowledge is not certain knowledge, but general knowledge.

Eudemonia was defined by Aristotle as a radiant joy that pervades the good life. This is the highest activity that the soul can attain.

Virtue is associated with the proper functioning of a thing. Since the proper functioning of an eye is sight, then an eye is only as good as it is able to see. Man is defined by having a function that is uncommon to anything else. That function has to do with the soul's activities.

Virtue is not something that one studies in order to find out what it is. Rather, virtue is rooted in the experiences of one's life. The goal of virtue is to become good. Ethical virtue is a condition that occurs between excess and deficiency.

Aristotle came up with the notion of the Golden Mean as an area to strive for in ethics. This can be loosely interpreted as the middle ground between two extremes. One does not want to inhabit either of the two extremes, or else one will not be living a… [read more]

Philosophy of Mind Term Paper

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Bibliography Sources: 2


Philosophy of Mind

Is bodily continuity necessary for personal identity?"

In order to approach and deal with the central question in this paper, one first has to ascertain the approximate meaning of identity, as well as the way that the term 'personal identity" is understood. The issue of identity is one fraught with philosophical as well as psychological questions and… [read more]

Philosophy Reality, Philosophy, and Technology the Problem Term Paper

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Reality, Philosophy, and Technology

The Problem of Subjectivity

One of the fundamental philosophical conundrums is how to define reality. If reality is that which remains constant in the human mind, then LSD trips and schizophrenic delusions are just as real as the 9-5 workday. if, however, reality depends on a collective agreement, then the personal world of emotions, dreams, and imagination ceases to have meaning. Neither one of these positions is ultimately tenable. Therefore, philosophers need a comprehensive definition of reality that does not deny nor advocate either one of these positions. In other words, a definition of reality must be liberal and inclusive of both subjective and objective truths. Reality is not absolute; rather, it incorporates subjective experiences. At the same time, reality must be defined at least in part by a shared vision.

Discussion 2: Virtual Reality and its Implications for Philosophy

Technology has transformed sensory experiences. Even before the advent of virtual reality technologies, items like automobiles, airplanes, radios, telephones, and televisions changed the way human beings interacted with their universe. Suddenly communication across time and space became possible, altering the perception that reality is a static experience. Virtual reality technologies take the philosophy of reality one step further. When an individual is engaged in a virtual universe, is that universe real? If so, is that universe as real as the dream state or less so because of the technological aide? Much like drug use can induce an alternative reality, it is possible that virtual reality offers only a shift in perspective but not a shift in reality itself.

Discussion 3: Establishment of Fact and Scientific Method

Technology sprung from the scientific quest for knowledge and mastery of reality. However, the scientific method may obscure earnest quests for truth because of its limited methodology. If reality depends on a finite set of sensory experiences, then human beings fail to appreciate the possibility of facts…… [read more]

Police Crisis Intervention Training Term Paper

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¶ … philosophers have spouted doctrinal differences and a wide variety of theories that tend to relate such differences in more concrete terms. Currently many of these theories are still studied, discussed in a vigorous manner and espoused by many as the panacea of life itself. Differences seem to be along the lines of either the analytic viewpoints or the… [read more]

Philosophy Happiness Is an Emotional State Term Paper

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Happiness is an emotional state in which an individual experiences feelings spanning between contentment and satisfaction or of intense joy. According to positive psychologist Martin Seligman, happiness is an emotion "consisting of positive emotions and positive activities" often related to the past, present and future. When an individual experiences happiness, they experience a meaningful life, or what Socrates referred to as the "good life." This state is achieved when one gains happiness from the exercise of their own unique and individual strengths and virtues for the greater good. Thus, true happiness, according to Socrates, is found only through individuality.

In Adulus Huxley's Brave New World, a world without happiness is portrayed. The reason for this lack of happiness is because, in the story, the world is devoid of any form of individuality. Thus, because true happiness is directly tied to individuality, without individuality, there can be no true happiness in the world of Brave New World.

Instead of true happiness, the society of Brave New World has created artificial forms of happiness. For example, the use of Soma as a method of finding happiness is a form of creating an artificial feeling of temporary happiness. However, according to Socrates, this is not happiness at all because the taking of an artificial substance, especially one produced and promoted by the government, has no inclination of individuality whatsoever. Thus, the taking of Soma is anything but a path to happiness.

The…… [read more]

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