"Philosophy / Logic / Reason" Essays

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Sleepers in the Context Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (727 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 0


They were determined to prevent it from falling and they probably acknowledged the delicate position they were in. The fact that they considered the harm they could do to an innocent bystander by dropping the stand or the fact that they did not necessarily want to harm the hot dog vendor business as a whole are visible in the moment when the stand goes down the stairs. The children are desperately trying to hold on to it even if they know that this means they could get caught. They are no longer interested in their personal well-being or in trying to get the hot dogs inside the cart, as all they want is to prevent a disaster from happening.

2. Reasons intervenes as the boys realize that they absolutely have to stop the cart from falling down the stairs. The boys start to treat others as ends in themselves as they first consider the financial damage associated with destroying the cart and as they rapidly realize that they are about to endanger someone's life. They are no longer thinking of people as means to an end, as they practically struggle to use all of their resources to address people's well-being.

The boys practically shift their attention from wanting to keep the cart to actually realizing the position they are in. They rapidly come to focus on people as their main interest rather than the material value of the cart. Their motives at this stage put across the feeling that they are actually guided by moral principles and that they want to do everything in their power in order to prevent the incident.

3. The four boys all appear to believe that they are perfectly able to understand the position they are in and put across behavior characteristic to moral persons in general. While it is difficult to determine whether or not they also act because they know they are responsible for what happens, it is only safe to say that they would employ similar thinking if they were to simply walk on the street and see a hot dog stand on the point of…… [read more]

History of Crime and Punishment Term Paper

Term Paper  |  12 pages (3,773 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


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]

Philosophy Concept: Veil of Maya Term Paper

Term Paper  |  5 pages (1,685 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


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]

Prejudice Against Philosophy Plato -347 Term Paper

Term Paper  |  3 pages (867 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


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]

Ethics-Philosophy in This Reading Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (652 words)
Bibliography Sources: 0


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]

Philosophy of Science Scientific Theories Term Paper

Term Paper  |  6 pages (1,655 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


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]

Buddhist Philosophy Man Term Paper

Term Paper  |  8 pages (2,017 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


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]

Hume's Problem of Induction David Term Paper

Term Paper  |  9 pages (3,486 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


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

Term Paper  |  12 pages (3,983 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


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]

Aquinas, Averroes, Al-Kirmani on God Term Paper

Term Paper  |  4 pages (1,333 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 1


Aquinas and Islam

Thomas Aquinas offered the classic medieval Christian summation of belief in God, and more particularly offered the "five ways" to prove the existence of God. There are, of course, substantial overlaps between Aquinas and classical Islamic philosophy and theology: Aquinas was compelled to read and take seriously Averroes, for a start. But there is also the common inheritance of classical Greece -- Aquinas has in common with the classical Islamic philosophers a reliance on Aristotle's writings as a basic rational and scientific view of the world. Indeed the purpose of Aquinas' Summa Theologica was to reach a harmonious synthesis between Aristotle's scientific worldview and the Christian theology that had been expounded by the early Church fathers. I propose to examine two of Aquinas' five arguments in closer detail, and to examine how they relate to classical Islamic theology and philosophy.

The first of Aquinas's arguments that I'd like to examine is the "argument from motion," also known as the prime mover argument. It is worth noting at the outset that this is the one which bears the most substantial relation to classical Islamic philosophy, because it is the one that adheres most closely to the common source between Aquinas and the Islamic philosophers, which is Aristotle. In some sense Aquinas's argument hinges quite clearly on Aristotle's rationalistic and scientific worldview: it begins with the notion, familiar from physics, that the universe is full of bodies in motion. This includes the objects in the heavens -- planets and stars can be observed to move -- as well as objects on earth. An arrow shot from a bow is propelled with motion, until that motion ceases when the arrow hits something or runs out of force and falls to the ground. The fact of motion is evident to human senses: Aquinas is beginning with this basic empirical observation. However Aquinas distinguishes the physical facts of the world into actuality and potentiality. An arrow still in the quiver has potential: but the arrow in flight has actuality. In other words, the object in motion has been moved by something else -- the arrow only takes flight because we have moved it.

Aquinas sees the concept of motion more largely than mere physics, however: in this case, a sunflower seed also has potential, and its growth into a sunflower is a form of motion. If ever motion has some cause, then it is logical to go back and find what has set that potential into motion. The case of the arrow is obvious: it requires an archer to shoot it. The case of the sunflower seed seems similarly obvious: it came from a previous sunflower plant. In all of these cases, though, Aquinas suggests that the chain of dependent states requires a beginning somewhere: there must have been a Prime Mover to set all of this into motion, or otherwise there would be no such motion. The important thing to note is that, of course, there could be such a thing… [read more]

Scientific Explanation Essay

Essay  |  7 pages (2,868 words)
Bibliography Sources: 8


Once philosophers started to see scientific knowledge as the only real knowledge, and Frege's new logic - which promised to become the new scientific language - became more widely known, there were few remaining philosophical tasks; foremost was to describe precisely what science is, what scientists do, and what the underlying logic of science is. The project went as follows:… [read more]

Philosophy of Science Kuhn Essay

Essay  |  3 pages (978 words)
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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]

Emanuel Kant Research Paper

Research Paper  |  5 pages (1,687 words)
Bibliography Sources: 6


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]

Rhetorical Theory Applied to a Rhetorical Artifact Research Paper

Research Paper  |  4 pages (1,072 words)
Bibliography Sources: 5


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]

Broken Down Essay

Essay  |  8 pages (2,349 words)
Bibliography Sources: 8


¶ … 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]

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

Research Paper  |  8 pages (2,419 words)
Bibliography Sources: 8


¶ … 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

Term Paper  |  3 pages (1,168 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


¶ … 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

Research Paper  |  5 pages (1,631 words)
Bibliography Sources: 5



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

Essay  |  2 pages (695 words)
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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]

Philosophy in Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (649 words)
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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

Research Paper  |  1 pages (315 words)
Bibliography Sources: 2


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)
Bibliography Sources: 30



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]

Modern Rhetoric Essay

Essay  |  5 pages (1,730 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 0


¶ … 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

Essay  |  9 pages (2,626 words)
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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

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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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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]

Comparative Analysis Through Dialogue Between Plato and Confucius Term Paper

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Email me any questions comments or concerns or corrections
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Info: The guide-lines will be faxed tommorrow 4/24/07, at least 3… [read more]

Literature of the American Renaissance Term Paper

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The philosophy of transcendentalism across the 19th and 20th centuries

Philosophies and schools of thought have guided human society in its pursuit for greater knowledge and real truth about life and human existence. In the ancient times, the prevalent philosophy was influenced by Plato's philosophy, which posited that greater knowledge can be achieved, not through sense and experience, but… [read more]

Kant's Critique of Judgement Term Paper

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Kant's Philosophy

We are bombarded with questions daily about different issue in our society like the justice of our foreign policy, the morality behind medical technologies that can prolong our lives, the rights of the homeless, the fairness of our children's teachers to the diverse students in their classrooms etc. Moral issues confront us each day, challenge us in routine… [read more]

Descartes and Doubt Term Paper

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Descartes and Doubt - of the Things of Which We May Doubt

At every step along the way to metaphysical enlightenment, Rene Descartes responds intelligently and methodically to his own doubts and skepticism, and readers who are patient and keenly alert can learn a lot through Descartes' constant questioning and evaluating. And according to author Michael Williams (Essays on Descartes'… [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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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 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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz Term Paper

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Benedict Spinoza's work, The Ethics; Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect, essentially argues that an understanding of knowledge ultimately arises from a metaphysics in which God in nature are deeply intertwined. Spinoza does not see God as simply the all powerful creator of the universe, but also as nature itself. Thus Spinoza argued that God and nature are essentially… [read more]

Philosophy: Empiricism Term Paper

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And in the same paragraph which describes Berkeley as an empiricist, he is also alluded to as "an idealist ... everything that exists is either a mind or depends for its existence upon a mind."

He was also an immaterialist; "matter does not exist," he wrote, according to Professor Daniel E. Flage, Professor of Philosophy at James Madison University; saying matter does not exist takes idealism to levels that border on the esoteric.

So, for the purposes of this paper, if the question is, will empiricism collapse into idealism, the answer in part must be that the man who perhaps best exemplifies empiricism was also known as an idealist.

He also wrote, in the New Theory of Vision, that his objective was (Flage, 2004) "to shew the manner wherein we perceive by sight the distance, magnitude, and situation of objects. Also to consider the difference there is betwixt the ideas of sight and touch, and whether there be any idea common to both senses."

Sense, it is "fallacious," writes Berkeley in Principles of Human Knowledge, the same man who earlier in this book said the only things we can be sure of are those we perceive with our senses. And "reason" is "defective," he adds. "We spend our lives in doubting of those things which other men evidently know, and believing those things which they laugh at, and despise."

The bottom line, notwithstanding Berkeley's sometimes contradictory writings, is that indeed, he was both an empiricist and an idealist, and the answer thus must be "yes" to the question posed for this paper.


Berkeley, George. Principles of Human Knowledge/Three Dialogues. London: Penguin

Books, 1988.

Davies, Stephen. Empiricism and History. London: Palgrave, 2003.

Encyclopedia Britannica Online. "Subjective Idealism." Encyclopedia Britannica Article

http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?tocId=9070097& query=Idealism.

Flage, Daniel E. "George Berkeley (1685-1753): Live and Works." The Internet

Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2004. 28 Nov. 2004


Vesey, Godfrey. Impressions of Empiricism. London: Unwin Brothers, 1976.

Wikipedia. "Idealism" and "George…… [read more]

Science Philosophy Inherent Term Paper

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The story which began as a lecture probed many existing mysteries and thus discussed a viable and very useful methodology for man to continue to seek new laws. Most children would really appreciate Feynman's goal of simplicity because the way to seek new laws of nature is to simply begin guessing. Once the guess is made, however, Feynman uses the time honored methods to develop and analyze the guess that eventually become accepted laws. "In general we look for new law by the following process. First we guess. Then we compare the consequences of the guess to see what would be implied if the law that we guessed is right." (Feynman, YEAR)

Richard P. Feynman was a city boy who was born in May of 1918 and was raised in New York City. His education consisted of a Bachelor of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Masters and Doctorate from Princeton. He did a great deal of work as a research assistant at Princeton, Cornell and eventually became a full fledged professor at the California Institute of Technology. Richard Feynman has written a number of scientific papers and had a New York Times best selling book called "Surely Your Joking Mr. Feynman. Adventures of a Curious Character."

The basic premise of guessing is finding out if those guesses are right or wrong. Feynman believed that figuring out the wrong guess quickly would be the way to go because that way we can create progress. Because laws are conceived by guessing, the first argument is that if we are to prove a guess right or wrong, the guess cannot be vague. "If the guess that you make is poorly expressed and rather vague, and the method that you use for figuring out the consequences is a little vague -- you are not sure, and you say, "I think everything is right because its all due to so and so, and such do this and that more or less, and I can sort of explain how this works ..., " then you see that this theory is good because it cannot be proved wrong. (Feynman, YEAR)

Feynman explains that sometimes experiments and laws are proven even though the guess already occurred and it is now a law. Man, in other words, is trying to resolve if the guess was in fact a law and is therefore experimenting for confirmation. "For example, we may know a great many laws, but we do not know if they work at high energy." (Feynman, YEAR) Thanks to this modern way of thinking, and guessing, we have become free to use our own experiences, our own senses and our own way of thinking to create and understand the laws of our own reality.

In conclusion, this summary was a review of Richard Feynman "Seeking New Laws of Nature," from "What Does Science Tell Me About the World." Even with this strong physics background, Feynman was considered a great modern day philosophical mind. Through his… [read more]

Zeno's Paradoxes and Empiricism Term Paper

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" (Anderson)

In other words, how can a thing both like and unlike? "Thus Empiricism regards it as illogical to make such distinctions as that between existence and subsistence, or between the "is" of identity, that of predication and that of membership of a class; and still more obviously illogical to say that there is something defective about "is" itself. These are all attempts to get behind the proposition, to maintain --in words! -- that we mean more than we can say." (Anderson)


In conclusion, this research paper attempted to provide insights into the life of Zeno of Elea and the paradoxes he was thought have created about plurality, motion, place, and against hearing. The paper also provided information about Empiricism the Empiricists' notions about plurality, motion, place, and hearing. By comparing and contrasting the notions, the paper aimed to help clarify the empirical argument and Zeno's paradoxes.

Works Cited

Anderson, John B. Studies in Empirical Philosophy. New York: Angus and Robertson, 1962.

Feibleman, James K. Foundations of Empiricism. Oxford: Nijhoff, 1962.

James, William The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy. New York: Dover Publications. 1956. clas.ufl.edu. Retrieved on Nov.21, 2004, from

O'Connor, J.J. & E.F. Robertson. Zeno of Elea. Ed. School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St. Andrews, Scotland. Retrieved on Nov.21, 2004, from [read more]

Descartes Discourse on Method Term Paper

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¶ … Descartes' Discourse on Methods

Contributions of Rene Descartes' works to the history of philosophy

An Analysis of the Discourse on Method and the "I think, therefore I am" statement.

Descartes' background

Rene Descartes is widely recognized as the father of modern philosophy. Also known as Renatus Cartesius (a latinization of his name), Descartes was a 17th century French… [read more]

Jean Jacques Rousseau and Karl Term Paper

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.. right the natural equality among men. It is this celestial voice that dictates the precepts of public reason to every citizen, and teaches him to act in conformity with the maxims of his own judgment,"(Rousseau, Jean Jacques Basic political writings, p.191)

This very sentence of Rousseau discovers his philosophical principles, the principles of inequality and "alienation" of society. But "alienation" for Marx and for Rousseau are quite different concepts, and that's why the methods of construction of more ideal and just society are quite different as we would see later.

According to his second discourse the matter of all human vices lies in equality (natural and moral). The first one is about physical differences while the second one is about social position and wealth. The development of civilization was to the most case the development of inequality from physical state to predominantly moral, as physical inequality which laid in strength, appearance, mental abilities and skills was developed to inequality in social position, power over others, domination and oppression.

According Rousseau's Political Writings there exist two ways to solve this problem. First solution is described as moral development through education; the second one is represented by Rousseau's social contract. Social contract had to solve the main political issue of inequality and alienation by general participation in public life:

"What man loses through the social contract is his natural liberty and an unlimited right to everything that tempts him and that he can acquire. What he gains is civil liberty and the proprietary ownership of all he possesses" (Rousseau, Basic political writings, p. 183)

According to Rousseau's theory social contract has to change people and make them work for "general will," the higher good and virtues of society in general. In order to accept the two opposite aspects of "social contract": formative and voluntary, Rousseau explains that a person has first to feel it's functioning, and only then he will understand it's value. That's why he pretends that people have to be "forced to be free." In addition Rousseau states that social contract protects and guarantees human freedom. If in general political thought freedom is a liberty to realize one's ambitions, without intervention of government, then for Rousseau it means primary independence (as individual is not ruled by his selfish ambitions, desires or public opinion) and transparency of social relations (as an individual represents that very subject of liberty):

"It is precisely because the force of things tends always to destroy equality that the force of legislation should always tend to maintain it" (Rousseau, Basic political writings, p. 171)

But never the less, stating that all vices come from inequality and private property as one of the inequality forms, he supports private property as it guarantees some of the inalienable freedoms to the individual, otherwise an individual will be dependent on the will of others:

"Contract an unlimited right to everything that tempts him and he can reach; what he gains is civil freedom and property in everything he (citizen) possesses"… [read more]

Philosophy Take Home Exam Selection Term Paper

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Rather than to focus on the individual realm of mind and body, his binary opposites of concern were those of sovereign and citizen, and how those two entities could construct a livable relationship in politics. Even if one accepts Spinoza's deterministic view of the world, one can also allow that, given that human beings function with a sense of personal freedom, they must conduct themselves in a livable fashion with the sovereign -- although Rousseau clearly believes in the intrinsic freedom of the human condition, outside of society, and his notion of a social compact or contract rests upon a ceding of rights to a larger entity.

Finally, Sartre, writing in the aftermath of World War II, suggested that all human beings were radically free, and denied the traditional bifurcation of mind and body in general, as well as mutually understood contracts as the core of governance. His approach was not to answer what is the nature of reality, like Spinoza, nor what is the best way to govern, but was directed to 'ordinary' readers of philosophy, who were asking what was the best way to live their individual lives. Sartre reflects a fundamental shift in philosophy of the modern age, whereby social and personal philosophers no longer begin with assumptions that they must deal with age old questions such as the relationship of body to mind, nor defend human freedom or a particular social arrangement. Sartre addressed what was likely to be the reader's central concerns after an age of warfare, namely how best to lead a decent life.

Question 6

What is the purpose of philosophy in a liberal education?

Thus, what is the purpose of philosophy in a liberal education today? The review of the aforementioned philosophers show to even a casual reader the importance of having a sound basis in the questions that have plagued modernity, such as the relationship of body and mind, politics and individual, and the responsibilities that come with freedom. Cognitive neuroscience is attempting to answer, where does the body begin and the mind end, when confronting patients whose brains have been damaged by strokes or grievously impaired by illnesses. Conversely, the notion that the body does not affect the mind in Spinoza is challenged, but not in a way to make the philosopher's proposition irrelevant, when one witnesses how proper nutrition and physical exercise can improve the mental capacity of children in developing nations.

The relationship of citizen to social body as expressed in Rousseau is also being challenged by the generation of non-sovereign, governing international organizations such as the European Economic Community and the United Nations. As an individual, what is one's allegiance to these institutions? Although Rousseau could not have conceived of this world, the common notion of social compacts and mutual responsibilities pervades the articulation of such rights in international bodies now, as well as developing national governments.

Lastly, Sartre's notions of responsibility and freedom exist as a challenge to all individuals in the world, as a motivation… [read more]

Philosophy and the Existence of God Does Term Paper

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Aquinas and Kant

Thomas Aquinas and Immanuel Kant were born nearly half a millennium apart and, on the surface, both their styles of argumentation and their general approaches to philosophy appear equally distanced from each other. However, both doubtlessly aimed their reasoning at establishing some level of fundamental truth. Kant's metaphysics was a legitimate attempt at developing a kind of… [read more]

Moral Philosophy Ethical Theories Term Paper

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Martin Heidegger was Husserl's student and who was interested in the "question of being (Jones 2003). He viewed Western philosophy as too obsessed with the problem of knowledge and the individual as being-in -- the world who was full of anxiety and action. He contended that knowing the world was not the inherent goal of existence or being in the… [read more]

Kant's First Analogy: The Permanence Thesis

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However, although this postulate of Kant that things do not change, even though our perceptions change suggests that radical empiricism is in error, it also is a challenge to pure rationalism, or the ideal that the human mind can know everything, simply through logic. Clearly, because our perceptual abilities can be in error, human minds cannot fully know the world at all times, because human perceptions can be affected by context, imperfect information, and subjective biases. But this does not mean our sense-experience must be regarded as purely illusory, either. We must not confuse our shock at our misperceptions of the girl's sudden maturity, or the teacher's sudden change in status with a change in the actual substance of the things themselves.

This traces back to what Kant considered the two fundamental properties of physical objects. The first is extension or the occupation of a volume of space and the second is impenetrability or the exclusion of anything else from the volume of space occupied. Human beings are capable of sensible institutions of things in space and time, and sometimes these perceptions are accurate and sometimes they are not. Regardless of the mistaken apprehension of the individual person, for Kant space and time remain as 'real properties,' as opposed to objects that only have correspondences in our heads. Our intuition is sensible because there is a material reality outside of our minds that corresponds to the mind, but although there may be a correspondence, there is also a reality of that is not perfectly adherent to product of any single individual's human cognitive faculty. An appearance, then, has both a reality in our minds and a reality in the real world, even though all of our minds perceive this reality in different ways.

For example, a radical idealist or empiricist might say that only the idea one had about the teacher was true, and only the perception of the teacher in the an individual mind could be taken as 'real.' But Kant would state that the teacher's occupation of space was not an empirical concept derived from experience of objects in space. To experience objects as external, or as distinct from myself and from other objects presupposes the existence of something that is 'not myself,' that is the object's existence in space and time.

Kant's argument that there are objects that exist in space and time outside of the self with an independent existence stands a powerful challenge to solipsistic, or selfish reasoning, where subjective perceptions are taken as the be-all and end-all validity of objective reality. But the idea of Kant that objects are not always rationally perceived as the same by the mind also acts as a powerful caveat to human rationality and objectivity. Thus, there is also an important moral element to Kant's suggestions about space and time and the external reality of other objects that further supports Kant's first analogy as vital to human ethical as well as metaphysical understanding.… [read more]

Aristotle's Rhetoric Term Paper

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Aristotle's Rhetorical Theory

When Socrates' was put to death in his own city, after failing to adequately argue for his life in court, Plato became very skeptical about the power of argumentation to uphold that which was good. Through-out history people have surely been having arguments, and through-out history they have either succeeded in them or resigned the entire messy… [read more]

Compare and Contrast the Philosophy of Siddhartha With a Philosophical Tradition in Sophie's World Term Paper

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¶ … philosophy of Siddhartha with Philosophical tradition in Sophie's World

Siddhartha Gautama is the name given to the Indian prince who later came to be known as the traditional, or first Buddha. Throughout its childhood, his father raised Siddhartha in a wealthy and pleasure-filled palace in order to be shield from any experience of human misery or suffering. But when Siddhartha saw four sights: a sick man, a poor man, a beggar, and a corpse, he was filled with infinite sorrow for the suffering that humanity has to undergo. After seeing these four things, Siddhartha then dedicated himself to finding a way to end human suffering. Sophie, on the other hand, is a 14-year-old who has a batty mother and an inquisitive mind. Anonymous letters start to arrive for her, sparking a tour through the history of philosophy.

The philosophy of Siddhartha Gautama is a kind of therapy. It was not rigid and was made accessible to people from all different classes. Siddhartha pointed to the fact that a person social standing or appearance is less important than their actions. Consequently a ragged monk who did not meditate successfully would be leading a less productive life than a rich man who lived a luxurious life but did meditate consistently. Nonetheless, Siddhartha did stipulate that living a life of comfort would impede spiritual advancement. In addition, the Buddha was unsure as to the capability of women in understanding and practicing his teachings. He found most women to be superficial and vain, yet he did not exclude women from his audiences or refuse to teach women who sought his guidance.

We think of Buddhism as a religion, which is unquestionably became, but Siddhartha was less concerned with theology or ritual or prayer as he was with providing a tool for individuals to use to escape suffering. The goal of Suddhartha Eightfold Noble Path method is the elimination of one's desires and one's attachment to one's self. Once one has understood correctly the nature of the universe (Right Understanding) and devoted one's life to selfless and altruistic actions (Right Action) and, finally, by losing all sense of one's self and by losing all one's desires, one then passes…… [read more]

Plato's Socrates Term Paper

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¶ … western philosophy, everything that can be known about Socrates' techniques and beliefs is necessarily seen through the conscious lens of Plato. It can be inferred by the fact that Socrates left behind no philosophical writings that his focus was far more personal in manner, and required more direct interaction between individual minds, than any great thinker that followed him. For this reason, modern readers of Plato's works should be skeptical of his presentation of philosophical notions through the argumentative style he attributes to Socrates. Just as Plato's disciple, Aristotle, holds positions that vary wildly from his predecessor, it should be expected that the same is true of Plato and Socrates. Certainly, Plato held some reverence for the "Socratic Method," but the fact that he fundamentally separates its pattern of question and response from the audience by putting it upon a page, suggests that his more powerful allegiance is to the argument itself -- not its subjective impact. So within Plato's dialogues, the Socratic Method seems to be more of a mechanism for extracting Plato's theories, than a demonstration of Socrates' ability to educate. Consequently, Socrates does not come across as a masterful teacher, but still, a masterful philosopher.

The Socratic Method is particularly interesting in that it, unlike most philosophical discourses, seeks to debase beliefs rather than build them up. Instead of offering a linear argument as to the nature of virtue, for example, Socrates -- and subsequently Plato -- begins with commonly held notions and analyzes them in an effort to debunk them. Philosophical reflection, to Socrates, must first begin with a better understanding of our ignorance. Consequently, the reader of Plato's works is presented with a truly unique approach to philosophy that is based upon conversation and self-reflection. At the beginning of "Apology" Socrates introduces his style of argumentation when he says, "From me you will hear the whole truth, though not, by Zeus, gentlemen, expressed in embroidered and stylized phrases like theirs [his accusers], but things spoken at random and expressed in the first words that come to mind, for I put my trust in the justice of what I say, and let none of you expect anything else." (Apology, 17c). Accordingly, Plato's writings take a character on a journey through their personally held beliefs, as Socrates endeavors to help them arrive at a conclusion that he has already reached -- consequently the reader is taken on this journey as well. One of the goals of this method, clearly, is to question many of the notions that most people tend to take for granted. Generally, Plato ventures to reveal that uncritically accepted notions about philosophically important concepts can lead to logical catastrophe.

However, the chief limitation of the manner by which Socrates is expressed through Plato is that his lessons are no longer personalized with respect to the audience; they are only personal with respect to the…… [read more]

Educational Philosophies Pragmatism Emerged Term Paper

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Realist educationists would want students to learn through their senses of smell, feel, and taste since they believe in the existence of the natural world. They also maintain that the best way is to learn through experiencing the physical world. Nature plays an important role here as educationist would prefer to teach through observation of natural order. The teachers with realistic bend of mind would want students to development judgment and ethics by experiencing and observing the world. Behavior psychology is also one of the important branches of study for realist educationists.


Existentialism philosophy focuses on emotions more than the intellect. The person, his values, beliefs, ideals, and identity are of greater importance than his intellectual capacity and for this reason it views education in slightly negative light. This is because they feel that a student learning through traditional educational means would become nothing more than a pawn in capitalist world. To become a whole and healthy human being who has a unique personality and thinking capacity, it is important to allow the students to explore the world on their own. "Existentialism is not a philosophy but a label for several widely different revolts against traditional philosophy. Most of the living "existentialists" have repudiated this label, and a bewildered outsider might well conclude that the only thing they have in common is a marked aversion for each other." (Kaufmann: 75) The teacher in this case would be seen as a facilitator instead of an authoritarian figure. Existentialism supports the idea of allowing students all possible answers to a question instead of handing them down one answer as the only and final solution. Existentialism has something in common with pragmatism as both advocate a curriculum based on individual needs instead of fixed theories and ideas.


John Dewey, Democracy and Education (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1916)

Knight, George. Philosophy & Education, An introduction in Christian Perspective, Berrien Springs, Michigan: Andrews University Press. 1989

Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre, Edited by Walter Kaufmann,…… [read more]

Compare Dualistic and Monotheistic Concepts Term Paper

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¶ … Monotheism and Dualism

Among the range of philosophies and beliefs that have dominated human thinking through the years, monotheism has become the most prevalent belief among people. Generally defined as the belief in one God, monotheism has spurred similar principles of oneness in today's prevalent religions (such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam). In it, people believe in one God, therefore, they also believe that there is only one path towards salvation and only one belief to guide them through this path. The belief in one God itself necessitates individuals to believe in one truth, which is the primary influence that monotheism have over civilization through the years. Monotheism made it possible to believe in one truth, the truth, and achieve this by displaying faith and belief in one God.

Another philosophy, dualism, has also shown influences in most human societies at present. In fact, dualism is the prevalent and dominant philosophy that thrived during the period of modernism. As a philosophical thought, dualism posits that the universe is composed of two distinct elements or "substances" (Calef, 2005). This means that dualists view the world in two different perspectives, hence, the use of dichotomies, which was abundantly utilized to distinguish the difference between traditionalism and modernism in 20th century society.

This paper provides a comparative analysis of these two philosophies, monotheism and dualism. Similarities and differences between the two are analyzed and discussed, leading to the argument that dualism inevitably sprung from the principles of monotheism. This thesis is proven through the comparative analysis of both theories.

Monotheism as a religious belief is defined by Aiken (2003) as "belief in the one supreme God, the Creator and Lord of the world...the Rewarder of good and the Punisher of evil, the Source of our happiness and perfection." Further into the study of monotheism, Toner (2003) argues that one of the distinctions between monotheism and other forms of theism (such as polytheism and pantheism) is that monotheism's God is "knowable." This means that the existence of God can be proven, and this was proven from the statement that "...He is one singular, altogether simple and incommutable spiritual substance, must be proclaimed to be really and essentially...distinct from the most happy in and by Himself, and ineffably above and beyond all things, actual or possible, besides Himself."

This statement reflects the fact that God's 'knowability' depends on its 'real' and 'spiritual' manifestations. God is knowable and exists because he can exist both physically and spiritually, a distinction similar to the mind-matter dichotomy. God, then, is able to transcend the spiritual and material planes of human life and existence.

Given this characteristic of God's nature, monotheism is not unlike dualism, which subsists to the same distinction in which God was described. Dualism theorizes that there exist two elements, substances, or realities, which form the universe. Similarly, God is an entity that was manifested through spiritual and material means, as well an entity known for 'rewarding the good and punishing the evil.' From God… [read more]

Skepticism in Philosophy: Descartes, Chisholm Term Paper

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In the end, then, we are faced with the unsettling prospect that the skeptics are right. Knowledge is unattainable in the sense that our understanding of the external world will forever be based on a series of propositions that may or may not be true. Descartes recognized centuries ago that there is no way to prove anything about the world objectively and absolutely. Counterarguments by intellectuals such as Moore or Chisholm are ultimately flawed because they attempt to counter the Cartesian system of doubt in knowledge by simply proclaiming that knowledge has been attained. This kind of negative argument is only circular and is not based on any evidence or logical thought. The skeptics have demonstrated that there is no proposition that cannot be questioned. Responding to this by proclaiming that some knowledge has been attained is a non-argument and should be rejected as such.

Works Cited

Faber, David S. "Modernism, Postmodernism, and the Problem of Criterion." Direction 30.2 (Fall 2001): 162-176. 2 Nov. 2005 .

Hooker, Richard. "Skepticism." World Cultures. 14 July 1999. 2 Nov. 2005 .

Steup, Matthias. "Knowledge and Skepticism." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2005 2…… [read more]

Plato Phaedo Term Paper

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Plato: Phaedo

The Socratic Method

The Socratic Method of teaching philosophy is also the method by which an understanding of a particular philosophical attitude, argument, or theoretical tone is best achieved for the teacher and the learner. As is well-known, Socrates was dedicated to painstakingly careful reasoning when considering any subject that needed to be addressed. It was all done… [read more]

Philosophy of Education Fusing Humanistic and Progressive Term Paper

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Philosophy of Education

Fusing Humanistic and Progressive Philosophies in the Practice of Education

My personal philosophy on education and its practice is primarily derived and developed from my ideals as an education student, and eventually, from my conceptions as a practicing teacher. I call my personal philosophy a 'derived' one because it stems from extant education philosophies, which have influenced me most as a teacher: the humanistic and progressive philosophies of education.

Humanistic philosophy takes into account the "human potential for growth" (Campbell, 2006:39). This means that the individual's -- in this discussion's case, the student's -- level of learning and knowledge is assessed based not only on his/her aptitude in studying, but also on the holistic development of the student as an individual. The student has free rein on the kind of learning that s/he will receive; the teacher acts as the student's "helper" in this responsibility. It cannot be construed, though, that the student solely takes the active role in the process of learning, while the teacher assumes a passive role in the whole process. This is not the case in humanistic philosophy. Both teacher and student have active roles in ensuring that the process of learning is accomplished. Thus, in humanistic philosophy, there exists a cooperative relationship between teacher and student.

Progressive philosophy, meanwhile, has a more socially-relevant position when it comes to education in general, as well as the practice of teaching and purpose of education. This kind of philosophy centers on learning from actual, hands-on, activities and tasks that lets the student experience first-hand the process s/he is undergoing. While in humanistic philosophy, the teacher assumes the role of a "helper," the teacher in progressive philosophy is the organizer, preparing the student for the task/s to be accomplished. By being the organizer, the teacher involves the student with activities that develops the student's knowledge and skill, most especially the development of his/her critical thinking skills. All of these activities and dynamics in the process of learning under the progressive philosophy all point to a greater purpose: the creation of an individual who will one day become instrumental or at least contribute to "social order" (39).

Influenced by these philosophies, I taught students and practiced teaching guided by the principles of humanism and progressivism. Eventually, as these philosophies begin to gain its relevance to me, I began developing my own opinion and personal philosophy about education and teaching. Although not altogether an original philosophy, I can say that my philosophy of education provides a balance between the humanistic and progressive philosophies, providing a middle ground wherein both student and teacher can cooperate with each other as members of the institution of education, while at the same time recognizing each other's capacity (most particularly the student), to induce change and progress in society, as a higher goal and purpose of education.

As stated above, my personal philosophy fuses the principles of humanism and progressivism. To state definitively, my personal philosophy of education is: "Education should allow the… [read more]

Idealism Is a Philosophy Term Paper

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Idealism is a philosophy as well as being a mode of thought and action. One of the primary aspects of the idealistic view of life is the way that it impacts and affects those in professional positions and particularly in education. In this paper the first section will explore and briefly analyze this philosophical stance. The second section will deal… [read more]

Republic Teaching Has Undergone Considerable Changes Term Paper

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¶ … Republic

Teaching has undergone considerable changes over its history. Each new teaching method or philosophy is aimed at improving the teaching process and the experience of teachers and students alike. Indeed, the newest philosophies have focused on the paradigm that students are not only learning from teachers, but also from each other, and teachers also learn from students. The Socratic method of teaching has been increasingly used by teachers for its questioning paradigm. Students are asked questions in order to help them find the "Truth" for themselves. Hence, students are taught to find their own answers rather than relying only on the teacher or their fellow students to supply the answers. Some teachers have however lost sight of the central aim of the Socratic method. In such cases, the teacher devise question/answer sequences for their classrooms without truly challenging the intellect and reasoning capability of their students. Merely asking questions with previously determined answers is little better than teaching by rote. Instead, the Socratic method focuses upon the faculty of thought. This can be seen throughout Plato's lengthy Republic, and particularly when paying attention to Section 336b of the dialogue, where Thrasymachus argues the nature of Justice.

Thrasymachus finds himself extremely irritated at this point of the discussion, as he has firstly not been allowed to intervene in the discussion so far. Secondly, he reveals that he is also irritated by the tendency of the debaters to give way to each other's answers rather than remaining true to his own. Thirdly, he demands that Socrates not only ask questions, but answer them as well. From a teaching point-of-view, it appears that Thrasymachus is demanding his right to be part of the teaching and learning process. He however does this in a particularly verbally violent way. In fact, he "burst out like a wild beast bent on tearing and devouring us." So intense is his speech that the others, including Socrates, are "panic-stricken."

The argument that has gone before seems to have been quite peaceful, with both participants in the debate contributing, but also conceding when the other speaks. The root of Thrasymachus' argument appears to be that teaching and learning is more than acceptance; it is argument to find the "Truth" behind every statement. This appears to be substantiated by the fact that Thrasymachus is interrupted whenever he tries to raise an objection in the debate. The others are eager to reach the end, while Thrasymachus is eager to provide counter-arguments for the benefit of finding the whole answer behind the argument.

Furthermore, Thrasymachus uses diction that emphasizes his irritation and his true feelings regarding the paradigm of the argument so far. Firstly, he berates Socrates and Polymarchus for accepting each other's answers, and Socrates in particular for not answering his own questions. His second objection relates to the vagueness of definitions for Justice such as "what ought to be" or "the beneficial," or "the profitable," or "the advantageous." He demands more specific definitions of justice, accusing the… [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]

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]

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]

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]

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