"Philosophy / Logic / Reason" Essays

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Plato's Cave Essay

Essay  |  5 pages (1,580 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1


Plato's Cave

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

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

Apology by Plato (Topic Essay

Essay  |  6 pages (2,091 words)
Bibliography Sources: 0


Apology by Plato (Topic 1)

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

Descartes' Meditations Essay

Essay  |  7 pages (2,711 words)
Bibliography Sources: 5


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

Minds and Computers Dennett Term Paper

Term Paper  |  5 pages (1,595 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


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

Works Cited

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

Dennett, D.C.…… [read more]

Philosophy -- Plato's "The Apology Essay

Essay  |  4 pages (1,808 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1


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

3. Conclusion

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

Inalienable Rights Although America's Founding Term Paper

Term Paper  |  3 pages (975 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


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

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


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

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

Mythos and Logos? Term Paper

Term Paper  |  4 pages (1,115 words)
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Q2. Who are the Pre-Socratics?

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

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

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

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

Philosophers of Ancient Greece Research Paper

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


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

Utilitarianism and Plato Philosophy Essay

Essay  |  5 pages (1,591 words)
Bibliography Sources: 3


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

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

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

Works Cited:

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

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

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

Toulmin Model and Sherlock Holmes Essay

Essay  |  3 pages (908 words)
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But even if the great Sherlock Holmes did have feelings for Irene Adler, he still maintained his investigation and tricked her into revealing the location of the photograph. Under the Toulmin model, this would be considered to be a "qualifying statement." Holmes' feelings of infatuation with Irene Adler did not get in the way of him carrying out his duty to the King of Bohemia. Firstly, he infiltrated her household, gathering information, and then concocted a scheme not only to get back inside of her house, but to have her inadvertently reveal the location of the photograph. With Dr. Watson's aid, Holmes faked a fire and a panicked Irene Adler went for the photograph. His seeming fascination for the intelligent and beautiful woman did not limit either his dedication or shrewdness. Holmes may have been experiencing feelings for a woman for the first time, but he did not completely lose his head, only his objectivity.

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

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

Philosophy What Makes a Belief Essay

Essay  |  2 pages (588 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1


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

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

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


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

Philosophy Kant's Theories of Good Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (562 words)
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Kant's ideas intentionally or unintentionally have more eastern or Buddhist suppositions.

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

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

Religion There Are Few Opportunities Research Paper

Research Paper  |  4 pages (1,211 words)
Bibliography Sources: 4


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

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

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

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

Works Cited

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

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

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

I Ching Classical Understand Research Paper

Research Paper  |  12 pages (4,178 words)
Bibliography Sources: 12


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

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

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

Hume and Experience in Morals Book Report

Book Report  |  7 pages (2,030 words)
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Hume was also highly aware of the limits of the human mind and senses, their fallibility, and therefore the limits on what could be known. He preferred the concrete, the immediate and the provable to flights of speculative fancy and imagination, whether in science, morals or political life.

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

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

Philosophy -- Film Review Existentialism Film Review

Film Review  |  3 pages (959 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1


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

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

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


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

Plato and Aristotle Metaphysics Essay

Essay  |  4 pages (1,518 words)
Bibliography Sources: 4



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kant's Refutation of the Ontological Term Paper

Term Paper  |  8 pages (2,038 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1


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

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

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

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

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

Wittgenstein Essay

Essay  |  2 pages (588 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1


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

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


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

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

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

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

Descartes: Wax Argument Descartes Philosophy Essay

Essay  |  2 pages (627 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1


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

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

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


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

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

Ethics and John Stuart Mill Essay

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Ethics and John Stuart Mill

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

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

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

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

Aristotle on Incontinence Greek Philosophy Term Paper

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

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

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

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

Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle Term Paper

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Plato's other theories include his political theory described in his Republic that is concerned with the question of justice and his theory of the enlightened 'philosopher-king' providing the political leadership.

Aristotle (384-322 BC)

Aristotle was the third great Greek philosopher and scientist who was a pupil of Plato at his academy. Aristotle's range of intellectual thought is astonishingly vast covering most of the sciences (physics, chemistry, zoology, botany), philosophy (metaphysics, logic, ethics, psychology, political theory) and arts (history, rhetoric, literary theory).

Apart from his pioneering work in science, particularly in the study of zoology, Aristotle's most notable work as a philosopher is in the field of 'logic' as he invented the study of formal logic and devised a system known as 'Aristotelean syllogistic' that for centuries was regarded as the sum of logic. In psychology Aristotle made a deep study of the soul and concluded that soul does not exist apart from the body. In this theory he has challenged the Platonic description of the soul. Aristotle's philosophy of Ethics is an analysis of character and intelligence as they relate to happiness. In his study of metaphysics he argues for the existence of a divine being described as the Prime Mover who is responsible for the unity and purpose of nature.


The legacy and influence of the three great Greek philosophers on human thought, society and culture has been all pervasive. Socrates can be credited with setting the wheels of 'rational argument' and importance of 'knowledge' in motion carried forward by his disciple Plato. A 20th century thinker sums up the extent of Plato's influence by describing the history of philosophy as "a series of footnotes to Plato." Aristotle's philosophy helped to shape modern language and common sense, while his doctrine of the Prime mover helped shape theology in the three great religions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) of the world.

Greek Philosophers… [read more]

Persuasion Is Writing Technique Term Paper

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The most brilliant essay will fail if its subject matter is completely irrelevant to the unit. If you wish to devise your own essay topic that can usually be arranged, but check it with your lecturer before you start.


One must adopt the way, which establishes harmony and flow between the paragraphs. Use active voice to make… [read more]

Victims of a Meaningless Show Term Paper

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The same applies to other phrases selected such as "we are in the midst of" and "reach out first for our freedom." These emphasize the significance of the actions of the grape workers.

Finally, the difficulty of the journey is described saying "our bodies are mortal and our journey hard." This implies that the grape workers should have a sense of pride for what they have done and what they are trying to achieve, even if they are not successful.

Overall, the speech uses language that emphasizes the significance of the events. The specific words and phrases selected are not those that would be used in normal speech, but ones that suggest a greater significance.

Question 4: What is a Reasonable Doubt?

1. What is the difference between these three interpretations?

The first Sandoval v. California definition describes reasonable doubt as a state where the jurors cannot say with moral certainty that they believe in the truth of the charge. The second Cage v. Louisiana definition asks that the doubt be substantial and be based on reasonable evidence, rather than conjecture. It asks that the doubt be certain. The definition proposed by the Federal Judicial Center asks that the juror decide based on the evidence whether they can be reasonably sure that the defendant is guilty. The major difference is that the first definition says that any reasonable doubt is reason to decide not guilty. The second two definitions include that the doubt must be justified to be considered, otherwise it can be rejected.

2. Which one do you think is best (or would you recommend we use)? Explain Why.

The first definition is the recommended one because it is the only one that begins with the notion of innocent until proven guilty. Instead of asking if there is enough evidence to decide guilty, it asks if there is any reason not to decide guilty. The focus of the question is whether there is any reason not to believe the truth of the charge. It does not require that the doubts be considered justified, only asking whether or not they are present. Since the court process involves the proving of guilt and not the process of justifying doubts, this is the logical approach that ensures fairness.

3. Why did you reject the other two? Explain what is deficient or unsatisfactory in the two concepts you rejected.… [read more]

Philosophy: Knowledge Is Virtue Socrates Term Paper

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In following this procedure, Socrates demonstrates the importance of enquiry in attaining higher and higher levels of knowledge.

Indeed, he implies as much to Meno: "The answer, Meno, was in the orthodox solemn vein, and therefore was more acceptable to you than the other answer..." (73d), and again when he points out, "You argue that a man cannot enquire either about that which he knows, or about that which he does not know; for if he knows, he has no need to enquire; and if not, he cannot; for he does not know the very subject about which he is to enquire" (80d).

Ultimately, Socrates resorts to divine revelation, followed by demonstration to convince Meno of his first proposition of the definition of virtue: "...the soul of man is immortal...having seen all things that exist...has knowledge of them...should be able to call to remembrance...ever knew about virtue..." (81a-82a). Socrates proves his concept to Meno by establishing that one of Meno's slave boys, who has never been taught geometry, can nevertheless answer a series of questions on the properties of a square (82b). Thus, Socrates proves to Meno that "...this spontaneous recovery of knowledge...is recollection," and that "...his soul must have always possessed this knowledge." (85e-86a)

Of course, Socrates' methods are somewhat debatable since the questions he asks are leading and suggestive, thereby assisting the slave boy's answers. However, the fact remains that Socrates does establish that even an untaught person can acquire knowledge by asking a series of questions that teach him to think. Leading from this, Socrates lays the ground for concluding that 'knowledge is virtue,' as now even the slave boy through acquiring knowledge by a process of enquiry and learning will be better able to distinguish good from bad and right from wrong.

Socrates' intention in establishing the above comes through in his dialogue with Meno: "Now, if there be any sort of good which is distinct from knowledge, virtue may be that good; but if knowledge embraces all good, then we shall be right...in that virtue is knowledge" (86e).

Following from the same logic, Socrates also establishes to Meno that virtue can neither be taught nor acquired by following the very same process of thesis and antithesis, and question and answer. He does this by identifying with Meno, men of virtue and using them as examples of potential teachers: "And if virtue could have been taught, would his father Themistocles have sought to train him in these minor accomplishments, and allowed him who, as you must remember, was his own son, to be no better than his neighbours in those qualities in which he himself excelled"? (89d-e)

After concluding that virtue cannot be taught, Socrates states that virtue is not natural within the human soul, but rather, "Whoever has it gets it by divine dispensation without taking thought..." (98c). This appears to be a contradiction to all that Socrates, so far, in his almost discourse with Meno, establishes about the importance and necessity of acquiring knowledge… [read more]

Philosophy Few Individuals Are Able Term Paper

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Few individuals are able to truly impact society and even fewer make contributions so significant that they remain as (if not more) pertinent throughout the years as when their contribution first originated. Plato and Sigmund Freud are two such individuals. Both Plato's theory of the soul and Freud's concept of the self share common structural features. However, there are some important differences both in the internal functioning of their models and in the implications their respective theories have for establishing a good society.


Freud, Sigmund. The Future of an Illusion. Translated and edited by James Strachey. New York W.W.Norton & Co. 1989.

Gay, Peter. Sigmund Freud: A Brief Life. In The Future of an Illusion, by Sigmund Freud. New York W.W. Norton & Co. 1989.

Gleitman, Henry. Basic Psychology. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. 1990.

Jones, Ernest. The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud. Edited by Lionel Trilling and Steven Marcus. Basic Books Publishing Co., Inc. 1961

Lieber, Robert M. And Spiegler, Michael D Personality. Pacific Grove, California: Brooks/Cole Publishing Co. 1990.

Plato. Phaedo. Plato: The Last Days of Socrates. Translated by Hugh Tredennick and Harold Tarrant, 108-191. Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, Ltd., 1993.

Plato. Republic. Translated by G.M.A. Grube, revised by C.D.C. Reeve. Indianapolis / Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1992.

Wollheim, Richard. Sigmund Freud. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1981.… [read more]

Plato and Machiavelli Term Paper

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Machiavelli further recognizes the importance of arms and an army to protect the kingdom. Machiavelli admonishes the prince to prepare well for his role, and part of this process is to have a standing army to preserve order:

We have seen above how necessary it is for a prince to have his foundations well laid, otherwise it follows of necessity… [read more]

Cicero's " Practical Code Term Paper

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Following the definition offered by Aquilius that criminal fraud means "pretending one thing and doing another" (181), there is no doubt that misrepresentation is the same as criminal fraud: "In other words deception must be wholly eliminated from business transactions" (182).

Cicero discusses "Objections to Heroism," one of the two Cardinal Virtues. He tells the story of Marcus Atilius Regulus, consul for the second time in Africa when the enemy captured him by tricking him. The Carthaginian commander was Xanthippus the spartan. The enemy authorities sent Regulus to Rome to meet with the Senate and to ask for the return of certain aristocrats.

Regulus arrived in Rome and saw what the superficially advantageous course wold be for him. He rejected this as unreal. His interested seemed to require him to stay in his own country, retain his position as consul, and treat the defeat he had suffered as a misfortune of war. He was able to refute this advantage through heroism and fortitude, and "the whole point of these virtues is that they reject fear, rise above the hazards of this life, and regard nothing that can happen to a human being as unendurable" (199).

Therefore, Regulus returned to Carthage, even though he knew "the refinements of torture which a ruthless foe had in store for him" (199). He believed more in his oath. When he returned to his captors, they prevented him from sleeping until he died. Says Cicero, "But even so he was better off than if he ah stayed at home -- an aged ex-consul who had fallen into the enemy's hands and then perjured himself" (199).

Cicero uses this to prove the value and importance of an oath. He suggests that the oath does not depend on advantage but on promising one's honor. It is not because it is an oath to Jupiter that it must be upheld; it is because not to uphold it would be inhuman. Cicero raises the arguments that would be raised by those who think Regulus should not have followed his oath, and Cicero answers each of these in turn to show why he should uphold his oath.

The final good quality discussed by Cicero comprises propriety, moderation, decorum, restraint, and self-control, under the heading of "The Fallacy of Pleasure." Pleasure is identified by many as the only one good, or as the only thing virtue should produce. A system that thinks in that manner would be unable to find a place for wisdom. Cicero says that if one assumes that pain is the supreme evil, "I cannot see what role they can assign to that other Cardinal Virtue, fortitude" (207), because fortitude means "disregard for pains an troubles" (207). Cicero says the same thing applies to restraint and self-control. The Fourth Cardinal Virtue is justice. Cicero says that such qualities as integrity, generosity, and courtesy cannot exist if they are pursued not just for the same of themselves but for the same o pleasure and self-interest.

Cicero recapitulates at the… [read more]

Individuals and Researchers Term Paper

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First, individuals and organizations should identify the issue or problems that needs to be addressed. Next, groups and individuals need to identify and outline all possible courses of action in response to the issue or problem. Third, individuals and organizations must outline and evaluate the various advantages and disadvantages associated with each potential option. Fourth, groups and individuals should weigh the severity and urgency of the issue or problem as well as the costs and benefits of the most desirable course of action.

Fifth, individuals and organizations need to select one to two options and decide how and when to implement such alternatives in view of their needs. Sixth, upon the selection and implementation of the chosen options, groups and individuals must decide whether to alter their chosen alternatives, eliminate their course of action in favor of another, or to devise new solutions. Seventh, individuals and organizations must react to any unanticipated issues or problems that arise out of the implementation of their chosen course of action. Lastly, groups and individuals need to maintain sight of their original goals as well as their long-term goals and how to balance their needs with the available options.


Individuals use various tactics to guide their thinking process. First, groups and individuals base their thinking process on their long-term and short-term needs, both practical as well as wistful. Examples of practical objectives include financial issues (income and expenses), product related issues (i.e., new products, updating or eliminating old or unprofitable goods), personnel issues (i.e., are more or fewer employees needed, is management guiding the company properly), etc. Next, individuals and organizations use their personal beliefs (i.e., ethics, morals, religious principles) to guide their thinking process. By balancing practical goals as well as theoretical principles, groups and individuals will be in a better position to avoid unexpected pitfalls and further trouble. Lastly, groups and organizations use trial and error in order to guide their thinking process, adapting their strategy as their current and future needs dictate.


Few things in life are as invaluable as critical thinking. Not only does critical thinking affect individuals and organizations, but it also impacts society in general. Various factors involved in critical thinking include organization, logic, scientific thinking, persuasion, problem solving, evaluation, decision, and action. Each factor impacts the short-term and long run goals and options available to groups and organizations. What is essential in critical thinking is the ability to remain flexible as well as the foresight to project the needs and objectives of individuals and organizations.

Works Cited

Facione, Peter. "Critical Thinking: What It Is and Why It Counts." Retrieved at http://www.calpress.com/pdf_files/what&why.pdfon December 10, 2002.

Van Gelder, Tim. "Critical Thinking on the Web." Retrieved at http://www.philosophy.unimelb.edu.au/reason/critical/on December 10, 2002.

Foundation for Critical Thinking." Retrieved at http://www.criticalthinking.org/on December 10, 2002.… [read more]

Philosophies Comparison of Locke, Machiavelli Term Paper

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.. The affair on which they enact is general as is the will that enacts. It is this act that I call a law." (Santoni 231).

Like Locke, Rousseau is confident in the ability of people to form this type of public body. He is not naive, though, and concedes that errors in judgment happen and there is a learning curve. "How can an unenlightened multitude... execute, of itself, so great, so difficult an enterprise as a system of legislation? Of themselves the people always will the good, but of themselves, they do not always see in what it consists. The general will is always right, but the judgment that guides it is not always enlightened. Some must have their wills made conformable to reason and others must be taught what it is they will." (Santoni 232).

The writings of these four philosophers are disquieting for many reasons but particularly for their relevance to contemporary events. It is impossible to read these essays and not think of tyrants that still exist, some perhaps that were spawned from writings like Machiavelli's. Their essays, with their considerable philosophical differences on government, are reminders that their ideas have prevailed for centuries. But they are also reminders, especially on the eve of a war between Iraq and the United States, that these same ideas and the passions men feel for them have brought nations…… [read more]

Ancient Philosophy Term Paper

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(Plato 29-30)

According to the memory of Plato Socrates expresses the unpopular belief that those who are the most guilty of misdeeds toward God and man are those who continue to be led by the politics and/or safety of their beliefs. More specifically those who allow their own egos to dictate their actions and continue to promote their own knowledge as true regardless of its many falsehoods.

For this fear of death is indeed the pretence of wisdom, and not real wisdom, being the appearance of knowing the fear apprehend to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good. Is there not here conceit of knowledge, which, as I think, I am superior to men in general, and in which I might perhaps fancy myself wiser than other men -- that whereas I know but little of the world below, I do not suppose that I know: but I do know that injustice and disobedience to a better, whether God or man, is evil and dishonorable, and I will never fear or avoid a possible good rather than a certain evil. (Plato 30)

Leveling the charges back to his captors through a mirror of coarse was seen as both foolish and as far from self serving as could be, yet according to Plato Socrates died in the way that he lived. He remained true to his beliefs and his idea of the Philosopher's Mission given him by the gods up to his final breath. It is through this example of self-sacrifice that many a future philosopher bases his ideals upon. The attainment of true knowledge through humility and the retention of the philosophical calling through adversity and/or fear of death becomes a new standard for post Socratic ethics.

Works Cited

Plato. The Apology of Socrates

Wheelright, Philip ed. The Presocratics. New…… [read more]

Descartes: Dualism and Ethics Term Paper

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This argument becomes difficult to believe in, but yet people who trust in their own senses have to believe that there are some valid criteria for saying that their senses are legitimate.

The basic conclusions in Descartes' Meditations are as follows: his senses lie to him and God allows him to be deceived by the very senses that make him human; God can be proven to exist because he is believed to exist; the human mind and the body are separate entities, because the thinking of the mind does not have to be related to the senses the body has; and each person is subject to many infirmities and errors simply because of their nature.

He comes to these conclusions through the use of intellect and logical reasoning, as well as an analysis of how human beings use their senses and their minds to perceive the world and react to the stimuli that they receive. He reaches the final conclusion about error and human nature by realizing that he cannot possibly know with certainty that everything he believes to be accurate is not necessarily so.

My belief is that Descartes' reasoning is about as accurate as anyone's could be. Some of the things he attempts to prove have arguments that are flawed in some way, as I mentioned relating to the argument about God in a previous paragraph. However, Descartes was still a great philosopher and he produced arguments and information that have held up throughout the years. Because of this, I have to believe that, while some of his arguments seem flawed and some are also rather difficult to understand, Descartes had the right idea about the nature of people. They are flawed and they do often make errors because of the way they look at the world. Whether this relates to the deception of their senses is open to argument.… [read more]

Descartes Mechanical Philosophy and Leibniz Term Paper

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In one of a letter he said that what really constitutes the essence of a being by aggregation is only a mode of the things which it is composed. Consider the example of an army; what constitutes is only a mode of the man who composed it. This mode therefore presupposes a substance whose essence is not a mode of another substance. The machines also have some form of substance which it presupposes in the form of parts or pieces of which it is made and there is no plurality without true unities [Scott, 1998]. Thus if a body is an aggregate it is basically a composition of parts which are substances.


Burnham, Douglas. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) Metaphysics, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2001at: http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/l/leib-met.htm

Scott, David, Leibniz's Model Of Creation And His Doctrine Of Substance, 1998 at http://www.mun.ca/animus/1998vol3/scott3.htm

Kemerling, Garth. Rene Descartes (1596-1650), Philosophy Pages, 2002 at http://www.philosophypages.com/ph/desc.htm

Author not available, Philosophy 22 Lecture Notes: Leibniz, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Entries accessed on 24-3-2003 at http://www-philosophy.ucdavis.edu/phi022/leiblec.htm

Author not available, The Philosophy of Rene Descartes - 2, The Great Thinkers of Western Philosophy, The Radical Academy, accessed on 24-3-2003 at http://radicalacademy.com/phildescartes2.htm

Aristotle, The Physics: Books 1 and 2 accessed on 24-3-2003 at http://www.hol.gr/greece/texts/aristo5.txt

Moyer, Mark. Statues and Lumps: A Strange Coincidence? 2000, accessed on 24-3-2003 at http://www.uvm.edu/~mmmoyer/papers/SL.htm

Moyer, Mark. Statues and Lumps: A Strange Coincidence? 2000, accessed on 24-3-2003 at http://www.eden.rutgers.edu/~mmmoyer/papers/SC3K.pdf.

Author not available, The Philosophy of Rene Descartes - 2, The Great Thinkers of Western Philosophy, The Radical Academy, accessed on 24-3-2003 at http://radicalacademy.com/phildescartes2.htm

Author not available, Philosophy 22 Lecture Notes: Leibniz, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Entries accessed on 24-3-2003 at http://www-philosophy.ucdavis.edu/phi022/leiblec.htm… [read more]

Rousseau: The Declaration Term Paper

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This political philosophy and concept of social contract greatly influenced the French Revolutionist and the concept of human nature and his insistence on the limited role of the government inspired the French Revolutionaries in drafting out the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen.

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen" passed on August 26, 1789 gave to the world the ideals and principles of the French Revolution in the form of a Declaration. The most fundamental concern of the Declaration was the liberty and rights of man, known as the natural and unalienable rights. The Declaration proposed to develop a society and a form of government which holds these two principles of liberty and natural rights the prior to everything and justified the destruction of a government which in any way obstructs these fundamental principles. The Declaration in its first 'Article' lays out its fundamental principle upon which all the other rests, "Men are born free and remain free and equal in rights"[Article 1 of Declaration]. It creates a bond between the people and the government, the responsibility of the government is to ensure that liberty and rights are protected and this is done implementing certain laws which protect the rights and liberty of people, nothing less and nothing more. "Law is the expression of the general will"[Article 6 of Declaration] every one has to abide the law and no one is above it.


The Declaration perfectly represents Rousseau's idea of "Social Contract" and his concept of a balanced society. Rousseau held that although we cannot go back to our primitive state, we can build a society in which the exploitation and oppression can be avoided. I think Rousseau would have agreed on almost all the principles and articles of the Declaration. He might have objected to the property rights and inclusion of the equal distribution of the wealth as Rousseau was a socialist in many respects and he believed that the conflicts between human beings started when the concept of private property was invented [Merrick, 14-16]. Moreover this concept of private property was also responsible for the inequality on the economic level. I think Rousseau surely would have objected to the property rights and would have insisted on a socialist model, where the means of production are owned by the people i.e. By the state and where distribution of wealth is based on equality.


Merrick Whitcomb, ed., Translations and Reprints from the Original Sources of European History, vol. 6, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania History Department, 1899, 14-16.

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, the Social Contract and Discourses, translated by G. DH Cole (London: J.M. Dent, 1913), pages 207-238.

Author not available, Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, Accessed on 16-4-2003 at http://members.aol.com/agentmess/frenchrev/mancitizen.html… [read more]

Animal Rights and Moral Philosophy Term Paper

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There would be no clean air, no food to eat and no way for the human condition to exist. "When God willed to give existence to creatures, He willed to ordain and direct them to an end. In the case of inanimate things, this Divine direction is provided for in the nature which God has given to each; in them determinism reigns. Like all the rest of creation, man is destined by God to an end, and receives from Him a direction towards this end. This ordination is of a character in harmony with his free intelligent nature. In virtue of his intelligence and free will, man is master of his conduct." (Fox, "The Catholic Encyclopedia: Online")

As humans with free will, according to Immanuel Kant and many other thinkers we do not always do what we ought to do and even though, according to natural Law Theory the moral answer is accessible to us through reason we do not always either reason it through or choose the right action. We apply our moral reason according to Kant in his first form, in such a way that we only do that which we can accept or will everyone else to do. If other living beings, and in this case animals, are to be included within the environment of man they must then be seen as integral to that environment and to man.

If we as moral individuals according to Kant's first form see the exploitation and destruction of the human environment as something that is acceptable for all to do them what would the world look like? Kant and many other thinkers would likely find it detestable to destroy the environment of man. "We could find in the whole world many good things: intelligence, wit, judgement, courage, wealth and health are good examples. But they are good only because they lead us to some aims. It is good to be healthy, because then we are free of distress or pain; it is good to be intelligent, because we can easily solve the problems. As we can clearly see these goods are qualified by something." (Bukowski "Kant's Theory of Morals") Though symbiosis has not always been understood it is clear that the effects of the universal destruction of interrelated beings would be at the detriment of the human condition.

Works Cited

Aristotle. Trans. W.D. Ross. Nicomachean Ethics. May 08, 2003 http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/nicomachaen.1.i.html.1994-2000

Bukowski, Michal "Kant's Theory of Morals." May 08, 2003 http://www.bukwa.com/filozofia/moje_prace/theory_of_morals/ktom.asp.

Fox, James J. "Natural Law: It's Essence: The Catholic Encyclopedia Online." May 08, 2003 http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09076a.htm.2003… [read more]

Neoclassical Philosophy Plato, Censorship Term Paper

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Even if we do accept this proposition, it is still limited in its applicability, as Hume himself acknowledges. One of the most important of these limitations is that simply because there was once a designer does not mean that there is one any longer. Moreover, while many people might be inclined to link the idea of a designer to the idea of benevolent design, in fact if there were a designer to the universe such an entity might be part or purely evil and have constructed this world for the purpose of tormenting us.

Part Four: The Tyranny of the Majority

It is tempting to wonder what exactly Mill would have made of the current situation in the United States, for he wisely warned that one of the greatest perils in any democracy is the suppression of the minority by the majority. This is certainly always a peril, and we have seen countless examples of this very situation in our own country, from the genocide practiced against our native peoples to the suppression of free speech during the Red Scare.

In the current situation we have the case in which a president was elected by a minority of the country (one might well argue that he was elected by Clarence Thomas, who forms a very small minority indeed), and has since used his powers to reduce the rights of a number of different minority groups.

The tyranny of the majority, Mill argues, does not usually take such virulent forms as other types of tyrannies (being less bloody, less often lethal) but it is harder to escape because it permeates every aspect of society. However, he argues (although many might well disagree) such a tyranny can be effectively held in check by a written constitution, which will serve both to dampen and to filter out the most extreme of (short-term) passions as well as provide enduring and practical ways to resolve differences of opinion.

Part Four: Non-Inference by the State

Mill initially argues, in chapter four of Liberty, that the state does not have any right whatsoever to interfere with a person's actions so long as those actions do not harm anyone else. This is true when a person acts in her or his best interest, or when those actions have a neutral effect on that person or when those actions bring home or even destruction to that person. The state, under such a doctrine, would for example not pass laws criminalizing suicide.

Mill was arguing that the individual is in fact not accountable to any concept like society or the public weal or the greater good but only to himself or to herself (and to those other individuals such as friends or family members that he or she chooses to make himself or herself obligated to). And yet, as soon as Mill argues this he adds a coda, which is that an individual is in fact not free if he or she is contractually obligated (by law or even custom)… [read more]

Philosophy David Hume and Immanuel Term Paper

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" Hume totally neglects the possibility of a priori knowledge in understanding 'matter of facts' and attributes them totally to inductive reasoning. Kant on the other hand with his concept of 'Synthetic a priori knowledge' strikes the balance in explaining cause and effect phenomenon based on a synthetic judgement, which is still a priori knowledge coupled with the faculty of intuition.


Both Hume and Kant have contributed immensely to the field of philosophy. Their original propositions have given us a new understanding to the hitherto incomprehensible concepts. In particular Kant's novel concept of synthetic judgement as applied to natural sciences and the cause and effect phenomenon has shed new light in our pursuit of origin of knowledge. Hume on his part has to be credited for being the first philosopher to identify the inherent discrepancy in ascribing a priori knowledge towards explaining the relation between the cause and effect phenomenon. It is not far reaching to say that it was Hume's proposition of the absence of rational justification in inductive inference (pertaining to matters of fact), that triggered Kant to discover 'synthetic a priori judgements', as an answer to explain the cause and effect phenomenon and other scientific fields of reason.


David Hume, "A treatise of Human Nature: being an Attempt to Introduce Experimental Method of Reasoning into Moral Subjects," Oxford University press, March 2000

Immanuel Kant, " Critique of Pure…… [read more]

Philosophy the Value Essay

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Through this parable in The Republic, Plato attempts to show us that philosophy is "...the freedom of being able to decide for yourself what you will believe in by using your own reasoning abilities." (Para 1, p. 5)

The Myth of the Cave is an imaginary tale of men imprisoned in a cave since childhood, immobilized by their chains to illustrate to us that the prisoners' world of shadows, such as it is, is their only known reality. There is a parallel observation here, as what is really being alluded to is the fact that the human world is no different to that of the prisoners. Humanity also binds itself to the chains of ignorance, which only acknowledge the reality of the immediate visible world.

The story also establishes that the human situation requires guidance towards learning through hypothesizing on the plight of a prisoner who is led out of the cave into the upper world of light and another alternative 'reality.' The freed prisoner in Plato's The Myth of the Cave shows us the pain that such a freed man would have to experience during the process of adjustment to a completely unknown reality: "The movement would be painful, and the glare from the fire would blind him so that he would not see clearly the real objects whose shadows he used to watch." (Para 2, p. 6)

The pain and discomfort experienced by the freed man, the tale suggests, would make him turn away and reject the new world for the less painful old one: "...return to things he could see more easily. He would think that those things were more real than the new things they were showing him." (Para 4, p. 6) The prisoner's behavior thus drives home the point that humanity tends to persist in its ignorance due to the pain of uncertainty caused by the unknown, rejecting the latter on the justification that the new was, in fact, illusionary.

Having reached this point, however, the story then goes on to advocate that should the prisoner be forced into going through the pain of confronting and adjusting to the unknown, he would then slowly come to the realization that there is indeed a reality behind the shadows of his world: "Last of all he will be able to look at the sun and contemplate its nature. He will not just look at its reflection in water but will see it as it is in itself and in its own domain.... He will understand that it is in a way the cause of everything that he and his fellow prisoners used to see." (Para 5, p. 6)

In The Myth of the Cave it is not just the freed man who is guided out of the cave of dark ignorance into the light of knowledge but also the reader who is asked whether the courage and pain involved in seeking true knowledge isn't worth the happiness gained: "Wouldn't he rather endure anything than go back to… [read more]

Confucianism Describe the Unique Characteristics Term Paper

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Confucius tells that not many people are able to keep jen constantly in mind; he also tells that jen is very close to us. As 'humanism' deals with ren or humanness, 'humanism' is the core of Confucianism. This is specifically emphasized by Mencian wing of the Confucian tradition and elevated to metaphysical level by one of the later thinkers, Neo-Confucian… [read more]

Nietzsche's Woman Is by Turns Term Paper

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In Thus Spake Zarathustra, Nietzsche clearly shows his views of woman as inferior, in his discussion of the capabilities of men and women to form interpersonal relationships. He argues that having a friend makes a man vulnerable, and that this must be carefully guarded against within any friendship. However, he argues relatively forcefully that women are not yet capable of… [read more]

Philosophy of Seneca and Nietzsche Term Paper

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Again, Marquez continues to reference "chance," including his acquisition of the Metamorphosis which was, "chosen at random." He then goes on to describe feelings of envy -- that he might, too, be able to produce such work, and a sense of challenge to the words of Eduardo Zalamea regarding "the lack of memorable names" among Columbian writers, and goes on to describe the extensive work he applied in his reaction to Zalamea's words. He writes, "I reread and corrected my story until I was exhausted..." -- both of these ideas, painful feelings, envy, pride, challenge, and difficult, hard work are reflective of the theories of Nietzsche.

When Marquez comments on his surprise regarding the rapid publication of his work, it illustrates Seneca's idea that chance, or fortune can be both positive and negative. Again, he also evokes Nietzsche when he laments his inability to gather the five centavos to buy the paper the story was published in (the positive power of adversity to improve...).

Fortune appears several more times in the story, the man with the newspaper, the surprise at the crushing power of print, but, with Marquez's introduction of Jorge Alvaro Espinosa, and his desire to lessen his anxiety through his approval, "I wanted to see him right away to resolve my uncertainty once and for all...," he also introduces Seneca's idea concerning the pain of anxiety, and how the pain of that anxiety is often worse than the actual fear (that his work was bad), itself -- an idea Marques quickly realizes when he writes, "His was the only opinion that could affect me...and I was petrified. But before he finished speaking I decided to preempt him with what I considered...to be the truth: "That story is a piece of *****." (There...that wasn't so bad, was it... )

Again, Marquez illustrates the alchemy of "*****" to good work, with difficulty, perseverance, doubt and failure: the necessity of reading the Greeks, the clumsiness of writing and the ignorance of the human heart, yet, here again, he goes another layer into Nietzsche's theory that nothing produces greatness (especially in art), better than a fully lived life, and that the "abuse of invented notions....carried within itself the seeds of its own destruction."

Marquez closes the story by referencing other people's sense of expectation, the friends who are not surprised by his success, the frustration of his friends and father that he does not have more money, illustrating the ideal of acceptance, in the story about the fawn, again shows how life (even hard life) can enrich work, the brothel incident, and in the difficulty in complete escape from the shackles of expectation, until the money to redeem [the typewriter] rained down from heaven

In short, the Challenge nicely illustrates (and symbolizes) the nature of difficulty to positively impact work and life. Further, the story of the young writer also shows the ability of acceptance and the rejection of expectation to free one from suffering and anxiety. The only problem is his… [read more]

Plato and Kant Plato's Life Term Paper

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It is not incidental that both Plato and Kant accorded the discernible world as the good and the moral. They as per their thought portrayed the same ultimate existence as life's oneness in the own accord. At the constraint of human thinking, both of these intrude past the central features of the Ultimate reality as moral. Anyhow, both Plato and… [read more]

Paradox of Confirmation Paradoxes Term Paper

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There are two steps to confirming a generalization: proving the generalization's existence and confirming it. Let's take the simple statement that all As are Bs (all ravens are black). This assumes the existence of two subsets A and B. with the functional definition that if element x is in A, it is in B, that is that if x has… [read more]

Philosophy Given That Experience Term Paper

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(Locke, 1690, bk. I, chap. II, para. 6)

Locke goes on to argue that the idea of God is not innate, the notion of worshipping God is not innate, and the rules of morality taught by the Bible are not innate, but that these things are not thereby rendered non-existent or worthless. On the contrary, the fact that they do exist establishes that the process through which human beings learn about them and accept them is sufficient to provide them with the knowledge they need of even these most essential things. Furthermore, our empirical observation of the world shows that human life is better where these things are accepted, so their validity is established by their utility. There is thus, in Locke's world-view, no need for necessary truths; and if this is accepted then in accordance with Leibniz's principle of contradiction, 'in virtue of which we judge false that which involves a contradiction' (Leibniz, 1698, para. 31), we must also accept that a necessary truth for which is there is no need is a concept with an internal contradiction that must therefore be judged false.

Leibniz could not accept that necessary truths had no existence, for the argument that there are concepts and ideas that are innate to the human mind is fundamental to his philosophy in terms both of metaphysics and knowledge. For Leibniz such basic concepts as self, substance and causation are themselves innate and partake of the 'necessary truths' of existence. The suggestion that such concepts are acquired only through sense experience, which is Locke's position, thus undermines not only Leibniz's view of the relationship between the human mind and the external universe but his interpretation of the role of God in giving existence to the universe through the principle of the first cause and final sufficient reason. To reject, as Locke does, the concept of 'necessary truths' is thus to cut away the foundations of the entire Leibnizian understanding of existence.

Works Cited

Leibniz, G.W. (1982). New Essays on Human Understanding. Translated by P. Remnant and J. Bennett. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Leibniz, G.W. (1698) The Monadology. Translated by Robert Latta. At http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl302/texts/leibniz/monadology.html

Locke, J. (1690). An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. At http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl302/texts/locke/locke1/Essay_contents.html… [read more]

Philosophy in Sections 37 Term Paper

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(para. 37-8)

The substance in which it is located must also, however, encompass the whole of the universe in all its complexity, and only God, of necessity given the nature of God, is not only capable of this but must, as a necessary fact, achieve it: 'this supreme substance, which is unique, universal and necessary, nothing outside it being independent of it, - this substance, which is a pure sequence of possible being, must be illimitable and must contain as much reality as is possible' (para. 40).

The principle of contradiction is again applicable here, on two levels. First, a created and finite being that contained its own sufficient reason for existence would be a contradiction, for such a being would be neither finite nor created. Second, a being that did not have a sufficient reason located somewhere would not exist at all. Clearly, beings do exist, therefore they must have a sufficient reason if they are not to contain a contradiction, and that reason must be external to them if, being finite beings, they are not to contain a further contradiction. Thus the nature of the universe itself, its complexity and contingency, acts as a demonstration of the validity of the two great principles of contradiction and sufficient reason in providing a proof of the existence of God.

Works Cited

Leibniz, G.W. (1698).…… [read more]

Forming Judgments, and the Development Term Paper

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Such distinctions are vital in order to ensure that the judgment expressed contains a balanced view, deals with probability, includes appropriate qualifications, and helps make the predicate exact. The forming of good judgments or conclusions will also help in persuading others of the view taken in an argument. However, sound arguments alone are not sufficient in persuading others. For persuasion also requires the ability to: understand the audience viewpoint; begin from a common position; concede where the opposing side has a point; and take a positive approach. But the real key lies in sound arguments.

Thus, the goal of a critical thinker is to develop sound arguments that are valid and based on true premises and conclusions. This requires the solving of problems of logic, through the application of both inductive and…… [read more]

Medieval Christian World-View of St Term Paper

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The essence of God is unknown to us, so must be "demonstrated by things that are more known to us... namely, by effects" [Pt. I, Q. 2, Art. 1]. To reach conclusions on the existence of God by studying the world around us will, Aquinas argues, lead inevitably to a knowledge of God, for the world cannot be explained without recourse to God. Thus once again human reason is in harmony with revelation and faith in bringing human beings to a fuller knowledge of the Godhead and of salvation.

The important role of human intellect in apprehending divine purpose reflects Aquinas's view of the human soul itself. For Aquinas the soul is "called the intellect or the mind" and is "something incorporeal and subsistent" [Pt. I, Q. 75, Art. 2], that is, it does not have a body but it has existence. Aquinas asserts that the soul requires intellectual engagement, the action of "mind," in order to subsist and act upon the physical world, as the evidence of our senses demonstrates that it does: "the soul, which is the first principle of life, is not a body, but the act of a body... there are two kinds of contact; of 'quantity,' and of 'power.' By the former a body can be touched only by a body; by the latter a body can be touched by an incorporeal thing, which moves that body" [Pt. I, Q. 75, Art. 1]. Human nature for Aquinas is thus fundamentally a matter of mind, and thus of reason, for it is only through the actions of mind that the soul acts upon the world; elsewhere Aquinas speaks of "the intellect or the intellectual soul" [Pt. I, Q. 76, Art. 1].

Reason does not operate independently but within a framework of what Aquinas calls "natural law." The relationship between the natural law of humankind and the eternal law of the divine echoes that of human reason and sacred doctrine, the former partaking of the all-encompassing revelation of the latter and engaging with it as the chief means by which it can be apprehended:

the light of natural reason, whereby we discern what is good and what is evil, which is the function of the natural law, is nothing else than an imprint on us of the Divine light. It is therefore evident that the natural law is nothing else than the rational creature's participation of the eternal law. [Pt. II, First Part, Q. 91, Art. 2]

Just as the truth of eternal divine law is reflected in the human natural law of morality, so the laws of government should reflect those of divine government as revealed in the subjects of sacred doctrine, as "eternal law is the plan of government in the Chief Governor [that is, God]" the laws of human governors "must be derived from the eternal law. Therefore all laws, in so far as they partake of right reason, are derived from the eternal law" [Pt. II, First Part, Q. 93, Art. 3].

Aquinas… [read more]

Plato and Descartes Plato Concept Term Paper

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The ideas of truth, justice, and beauty are only a few of the good ideas that are presented in the highest form of goodness. Book VI goes on to emphasize that a knowledgeable person is working on becoming an overall "good" person with the idea that all people are basically good. Belief in a purely objective understanding of such concepts such as justice, love, and virtue, and the self-knowledge that he gained, were the basis of his teachings.

Descartes also experiences these ideas and beliefs. His writings express that goodness is a combination of both matter and spirit. He rationalized man's spirituality through the use of scientific reasoning. While matter or man's body is part of the physical world, man's mind is part of a spiritual world. With this philosophy, Descartes earns the title of being a dualist. He believed that while matter can be explained and rationalized, and that God's hands created the spiritual world that we are shaped after. Man depends on God's power and although we are part of this human material world, our spirit should work toward remaining pure and good.

Plato explains that most people believe that human pleasure is the greatest good. However, human pleasure may be derived from evils such as, such as drinking excessively or committing adultery. All vices or bad "pleasures" were the result of the lack of knowledge, and no person is willingly bad. With knowledge comes virtue and those who have been taught to know the right from wrong will act rightly, thus remaining "good." His method of reasoning gained emphasis on rational arguments while pursuing the quest for general definitions. In return, he believed that people should follow the law set before them, even when unjust because in his belief, "That was the "right" way to live" (Economist, 1988).

Descartes knew that man would make mistakes. Even though man knows right from wrong, he is still human and will make errors based upon ill judgment or reasoning. Man cannot be certain of anything, and based upon wrong information, he can make mistakes. Descartes felt that evil spirits might persuade a good man to make decisions based upon false information. When in doubt, man becomes confused and proceeds in the wrong direction.

Both Plato and Descartes make good arguments for man being innately "good." I believe that man has decisions that he can make and based upon learned knowledge, previous experiences, and expectations, man will either make good decisions or bad ones. Man learns right from wrong and has the ability to determine which path to take. Man will sometimes be tricked by evil or stumble to make a wrong decision, but if he remains "good" inside, he will manage to return to his original and spiritually "good" state of mind.

Works Cited

Bloom, A. (1991). The Republic of Plato. New York: Basic Books.

The Economist. (1988). "Book review of The Trail of Socrates." 306 (2) 89.

Jowett, B. Plato's Republic. Retrieved November 23, 2003, at http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/republic.html.

Rene Descartes."… [read more]

Value of Philosophy by Bertrand Term Paper

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However, Russell argues that philosophy has great importance to human thought, since it allows the individual to think and explore further about things and realities that s/he experience in life. Russell rightly says that, "the value of philosophy is... In its very uncertainty," since philosophy makes it imperative for people to continue seeking for truth and knowledge, thereby increasing one's thought processes and developing his/her worth as an individual. Because philosophy is not definitive and is always subject to changes and subjective interpretation, the individual can think "out of the box" exploring and taking into account various possible perspectives that can contribute to the development of a particular field of inquiry or thought. Thus, philosophy's importance to human society is its dynamic nature, giving people freedom to develop their thoughts, or as Bertrand Russell puts it, to "enlarge our conception of what is possible" and "enrich our intellectual imagination."… [read more]

Stoicism Established by Zeno Term Paper

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Similarly, Aristotelian philosophy is evident in the use of empiricism in the ethical doctrines of the Stoics. Thus, because of the dual nature of its philosophical principles, Stoicism serves as a 'middle ground' that bridge the gap between Platonian and Aristotelian philosophies. The development of Stoicism's dual nature is a result of emerging philosophies that attempt to bridge or fill in gaps or dilemmas posed by subsisting only to either Platonian or Aristotelian philosophies. Because social realities are not experienced by the senses alone, and conversely, not all realities are experienced through empirical observation, stoicism is developed to provide a venue where both sensory experience and empirical observation are used to create and experience humanity's social experiences; hence, the move from idealism…… [read more]

Philosophy of Life Term Paper

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Personally, the philosophy of life revolves around an understanding of the need to seek and find joy in life. The definition of joy, therefore, is important in understanding this personal philosophy of life. Commonly, joy is understood to mean an emotion of extreme happiness or well-being. Indeed, joy can represent such an emotion, but personally it means much more than such a simple explanation would suggest. Joy is much more than simple, transitory happiness. Instead, it is a deep, soulful delight that fills an individual with a surge of contentment and a feeling that all is right in the world. Joy is the moment when all the forces in the world seem to come together as one; that perfect moment where it seems that the tragedies of life cannot touch us. In that small moment, joy makes the individual complete and in tune with the rest of the universe.

However, a personal philosophy that is solely based upon the need to seek and find joy could be problematic. An individual that existed only for such personal fulfillment would be highly likely to hurt others during their quest. For example, a wife whose personal philosophy was only to find joy would find it perhaps necessary to seek joy outside of the marriage during times of difficulty. This could take the form of a physical or emotional relationship with someone other than the husband. As such, the personal philosophy that is solely based upon the need to seek and find joy needs to be balanced in order to take the needs and feelings of others into consideration.

As such, personally the philosophy of life also includes something akin to the Hippocratic Oath, commonly understood to mean "first, do no harm." Essentially, this is a simple concept that dictates that the search for joy should always be undertaken with the understanding that it should do no harm, either to the self or others (and even entities such as society at large or the environment).

In conclusion, a personal philosophy of life such as the search for joy helps to define our actions. When combined with a dictum like "first, do no harm," the search for joy becomes a personal philosophy of life that can provide a useful template for living one's life to…… [read more]

Philosophy Socrates Was a Proud Term Paper

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He regularly argued with fellow citizens of all levels regarding justice, the law, and the good life. Yet if he was constantly arguing for morality and exhorting people to change, why was he considered to be corrupting the young? To understand this, it is important to recognize that in addition to arguing for morality, he also argued against the bloated consumerist lifestyle that most of Athens led. He also argued that one should be moral because of self-interest and for philosophical reasons, rather than appealing to religion. While in either case he could have brought things to court (suing someone for too gluttonous of behavior somehow, or trying to change the laws to reflect a more humanistic standpoint), he preferred to take them up among people.

This could be considered a corruption of the young and of the laws, because he was not going through proper channels (e.g. The courts) in attempting to change things, and also because he was arguing against the established way of life in favor of a more ascetic and humanistic way of life. This was changing society, and these changes could be seen by those opposed to them as a corruption.

So one can see how Socrates could be seen as a corruptor of the youth and the laws. He was, in fact, working within the hearts of the people to change them, and he was working around the laws rather than through them. However, looking back we see that Socrates was not the true corrupter of the young. Rather, they were corrupted by living in a society that had grown dissolute. Neither was he the true corruptor of the laws, which were actually corrupted when they were swayed by mob mentality and overburdened by the weight of too many lawsuits. It is both sad and comic in an ironic way that Socrates was put to death for doing the exact opposite of what he was charged with doing -- not for corrupting the youth but for exhorting them, and not for corrupting the laws, but for seeking to bulwark their justice.


Aristophanes. Birds. Project Gutenberg Edition. http://www.promo.net/pg

Plato. Apology. Project Gutenberg Edition. http://www.promo.net/pg… [read more]

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Fraser University, pp 91-98

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

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

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

Existence of God Analysis Essay

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

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

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

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

Metaphysics the Human Mind Has Shown Vigilance Term Paper

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The human mind has shown vigilance over the ages in pushing thought beyond the visible world into other realms of possible being. Yet whether one is convinced by metaphysical argument often has less to do with logic and more to do with what beliefs one is willing to put faith in. Metaphysics relies on abstraction from the motion and… [read more]

Bonjour Defending Cartesian Foundationalism Term Paper

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Bon Jour Defending Cartesian Foundationalism

Although philosopher and epistemologist Laurence BonJour was at the outset a strong proponent of coherentism, as evidenced by his staunchly critical anti-foundationalist treatise, the Structure of Empirical Knowledge, more recent works such as Epistemology: Classic Problems and Contemporary Responses and in Defense of Pure Reason instead underscore various problematic ideological ramifications stemming from coherence theories… [read more]

Socrates if the General Consensus About Journal

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If the general consensus about Socrates' life is to be believed -- despite the lack of concrete evidence available and the existence of many interpretations (the "Socratic Problem") -- he did indeed live up to his teachings. He apparently believed very strongly in principles that were central driving forces in his own life -- virtue, justice, community and the pursuit of knowledge -- leading him to acts of tremendous bravery.

For example, Socrates was a great warrior, brave in battle and boldly confronting danger in order to protect his people (Woods). This selfless devotion to the greater good of his community would also mark the end of his life, when Socrates refused to attempt escape from the punishment of death because it was decided by the law of his people (Nails). Socrates also proved his bravery and selfless devotion to justice and the law on two earlier occasions when he risked his life to go against political command, by: "refusing to allow the assembly to try together a number of generals accused of failing to rescue survivors. Under the law, they were entitled to individual trials. The other was during the rule of the Thirty, who tried to involve Socrates in their reign by ordering him to arrest someone unjustly. He went home instead. Fortunately, the tyranny did not last much longer" (Nails).

In addition, Socrates preached his philosophy by asking questions and admitting that even he did not know the answers (Biography Online). Although many people were offended because his inquiries put into question their morality, Socrates never preached to people that he was wiser, only that he was wiser because he recognized his own lack of wisdom (Biography Online). Moreover, he was considered the "gadfly" of Greek politics because his persistent questioning of the practices of Athenians ultimately led to his assassination (Woods).

Socrates did indeed live a life similar to Jesus, with no concern for ambition or material wealth. After the Oracle proclaimed him the "wisest" or most "virtuous," he refused to…… [read more]

Plato -- Meno/Allegory of the Cave Term Paper

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Plato -- Meno/Allegory of the Cave

Plato's Meno is a dialogue between Meno and Socrates. Meno and Socrates are discussing the nature of virtue and Meno questions Socrates, asking him whether or not virtue can be taught, acquired by practice, or whether virtue is acquired in some other way. Socrates believes that virtue is not possible to define and this… [read more]

Nietzsche and Nihilism Term Paper

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Nietzsche and Nihilism

"The world itself is the will to power -- and nothing else. And you, yourself are the will to power, and nothing else!" F. Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche was a 19-century German philosopher and classical linguist. Despite his modern reputation as being pro-Nazi or fascist, he was quite critical of all social control, and wrote extensively on religion,… [read more]

Myth of the Cave? Essay

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¶ … myth of the cave?' Why does the author of this myth suggest that we are like the prisoners in the cave? What is the point of the myth?

One of the most influential minds in western philosophy is that of Plato. Plato lived from 422-347 B.C, and was born into an aristocratic family in the city of Athens… [read more]

Philosophy in Alice in Wonderland Movie Essay

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Alice in Wonderland: A Philosophical Examination

Alice in Wonderland is a story that takes place in an altered reality, a dreamscape. This reality is something that Alice wonders through throughout the story while meeting all sorts of characters and people. These people are representative of larger ideas and thoughts, and the story itself can be read as a philosophical allegory… [read more]

What Is the Categorical Imperative? Research Paper

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¶ … Kantian categorical imperative

The Formula of Universal Humanity (FUH)

The Formula of the Kingdom of Ends (FKE)

The Imperfect duties

In this paper, we discuss the concept of categorical imperative with a sharp focus on its basic tenets and its various applications. This is done through a rigorous analysis of various philosophers and scholars such as Immanuel Kant.… [read more]

Philosophers Ethos Term Paper

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philosophers' ethos

Thomas Hobbes's opinion in regard to psychological egoism was that the concept had been true, with all people being interested solely in their own well-being, regardless of the circumstances. The British philosopher was certain that an individual cannot possibly be interested in doing good deeds if he or she does not believe that their seemingly benevolent actions would… [read more]

Plato 427 347 BC and Lucretius 99 55 Essay

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Plato (427 -- 347 BC) and Lucretius (


The purpose of the present paper is to discuss two important doctrines, namely Platonism and Epicureanism in order to understand if any of it or both could be successfully applied in the contemporary world. The reason for choosing these philosophical orientations and not others is represented by the similar political and social circumstances which led to their birth. It could be stated that the visions of Plato and Lucretius are two different reactions to a perceived political injustice and a philosophical and spiritual decay.

In order to understand whether any of the mentioned philosophical orientations can be considered valuable in the contemporary context, one must evaluate them separately for their logical persuasiveness, evidentiary basis and truth. The evaluation may start with the enunciation of the main principles on which Platonism and Epicureanism are based. It must be underlined that there are still numerous debates regarding the meaning of Plato's writings. Still, it is agreed that according to Plato, the universe has a systematic unity. The systematic unity is an explanatory hierarchy. Nevertheless the divine and the psychological represent irreducible explanatory categories. People are believed to belong to a systematic hierarchy and personal happiness is conceived as acquiring a lost position within the hierarchy. Some of the most important Platonic themes include the definition of the good, the theory of the Forms. As far as the state and its organization are concerned, Plato believes that the philosophers are the most prominent figures and they ought to be given absolute power of decision.

Epicureanism on the other hand is concerned with what virtue and happiness are and how they are connected. The quest for pleasure is associated with the denial of the self's passions and with a solid moral discipline. Avoiding pain in the first place is considered a much wiser task than the very pursuit of pleasure. Physical pleasures are seen as short lasting and inferior in value to the intellectual ones. The physical pleasures are likely to lead to excess, while the intellectual one are the ones which help man reach a state of inner balance.

It is obvious that both philosophers were confronted with a period of social instability in which people's thirst for power and their search for pleasure made them forget what the principles of morality were and the happiness is to be found somewhere else. The manner in which Socrates was found guilty of a political defeat he had nothing to do with is a more than relevant example of what was going on. Plato states that the state structure ought to be conceived according to the three dimensional structure of the soul. Out of all the existing occupations the most important one is considered to be philosophy, because it allows a more profound understanding of reality…… [read more]

Thomas Hobbes and Egoism in Leviathan Essay

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Thomas Hobbes and Egoism in "Leviathan"

There is, as we shall see, a deep sense in which Hobbes's values are individual rather than universal, but it is not simply a matter of having an 'egoistic' moral psychology. Motivation in Hobbes's account is necessarily egoistic only in a nugatory, definitional sense: each person strives to fulfill his own desires. This does… [read more]

Thucydides Trial and Death of Socrates Journal

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¶ … Ancient Greek History

Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War -- Many modern scholars consider Herodotus and Thucydides the fathers of modern history because of their strict standards in terms of evidence gathering and analysis. At a time when it was common to embellish based on the winning side, and to give the Gods decision power in shaping events, Thucydides' "realistic approach" makes reading his prose enjoyable, even in a contemporary context. The History of the Peloponnesian War is his account of the almost 30-year war between Athens, Sparta and their allies. One very noticeable difference, though, between modern history, say accounts by Winston Churchill, and Thucydides are the long speeches that seem to be more literary "reconstructions" than actual recounting of events.

To sum up one thesis based on the readings, the complexities between duty, honor, and justice seem to come to the forefront. We come to understand that Athens is a democracy, whereas Sparta more of an oligarchy. One would think that Thucydides would be celebrating Athens above all, but that is not the case. He points out that at times, democracy is inefficient, and that the time and energy it takes to form a consensus are often negative to the cause. For Sparta, even though its citizens have fewer choices, the decisions were quicker and more tactical. Too, it is ironic that Thucydides seems to be saying that the very democracy that liberated Athens and caused more free thinking also permitted people with almost limitless political ambition to come to power. Once these individuals came to power, there was nothing left to do but establish a more imperialistic system, and look upon the rest of Greece as ripe for the taking. Of course, all this was done in the name of democracy. Those who did not wish to become Athenians, commented, "I have come not to harm the Greeks but to free them… my purpose is not to make you our allies by force or fraud; but on the contrary, for us to be your allies against subjugation by Athens" (VI: 86).

The Apology of Socrates is his student, Plato's,…… [read more]

Doubt Is the Key Knowledge Essay

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Doubt Is the Key Knowledge: To What Extent Is This True in Two Areas of Knowledge

"Doubt is the key to knowledge"(Persian proverb) to what extent is this true in two areas of knowledge?

Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that studies knowledge. It is mainly concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge. It attempts to answer the basic… [read more]

Global Socioeconomic Perspectives Political Realism Essay

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Global Socioeconomic Perspectives

Political realism is a philosophy typically used in State and International relations that tends to prioritize national interest and security over moral and ethnical, and even social concerns. Modern political scientists often refer to it as power politics and hold several assumptions that make up the world-view of realpolitik: Humanity is in a constant state of anarchy and needs controlled; States are only rational when they are secure; Relations between States, as with people, are based on levels of power; and the International System is like a template that controls the actions of society (Bacevick, 2005). Where did this view originate, though -- and how has it evolved through the centuries?

In the Renaissance, for instance, classical Greek philosophers like Aristotle were read as texts for human development. For Renaissance writer and philosopher Mahiavelli, the approach to realism was based on a simple approach to the political struggle between individuals, often based and expanded from Aristotle. Aristotle's approach to politics was to use reason and logic, Machiavelli to use empiricism. Aristotle wanted definitions and conclusions that could be imparted generally, Machiavelli wanted specific results. Aristotle saw humans as political animals, with the goal of politics as the "good life." So, political structures are in place to create a society in which the citizenry prosper. Machiavelli was more a tactician -- politics is quite simple -- control, stability, and the essence of power. For Machiavelli, "The fact is that a man who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous. Therefore if a prince wants to maintain his rule he must be prepared not to be virtuous and to make use of this or not according to need"…… [read more]

ID Security Essay

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National ID

A Contrast Analysis of Arguments by Woellert and Magnusson

The debate over whether the United States should institute the use of National ID cards in the wake of 9/11has raised many questions among citizens concerned both with safety and government intrusion. Lorraine Woellert and Paul Magnusson debate the issue in BusinessWeek Online. Woellert cites the failure of such cards to ensure safety and highlights the tighter control government will have with the implementation of such cards. Magnusson, on the other hand, defends the affordable technological advances which the National ID card will employ. However, Magnusson's style, logic, and supporting evidence give him a weaker argument than Woellert, who spends more time considering her audience, acknowledging opposing views, and giving an organized, balanced, and well-reasoned report. This paper will show why Woellert's argument is better than Magnusson's.

Paul Magnusson begins his case with a condescending and presumptuous air: first he apologizes not to Ms. Woellert but to Lorraine (as if she were too simplistic to deserve the respect of a formalized reference) -- and not for his rude counter but for her being wrong. Then he proceeds to suggest that his point is so obvious it does not even require argumentation, as though the case has been stated and won: "The great debate over the national ID card has already been decided." Has it? When and by whom? Magnusson displays the kind of trumped up rhetoric of a sports analyst whose job is merely to fill a two-minute gap between advertising. Unfortunately his rhetoric is not backed up by much: he gives two references for Woellert's five. Authority is on the side of Woellert, who in this case provides analyses from a technology expert at the University of Pennsylvania, the associate director of the American Civil Liberties Union, the former director of the National Security Agency and head of Cylink Corp., and Professor Jonathan S. Shapiro of Johns Hopkins University. Magnusson, meanwhile, cites only the tech-corps CEOs who stand to profit from a National ID card distribution.

Magnusson's use of style and language is also shabby. He loosely refers to "our system" as makeshift (what system? And how is it makeshift?), current IDs as "dumb" (because they lack the latest technology), and suggests that smart computer chips are the solution to our "haphazard" ways. In fact, Magnusson immediately strikes a chord signaling that he is on the fire-and-brimstone path of preaching against the jaded hypocrisies of people such as Lorraine, whose path may be full of good intentions -- but whose disinterest in computer chips marks her as one of the incompetent ignoramuses who prop up "our makeshift system." Magnusson uses a lot…… [read more]

Ockham First Quodlibet Term Paper

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For centuries, people have argued about the nature of the soul. Because it is an area of philosophy rather than of science, few findings in philosophy can be proven beyond doubt. The same is true of Ockham's argumentation regarding the form of the soul. The best arguments for the nature of the soul is therefore those that can best refute the potential difficulties with the argument posited. Ockham's argument is that the human soul does have the same form as the body. However, Ockham also acknowledges that certain premises and inferences might be used to refute this argument, including the comparison between the form and nature of human beings and animals, as well as the corruptibility of the human form.

In his reply to Difficulty 2, the philosopher uses a comparison between a human being and a donkey. While the human being differs from the donkey only in form, the two are no different in terms of matter. Hence, only part of a human beign differs from a donkey. From this, one might infer that the soul is different from the human being only in matter, but not by form. This is the basis for the philosopher's assertion that human beings and their souls have the same form.

However, the soul is not a mortal human being and might therefore be said to be a different species entirely, just like the donkey. The soul is a higher form of being than the human being him- or herself, since human beings are made of matter and not of spirit. The donkey, in turn, is a lower form of being from the human, as it is only an animal. The human and animal beings, however, have the same basic needs in terms of physical life: shelter from the elements, food, water, etc. Although human beings might also have higher needs, such as intellectual stimulation and spirituality, the basic necessities of life are the same for both human and donkey.

The same could not be said for human being and soul. The soul has a different set of needs entirely. In contrast to corruptible human forms, the soul does not need any food, shelter, or water to exist.…… [read more]

Holism and Hempel's Theory of Science Term Paper

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Holism and Hempel's Theory Of Science

Hempel's main theory of science dealt with what many called logical positivism. It was also often called logical empiricism -- a term which Hempel embraced. He did not like the 'positivism' label, because he felt it was unscientific in nature and based in metaphysical issues that he had no desire to become involved with. Basically, the theory stated that empiricism (the belief that one has to have observational evidence in order to understand the world) and rationalism that dealt with mathematical and logical deductions should be (and are) combined to make a person's clear and proper view of the world (Sarkar & Pfeifer, 2006). In short, the whole is the sum of the parts, so understanding the parts means understanding all of the whole (Sarkar & Pfeifer, 2006). The rise in this kind of viewpoint in Germany stemmed mostly as a response to Hegel, and grew quite quickly.

Holism, however, states that the whole is much more than the sum of its parts (Sarkar & Pfeifer, 2006). The belief in holism is that there is much more to what is seen in the world than the breakdown of the parts that make it up can show. For Hempel's theory of science, the problem that holism poses is a serious one. Holism and the idea that things are more than the sum of their parts is in direct contrast to Hempel's logical empiricism and the opinion that the parts make up all of the whole (Sarkar & Pfeifer, 2006). In refuting holism, Hempel stated that scientific means are much more provable -- and therefore, valid -- than metaphysical means. He disagreed with holism, and felt that it was not able to be proven, so it could not be true for him or for society overall.

While this was a common way of thinking in his day and is still often seen as a common way of thinking in the scientific community, it is not enough of an argument against the beliefs of others. Hempel's response is not adequate, because it is often impossible to discount things just because one cannot prove them. If that were true, religious people everywhere would be forced to discount the existence of the God they believe in. While it is true that the existence of God cannot be scientifically proven, it also cannot be scientifically unproven. That is the realm in which Hempel makes his mistake. Because science has shown him one thing, he discounts anything else. Keeping an open mind is not something he appears to be interested in -- even going so far as to quibble over what the work he is involved with is called so the name does not sound too 'metaphysical' (Sarkar & Pfeifer, 2006).

When Hempel was doing his work, there were strong and strict divides between the scientific and the metaphysical, with a lot of people insisting that a person could have no interest in both. The groups of that day were divided… [read more]

Thomas Hobbes and Aristotle Thoughts on Moral Values and Government Essay

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¶ … philosophies of Aristotle and Thomas Hobbes concerning moral virtue and the role of government in the fostering of virtue in society. Aristotle and Hobbes differ considerably in their views on the nature of virtue and its applications. They also differ in how men should relate to one another in governed society. Fundamentally, their differences are based on perception.… [read more]

Dr. King's Letter From Birmingham Jail Term Paper

Term Paper  |  3 pages (991 words)
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Dr. King's Letter from Birmingham Jail

During his extraordinary career, Martin Luther King addressed not only the needs of his negro audience, but also communicated effectively with his opposition in order to make his message of equality and tolerance even more effective. Furthermore, his iconic strategy of non-violent protest created a platform of effectiveness that would not otherwise have been possible. In his "Letter From Birmingham Jail," he uses this platform to argue against his opponents, a group of eight clergymen who considered his non-violent protests in appropriate in the context of a "peaceful" city. Dr. King's letter is also effective in terms of acknowledging the viewpoints advanced by the clergymen and attempting to respond to each on the terms they were delivered to him. Martin Luther's rhetorical power, then, lies in his ability to identify with his audience, acknowledge the opposing viewpoint, and in responding to these viewpoints in a rational and logical manner.

Dr. King's letter opens with a paragraph that acknowledges the position of his opponents. Rather than placing himself in a directly opposing position to them, he professes a sense of identification by referring to them as his "fellow clergymen." As such, the author uses the similarities between himself and his audience rather than their differences to start the communication process. By doing this, he provides a platform in which communication, rather than fighting, can take place.

It is from this introductory platform that Dr. King then structures his rhetoric in terms of the opposing arguments advanced by the clergymen. What makes this strategy powerful is that Martin Luther King does not directly oppose his critics. Instead, he carefully considers their arguments and replies by an equally carefully considered opposing argument.

In summary, Martin Luther King replies to his critics by making the strongest case possible for his non-violent protests and the reasons behind these. He notes that the recognition of African-Americans as part of a sociological structure that is primarily equal among the races is not only sociologically viable and morally required, but also religiously sound. Indeed, he spends a large portion of his writing in providing religious grounds for his arguments. Considering his audience, this is perhaps Dr. King's strongest rhetorical device.

When more specifically regarding the author's consideration of opposing viewpoints, it becomes clear that he names the opposing argument followed by a response. One notable example of this is the claim that Dr. King and his followers are "outsiders coming in." To this, Dr. King replies that his presence in Birmingham is the result of an invitation from his peers. Since he was invited, his presence cannot be considered that of an outsider.

Another interesting example is the claim that Dr. King's protests, although peaceful, instigate violence. This claim solicits a rhetorically rich response; Dr. King begins a series of parallels by starting each sentence with the phrase "Isn't this…" by posing these as questions, the author solicits critical thinking. Again, this is a clever use of…… [read more]

Plato vs. Aristotle Research Proposal

Research Proposal  |  7 pages (2,194 words)
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Plato vs. Aristotle

It is safe to say that Plato and Aristotle are some of the philosophers who played a fundamental part in influencing modern thought in the western society. The purpose of the present paper is to analyze the differences which exist between the two thinking systems belonging to the philosophers mentioned above. Let us take a look at… [read more]

Philosophy of Misleading the Art Research Proposal

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Bibliography Sources: 1+


¶ … Philosophy of Misleading

The art of Misleading has evolved from the art of rhetoric, to the philosophy of misleading in large part as a result of contemporary society's theological and political perceptions that have, today, created a deep canyon between the liberal right and the conservative left. This canyon is deepened by advertising media and news media, like Fox and CNN, which are blatantly politically aligned, and which reiterates the misleading political rhetoric to create a false party philosophy because there really are no lines of distinction between the political right and left.

The current debate on healthcare in America is one example of turning the art of rhetoric into the philosophy of misleading. Both sides play on the Aristotelian philosophy that:

"The excellence of body is health, and that in such a way that those using their bodies are free from disease -- many men are healthy (as Herodicus is said to have been) whom none would call happy for their health, because of their abstinence from either all or most human activities (Aristotle, Lance-Tancred, 1991, p. 89)."

While the politicians and their aligned media supporters attempt to discredit one another, they all mislead the public. They cite the same issues -- preexisting conditions is a favorite -- but they do not mention the key words "managed care," which is built on a philosophy that less is better (Birenbaum, 1997, p. 13). Both sides fail to mention the role of managed care, which is built into President Barack Obama's proposal for healthcare reform, and which has an underlying corporate profit agenda (Birenbaum, 2002, p. 37). While President Obama chastises insurance companies and big business for excessive corporate bonuses, his plan would in fact further enrich healthcare insurance companies by requiring people to purchase healthcare plans, thereby increasing the profitability of those insurance companies, which already have earned billions in profit since the takeover of the industry by managed care.

Instead of mentioning managed care, the political leaders, and their news media supporters, instead present "preexisting illness" as the nemesis of access to quality healthcare. While that is indeed perhaps the nemesis of people who have gone uninsured or have experienced a gap in coverage, it is not what prevents people who are insured from accessing quality care and services: it is managed care, because it oversees the benefits of group plans, denying coverage based on diagnostic outcomes (Birenbaum, 1997, p. 13). People who are uninsured, if they are required to buy health coverage under Obama's plan would still be denied access to services based on diagnostic outcomes. Therefore, it is misleading, and deliberately so, to infer that Obama's plan would allow people to choose their healthcare providers, because they would have that choice only so far as the managed care plan provided them select providers to choose from; and preexisting conditions are null and void to people with health insurance under the Health Insurance Privacy and Portability Act (HIPPA). Portability protects insured people from preexisting exclusions, and… [read more]

Postmodern Rhetoric Essay

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Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 3



Postmodern Rhetoric

Postmodern Rhetoric and "An Inconvenient Truth"

Carl Burgchardt, among others, refer to the extended perception of postmodern rhetorical criticism and the view that deconstructive and postmodern critical discourse includes cultural artifacts other than the written word; such as popular culture and the cinema. The substratum of ideological metanarratives that constitute and validate cultural norms and perceptions in… [read more]

Secular Humanism Research Proposal

Research Proposal  |  75 pages (20,795 words)
Bibliography Sources: 25


Secular Humanism

The rise and influence of Secular Humanism in the 20th century


Brief Overview of the Antecedents of Secular Humanism

The Enlightenment and Renaissance

Political and Economic Factors

The Modern Era

Historical aspects; The Formalism of Secular Humanism

The Role of Science

Secularization in the West

Influential Thinkers

Secular Humanism in the Twentieth Century and its Crisis

The… [read more]

Modern Rhetoric Essay

Essay  |  2 pages (892 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1


¶ … Hate Begets Hate," http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/05/opinion/05tue2.html

A piece of writing cannot be rhetorically analyzed in isolation but must be considered within the context in which it was written. This editorial is an excellent example of well-timed rhetoric in that it meets the criterion of exigency. The topic -- currently proposed legislation in Uganda that would impose the death sentence for homosexuality -- is of immediate concern since international criticism may be able to derail the proposed law.

I believe that the editorial writers have properly gauged the nature of their audience in that they have correctly assessed both the emotional and psychological make-up of their readers, who are likely to be both liberal (and so agree with the editorial's criticism of the abridgement of the civil rights of gays) and politically engaged, which means that they are likely to be interested in the ways in which public policy is constructed. The fact that there is an American political angle to the issue is likely also to be of concern to the Times' audience. The editorial argues that "the American government, and others, should make clear to Uganda that if this legislation becomes law, it will lose millions of dollars in foreign aid and be shunned globally." Such an exhortation provides the readers with an action that they can take, which is to urge their own political leaders to intercede.

The editorial faces the constraints of any newspaper editorial. The chief of these constraints is the brevity of editorials. The writers have done a fine job of navigating such limitations by being highly economical with their words. For example, in describing the complicity of American evangelical leaders in this proposed law, they note that the men's teachings "about "curing" gays and lesbians have been widely discredited in the United States" as they have "claimed that gays and lesbians are a threat to Bible-based family values." These few words convey an accurate sense to the reader of the beliefs of the Americans who have traveled to Uganda to preach.

I believe that this editorial does achieve the kairotic moment in that it meets the needs of its intended audience at a particular moment in time.

Analysis of President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech

I believe that President Obama's acceptance speech demonstrates many of the rhetorical devices that we have been studying. It fulfills both of Bitzer's comments about audience and situation, as can be seen in these lines: "Still, we are at war, and I am responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land. Some will kill. Some will be killed." Obama's being awarded the peace prize while (as he…… [read more]

How Does Political Philosophy Identify the Good Regime? Essay

Essay  |  5 pages (1,989 words)
Bibliography Sources: 5


¶ … intended for use as a rough guide or outline. Hopefully it helps in your studies.

Defining a Good Regime

Early Philosophers

Early philosophers like Aristotle and Plato each characterized their versions of ideal government and governance in their own words in works such as Ethics and Meno. Their ideals were formed through a close critical examination of what… [read more]

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