"Philosophy / Logic / Reason" Essays

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Comparative Analysis Through Dialogue Between Plato and Confucius Term Paper

Term Paper  |  12 pages (3,775 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 3


Email me any questions comments or concerns or corrections
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ID: 76374
Paper Type:
Pages: 12
Topic: comparative analysis through dialogue between Plato and Confucius
Citation Style: MLA
Bibliography: 3
Due: 2007-05-01 16:00:00
Worth: $96.00

Info: The guide-lines will be faxed tommorrow 4/24/07, at least 3… [read more]

Literature of the American Renaissance Term Paper

Term Paper  |  6 pages (1,732 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 3



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

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

Kant's Critique of Judgement Term Paper

Term Paper  |  5 pages (1,582 words)
Bibliography Sources: 2


Kant's Philosophy

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

Descartes and Doubt Term Paper

Term Paper  |  4 pages (1,431 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 3


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

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

Republic Teaching Has Undergone Considerable Changes Term Paper

Term Paper  |  4 pages (1,362 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


¶ … Republic

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

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

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

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

Idealism Is a Philosophy Term Paper

Term Paper  |  8 pages (2,702 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


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

Philosophy of Education Fusing Humanistic and Progressive Term Paper

Term Paper  |  4 pages (1,112 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


Philosophy of Education

Fusing Humanistic and Progressive Philosophies in the Practice of Education

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

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

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

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

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

Plato Phaedo Term Paper

Term Paper  |  6 pages (2,134 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


Plato: Phaedo

The Socratic Method

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

Skepticism in Philosophy: Descartes, Chisholm Term Paper

Term Paper  |  5 pages (1,513 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


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

Works Cited

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

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

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

Compare Dualistic and Monotheistic Concepts Term Paper

Term Paper  |  4 pages (1,166 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


¶ … Monotheism and Dualism

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

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

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

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

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

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

Educational Philosophies Pragmatism Emerged Term Paper

Term Paper  |  2 pages (695 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


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


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


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

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

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

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

Term Paper  |  2 pages (732 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


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

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

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

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

Plato's Socrates Term Paper

Term Paper  |  3 pages (964 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1


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

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

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

Kant's First Analogy: The Permanence Thesis

Thesis  |  3 pages (1,078 words)
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However, although this postulate of Kant that things do not change, even though our perceptions change suggests that radical empiricism is in error, it also is a challenge to pure rationalism, or the ideal that the human mind can know everything, simply through logic. Clearly, because our perceptual abilities can be in error, human minds cannot fully know the world at all times, because human perceptions can be affected by context, imperfect information, and subjective biases. But this does not mean our sense-experience must be regarded as purely illusory, either. We must not confuse our shock at our misperceptions of the girl's sudden maturity, or the teacher's sudden change in status with a change in the actual substance of the things themselves.

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

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

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

Aristotle's Rhetoric Term Paper

Term Paper  |  10 pages (4,276 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


Aristotle's Rhetorical Theory

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

Moral Philosophy Ethical Theories Term Paper

Term Paper  |  7 pages (2,222 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


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

Philosophy and the Existence of God Does Term Paper

Term Paper  |  9 pages (2,803 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


Aquinas and Kant

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

Philosophy Take Home Exam Selection Term Paper

Term Paper  |  7 pages (2,144 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


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

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

Question 6

What is the purpose of philosophy in a liberal education?

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

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

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

Science Philosophy Inherent Term Paper

Term Paper  |  5 pages (2,096 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


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

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

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

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

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

Philosophy: Empiricism Term Paper

Term Paper  |  6 pages (1,825 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Books, 1988.

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

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

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

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

Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2004. 28 Nov. 2004


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

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

Jean Jacques Rousseau and Karl Term Paper

Term Paper  |  4 pages (1,160 words)
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.. right the natural equality among men. It is this celestial voice that dictates the precepts of public reason to every citizen, and teaches him to act in conformity with the maxims of his own judgment,"(Rousseau, Jean Jacques Basic political writings, p.191)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zeno's Paradoxes and Empiricism Term Paper

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" (Anderson)

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


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

Works Cited

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

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

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

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

Descartes Discourse on Method Term Paper

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¶ … Descartes' Discourse on Methods

Contributions of Rene Descartes' works to the history of philosophy

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

Descartes' background

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

Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz Term Paper

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

Philosophy 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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

Civil Rights and MLK Essay

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¶ … MLK's Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s letter from a Birmingham jail is written to his "fellow clergymen" and is meant to serve as a rebuttal to their charges that his protests, which have landed him in jail, are "unwise and untimely" (King, Jr.). The actions that King's confreres deem as unwise are his protests… [read more]

Philosophy of Universe and Its Origins Term Paper

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¶ … Universe

The debate on how the universe was formed has been ongoing for a long time as seen in historical records. The explanation rested on two schools of thoughts, namely the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic religions as well as early traditions. This can be seen from the example of Bishop Usher who calculated the beginning of the universe… [read more]

Hypothetical Scenario: The Creation Essay

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Descartes' skepticism is radical to the point that he suggests all other beings in the world might be products of our altered, unstable consciousness. This includes the scientists that created the "sensory bar" as well as the sensory bar itself. Radical skepticism suggests that the entire exterior world is in doubt. The only possible solution to this uncertainty is the concept of "I think, therefore I am," namely Descartes' contention that there must be some being doing the thinking. The only scientific data Descartes considers to be valuable is what can be determined through logical reasoning and analysis, such as mathematics, versus empirical sciences such as biology (which requires taking in data through the senses) or even engineering (which is the mode of scientific study which produced the "energy bar") "So it seems reasonable to conclude that physics, astronomy, medicine, and all other sciences dealing with things that have complex structures are doubtful; while arithmetic, geometry and other studies of the simplest and most genera" (Descartes 2). Geometry proceeds from a system of logical proofs and requires no validation in the external world unlike medicine which can only really be tested using our imperfect senses.

Descartes, for the purpose of his essay even doubts the existence of God, hypothetically suggesting that his notion of a benign, omnipotent being who is good might be in error and all the world is merely the product of a delusion-generating demon. "I shall think that the sky, the air, the earth, colours, shapes, sounds and all external things are merely dreams that the demon has contrived as traps for my judgment. I shall consider myself as having no hands or eyes, or flesh, or blood or senses, but as having falsely believed that I had all these things" (Descartes 3). If God himself can be doubted, then a mechanical creation such as the sensory bar can also be in doubt. The scientists or the bar could be products of the delusional demon or the scientists themselves that create the bar could be demons.

The only way out of the trap of radical skepticism, in Descartes' reckoning, is not better empirical data (which the sensory bar provides) but a more rational and scrupulous way of regarding the world. This is why at the end of the First Meditation he embarks upon a more rigorous program of study of the rationale behind his consciousness, rather than seeks to better validate the existence of the material world through stronger empirical data. The designers of the sensory bar have a completely different perspective on the world than Descartes, who views validation with the mind as the only true test that something is real.

Work Cited

Descartes, R. Meditations on First Philosophy. Web.…… [read more]


Essay  |  5 pages (1,576 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 6


It is evident, from the discussion above, that Aristotle believes that something has to be brought into existence by another thing that is already in existence. To this end, Aristotle holds that "the occurrence of change presupposes a previous process of change," and for this reason, the universe must have been brought to existence by the action of an already-existent unmoved mover (Bodnar). The universe's constant motion or change is responsible for the changes observed in the features contained in it. The features of the universe are, therefore, dependent on "the eternal revolution of the heavenly spheres, which in turn is dependent on one or several unmoved movers" (Bodnar). To this end, the universe's features, including the moon, the planets, the sun, the stars, water, air, and fire are in constant motion, not because of their own processes, but because of the processes of the universe, of which they are part. Aristotle's concept of change establishes a causal relationship between objects, and is in this regard highly identical to Plato's theory of forms.

Works Cited

Banach, David. "Some Main Points of Aristotle's Thought." St. Anselm College, 2006. Web. 15 June 2014 http://www.anselm.edu/homepage/dbanach/arist.htm

Barnes, Jonathan. Aristotle. Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press, 1996. Print.

Bodnar, Istvan. "Aristotle's Natural Philosophy." Stanford University Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford University, 2013. Web. 15 June 2014 http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-natphil/

Lloyd, G.E.R. Early Greek Science: Thales to Aristotle. London: Chatto & Windus, 1970. Print.

Plosin.com. " Plato and Platonism." Plosin.com, n.d. Web. 15 June 2014 http://www.plosin.com/work/PlatoPlatonism.html

Zeyl, Donald, L. Timaeus. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company, 2000. Print.

Zeyl, Donald. "Plato's Timaeus." Stanford University Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford University, 2013. Web. 15 June 2014 http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/plato-timaeus/… [read more]

Enlightenment Worldview of Cathcart and Klein Essay

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Here is where they tell one of their funnier jokes, which is actually quite relevant in ways that they do not spell out:

A man stumbles into a deep well and plummets a hundred feet before grasping a spindly root, stopping his fall. His grip grows weaker and weaker, and in his desperation he cries out "Is there anybody up… [read more]

Life After Death: Philosophy, Science, and Belief Research Paper

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If anything these processes are heightened: thinking is vivid, hearing is sharp; and vision can extend to 360 degrees. [They] claim that without physical bodies, they are able to penetrate walls and doors and project themselves wherever they want. They frequently report the ability to read people's thoughts. The out of body experience is quite important from a scientific point-of-view because it is the only feature of the near-death experience that can be independently corroborated. (162-3)

Indeed in the twenty first century, this method of asserting life after death has become most popular, with best-sellers in the past four years focusing on a small child (Todd Burpo's Heaven is for Real) and a brain surgeon (Eben Alexander's Proof of Heaven) who had near-death experiences revealing an afterlife. The difficulty with crediting these accounts too much is that they sound like the standard imagery that has used by artists who did not have near-death experiences, which suggests that either the experiences were colored by artistic representation, or else that the artists were actually visualizing life after death when painting the Sistine Chapel. Todd Burpo reports his young child saying "Everyone kind of looks like angels in heaven, Dad" (Burpo 2010, 73). Alexander reports much more elaborate visions: "Pitch black as it was, it was also brimming over with light: a light that seemed to come from a brilliant orb that I now sensed near me. An orb that was living and almost solid, as the songs of the angel beings had been" (Alexander 2012, 47). But overall these do not constitute the kind of proof that we are looking for -- what they perhaps prove best is that the notion of dying with nothing on the other side is simply not a tenable belief system for most human beings.


Alexander, E. (2012). Proof of heaven: A neurosurgeon's journey into the afterlife. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Beauregard, M. (2012). Brain wars: The scientific battle over the existence of the mind and the proof that will change the way we live our lives. New York: HarperOne.

Beauregard, M and O'Leary, D. (2007). The spiritual brain: A neuroscientist's case for the existence of the soul. New York: HarperOne.

Burpo, T. And Vincent, L. (2010) Heaven is for real: A little boy's astounding story of his trip to Heaven and back. New York: Thomas Nelson.

Lodge, O. (1916). Raymond, or Life and…… [read more]

Review Africa and the Anthropologist Essay

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" (Bernal, 1996, p. 87) Bernal goes on to claim that the use of images of ancient Greek in the work of Lefkowitz is used "for their own political agenda." (1996, p. 87) Bernal states that while Lefkowitz claimed that Diodoros lacked specific information, if Lefkowitz had been more thorough in her research she would have known that Diodoros "specified that Solon had adopted an Egyptian law according to which everybody had to declare the source of their income." (Bernal, 1996, p. 87-8) According to Bernal, Diodoros in 1.79.3. made the specification of "yet another Solonic law supposed to be derived from Egypt, his famous 'seisachatheia' or 'shaking off of debts' according to which a man could not be imprisoned or enslaved for debt." (Bernal, 1996, p. 88) Lefkowitz is reported to be eager to separate Egypt from Greek and to use the knowledge she possesses to "intimidate the Africentrists." (Bernal, 1996, p. 88) Lefkowitz is reported to know very little about linguistics although she does know about languages and additionally, Lefkowitz does not possess knowledge concerning the Greece and Egyptian relations writing that upon being able to read Egyptian works in writing that it was realized that they had little relationship with the Egyptian culture. According to Berlan, Lefkowitz is absolutely in error in her dismissal of Afrocentric claims "as absurd." (1996, p. 90)

Summary and Conclusion

It is clear that there are differing opinions on the historical origins of certain knowledge in Africa and specifically Egypt and it is also clear that both Lefkowitz and Bernal make valid points on the derivation of knowledge. However, with all facts considered Lefkowitz does appear as noted by Bernal to have used the information to make her own point and has failed to consider the evidence in its totality.


Bernal, Martin. (1996) The Afrocentric Interpretation of History: Bernal Replies to Lefkowitz. u

Eze, Emmanuel C. (2002) The colour of reason: The idea of Race in Kant's anthropology

Irele, Abiola F. 2002. Negritude: Literature and Ideology…… [read more]

Euthyphro, Socrates Questions Term Paper

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Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 6


Although ostensibly a dialogue about piety, Socrates' real obsession throughout the Euthyphro seems to be justice. Euthyphro feels as if he is behaving justly because he is following dictates in a 'cookie cutter' like fashion, doing what society says the gods desires. Yet if we do not know what is pious and what the gods want, how can we know what is just? The dialogue leaves this an open question.

Q6. Exemplify the uses of the Socratic Method -- the elenchus -- and clarify the way in which this method is useful in education.

On a very basic level, in a lecture hall the use of elenchus can establish what the student knows and what the student does not know. 'Cold calling' a student in the middle of a lecture hall is an obvious example of this practice. A teacher may ask a student about the reading the student was supposed to do or the concept the student was supposed to master. However, elenchus also has a deeper and more meaningful purpose, in terms of the way it can question conventional truths. By being forced to justify why the speaker believes a certain tenant, the speaker must put into words something he or she was never forced to articulate before.

In the case of Euthyphro, the young man is forced to explain why he believes that treating everyone in the same, regardless of whether he is related to the person or not, is a good thing. This questioning also forces him to try to explain why he believes in the existence of the gods and the goodness of the gods. In a modern-day classroom, a student might be forced to explain why he or she believes America is the home of the free and the brave. Are not other countries free, for example?

Elenchus is useful in classroom debate as way to make a speaker 'fall on his own sword' as a rhetorical strategy. "With respect to interrogation (elenchus), one should make ample use of it when one's interlocutor has replied in such a way that by merely eliciting from him one more answer, he stands convicted of absurdity" (Navia 148-149). Even though a teacher should not humiliate a student, allowing the student to understand his argument's foibles vs. telling a student what to think in a didactic manner is a much more useful way to change a student's mind, rather than merely make the student resent the authority of the teacher.

Work Cited

Navia, Louis E. Socrates: A…… [read more]

Descartes Rationalism and Me Essay

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Descartes Rationalism

A Rationalist is a person who believes that ideas and thinking is a path to knowledge. Descartes who was the philosopher of early modern period is famous as rationalist due to his concept of "rationalism." Rationalism is a concept or a belief that we can have knowledge without experiencing the real world. An opposing belief or a rejection to rationalism is "empiricism" which gives the idea that knowledge and ideas are based on the real world.

According to Descartes concept of rationalism, there are different ways through which we gain our concepts and knowledge without actually experiencing anything. He did not support empiricism concept that considers our mind to be a blank state for the influx or incursion of sense experience. It was evident that Descartes favors rationalism when he presented his Meditations model and rejected all the knowledge that is gained from experience. He believed "it is the clear and distinct ideas and not the sensation which provide the ultimate foundations of knowledge" (Pereboom 8).

Descartes theory seems interesting to me because he gave an idea that we can know anything just by thinking about it and without leaving the chair or performing any action. He proved his argument of rationalism by saying his claim 'cogito ergo sum' which means "I think, therefore I am." In the same way, he explained the existence of God that because he can think about God so God exist. His idea seems correct to me to some extent and I agree that there are several things that we perceive, imagine, think and understand without really doing or experiencing. For instance, if someone tells me about a road accident so I can imagine although I was not present at the exact location. Similarly I can imagine, think or plan whatever I want without leaving my place.

However, this does not mean that knowledge gained from experiences and observations can be denied. In fact I believe that we learn a lot from our observations and experiences. This idea can be further understood by considering a simple example of two identical twins brothers. If both are equally sharp and intelligent but brought up in different environments then there thinking and way of perceiving things will be different. This is due to the reason that both have experienced and observed different situations in life which has affected their level of thinking. If I agree to the Descartes idea of rationalism then why two brothers think in a different way when they are identical twins. This shows that the experience and observations is also a path of knowledge and we learn a lot from what we suffer in our life.

I do not agree with Descartes idea of rejecting all knowledge that is gained from experience. Indeed, I strongly believe that the knowledge that is gained from experiences cannot be learned by just sitting and imagining things. There are several cases in which it was observed that a less educated but experienced person is found to… [read more]

Aristotle Today Essay

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¶ … Body and/or its Senses in Intellectual Life.

Aristotle today

When we consider the broader range of purposes that are associated to intellectual life in different places and time, such as collective consciousness, understanding of oneself, overcoming prejudice, cosmopolitan rationality, deepening oneself, component of political or social practice, cultivating an inner life, reproducing tradition, casting off tradition, investing in… [read more]

Jean Jacques Rousseau: An Interesting Research Paper

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"Now, so that no stranger may ever a who, arming himself with our weapons, shall charge us with want of attention to such an important matter, I have thought it good to reveal those probabilities which might render this plausible, given that the earth moves" (Galilei 2).

I think Galilei's argument has this form:

(1) Because all experiments on earth adapt to its motion or lack thereof, there is no way of proving the earth is at rest.

(2) Bodies in the sky will be examined using Copernicus' theorem to demonstrate that there is motion that must be attributed to the earth's movement.

(3) Therefore, due to the fact that Copernicus's system shows heavenly movement and the there is no way of proving that the earth is motionless, the earth must move. This argument uses disjunctive syllogism logic, wherein there are only two possible outcomes -- either the earth moves or it does not. Since the earth cannot be proven to be motionless, under Copernicus' system it appears to be moving.

I have the following objection to this argument:

Just because it is not possible to demonstrate whether or not the earth moves by performing tests on it, does not mean that it is impossible for the earth to be motionless. It merely means that it is not possible to gauge so by conducting experiments on earth. Still, Galileo is right that the earth does move, but this logic is not as convincing as it could be.


Galilei, G. (1632). Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. www.dropboxusercontent.com. Retrieved from https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10224324/Pepperdine/HUM%20313/Readings/Syllabus%20Readings/Galileo%20-%20Dialogue%20Concerning%20Two%20Chief%20World%20Systems.pdf

Rousseau, J.J. (I can't find the date). Jean Jacques Rousseau: An Interesting Madman. www.dropboxusercontent.com Retrieved from https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10224324/Pepperdine/HUM%20313/Readings/Syllabus%20Readings/Johnson%2C%20Paul%20-%20Intellectuals%20-%20Rousseau.pdf… [read more]

Philosophy of Science, Paradigm, Epistemology Essay

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Instead of science developing in a linear fashion in a quest for ' truth,' Kuhn saw scientific developments as a series of ideological changes, in which there was a radical break with the past when the scientific community as a whole was willing to change long-standing approaches to generating knowledge. Kuhn saw scientists as engaged in a constant negotiation "consisting of their views of the nature of the reality they study (their ontology), including the components that make it up and how they are related; the techniques that are appropriate for investigating this reality (their epistemology); and accepted examples of past scientific achievements (exemplars)" (Lewis-Beck, Bryman, & Futing 2004).

Previously, the philosophy science was viewed primarily through a positivist framework: "in a positivist view of the world, science was seen as the way to get at truth, to understand the world well enough so that we might predict and control it" (Trochim 2006). (This is what Popper meant when he said that if a claim could not be proven false, it could not be proven true, either). Kuhn took what came to be known as a post-positivist view, suggesting that science could be affected by history and a willingness of people (who happened to be scientists) to change: "Post-positivists reject the idea that any individual can see the world perfectly as it really is" (Trochim 2006).

The question of epistemology, or how knowledge can be established, is quite critical to science, given that modern science often attempts to answer questions about the physical world in a manner that can have a demonstrable material impact upon human lives: for example the conditions for demonstrating that… [read more]

Film Blade Runner in Connection With Descartes Meditations on First Philosophy Essay

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Blade Runner and Descartes' Meditations

Some comparisons can be made between Blade Runner and Descartes' Meditations. This paper will show how certain scenes link up to Descartes' Meditations, which deal with the problem of knowing oneself, knowing reality, and knowing that God and truth exists.

"How can it not know what it is?" asks Decker when Tyrell confirms for him… [read more]

Friedrich Nietzsche Essay

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Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844 -- 1900) was a German philosopher and classical philologist. He had criticized nihilism in Europe, Christianity and challenged the contemporary philosophical concepts on morality/ethics, politics, culture and science. He is poetic in his arguments, adroitly using metaphors and aphorism. His contributions are immense on the future sciences of psychology, sociology, political… [read more]

Is Kant's Moral Theories Align With Today's 21st Century Individualism? Essay

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Bibliography Sources: 3


Kant and the 21st Century

Everything changes. There is no denying this constant truth in life. In fact, this is especially true for humanity. We change as individuals in terms of individual, personal development. We also change collectively as a society and culture, integrating new cultures and ideas as these are presented to us and made worthy of our time and attention. These changes are driven by a variety of external and internal factors. The question is whether the philosophies constructed during the 18th century can be applicable to the individualism experienced within society during the 21st century. To investigate this, Emmanuel Kant's moral philosophy can be investigated. While it may seem somewhat ambitious to apply an 18th century philosopher's ideas and ideals to the contemporary world, one might gain valuable insights from such an effort. The first and central question is then: Can the "empty self" cultivated in the decades after World War II and the self-actualization focus and drive of today fit into Kant's world, and vice versa? Kant acknowledges a collective morality. Today's worlds, however, is far more individualistic thank Kant may have ever acknowledged. On the strength of this, one might argue that Kant's philosophy is no longer applicable to the world of separate individuals we know today, unless his views are significantly modified to adhere to individuals and their choices.

Cushman (1990, p.599) argues that external influences, such as culture, the economy, and politics, have a far more prominent impact on the development of the self-concept held by individualism than may be supposed by those who would decontextualize this ideal. In this, for Cushman, individuality is also culturally driven, where each particular culture has a common understanding of how to "be human." By this argument, Cushman (1990, p. 599) makes the claim that there cannot be any universal theory about a common human self. Instead, there are several concepts of self, all of which are driven by external local factors, including the ethnicity within which one is born and lives.

In terms of Kant's theory then, one might cite this as one of the difficulties in terms of application. In his theory of morality, for example, Kant appears to make no distinction between or allowance for cultural individualities. Instead, his idea of individual choice and autonomy appears to be grounded in an assumption of a humanity that is far more uniform than the one we are experiencing today (Johnson, 2012).

Kant's idea of the "good will" can be cited as a case in point, for example. The philosopher assumes that the idea of "the moral good" is universal (Johnson, 2012). In other words, "good will," for Kant, means that the individual will choose to do only what is "morally worthy," which in turn is the reason for making such choices. For Kant, the moral worthiness of actions and using such morality as the ultimate goal of decision-making is a universal value system that is highly prized by all human beings (Johnson, 2012).

If one were… [read more]

Ancient Greek History Essay

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History provides us with insight on how cultures of the past operated and understood their existence and way of life. During the peak of Greek civilization, many new developments occurred that set apart this culture from others. One such development that played a significant role in their identity was the way the Greeks settled their disputes through warfare. The Greek's distinct contributions to warfare and international relations reflects not only the way these people lived but also expressed how they thought and treated each other revealing much about the civilization in general.

Ancient Greece was often balkanized and internally conflicted throughout its lifetime. Disputes often arose and rules were set into place, and followed, in order to create some sense of rationality and professionalism to the idea of warfare, much different than what the world has seen over the past century. In order to understand how their warfare practices played out, it is necessary to examine both the Greek's rules on war and the technology and tactics it used to fulfill these principles.

Greeks distinguished internal conflicts and external conflicts within its loosely arranged boundaries suggesting a sense of family and understanding that this group was different than the rest of the world.[footnoteRef:1] for these internal fights, certain rules applied that included: war be declared before actually fighting begins, returning and respecting dead combatants to their region of origin, strict obeying of not harming non-combatants, torture was disallowed and battlegrounds were selected upon their non-intrusiveness. [1: Michael, Sage, Warfare in Ancient Greece (London, Routledge, 1996) 12.]

Besides these rules of laws, the hoplite soldier and the phalanx style of war also distinguishes this civilization from others. Hoplite warfare saw Greek soldiers form large boxes of soldiers, armed with long spears and giant shields. This moveable block was then crashed into other phalanxes and fighting ensued. While appearing arcane and limited by today's standards, this was an effective and preferred way of fighting for these people.

Question 2

The Greeks developed city-states, also known as a polis to define their way of life and to express their culture to a proficient degree. These city-states were often small but retained a real sense of self-determination and independence. The polis was organized and managed by often rich and powerful families that passed down from generation to generation.[footnoteRef:2] Even though this appeared as something less than a democracy there were still democratic ideals installed within the polis. [2: Ibid, 33.]

Aristotle developed the idea of the polis as an effective and fair means of governance[footnoteRef:3]. [3: Leonidas Polopulus, Athens, Greece: A City State That Grew From Optimality in the Golden Era. University of Florida, Viewed 19 April 2013.]

Each polis was distinguished from one another as determined by the constituents of that region. The idea of independence played a significant role in the constitution of these city-states. The all male congress that comprised of the leadership of these city-states provided many features to its people not seen in other cultures up to this point… [read more]

Knowledge and Assumptions Research Paper

Research Paper  |  2 pages (755 words)
Style: MLA  |  Bibliography Sources: 4


Knowledge and Assumptions in Plato's Meno

Man's unquenchable thirst for knowledge has spurred our species' rapid ascendency within the physical realm, while guiding the refinement of our moral spectrum, but throughout history the role of assumption in shaping knowledge has been the subject of intense philosophical debate. Among the celebrated treatises on reason and logic known as the Dialogues of Plato, it is a relatively short discourse between Socrates and the sophist Meno which today stands as the most lasting monument to the ancient Greek tradition of pedagogically examining the true nature of knowledge. Plato's Meno is an artfully constructed depiction of an intensely logical dialectic between the sober and systematic master of the Socratic method, and his companion Meno, who claims to possess conclusive knowledge as to the definition of virtue (Rist). In systematically deconstructing Meno's preexisting views on the meaning of virtue, Socrates inspires Meno to postulate his famous paradox when the rhetorician asks "how will you aim to search for something you do not know at all?" (Grube). Socrates' own interpretation of this paradox holds "that a man cannot search either for what he knows or for what he does not know ... (as) He cannot search for what he knows -- since he knows it, there is no need to search -- nor for what he does not know, for he does not know what to look for" (Grube), and it is this singular observation, that knowledge is nothing but assumption extrapolated to form greater meaning, that has since captivated the minds of philosophy's greatest thinkers.

The paradox illuminated in Plato's Meno provides the basis for the study of epistemology, which concerns the differences between a priori knowledge, or that which is learned through the faculty for reason, and a posteriori knowledge, or that which is known through experience (Ichikawa & Steup). A primary objective of epistemology is to identify the source of a posteriori knowledge, as Plato seeks to do during his dialogue with Meno, and later the geometry examination directed toward Meno's ostensibly ignorant slave (Gulley). Plato attempts to answer the fundamental question of how one may know a thing one has not yet learned, a conundrum which would consume the thoughts of future epistemologists such as Rene Descarte. While Socrates…… [read more]

Plato, Mencius, and Hsun Tzu on Human Term Paper

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Plato, Mencius, And Hsun Tzu on Human Nature

Reading Response

Human beings have been faced with many challenges like war, power, and crime. These challenges have caused problems for mankind and caused hatred. The three philosophers Plato, Mencius, and Hsun Tzu have different views in regards to human beings, but they all agree that human beings need to be taught,… [read more]

Descartes -- Discourse Essay

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Descartes begins with the presumption that everyone is in possession of good sense, which he determines is the ability to differentiate fiction from truth. With this inherent capability, when people go awry in their thinking, Descartes assumed that they had allowed their thought to misconstrue ideas and thoughts that should have led them to the truth. Moreover, Descartes believed that with his unclouded mind -- presumably made all the more acute in nature -- and the natural light that was the inheritance of all people, his resolute thinking would lead him to truthful thoughts. Indeed, Descartes took a more rigorous approach to reasoning than did the Aristotelians -- he began by doubting everything that he was unable to deduce through pure reason.

Descartes' reasoning developed to the point where he asserted "Cogito Ergo Sum," and he coupled this conclusion with the idea that God was permitting him to conceptualize the heavens. This was a powerful idea. If God was allowing Descartes to think about heaven and the existence of God, then surely Descartes could have confidence in his capacity to reason and to draw conclusions about his own theories. Descartes could be free from doubts about his reasoning because his capacity for thought came from God, a perfect being.


Descartes reasoning seemed to circle back on itself. Descartes argued that God placed all of Descartes thoughts in his head -- that is, the thoughts that Descartes was having were dependent on God's existence and his intention for Descartes -- both of which would exist perfectly, based as they were on the perfection of God. However, with Descartes as the imperfect "filter" of all those God-given thoughts, his theories and conclusions were not reliable. The perfection -- if one needs to go there -- seemed to locate in the idea that Descartes' imperfection is part of God's plan. The extension seems to be that a creature intentionally created as imperfect is unlikely to be able to perfect reasoning. Moreover, with regard to trusting one's senses, I only have to think of how much more "perfectly" my dog is created with regard to sensing than I. Admittedly, I have an edge in the reasoning category, but I can reason myself into a corner, while my dog insists I should trust his ears and nose.


Bennett, J. (2007). Discourse on the method of rightly conducting one's reason and seeking the truth in the sciences: Rene Descartes. Unpublished thesis.

Clarke, Desmond (2006). Descartes: A biography. Cambridge, MA: University Press. Retrieved http://books.google.com/books?id=W3D9KGVyz6sC

Grayling, A.C. (2006). Descartes: The life of Rene Descartes and its place in his times. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.

Rodis-Lewis, Genevieve (1992). Descartes' life and the development of his philosophy. In Cottingham, John, The Cambridge Companion to Descartes. Cambridge, MA: University Press.

Sayre, H.M. (2011). The humanities: Culture, continuity and change (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.

SparkNotes Editors. (2005). SparkNote on Rene Descartes (1596 -- 1650). SparkNotes LLC. Retrieved http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/descartes/.

[Type text] [Type text] [Type text]… [read more]

Physicalism Term Paper

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An over reliance on sequence and development these ideas share stand opposed to Nagel's viewpoints on the emphasis of the mental processes involved in being. He also stands against intelligent design which is what the physical world literally is to those with firm belief structures rooted in the scientific method. Essentially, Nagle claims that only someone who is aware of their own mental states can have any use for the physical states, or, in other words, consciousness trumps matter. I certainly appreciate Nagel's views on philosophy but these arguments are hard piercing and lose value due to stubborn reluctance to circular reasoning and lack of real useful and helpful knowledge.

A more balanced critique on physicalism would lessen the importance of matter and suggest that cause can be nothing more than idea, which is purely mental. Sense is a physical illusion. The world that we see outside in the world is created by chemical-electrical impulses that somehow stimulate our brains producing a life experience presented to us as something we call reality.

We feel this reality within and without our entire body, in our emotions and in our soul, but it is physically an illusion of vibrations momentarily transforming into matter temporarily. But who takes ownership of these emotions? Who is enjoying the senses? Who is in control? This will to live could be many things but only its reflection can be seen in the physical world.

Ontology attempts to idealize being. Being, to me, is more than everything we can sense, it is everything we don't sense as well. It is this interplay between what we sense and what we don't sense that relegates the physical matter to no more than one-third of existence. The constant interplay of polarized ideas bouncing between our spaces and manifesting in physical existence symbolized by matter simultaneously being received as vibrations by our senses takes into account for more than just physical matter. Nagel's duality is out of proportion with my own. His dividing line rests between mind and matter and this is where I disagree with him. Mind and matter are the same thing, my dividing line rests between being and non-being. The only way to understand ontology is not be aware of it. Penetration beyond this threefold system of being, becoming, and non-being cannot occur. Physicalism remains rooted clearly in the realm of being where both Nagel and I agree appears misplaced, but only to that extent.

Ontological authority rests in many places if not everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Views such as physicalism appeal much to the current ways of human advancement seen in today's society and its products. Revealing society's faults simultaneously reveals the faulty ideals behind strictly physical representations of being and can be understood as such where incorporating more of the processes that lie behind materialization will result in a more balanced and hopefully positive philosophical…… [read more]

Free Will a Friend Essay

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Some of those things are, of course, external events. For example, I had no control over the fact that three other professors assigned essays due the same day as my philosophy essay. Other things over which human beings have no control are our desires and to some extent, our actions which are based on those desires. However, Frankfurt believes that some, but not all, of our actions are determined. Human beings can and often do act freely. Frankfurt would therefore say that I acted freely when I turned down my friend's offer to cheat without getting caught. I had the first order desire (get a good grade easily), and the second order desire (take that paper!).

Frankfurt would also say that I do deserve some praise for my action because I resisted temptation. As the neuroscientist Ramachandran would have put it, "I may not have free will, but I do have free won't'!" The case of the Potential Cheater also reflects the scientific experiments on free will that were conducted by Libet. Libet concluded, "This kind of role for free will is…in accord with religious and ethical strictures. These commonly advocate that you 'control yourself'. Most of the Ten Commandments are 'do not' orders," (p. 7). Therefore, the desire or temptation to cheat is a deterministic phenomenon. I cannot control the fact that I am hard-wired to want to cheat. However, I can control the actions that I make. In this case, I acted in accordance with the moral laws that I wish to emulate.

Part IV: Evaluation

The one main objection I have with d'Holbach's hard determinism is that it is too simple and narrow a view of the human experience. In fact, d "Holbach's view offers a narrow, restrictive, and unrealistic picture of the way the universe works. D "Holbach devised his theories a few centuries before Einstein and quantum physics existed. If he had developed his philosophy today, he would see that physicists have conceptualized a universe in which chaos is the reigning order. There are simply too many variables impacting life, and the human experience, for there to be a predetermined plan for everything. Hard determinism is like taking the easy way out. Like religion, hard determinism tries to give black-and-white answers to a world that is composed of many shades of gray.

In response d'Holbach would argue that I cannot actually prove that he is wrong. If I had cheated, then I would have been predetermined to do so. What we perceive of as a chaotic and complex universe is actually one that is simple. Whether or not we believe in a Creator God, d'Holbach would say that the laws of nature still imply a pattern and order to all things.

D'Holbach's response is actually a sound and sensible one. Even though chaos theory and the complexity of human behavior seem like plausible realities, perhaps our brains are hard-wired to believe that we have free will. It is actually possible that everything that is going… [read more]

Marx Hegel German Philosopher Essay

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" Religion prevents the human being from approaching truth via reason, because there are intermediary symbols. Philosophy, on the other hand, allows one to apprehend the truth in a more direct manner. However, both religion and philosophy can lead to understanding.

In the Preface to Kritik der Politischen Okonomie (A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy), Karl Marx outlines what would become a major paradigm shift. Marx presents a new vision of history, centered not on wars or religions but on economics. Economics is a social science. We know that now, but Marx was the first philosopher to really show this was the case. In the Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, Marx claims that economics is a determinant of all human social and political behavior, and economics also has a bearing on personal psychology. Why has Marx been demonized?

Marx's concept of alienated labor is central to the philosopher's worldview and political philosophy. According to Marx, the capitalist system alienates a human being from his or her own essence. Capitalism exploits labor, turning a person into a machine that produces things. The human being becomes alienated from himself or herself; from other people, and from society. Exploitative labor also alienates the person from the means of production, or the means by which to acquire not just wealth but also political power. If a human being has the power to produce something of value and reap the profits directly, then that person has become less alienated. The primary class of people who are alienated are the workers.

Private property is one of the ways people erect social and political barriers. The concept of private property fits in with the Marxist worldview, which is that economics determines psychology, sociology, and history. With private property, a person can own the means of production. Thus, the worker is cut off and alienated from the very thing he is producing. Only his or her labor has value because the property owner controls everything from the raw materials and the machinery, as well as the finished product. Private property therefore cuts off the wealthy from the laboring classes. How did Marx's views become distorted for use in communist regimes like Russia and Cuba?

Marx provided a critique of Hegel's phenomenology. Mainly Marx agrees with Hegel but he finds fault in that Hegel does not fully grasp the full impact of alienation. For Marx, Hegel also neglects to fully define his phenomenology. Marx outlines consciousness, mind, religion, and absolute knowledge as being the Hegelian concepts of phenomenology, and Marx disagrees with each of these. Are Marx's criticisms of Hegel valid?… [read more]

Machiavelli and Evil Essay

Essay  |  3 pages (1,076 words)
Bibliography Sources: 2


Machiavelli and Evil

The ideas of good and evil as polar opposites have been part of the human psyche since the first civilizations. Evil incarnate, like Good, is a system. It is at once part of human tradition and culture, and provides a way to explain certain events, as well as allow for there to be a side of temptation. Evil can be a distortion in moral and philosophical thought, something as tangible as the deeds a despot or simply a way to explain further genocide and the way humans can even conceive something so vast and horrible that the only possible way it could exist within the human psyche is for some outside force to hold control (Muchembled 2003).

For Renaissance political philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli, one of the consistent and pertinent paradigms surrounding humanity was our tendency toward evil. Despite this tendency, though, Machiavelli believes there is a dichotomy inherent - that the tendency towards evil actually produces well. "Let us enjoy the benefits of the time -- but rather the benefits of their own valor and prudence, for time drives everything before it, and is able to bring with it good as well as evil, and evil as well as good" (Machiavelli, p. 25). Indeed, when a ruler applies the principles of good and evil to the task of governing, the larger good of trust and loyalty may occur: "Because men, when they receive good from him of whom they were expecting evil, are bound more closely… and become more devoted" (Machiavelli 2007, p. 48).

The absence of evil, or the transcendent nature of the concept of moving from evil to good, is tied up in Machiavelli's version of virtue. Civic virtue is like integrity; military virtue is compliance to law; and religious virtue is the absence of evil -- all which have a moral component and yet remain confusing in terms of the good/evil debate: "It will be found that something which looks like virtue, if followed, would be his ruin; whilst something… which looks like vice, yet followed, brings him security and prosperity" (Machiavelli, p. 66).

Essentially, this seems to focus on the idea of strategy and the realities of power within society. If it is consistency of power that will bring stability to the State, and therefore offer good to the populace, then the leader must try for the good as long as possible, but when necessary, take evil in order to find a greater good (Machiavelli, pp. 63-5). This is the true central spirit of Machiavellianism -- do not pursue evil for the sake of evil, but when using evil is the only way to retain power, then good and evil are equal in that contest.

Power, or the ascension to ruling a State, requires the usurper to examine the details of the people surrounding him. "He who does otherwise, either from timidity or evil advice, is always compelled to keep the knife in his hand" (Machiavelli, p. 46). This ruler, now called a… [read more]

Philosophy in Book Term Paper

Term Paper  |  6 pages (1,849 words)
Bibliography Sources: 1+


Aristotle's argument is more appealing to Thrasymachus, Glaucon, and Adeimantus because the philosopher is less absolute. Plato/Socrates present convenient binaries. For Socrates, Justice is for "good and wise" people, and injustice is for "ignorant and bad" people (p. 90, 350e). The body and material realm are nothing compared with the realm of the soul. Math is superior to any pursuit such as crafts or even science; which Aristotle would also disagree with. For Plato, only Reason matters. Reason is the most important Form for the human being because Reason is the defining feature of humanity. Plato's argument is that more Reason equals more human goodness, equals more Virtue and less strife in society at large.

Another reason why Thrasymachus, Glaucon, and Adeimantus would respond better to Aristotle's argument than Plato's argument is that Aristotle also takes into account one's external environment and situational matters. Because Thrasymachus, Glaucon, and Adeimantus prefer not to dwell too long on abstractions, Aristotle's argument fits in with their logical and cosmological framework. The model of the polis that Plato provides is too abstract for them, too. Aristotle claims cooperation from others has a bearing on how one carries out a commitment to a virtuous and just life. For Aristotle, even luck matters. For Plato, luck does not matter at all. What matters only is the pursuit of Truth, Justice, and Reason.

A well-ordered soul with Reason at the top of the hierarchy is a sufficient condition for happiness, according to Plato. Plato is optimistic in the sense that he believes that ethical badness is not possible or does not exist, in the same way that the color white is the absence of color; or cold is the absence of warmth. Plato would note that cold doesn't "exist," only a heat source exists. Therefore, the pursuit of Justice is the pursuit of that symbolic Sun that he refers to in the allegory of the Cave.


All taken from:

Morgan, M.L. (2011). Classics of Moral and Political Theory. 5th Ed.…… [read more]

Emmanuel Levinas Phenomenology Ethical Constructivism Thesis

Thesis  |  15 pages (5,109 words)
Style: Chicago  |  Bibliography Sources: 15


Emmanuel Levinas Phenomenology

Ethical Constructivism

Emmanuel Levinas was a French philosopher and an intellectual scholar whose propositions and influence expounded on the study of phenomenology. While drawing ideas on his philosophies, Emmanuel met a German philosopher, Martin Heidegger who was fully affiliated to the Nazis. This affiliation-based Emmanuel's phenomenological philosophy under enthusiastic criticism of Heidegger. His influential study of western… [read more]

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