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Ethical Philosophies Case Study

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

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

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

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


Johnson, R. (2010, Summer) "Kant's Moral Philosophy." The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edward N. Zalta (ed.). Retrieved from:

Kay, C.D. (1997). Justice as Fairness. Retrieved from:

West, H.R. (2012). Utilitarianism. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from: [read more]

I Ching Classical Understand Research Paper

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

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

In the West there has been a limited interest towards the Oriental philosophy, and "there… [read more]

Descartes in Philosophy Essay

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

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

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

Works Cited

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

Locke v. Berkeley the Philosophers Essay

… It is our senses that provide man with the ability to distinguish between the two. In Book II of his essay, Existence of Real Things, Locke articulates the distinction between knowledge and opinion and he explains the importance of evidence… [read more]

Hobbes Believes That the Cruel Term Paper

… He had very good reason to distrust human beings. After all, civil war had just ripped his country apart. While he did not see it first hand (he remained in France during the duration of the war), no doubt he… [read more]

Hume and Experience in Morals Book Report

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

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

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

Descartes' Major Tenets Research Paper

… The essence of the mind is thought, and the mind has to powers: intellect and will (Hatfield, 2008). Moreover, consciousness may be the defining property of the mind (Hatfield, 2008). Descartes denied the existence of space separate from matter, in… [read more]

Philosophy -- Film Review Existentialism Film Review

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

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

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


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

Philosophy Scenario Evaluation Essay

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

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

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

American Pragmatism Essay

… American Pragmatism in the 20th Century

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

Philosophy Immanual Kant's Ethics Have Freedom Essay

… Philosophy

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

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

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

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

Rationalism vs. Empiricism Term Paper

… Plato and Hume

A Comparison of Humean Empiricism and Platonic Rationalism

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

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

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

Plato and Aristotle Metaphysics Essay

… Resources

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

David Hume Philosophy What Is the Difference Term Paper

… David Hume


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

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

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

2.What portion of the debate does demea represent?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. What portion of the debate does Cleanthes represent?

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

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

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

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

Wittgenstein Ludwig Essay

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


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

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

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

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

Society as Reflected by Albert Camus the Plague Research Paper

… Camus -- the Plague

An Analysis of Social Representation in Camus' the Plague

The French philosophical novel of the 20th century was a self-contained worldview, best described by Camus in The Myth of Sisyphus. The worldview was absurdist -- an… [read more]

Kant's Refutation of the Ontological Term Paper

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

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

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

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

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

Uses of Philosophy Term Paper

… ¶ … Philosophy

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

Philosophy and Modern Politics

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

Wittgenstein Essay

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

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


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

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

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

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

Descartes: Wax Argument Descartes Philosophy Essay

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

The character of 16th century mathematician and philosopher John Dee presents an intriguing conjunction of science, magic, and imperial patronage seemingly hand-crafted for his time. In order to fully… [read more]

Philosophy Personal Worldview Out of the Hodgepodge Term Paper

… ¶ … Philosophy

Personal Worldview

Out of the hodgepodge of education and personal experiences I have gained in my lifetime, I have managed to develop a "mixed bag" kind of personal philosophy or worldview. How I imagine the world working… [read more]

Metaphysics Let Us First Start With Understanding Research Paper

… Metaphysics

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

Philosophy Essay

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

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

Ethics and John Stuart Mill Essay

… Ethics and John Stuart Mill

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

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

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

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

Aristotle on Incontinence Greek Philosophy Term Paper

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

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

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

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

Philosophy in Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics Term Paper

… Philosophy

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

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

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

Logic Model for the Community Educational Center Research Paper

… Logic Model for the Community Educational Center

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

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

Operations of the center

Reading and writing classes for children and adults

Classes on various disciplines

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

Support for single working parents

The educational center is currently unable to fund its operations

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

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

The Logic Model





The Logic Model (continuation)

The inputs are the resources to be used in the program

The activities are the actions to be implemented

The outputs are the immediate results… [read more]

Metaphysics Versus Psychology Dissertation


Metaphysics and Psychology have historically been at odds with one another in what is an unnatural although real separation from a somewhat new science and its mother science. Although many believe that psychology and metaphysics are actually… [read more]

Broken Down Essay

… ¶ … broken down to the question of 'what exactly constitutes knowledge?' This is a question that has plagued philosophers since the beginning of time. Although the majority of the great philosophers seem to equate knowledge with belief, in at… [read more]

Rhetorical Theory Applied to a Rhetorical Artifact Research Paper

… Rhetorical Implications of Modern Political: An Examination of Obama's Berlin Speech Through a Langer Lens

During the summer of 2008, nearing the height of the political tempest that was the most recent Presidential election in the United States, now-President Obama… [read more]

Emanuel Kant Research Paper

… Emanuel Kant's

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

The eighteenth century stands as the birthplace of the modern world. Influenced by the scientific advancements in astronomy and gravity in the seventeenth century and in… [read more]

Philosophy of Science Kuhn Essay

… Philosophy of Science

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

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

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

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

Modern Rhetoric Essay

… ¶ … President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech

Since he began his campaign for the presidency of the United States, Barack Obama has been consistently criticize for his "rhetoric." These criticisms seem as prone to using the epithet "high-flown… [read more]

Plato's Metaphysics Research Proposal

… ¶ … Validity of Plato's Theory of Forms

Plato's theory of forms combines previously devised concepts and theories of science, of the Sophists and of Socrates. I intend to show that the amalgamation of these previously mapped principles lends enough… [read more]

Kuhn James Pierce Popper Descartes Al-Ghazali Essay

… Philosophy of Truth

One of the most intriguing and long-standing debates in philosophy is exactly what is worthy of philosophical consideration and debate, and what should be dismissed as futile and meaningless sophistry. For skeptics of both the rational and… [read more]

Mind Essay

… Philosophy's Practical Value

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

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

Socrates and Callicles Research Proposal

… Socrates and Callicles

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

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

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

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

Film Pilosophy Philosophy in Films Essay

… Film Pilosophy

Philosophy in Films

Attempts to explain the universe and the world around us have consumed the human race since at least the beginning of recorder history, and likely for millennia before that. Understanding reality, and even simply determining… [read more]

MLK Letter From Birmingham Jail Essay

… ¶ … Martin Luther King's

"Letter from Birmingham Jail"

In 1963, Martin Luther King was arrested and jailed for demonstrating for civil rights in Alabama. While he was in prison, several clergy men addressed the situation and called for unity,… [read more]

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

… Philosophy - Economic Ethics


Rich and Poor by Peter Singer:

In Rich and Poor, Singer outlines the proportion of the global human population that lives in poverty and considers the respective arguments about… [read more]

Analyzing a Philosophical Text Thesis

… ¶ … Philosophical Text

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

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

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

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

Evolution of Psychology Thesis

… Evolution of Psychology


The Chapter on Rationality (and irrationality) is very well structured. It fully covers all possible areas of interest surrounding the topic, and investigates each of these to the extent that the chapter length allows. The reader… [read more]

Socrates the Philosophy Term Paper

… Socrates

The Philosophy of Socrates

It would not be an overstatement to say that the whole course of Western philosophy was influenced by the Greek philosopher known as Socrates. Although he did not leave any writings of his own or,… [read more]

Epistemology and Philosophy of Socrates Term Paper

… For example, my knowledge in math is in me as its subject, but it can be predicated of no subject, because of the fact that it is an individual thing. Thirdly, there are things that are both in a subject… [read more]

Philosophy of Mind Term Paper

… Philosophy of Mind

Is bodily continuity necessary for personal identity?"

In order to approach and deal with the central question in this paper, one first has to ascertain the approximate meaning of identity, as well as the way that the… [read more]

Philosophy Reality, Philosophy, and Technology the Problem Term Paper

… Philosophy

Reality, Philosophy, and Technology

The Problem of Subjectivity

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

Discussion 2: Virtual Reality and its Implications for Philosophy

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

Discussion 3: Establishment of Fact and Scientific Method

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

Police Crisis Intervention Training Term Paper

… ¶ … philosophers have spouted doctrinal differences and a wide variety of theories that tend to relate such differences in more concrete terms. Currently many of these theories are still studied, discussed in a vigorous manner and espoused by many… [read more]

Philosophy Happiness Is an Emotional State Term Paper

… Philosophy

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

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

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

The… [read more]

Comparative Analysis Through Dialogue Between Plato and Confucius Term Paper

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ID: 76374
Paper Type:
Pages: 12
Topic: comparative analysis through dialogue between Plato and Confucius
Citation… [read more]

Literature of the American Renaissance Term Paper

… Transcendentalism

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… [read more]

Kant's Critique of Judgement Term Paper

… 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… [read more]

Descartes and Doubt Term Paper

… 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… [read more]

Republic Teaching Has Undergone Considerable Changes Term Paper

… ¶ … 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… [read more]

Idealism Is a Philosophy Term Paper

… 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… [read more]

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