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philosopher Essay Topics & Paper Examples

The Epistemological Issue of Truth

Epistemology is the study of knowledge, and as such its object is to verify claims to truth. In the strict sense truth is said to be objective, so that if something is true for one observer it is necessarily true for all observers. But epistemology becomes problematic if we insist on such a strict notion of truth. Almost all investigators of the question have sought only partial knowledge, deeming that absolute knowledge is the strict domain of God. An exception to this rule is the school of Rationalism, which followed of the seventeenth French philosopher Rene Descartes, and which maintained that absolute knowledge is possible. Descartes’ ontology, which serves as the basis to this school, will be considered in due…

Jonathan Glover

Jonathan Glover (born 1941) is a British philosopher known for his studies on ethics. He was educated at Tonbridge School, later going on to Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He was a fellow and tutor in philosophy at New College, Oxford. He currently teaches ethics at King’s College London. Glover is a fellow of the Hastings Center, an independent bioethics research institution in the United States. Glover’s book Causing Death and Saving Lives, first published in 1977, addresses practical moral questions about life and death decisions in the areas of abortion, infanticide, suicide, euthanasia, choices between people, capital punishment, and war. His approach is broadly consequentialist, though he gives significant weight to questions of individual autonomy, the Kantian notion that we…

Ibn Rushd (Averroes)

Abu al-Walid Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Rushd, better known in the Latin West as Averroes, lived during a unique period in Western intellectual history, in which interest in philosophy and theology was waning in the Muslim world and just beginning to flourish in Latin Christendom. Just fifteen years before his birth, the great critic of Islamic philosophy, al-Ghazzali (1058-1111), had died after striking a blow against Muslim Neoplatonic philosophy, particularly against the work of the philosopher Ibn Sina (Avicenna). From such bleak circumstances emerged the Spanish-Muslim philosophers, of which the jurist and physician Ibn Rushd came to be regarded as the final and most influential Muslim philosopher, especially to those who inherited the tradition of Muslim philosophy in the West….

Avicenna (Ibn Sina)

Abu ‘Ali al-Husayn ibn Sina is better known in Europe by the Latinized name “Avicenna. ” He is probably the most significant philosopher in the Islamic tradition and arguably the most influential philosopher of the pre-modern era. Born in Afshana near Bukhara in Central Asia in about 980, he is best known as a polymath, as a physician whose major work the Canon (al-Qanun fi’l-Tibb) continued to be taught as a medical textbook in Europe and in the Islamic world until the early modern period, and as a philosopher whose major summa the Cure (al-Shifa’) had a decisive impact upon European scholasticism and especially upon Thomas Aquinas (d. 274). Primarily a metaphysical philosopher of being who was concerned with understanding…

Bentham and Kant

Jeremy Bentham was an English philosopher and political radical. He is highly known and respected today for his moral philosophy, primarily his principle of utilitarianism. Utilitarianism evaluates actions based upon their consequences. Bentham is most famously known for his pursuit of motivation and value. Bentham was a strong believer in individual and economic freedom, the separation of church and state, freedom of expression, equal rights for women, the right to divorce and the decriminalizing of homosexual acts. During his time he helped with the abolition of slavery, the abolition of the death penalty and the abolition of physical punishment, including children. Bentham was born in Houndsditch, London in 1748 to a very wealthy family who supported the Tory party. He…

John Stuart Mill

John Stuart Mill was “born in London in 1806, son of James Mill, philosopher, economist and senior official in the East India Company. Mill was educated by his father, with the advice and assistance of Jeremy Bentham and Francis Place. He learned Greek at three, Latin a little later; by the age of 12, he was a competent logician and by 16 a well-trained economist. At 20 he suffered a nervous breakdown that persuaded him that more was needed in life than devotion to the public good and an analytically sharp intellect. Having grown up a utilitarian, he now turned to Coleridge, Wordsworth and Goethe to cultivate his aesthetic sensibilities (John Stuart Mill, http://www. utilitarianism. com/jsmill. htm). ” To be…