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Philosophy Essay Topics & Paper Examples

Educational Philosophy

My approach to education is student-centered. I always try to ensure that students are given the best opportunities to build upon their existing knowledge and capacities. I believe that education is not only about knowledge-transfer but it is about transforming people and building their capabilities to make sense of their experiences and to be able to use higher order thinking skills so they can be better individuals and better citizens of society. Based on my experience as an educator, the principles that underlie my teaching are influenced by constructivist paradigms, which posit “that meaning or knowledge is actively constructed in the human mind. ” (Richardson, 2003, p. 1625) Hence, education is not stagnant but a continuous process, and the role…

Rawls Theory of Justice

A contemporary philosopher, John Rawls (1921-2002), is noted for his contributions to political and moral philosophy. In particular, Rawls’ discussion about justice introduced five important concepts into discourse, including: the two principles of justice, the “original position” and “veil of ignorance”. Rawls most famous work is, A Theory of Justice (1971) gives an introduction to this body of thought and he emphasises the importance justice has on governing and organising a society. The problem arises by defining what the term means theoretically. One of two definitions can be used, the first being definition based on ones merit or lack thereof. This “merit theory” of justice uses merit to decide how an individual of the society will be treated based on…

Difference between Eastern and Western Philosophy

The history of philosophy is full of dichotomies.  Concepts such as empiricism vs. rationalism, permanence vs. change, appearance vs. reality, monism vs. dualism, and the problem of the One vs. the Many, all have become part of the history of philosophy.  The same is true for Eastern and Western Philosophy.  While at certain points these two philosophies converge, the dichotomy between the two philosophies is not merely geographical but substantial as well. Eastern Philosophy is the philosophy found in the Asian continent which includes Indian Philosophy such as Hinduism, Chinese Philosophy such as Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, Japanese Philosophy, such as Zen Buddhism and Iranian Philosophy such as Zoroastrianism.  On the other hand, Western Philosophy is the philosophy found in…

Free Will

Vilayandur S. Ramachandran came from a distinguished family in Tamil Nadu, India, and was neuroscientist, which is a field of study encompassing the various scientific disciplines dealing with the nervous system. Ramachandran’s views on the brain and how it works are discussed in his work “The New Philosophy”. In his essay he discusses the nature of consciousness, discussing the effects of certain mental states and their influence on the body and the brain. One of his main topics, however, is the Ramachandran’s view of free will. He suggest that “…neuroscience intersects with philosophy because the question of free will has been a philosophical problem for hundreds of years and more” (Jacobus 569). He discusses the significance of the brain imaging…

Philosophy and Ethics

What is Ethics? Ethics is a branch of philosophy, which is the study of what is right and wrong. Ethics is an action of feeling. If you are walking on the street and you see a homeless person, you would ask yourself questions like this: How should I act? Should I help or ignore? When making decision how to ask and listen to your feelings what is wrong or right to is called “Ethics”. There are many examples that can describe ethics, but people like to explain ethics in an easy way in which everyone can be talking and everyone can be involved in this topic, such as law. By asking questions like: Can laws be wrong? Do laws apply…

Iqbal’s Theory of Knowledge

Iqbal cannot be classed under any of the three schools of philosophical thought: the empiricist, the rationalist or the intuitionist. In his theory of knowledge, sense perception, reason and intuition, all are combined in an organic whole. He knew full well that light from one direction alone could not illumine the whole of reality in all its manifestations. The ontological problem needs to be approached from all angles, scientific and religious, in order to secure some articulate, luminous and well-established grounds. It is in the light of this view that he advances his theory of knowledge, which promises both direct evidence and indirect experience of God or Reality—the former by intuition or immediate experience and the latter by reflective thought….

Sartre’s Existentialist Philosophy

From the critical perspective, Jean-Paul Sartre did not believe that there could be any personality or character pattern that at any given time could determine a person’s future actions. This does not mean that there is no such thing as a personality. In fact, there is such a thing and it plays an important role in Sartre’s understanding of self. This personality is one component that can contributes to what Sartre called bad faith. However, before bad faith can be discussed, this personality must be explained. Sartre referred to a personality as a transcendent ego. An important distinction must be made between a transcendental ego and a transcendent ego. A transcendent ego is an object for consciousness. Here it may…

Cardinality and Modality

Cardinality Cardinality indicates the maximum number of times an instance of one entity can be associated with instances in the related entity. Cardinality can have the values of one or many, no more detail than that. It is either one or more than one. On the relationship line, the cardinality is the closest to the entity box. The cardinality symbol in the diagram on the slide is in the red circle. Cardinality is indicated at BOTH ends of the relationship line, so there is a left to right cardinality and a right to left cardinality. Modality Modality indicates the minimum number of times an instance in one entity can be associated with an instance in the related entity. Modality can…

Ethical Decision Making

Abstract Ethics is the branch of philosophy that examines questions of morality, or right and wrong. In this paper we will discuss the philosophical approaches used in ethical decision making. The two approaches that will be elaborated on are the utilitarian approach and the universal approach. Several questions will be addressed, (1) what is the utilitarian and universal approach? (2) How do we use them in the ethical decision making process and (3) examples of how it relate in the field of Criminal Justice? When conflict arises it’s not always possible to decide who is right or wrong; however our moral responsibility is to resolve problems to the best of our ability. The utilitarian and universal theories are two of…

Hedonism Definition

Hedonism as a philosophy defines “the good” in terms of pleasure and pain, and is the worldview that holds to the doctrine that pleasure is the greatest good. Now, who wouldn’t define pleasure as good? Aren’t we all by this definition Hedonists? Here is where those three little letters, “i-s-m” make their impact. As we have learned, the suffix “-ism” transforms a word into a title for an entire life and world view. Hedonism indicates a system of thought, a lense through which to view the universe in which the “summum bonum”, the “highest good” of man and the ultimate purpose of his being is found in the enjoyment of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. So what is sought…

Plato’s Objection to Poetry

He was the first systemic critic who inquired into the nature of imaginative literature and put forward theories which are both illuminating and provocative. He was himself a great poet and his dialogues are full of his gifted dramatic quality. His Dialogues are the classic works of the world literature having dramatic, lyrical and fictional elements. According to him all arts are imitative or mimetic in nature. He wrote in The Republic that ‘ideas are the ultimate reality’. Things are conceived as ideas before they take practical shapes. So, idea is original and the thing is copy of that idea. Carpenter’s chair is the result of the idea of chair in his mind. Thus chair is once removed from reality….

Rousseau: ‘Man Was Born Free but Is Everwhere in Chains’

Jean Jacques Rousseau was born in Geneva in 1712, although his works were written in French and he was deemed a French freethinker and philosopher heavily intellectually tied to the French Revolution. In 1762 he wrote ‘The Social Contract’ a ‘thought experiment’ concerning political philosophy. It opens with one of his most famous quotes: “Man is born free, but he is everywhere in chains” (Rousseau, 1968, p.49); this short essay is an attempt to interpret this epigram paying particular attention to Rousseau’s different accounts of freedom concerning mankind. It is important to understand how Rousseau saw man in his primitive form, and his concern towards societies becoming riddled with inequality due to exploitation and the formations of social classes, based…

The Parable of the Sadhu

Throughout life, there are many situations that make us think whether our decisions are ethical or unethical. When we think about ethic, we believe it is based on feeling, religion, laws, or societal norms. However, these four points do not decide whether a behavior is ethical or unethical. When people make ethical decision, they must identify how the decision impacts others. In Bowen H. McCoy’s essay, “The Parable of the Sadhu”, McCoy describes an ethical dilemma he experienced in making a decision in the Himalayas of whether to help support the sadhu or continue on trekking the Himalayas. He decides to leave the sadhu behind and gives justification for his behavior, which ultimately leads to an argument with his friend…

The Myth of the Cave: Describing Philosophy

“I say, now, that the prison is the world we see with our eyes: the light of the fire is like the power of our sun. The climb upward out of the cave into the upper world is the ascent of the mind into the domain of true knowledge” Plato, The Republic. “That the prison is the world we see with our eyes” I find that this is true to the point that we See the world phiscally as a place we can move around, wether it be a place we see as a limitless area of travel or the confines of are homes that we don’t dare leave. Most tend to not want to leave those homes as they…

The Fundamentals Aspects That Shaped the Great Mind of Plato

The importance of understanding concepts and analyzing the true meaning of words capture the human mind to develop philosophical thinking, so men can determine what they know about the world. A particularly exciting aspect of the human mind has always been intrigued in understanding reality, and Plato was fascinated with the abstract and theoretical principles of what constitutes reality. To Plato, ideas or conceptual forms were essential realities; when we refer to justice or beauty, it is essential to analyze the real meaning of the words to understand the form. Plato developed a whole philosophy in trying to examine how the human mind arrives to knowledge. Plato was a remarkable thinker and writer, and his system of thought and metaphysics…

A World of Ideas

Lao-Tzu 1) According to Lao-tzu, what must the ruler provide the people with if they are happy? The ruler is entitled to provide the people with space, enough space for each individual person. Lao-Tzu is concerned for individual’s whole freedom, death included. And when the ruler dies it is the communities’ job to make sure that where the person is buried is nice. 2) To what extent does Lao-tzu concern himself with individual happiness? To the extent that one has lost him. It is the same extent as life does have relevance with logic. Lao Tzu suggests that the doctor should be paid for health, not for sickness. And if his patients are sick, then his salary should be cut….

Aquinas – Wealth and Power

In Question II, Thomas Aquinas breaks down the complex question of where or in what man’s happiness consists, mainly by emphasizing wealth and power. While people dream of obtaining both wealth and power in their life, Aquinas emphasizes that both are neither good nor bad, and both make up a means to an end. Aquinas argues that happiness does not consist in “wealth” or “power”, yet presents another argument where he states that happiness can, indeed, be associated with wealth and power. Aquinas begins his second question and first article by pondering the question of whether happiness consists in wealth. He breaks down the two types of wealth into artificial and natural. He describes natural wealth as something that “relieves…

Socratic Method

The Socratic Method is a method that not many people know about, yet they practice it. To learn about the Socratic Method, we should first learn about Socrates, the one who invented this method. Socrates was one of the most important philosophers, and by that, one of the most difficult to understand. Most of his life and teachings were adapted into the later ages and cultures. However, Socrates didn’t write anything. We know most of his philosophies from his disciple, Plato. Socrates was born in 469 BCE. His father was a sculptor and his mother was a midwife. He later followed his mother’s profession in being a “midwife to ideas”. Enough about Socrates, let’s talk about his method. One may…

Plato and the Allegory of the Cave

The son of a wealthy and noble family, Plato (427-347 B.C.) was preparing for a career in politics when the trial and eventual execution of Socrates (399 B.C.) changed the course of his life. He abandoned his political career and turned to philosophy, opening a school on the outskirts of Athens dedicated to the Socratic search for wisdom. Plato’s school, then known as the Academy, was the first university in western history and operated from 387 B.C. until A.D. 529, when it was closed by Justinian. Unlike his mentor Socrates, Plato was both a writer and a teacher. His writings are in the form of dialogues, with Socrates as the principal speaker. In the Allegory of the Cave, Plato described…

Socrates and the Defintion of Piety

Plato’s dialog called Euthyphro is about a discussion that took place between Socrates and Euthyphro concerning the meaning of piety, or one’s duty to both gods and to humanity. Socrates has recently been charged with impiety and is about to be tried before the Athenian court while Euthyphro is on trial for murder. Because Socrates knew that the Athenian people did not understand the meaning of piety, Socrates asks Euthyphro to answer the question “What is piety?” He wants to see if Euthyphro is as wise as he claims to be, and if he is not, Socrates will debunk his claim. Socrates is anxious to find out about the nature of piety since Meletus has accused him of the crime…

Sophie’s World Reaction Paper

The first chapter of the book was entitled “The Garden of Eden” the story was well written, I was able to imagine the environment and I was able to see how Sophie would react on those given situations. The first questions that Sophie receives make her think about who she is and where the world came from. These questions are easy to ask and almost impossible to answer, but what is most amazing of all is that people stop asking them. Sophie realizes that she has never really thought about these things before, and when she does she understands that nothing could be more important. It seems that knowing who we really are is necessary for our lives to have…

How Have Western Views of Knowledge Changed over Time

Throughout history, cultures have held disparate views on the nature of knowledge. Epistemology, the branch of philosophy that focuses on basic questions such as: “What is knowledge? How do we know what we know? ”, lies at the heart of these views. In Western culture, the answers to these basic questions have changed markedly over time. Throughout history, this evolution in philosophy has been inextricably linked to science and religion. Much of Western thought has been heavily influenced by the philosophy of the Ancient Greeks. In particular, the epistemological views of the Ancient Greeks dominated Western thought for centuries. Of all the Greek philosophers, Plato was one of the most influential. In his most famous work The Republic, Plato used…

Enlightenment Philosophers

John Locke (1632-1704) The British philosopher John Locke was especially known for his liberal, anti-authoritarian theory of the state[->0], his empirical theory of knowledge, his advocacy of religious toleration, and his theory of personal identity. In his own time, he was famous for arguing that the divine right of kings is supported neither by scripture nor by the use of reason. In developing his theory of our duty to obey the state, he attacked the idea that might makes right: Starting from an initial state of nature with no government, police or private property, we humans could discover by careful reasoning that there are natural laws[->1] which suggest that we have natural rights[->2] to our own persons and to our…

Analysis of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola’s Oration on the Dignity of Man

In Giovanni Pico della Mirandola’s “Oration on the Dignity of Man,” he discusses his conceptions and ideas on the nature and the potential of human beings. Notably, in his discussion, he reconciles and combines the teachings of Islam, Judaism and Christianity into a single binding thought. He also attempted to reconcile the several contrasting teachings of Aristotle and Plato, although it is noticeable that he is more in favor of the teachings of the latter. Although his oration is great in length, it can be summarized into several important points. Possibly the first important point is in the first part of Mirandola’s oration in which he explained the origin of man through the story of creation. He claimed that after…

Educational Theory: Essentialism and Perennialism

Abstract Keywords phies. Applications of Essentialism and Perennialism that include roles and impacts on certain groups including students, teachers, and administrators are outlined. A conclusion is offered that analyzes current philosophical viewpoints and a solution is offered to teachers that frames present philosophical thought to inform and support teachers in creating a successful classroom environment aimed at promoting achievement for all students. Philosophical Overviews Essentialism Perennialism Philosophical Overviews Central to all academic disciplines and the formation of ideas are the philosophies that guide our values and beliefs regarding a given academic discipline. Public education in the United States is guided by five main philosophical viewpoints. These philosophical viewpoints include: • Essentialism, • Progressivism, • Perennialism, • Existentialism, and • Behaviorism….

The History of Philosophy

Greece is probably one of the richest countries when it comes to philosophical heritage. The biggest people who shaped the thinking of the world today like Plato and Socrates are both products of a country rich in the critical thinking area like Greece. But ofcourse, before Plato and Socrates started taking the world by storm, there had been prominent thinkers the paved the way for the greatest men to find the most important treasures in life; Philosophy. It all started when the early forms of philosophic thought was introduced in a Greek poem written by Hesiod; Theogony. This book details the myths of the gods and speculates in part about the origins of things and the order of the universe….

Sinclairs Alter Ego

Fear is transmitted toward human beings when strict social guidelines are to be met. Although Demian is the title figure for the novel, he is not a true character but an alter ego of Sinclair who symbolizes Sinclair’s inward journey and development to self-awareness. Herman Hesse focused on having Sinclair work on his personal thoughts such as Ying and Yang instead of having to worry about only being a pure innocent boy. Throughout the story, Damian is brought in as a new vision to understanding why others act the way they do. Sinclair later learns to adopt a metric in which god and evil are to be balanced in order to feel morally accepted. Damian is a hallucination Sinclair perceives…

Which Is More Important: Knowledge or Money?

According to me knowledge it is the technology that rules the world, so the knowledge is more important than the money. The money comes & go and knowledge remains with the person. He can utilizes it in later life and earn money out of it. Therefore a person has to entrust his time to earn knowledge in his growing age rather than spending time on the earning of money. When the nation gives more importance to the education it progress well otherwise it looses its progress and eventually the money and related positions. Money can create some new money and some new knowledge but without knowledge of how to use it, it is pointless. However, knowledge can create new knowledge…

Character Sketch – Cephalus from Plato’ S Republic

Choose one of the three main characters from Book One of Plato’s Republic (Cephalus, Polemarchus or Thrasymachus). Write a character sketch that shows how the personality, social status, life situation and position affect the views the character holds about life and about the virtue of justice. Include the definition of justice for the character you are describing. In book one, we are introduced to four main characters: Socrates, Cephalus, Polemarchus, and Thrasymachus. Republic takes place in the home of Cephalus and Polemarchus, in the Piraeus. Cephalus is a elderly and financially secure merchant and businessman. He lives his life in moderation, he doesn’t over-reach and try to become too wealthy, and was also not a fan of excessive spending. He…

Five Accounting Unethical Issues

Unethical Methods are performed to manipulate the financial records of a bussiness firm. And following are the few methods: Legal : Misuse of law in case of compensation Statistics : Exaggerating revenue and profits to mislead/confuse Tax : Avoiding to pay actual tax Transperency : Trying to counterfeit/falsifying in case of investigation Exploitation : Misuing funds These issues arises due to competition between the bussiness firms to raise their numbers. Greed to have more money and violate the law. Opportunity makes thiefs when offered the bribery. Individuals who work for a giant corporate company, fails to think out of the box when considering rest of the world. Performing unethical behaviour and claimimg it as ignorance, which is not true. Transparent…