Friday, 16 August 2013

Paul Horwich's 'Asymmetries in Time' & John McTaggart's 'The Unreality of time'

In this essay I will present to you the key arguments for and against John McTaggart’s ‘The Unreality of Time’, given to us by Paul Horwich, in his Asymmetries in Time. By taking McTaggart’s argument for the unreality of time, premise by premise, we will look at the validity of each stage in his argument.

To begin with, we will briefly run through McTaggart’s argument for the unreality of time: McTaggart argues that the ‘moving now’ conception of time is self-contradictory, however is nevertheless essential to time. Concluding that time does not exist, and the ‘now’ functions as an indexical, which refers not to actual times but other entities that are only ‘pale substitutes’ of time.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Indian Philosophy & Religion: Arjuna's Dilemma, Krsna's Cure & the Bhagavad Gita

 Arjuna’s dilemma is central to the narrative which runs through the early Hindu text, the Bhagavad Gita, (400BCE-400CE). The Gita is part of the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata, and is one of the most well-known and studied of the ancient Hindu texts. It is thought to be one of the most important sources of the Vedanta school of thought; which derives from the philosophical teachings of the Upanisads, (900-300BCE). 

In order to fully understand Arjuna’s dilemma we first need to have a background understanding in the way ancient Indian society was structured, both through religious and philosophical teachings. We can grasp this understanding by looking at the beliefs and traditions which arose prior to the Bhagavad Gita, in texts such as the Upanisads, as well as the Mahabharata as a whole. After Arjuna’s dilemma becomes apparent, we will see how Krsna attempts to solve Arjuna’s dilemma with reference to the three paths: Path of Action (karmayoga), Path of Knowledge (jnanayoga) and the Path of Devotion (bhaktiyoga).

Monday, 10 June 2013

Are Human Beings Free?

In this essay I will focus on Roderick Chisholm’s Human Freedom and the Self (1964). I will attempt to show how Chisholm’s libertarian view of human autonomy; the view that free acts derive directly from the agent, and therefore the agent should be held responsible for it, is not all together removed from the deterministic, as well as indeterministic, view of human action – as Chisholm thinks it is. 

I will give a brief summary of several of Chisholm’s arguments, those being; 1) his criteria for responsibility (for an agent’s act to be classified as free), 2) his case for immanent and transeunt causation, and finally 3) his conclusion that an agent can have autonomy over his actions through immanent causation. I will construct my own argument by focusing on these elements, as well as drawing on further research around the topic of free will and determinism.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Ethics of Eating Animals

'What is good?', 'How should one act?', 'Why be moral?' are some of the central questions concerning ethics in the study of philosophy. The history of ethics in philosophy has predominately concerned ethical actions and goals with regards to human beings, or homo-sapiens. Although some schools of ethics have looked at the treatment of animals, it is safe to say that compared to the search for a sound human ethical theory, animal ethics and the issues concerning non-human animals has not been as fully appreciated as it should be.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

State of Nature & Social contract in Thomas Hobbes and the Mahābhārata

How does the vision of the ruler-less world and the justification put forward for the role of the king in the Mahābhārata compare to that found in Hobbes and/or Locke?

In this essay I will be drawing similarities and differences between the view of the ruler-less world and the justification for the role of King, in the Mahābhārata, with Thomas Hobbes’ view of the state of nature and the absolute sovereign, mainly focusing on his work, Leviathan.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Karl Marx and Morality

Should we go along with Marx’s claim that morality is simply part of the ideological superstructure of society?

In this essay I will discuss the key themes of Karl Marx’s claim that morality is simply ‘the ideas of the ruling class...’ and ‘...are in every epoch the ruling ideas[1]’,which is grounded in The German Ideology and The Communist Manifesto.In other words, morality derives from ideology and ideology derives from the ruling class. Also, I will analyse some of the key arguments put against Marx in Chapter 10 of Daniel Brudney’s Marx’s Attempt to Leave Philosophy. 

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Religion, Blasphemy and Freedom of Speech Debate Summary

Religion, Blasphemy and Freedom of Speech Debate Summary

Danish Cartoon Controversy
Given the task of staging a debate on blasphemy, in my Drama & Theatre module, Riots, Censorship and Offence, we had clear instructions to pick a 'liberal/pro freedom of speech' side, as well as a 'conservative/religious/anti freedom of speech' side. The following is a brief summary of the two stand-points of the debate.
Follow @JamesFord200