Part 1: An ontological argument
The desire to believe in phenomenon as they unfold elicits reactions from different scholars, philosophers as well as societies. People constantly gain interests to analyze certain circumstances that have remained isolated in human history and may not be easy to understand for that matter.
The mostly asked question by philosophers that under what circumstance do people vest their beliefs on things beyond human understandings? In nascent, it becomes prudent to believe in certain occasions without engaging irrational scrutiny because some existences are beyond human control. In connection, both Kingdom Clifford and William James bring the same perspective of believing with a proposal that the source of a person’s belief should originate from insufficient evidence to highly built stature of philosophical argument. Some of the essays by William Kingdom Clifford and William often reprint the anthological nature of human beings and the quest to believe on what one presumes to be the truth. The reprints follow from the The Ethics of Belief and The Will to Believe without properly searched evidences.
Among the various arguments brought forth to support God’s existence, ontological argument rationally presents basis of arguments that illustrate the questioning nature of human thought and the possibility that whatever one may believe as true may turn ought to be baseless after proper search and investigation into several proposals. Several forms of ontological arguments exist but this paper formulates the ontological argument to examine the existence of God. The version of ontological argument employed will rest upon the pillars of ontological investigations as designed by Anselm. The argument storms from the fact that one would want to distinguish reality from assumptions. Ontological argument has both the premises and a conclusion with the two parts linking to make various investigations over how real is the reality.
Thus, the basis of this ontological argument would revolve around the need to clear doubts as far as the reality that revolves around God is concerned. Ontological argument relies on modal concepts such as possibilities, actualities, and necessities as would be demonstrated in a short while. Both of the premises used in this literature emanates from Anselm’s natural ontological arguments coupled with the use of symbolic logic arrive at relevant conclusion. The argument would proceed as follows:
First Premise: Defining God
One would argue that God is that which compares to nothing greater (Anselm). This statement would mean the no any being could compare to the greatness of God. The ontological nature of investigation here attests to the fact that by definition God in a superior being.
Second Premise: the possibility of God
Yet another person would come up and say, it is at somehow possible for God to exist in real encounters (Anselm). The context of this argument would follow from the notion as to whether or not God exists in the real world; there are possibilities that God exists in other worlds not known to man. Hence, God’s existence must have a connection with at least some identifiable set of circumstances known to be the real world.
Logics in ontological argument and a reduction to reality
If one believes that something only exist in the mind, that is to say, the thing talked about does not actually exist. This is the notion brought about in first premise. However, the second premise gives an illustration that even if something does not exist in reality, there might be certain possibility that a superior force must have been in control for the thing to exist and that is why it does not the thing does not exist at all costs. That which is greater and controls the existence of other things must have been god.
Now, suppose that God who is the greatest ever known being as illustrated in the first premise exists only in a person’s imagination and not in real context, then we would say that, there is another being greater than the being (God) discussed above. However, since God is greater and nothing surpasses his greatness as from the first premise, then it would be true to say that, it is possible to have something greater than that which nothing greater has ever existed. From the foregoing, this last statement is absurd. The premise and the deductions drawn from the above arguments seem contradictory and unrealistic. The evidences as prescribed in trying to explain the notion that God is the greatest being lies on pure imaginations without reliable evidences. The fact that the premises are contradicting proves that actually, God exists in reality and in mind. The best criticism so far for the ontological argument is the Gaunilo’s criticism. Gaunilo’s critics arises on the basis of non greatness in definition, that is to say, no greater being is possible and that it is probabilistic for something to exist in reality. The most capturing statement of critic is that if a being exists only in mind but is possible, then it would be true that, that something might be greater that it is.
Part 2: the cosmological argument and the teleological argument
The cosmological argument uses various patterns of arguments called logos to make inferences to certain alleged facts about nature of the world and the various experiences upheld in human mind. The Cosmological argument brings the notion about an existence of a unique being, identified as God. The fact that the universe exists brings an argument that a contingent Force holds an explanation. Under philosophical investigations, the relevance of cosmological argument holds to the fact that, events in the world dependent and that that the universe is contingent in the sense that it could have been different from it is if it were not for the existence of a unique being. From this argument philosophers make deductive investigations, inductive arguments and inferences to one of the most important explanations that at all costs, a necessary force or being, probably God exists and sustains that which is big(the universe).
The cosmological argument has in nature stands to elucidate that God under perfect nature of theology exists. The genesis of the cosmological is because of the investigative nature of human beings to understand the reasons behind existence. Human beings have gone too far in their enquiries as to why certain things exist and why other things do not exist. Cosmological investigations bring two sets of search into reality and possibilities. The outlay takes the form of impossibility, which follow the contingency as an infinite temporal regress towards the search for causes. This argument arises from the fact that with experience, something unique exists, which could be God. The following premises gain prominence in cosmological argument.
That a unique being exists with a cause of explanation exists.
That causes of explanations for the existence of such a unique being are unique in themselves.
That explanation given in describing the uniqueness of such a being must arise from either the unique being or something unique in totality.
However, a unique being may not provide adequate premise for explaining its existence but one can obtain perfect explanations by monitoring the great work of such a unique being. This therefore becomes the necessary being, which is God.
The critics as far as the cosmological arguments are concerned hold to the fact that if something unique exists, the there must be its origin or its sole reason or reasons for existence. The fact that the cosmological argument does not put its premises on clarifying the origin of the unique being or its reasons for existence flaws the whole process and its justifications. It therefore comes back to the initial state that, existence of God is an imagination and the creation of the mind.
Various circumstances in our natural settings exhibit exquisiteness in structural makeup and composition of nature. The diversities in functions through natural interconnection appear unique and majority of people still find it anomalous and unpredictable. All these conform to the planned execution and etiological orderliness in mind towards creation of different phenomenon.
The orderliness and the functions of the mind behind all these occurrences put to test the question of the existence of a supernatural force and the possibility that all what is in existence is because of the magical work of the being. In connection, the teleological argument brings the notion of art in making inference to the kind of shaping realized in the universe. Such premises arrange the artistic work of a supernatural being and exhibit various levels of inquiries to identify the truth as it unfolds. This comes with rigorous inferences used identify logically and empirically the reasons to believe that God exists. The argument is based on design and takes the following arguments:
That artistic work of nature that resulted into human artifacts must have been products of an intelligent designer.
The orderliness within the universe resembles the natural work of human artifacts, which is an intelligent work of the mind, something that no any other being could do.
In sequential identification, the universe upholds the virtue of that great work which is a product of an intelligent designer.
However, the intelligent mind that resulted into creation of the universe must have originated from something beyond the understanding of human being since the universe in very complex and could not have risen from mare human artifacts.
Proponent to argument number 4, a more powerful and highly intelligent being comes into picture. From the artistic work of this highly intelligent designer, we come to understand nature and its origin. This designer must therefore be God.
From the two arguments on the notion of God’s existence and His manifestations to mankind through nature, one would definitely give support o the teleological argument over cosmological argument since the former gives descriptions in connection to what we are able to see connect to and interact with. The teleological argument brings God’s existence to the basic level of a person’s understanding and utilizes the easily formulated premise to deduce all the possible causes. The premises used in teleological argument are clearer and organized hence both its deductions and conclusions are exemplary.
Part 3: The logical problem of evil and the paradox of omnipotence
The Problem of Evil was an original work of a Greek Philosopher, Epicurus. In analysis, the argument by Epicurus relights the gloom that have remained resilient in human mind as to the origin of evil and how God, the omnipotence allows evil to gain dominance if indeed God is such powerful. To some philosophers, the fact that evil dominates human behavior would be enough proof that God does not exist while to others, the evil is enough proof of an opposite force, a force that would work against evil and thus the existence of an omnipotence being. The premise for the logical problem of evil rains through the comparison made between the existence of God and the possibility of evil, which is an opposing force to biblical requirements to have tamed. The outline would be as follows:
If God is all-powerful in performance and perfect in His definition and that it is true that He exists, then evil would have no place on earth.
However the truth of the matter is that there is evil on the surface of the earth and evil activities gain prominence every minute
How then would it be that an all-powerful, all knowing and all present God would link to the evil nature of the world?
Therefore, if evil exist, then there are high possibilities that the omnipotence and the good God does not exist at all costs.
From the foregoing arguments, the deductions and the conclusions rest upon the fact that God is pure in nature and that His demands are inconsistent with evil in the world. Similarly, one would construct an argument still based on logical problem of evil as follows:
If truly, God exists.
And that God is omnipotent and omniscient
And that the good God would want to create a barrier between Him and evil.
The reason being that since God is an omniscient being he has the potential of knowing every means that would lead to existence of evil.
Similarly, the fact that God is an omnipotent being, He stands a chance of knowing all the possible encounters that would lead to existence of evil and thus would work toward preventing such initiations that would lead to existence of evil.
Then since God all knowing and all-powerful, then He should be in opposition to prevent the existence of evil since His nature does not allow existence of evil among His people.
If such an omnipotent, omniscient and good God, the one would expect no evil.
But evil exists
Then God does not exist.
The paradox of omnipotence on the other hand relates the existence of an omnipotent God t logical possibility and occurrences. The premise upon which this argument ordinates from addresses an issues over an action performed by an omnipotent being. In analysis, if a being is in a position to perform an action, then the being should be in a position to create an action that it cannot perform and therefore the being cannot perform all the task. If the being is unable to create a task it cannot perform, then there exist something that the omnipotent being cannot do.
The deductions made from the two arguments reflects the notion that if god is surely all-powerful , all knowing as well as pure, then why is it that evil still exists in the world that God wants to remain pure as He is pure? These are questions that remain an attended to and philosophers tend to provide proofs with an aim of providing basic answers to these questions. The logical analysis of the world at its present brings several testimonies that would prove otherwise the existence of God, however, the fact that remains is that all these we see, interact with and use did not come into existence by chance, there must have been a supernatural force behind any occurrences.
Mackie suggests that the problem of evil is that even though God is omnipotent and perfectly good evil still exists. Mackie thus bring to our attention that good is opposed to evil. He suggests that where good dwells evil become temporal. Similarly, Mackie argues that the omnipotent has no limit to what he can do to prevent the existence of evil. The statements by Mackie thus suggest that if a perfect omnipotent exists, then the evil will not exist and if the evil exists, then the perfect omnipotent will not exist and because the perfect omnipotent does not exist, so evil gets opportunity to reign the world.
How God works, His ways remain mysterious to human beings. The best response that would replicate the entire argument of the problem of evil is the Christian response that holds to the fact that the perfect, omnipotent God has various reasons for allowing evil and suffering among His people. The main idea is to use evil to ascertain the good that God expects from His good people. On the same note, the Christian response would still help understand the proponents of the paradox of the omnipotent in that, if the omnipotent allows evil and suffering among His people, He can as well act by eliminating evil and make the world a place free of evil.
Running head: PHILOSOPHY 1
Hedonism is an English word that was derived from the Greek word hedone which means pleasure (Fieser, 2011). It is a way of life of people who want to feel good and therefore keep seeking pleasurable moments and try to avoid pain. Hedonism has a distinguished philosophical history because it was the main theme in ancient philosophy. The hedonistic thinking argues that people are born with the aspiration to always pursue happiness and avoid pain. Hedonism has had several views from different angles. Hedonistic theories that are in existence discover the fundamentals of hedonism as satisfaction and hurt. These two are responsible for the distinctive and philosophical interesting feature of hedonism. Hedonism is therefore a way of life portrayed by sincerity to experiences that create pleasure (Veenhoven, 2003).
Origin of hedonism
Hedonism in moral philosophy denotes the view that good life needs to have pleasures it should be painless. People perceive hedonism in different ways; there are those who look at it as natural and healthy to avoid pain while some equate it to moral decay and overindulgence. Hedonism is mostly related with the art having a good source of income. A Cyrenaic called Aristippus founded hedonism. The Cyrenaics were hedonistic egoists who believed that pleasure was good and all people needed to seek it all the time in order to live fulfilling lives founded hedonism. The cyrenaics were honorable and vibrant and they believed more in physical pleasures than intellectual pleasures (Fieser, 2011).
Types of hedonism
Hedonism is divided in types depending on the way it is perceived by different groups of people and the way the philosophers originally expressed it.
Hedonistic utilitarianism is a theory with a moral view that claims that a person is right in trying to make sure that there is happiness in life. The right actions are those that create happiness .Hedonistic utilitarians do not advocate for doing evil to create happiness in one’s life and leave other in pain .All individuals deserve equal treatment. Hedonistic utilitarianism however fails to give intrinsic moral value to truth and justice and other valuable qualities. Philosophers rarely endorse this kind of hedonism.
Folk hedonism is hedonism the way it is portrayed by non-philosophers. They tend to believe a hedonist selfishly seeks pleasure without considering other people. They believe that a hedonist uses drugs, sex and indulges in other unhealthy activities to seek pleasure. They do not care if their indulgence causes pain to other people around them. Folk hedonism shows a irresponsible lack of forethought.
Value hedonism is the one that is discussed by philosophers, the kind of hedonism about value and well-being. This type of hedonism maintains that pleasure is intrinsically precious because it does not promote any other benefit but it is a good experience. Value hedonists define money as something that has instrumental value because it is used to buy things that give people the pleasure they desire and eradicate pain-making pleasure intrinsic(Fieser, 2011).It is impossible to create total happiness for all but this theory advocates for the best that can be done to ensure there is as much happiness as possible.
Motivational Hedonism is also known as psychological hedonism. It is because people are led by their behavior. This type of hedonism emphasizes that the desires to avoid pain and seek pleasure are influenced by our behavior .Plato believes in motivational hedonism but Socrates does not.
Hedonistic egoism allows people to do whatever it takes to ensure that they find the pleasure they seek. However, because the feeling of guilt for having done something wrong may make one to lack the pleasure they desire, hedonistic egoists a practical training that reduces their moral emotions like sympathy and guilt. The training they get makes them free to take advantage of the opportunities they find that give them the pleasure they seek.
In conclusion, the essay give s a description of hedonism but does not prove it .It however suggests that the position held by hedonism is reasonable. The positive outlook of the view and the suggestions of several philosophers show that time will come when people will be more realistic about hedonism and make wise decisions (Crisp, 2006).
Crisp, R. (2006). Hedonism reconsidered. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 73(3), 619-645.
Fieser, J. (2001). The Internet encyclopedia of philosophy. University of Tennessee.
Veenhoven, R. (2003). Hedonism and happiness. Journal of Happiness Studies,4(4), 437-457.
Running Head: HEDONISM 1
Software Patents and Copyright
Patent and copyright philosophies include to a large extent philosophical issue linked to copyright policies and other jurisprudential arising in connection to interpretation of and application of legal systems the copyright laws. The most prominent philosophical issues arising is the rationale of patent copyright laws and how they help in quelling cases of theft as far as an individual’s innovation or invention is concerned (Kobuss, 2009, p. 268). To some individuals, application of ethics in any legal system accounts largely on the use of certain theories such as the utilitarianism, which tend to provide terms meant for the good of the society and various individuals linked to innovative ventures. However, application of some copyright and patent philosophies deprives the legal pursuit and its meaningfulness towards ethical justifications in current copyright law.
Even though the copyright and patent laws emerge from the most applicable theories of intellectual property, the two laws base their jurisprudence on the supportive theory of utilitarianism as observed in most competing nations like the USA (Pressman, & EBSCO Publishing, 2012, p. 39). The theory application of utilitarian defense of copyrights and patents does not incorporate the notion of intellectual property. However, utilitarian theory has a connection with the weighing of relative goods and the determination of granting and individual copyrights and patents based on his or her innovative work and aims at bringing about more good than would exist without such protections. This utilitarian defense, however, is largely unsatisfactory (Thierer, Crews & Cato Institute, 2002, p. 88). Even on its own grounds, a utilitarian comparison is not conclusive. While some have calculated that copyrights and patents have beneficial effects overall, others with equal authority claim that they have a detrimental effect overall (Galler, 1995, p. 229). They both use conjecture and estimation in order to devise their figures, and they are both able to present hypothetical cases to support their arguments. This utilitarian method of comparing goods becomes incoherent because it can only compare goods that are qualitatively equal. Even when comparing goods in a simply quantitative manner, utilitarianism breaks down, especially when comparing the loss or gain of many to the respective gain or loss of a few. In order to avoid these difficulties, a different justification for copyrights and patents is necessary (Norman, 2009, p. 112).
Suppose one developed a software program capable of analyzing raw data proficiently than any commercially known software, there are high possibilities that the developed software will generate high demand among prominent users. Increased demand may motivate some individuals with ill motives to copy the software and sell it at a relatively lower price (Lippoldt, Stryszowski, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development & Source OECD, p. 210). The natural rights demand that the work of invention remain the idea of the original developer. Without such right prevention it would be highly possible that the original owner of the program may miss appropriateness of the software and thus the agency of patent and copyright protection for the general good and retention of the program by the original creator.
From the history, the mostly applied form of software protection has been copyright. Copyright protection is valid up to the original work in its tangible and fixed from as set down (Spinello, & Tavani, 2005, p. 179). The extent to which copyright protection works have proven inadequate since the level of protection is limited to the expression of the work leaving out the importance of the idea that resulted into the created work. In connection to reliability and the urge to give protection to the original idea of invention, the cyberspace era today adopts patent as the most appropriate means of software protection.
The primary purpose of patent and copyright is to promote information exchange and advancement of ideas that may benefit society as a whole. The rise in software inventions aims at creating an environment that upholds technological growth and making human work easier (Moore, 2004, p. 310). As a way of motivation, protection and social cohesion towards software inventions, legal application of patents and copyright protections on software helps in creating a society with good morals.
Galler, B. A. (1995). Computer software and intellectual property law. Westport, Conn: Quorum Books.
Kobuss, J. (2009). Become a successful designer–protect and manage your design rights internationally. Basel: Birkhauser Va.
Lippoldt, D., Stryszowski, P., Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development., & SourceOECD (Online service). (2009). Innovation in the software sector. Paris: OECD.
Moore, A. D. (2004). Intellectual property and information control: Philosophic foundations and contemporary issues. London: Transaction Publishers.
Norman, H. E. (2009). Intellectual property law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Pressman, D., & EBSCO Publishing (Firm). (2012). Patent it yourself: Your step-by-step guide to filing at the U.S. Patent Office. Berkeley, Calif.: Nolo.
Spinello, R. A., & Tavani, H. T. (2005). Intellectual property rights in a networked world: Theory and practice. Hershey [PA: Information Science Pub.
Thierer, A., Crews, W., & Cato Institute. (2002). Copy fights: The future of intellectual property in the information age. Washington, D.C: Cato Institute.
Running head: PHILOSOPHY 1
Liberty Analysis on John Stuart Mill’s
John Stuart Mill (19) work on Liberty remains one of the important philosophical work relevant today’s society. In the present times, issues to do with liberty have taken a different twist as seen in the various debates. The United States boasts of certain liberties that have been achieved over a number of years. However, many issues try to question the types of liberties that should be accepted by the American society. Mill’s On Liberty gives another view on issues to do with liberty and authority (Mill 13). According to him, true liberty can be addressed in terms of freedom of thought and emotion, meaning that a person should be able to openly act on the thought. Anything that tries to make a person not achieve this can be termed as not promoting liberty. Another important mark of liberty stated by Mill is the ability to freely pursue taste even if others perceive it as immoral. However, he notes that such freedom should never target harming others. The last basic mark of liberties advanced by Mill is the freedom to gather as long as those coming together are old enough and their gathering does not affect other persons.
Modernization and globalization has come up with many challenges that need to be addressed. As noted above, the US is one of the places that struggle with certain aspects of liberty. Many groups have emerged to demand for certain liberties, the same receiving opposition from other groups. At the same time, the government is always at crossroads in terms of determining which kind of liberty should be made lawful. On this note, this paper gives an analysis on liberty with respect to Mill’s thoughts on liberty. The paper also gives different viewpoints of the groups on certain issues. Some of the liberty issues that the United States struggles with include legalizing abortion, legalizing certain drugs like marijuana, gun ownership control. Arguments that either support or oppose such liberties have been on the public domain for long. These issues can be termed as obstacles to liberty within the United States of America.
Abortion has been a controversial issue in the United States since independence. Debates on this issue have been both political and public. At independence, most states adopted the British laws that prohibited abortion. However, things have changed over many decades by campaigns to legalize abortion, stating different reasons for the same. Presently, different states have their laws governing the direction of the issue. The laws are different as some out rightly prohibit the practice while others permit it under certain condition. Generally, abortion can be carried out in the US in certain conditions. Abortion is one of the issues that are regarded as a civil liberty by many; however, others do not see it that way. As per this subject, women can see it as an obstacle to liberty as legal aspect attempts to restrict personal decisions on the issue. Liberty requires that individuals can easily make choices that concern them. It also turns out to be an obstacle to liberty because a decision to abort is personal choice that only affects an individual and should therefore not be restricted by law.
John Stuart Mill’s thoughts on abortion prove that putting restrictions on abortion is an obstacle to liberty (116). According to him, power in an important tool in any society and should thus never be restricted (121). Individuals must be given the freedom to choose what is best for them, even if it may harm them. His philosophy also point out to the fact that any person should be allowed to pursue own interests as long as it does not affect other people. Neither the state nor society should put restrictions on such personal choices by individual women. A decision to abort does not seem to affect lives of other persons and putting restrictions to it is a major obstacle to liberty. On the other hand, John Stuart Mill notes that the society has a right to intervene in personal decisions that might bring negative effect to the public.
Therefore, John Stuart Mill’s philosophy is categorical on the exceptions that such liberty may not be granted (40). Eliminating this obstacle requires that mechanisms are put in place to ensure liberty is maintained through personal choices that do not affect other individuals. Liberty requires that people be empowered to make decisions that affect their personal lives. In the United States, directions concerning abortion have been directed though the courts. Therefore, courts must ensure that decisions are made to set precedence on liberties of the individuals. This means that the legal system has an important role in ensuring the correct concepts of liberty are put in place.
Putting restrictions on abortion may not be termed as an obstacle to liberty as John Stuart Mill’s philosophy demand that any choice made by individuals should not affect the society. The question of when life starts is unresolved and pro-life individuals believe that it starts from conception. For this reason, the fetus is a member of the society that is likely to be affected by such a decision. The main opinions of this issue come from the two main sides, namely, pro-life and pro-choice. Pro-life people hold to the fact that abortion is murder as life starts at conception and should thus be kept to the full term. According to this group, the law should never allow abortion because it contravenes the constitutional right to life. They point out the negative consequences that arise from the procedure such as the death or health complications to the mother. They note that the reasons given to opt for abortion are not valid and can be done away with.
On the other hand, pro-choice group argue recognize special exceptions that may force an expectant woman to opt for abortion. They point out that women must be allowed to choose for what is best for them. These people advocate for the liberty to choose whether to abort or not as dictated by a number of reasons. Out of the two standpoints, the American pro-life population has continued to grow with time. The many members of the public who believe that certain circumstances may dictate for the choice of abortion have weakened pro-life arguments. Therefore, the American laws that allowed for safe abortion have led to the reduction of the related deaths. This comes after the establishment of trained doctors who perform such operations. This may explain the strength of the pro-life argument in the United States.
The plan by government to provide legislation that control guns is an obstacle to liberty. Insecurity has been a major problem in the United States as evidenced by the number of reported cases. Most of these cases involve the use of guns that are either licensed or not. The use of guns in the US has out rightly gone out f hand and any attempts by the Federal Government to put any form of control has so far failed. On the same note, public debate has turned political as different opinions are at loggerheads. The Second Amendment gives right to the citizens to acquire guns. Therefore, liberty is given to the citizens to hold guns for various reasons. On the other hand, problem arises with an increased crime rate in the United States coming from an increased legal and illegal gun circulation. Note that the government has the responsibility of providing the security in the country and one of the ways of tackling crime is controlling the circulation and ownership of guns. This explains that any attempt to control gun ownership would lead to an obstacle to liberty because different individuals have their reasons for owning one.
In John Stuart Mill’s perspective, liberty comes from the freedom to choose something that makes an individual happy and safe (90). The choice to hold a gun is enshrined in the constitution, something that gives people the liberty to have them. Therefore, John Stuart Mill’s philosophy points to the fact that people are at liberty to carry guns for their personal reasons. Many people do this for their own pleasure, self-defense, and sometimes to commit crime. Nevertheless, Mill quips that the freedom of making a choice should not be targeted at harming others (108). For instance, owning a gun by sole intention of committing a crime should never be allowed. This is the point where the government and the society comes in as such choices may affect many. According to his argument, he uses an analogy of poison. He notes that individuals should buy poison so long as their choices are done with sole intention of harming the society. In our situation, owning guns with an intention of committing crime does not make gun control an obstacle to liberty.
Gun control demands that certain aspects of the legislations are put in place. An obstacle demands a keen look at various aspects of the owning or holding a gun. In order for the obstacle to be removed, it important to note that owning a gun does not amount to committing a crime. Therefore, crime potential brought about by owning a gun should not be termed as an abuse of liberty. Seeking a middle ground between owning guns and committing crime would be essential when it comes to removing the obstacle that exists. The way forward would to keep track of all the guns in circulation within the United States by recording them. Records of those holding guns should have their names, address, the type of guns bought, and reason for purchasing the gun, among other details. This would the best point of ensuring that the perceived obstacle to liberty is removed and at the same time, the government has the ability to monitor the usage of these guns at any point.
John Stuart Mill’s stand on this issue shows that gun control should never be an obstacle as it entails security reasons that may affect the society (18). In America, the small arms held by people commit most crimes. On the same note, illegal circulation of unregistered guns has also led to more problems in terms of security. This is the reason for the advocacy for control by the government. On the other side, other people believe that there is no need to have control on guns since that translates to the deprivation on the rights stated in the constitution. Public debate on the issue has continued for a long time, however, gun lobby seem to be stronger as they fight to ensure that gun owners remain with them for personal safety.
Ban on Marijuana
Marijuana is a type of plant that widely used in the United States despite its ban by the government. For a long time, those who use the drug and certain medical doctors have been advocating for it legalization across all states. Banning the use of this weed is seen as an obstacle to the liberty of the citizens to choose what brings pleasure. To many Americans, marijuana should be legalized on medical grounds as it is found to have certain medicinal value. However, many smoke or drink the weed extract for pleasure and not for medical reasons. According to such people, they have the liberty to choose what is best for them without any form of legal restrictions from any place or institution.
Freedom to choose what is best for a person is an important aspect that John Stuart Mill describes in his work. For this reason, the choice to use marijuana as a drug or not may lie on personal choices that citizens may have. Mill’s philosophy shows that pleasure and happiness play greater roles in terms of choosing the best way forward in terms of choice (118). Knowing well that majority of the American use the drug not for medical reasons but for pleasure, Mill’s analogy indicates that restriction and ban of the substance may be termed as an obstacle to liberty. Nevertheless, the effect of taking the drug comes in to determine the decision taken by the government in banning it.
The young black Americans have been found to use marijuana largely, something that leads to crime and violence in the society. This point also leads to John Stuart Mill’s argument that freedom should not lead to the negative impact to the society (24). Since many negative activities have been noted to be in existence because of Marijuana, then banning it may not qualify as an obstacle to liberty. In the recent times, debates and studies that advocate for marijuana legalization have advanced the benefits of legalization the substance. In their arguments, they point to the medical as well as the monetary benefits that country will have when the drug is legalized. Nevertheless, their arguments have not enabled for the legalization since the social impact of marijuana is negative.
Unequal Family Rights
The rising cases of divorce in the United States have been brought about by the agitation for equal rights between women and men. History of the United States shows that women never had equal rights as those of men. In fact, women had their place at home, doing all the domestic work while the men went to work. In effect, women lagged behind in terms of making important decisions that affected them in the society. The empowerment of women in the current times has however led to an increase in divorce cases as the law has given them more liberty to do so. Unequal rights are an obstacle to the liberty in family lives. This issue also brings to light arguments on the importance of families in the society.
According to John Stuart Mill, families are essential part of the society and should never be interfered with (47). In his argument, he states that marriages are personal affairs that the involved parties are the only ones to make related decisions. Because of this, he notes that the society has not chance of intervening in family matters such as divorce. This argument brings the fact that family structures are important part of the society and the outside forces should not dictate decisions made at the units. More so, marriages are intimate relations that should never be affected by outside decisions. The civil liberties in place are there to ensure that equal rights within families.
Therefore, lives lived by two individuals in marriage will depend on their awareness of the laws in place as well as their freedom to choose what they perceive to be right for them. Presently, the equal rights within a marriage setup are an issue thought to have been achieved in the United States. Nevertheless, there are instances where men are perceived to have absolute authority over their wives. This notion makes the men do whatever they feel with their wives. Such an instance demands for the intervention of the government through relevant laws to ensure that women’s rights are protected. Therefore, it is at the discretion of the parties within a marriage setup to choose to live together or divorce.
Lack of Freedom of Speech
Freedom of speech is a fundamental liberty that is enshrined in the First Amendment of the constitution of the United States. This country boasts of the advanced freedom of speech than any other country of the world. However, the present times show that such freedom of expression no longer exists. Those suffer remain to be those at the lower level working class. In most cases, people are only free to express their opinion while in their own houses or any place outside workplace. As long as one enters job premises, all privacy and freedom disappears. At workplace, monitoring is done and any expression made on political issues may easily lead to joblessness. Employers easily track movements of the workers either through their phones or through computers. They are also in a position to monitor ones correspondents in their computers. Indeed, such behaviors are great obstacles to liberty.
According to John Stuart Mill’s philosophy, freedom to express ones thought in an important aspect of freedom (143). The choice of expressing opinion should be respected as an individual makes it. However, Mill notes that such opinion should never be targeted at negatively influencing the others. For instance, someone may deliberately use an opinion to abuse or cause certain kind of societal instability. In such a case, Mill allows for an intervention from the government or any relevant authority. It is obvious that freedom of speech is enshrined in the constitution; nevertheless, the provision is accompanied by responsibility on the side of individuals. This statement should not justify the behavior by the employers to snatch freedom of the employees. To the employees, such monitoring robs them the freedom that gives liberty, and on the other hand, employers desire to ensure that all employees adhere to the institution’s code of conduct.
Many governments ensure that certain economic activities are controlled in order to provide for services. This is an obstacle to the freedom of people and businesses to make their choices. Trade is an important aspect that ought to be left to take its course. In the United States, sometimes the government comes in to institutes certain control on economic trade within the country thus limiting the gains through market freedom. John Stuart Mill intimates that a government-controlled economy does not thrive like a free one. According to him, trade is a social act that should be left to take place through own mechanisms. Government intervention in certain economic activities does lead to counterproductive effects to the market, thus harming individuals.
In conclusion, it is clear that freedom of choice an action is important pillars of liberty. Individuals are free to make their own decisions depending on the pleasure and happiness that come from the choice. However, it is clear that John Stuart Mill’s philosophy provides certain exceptions in which certain liberties may not be granted as desired by individuals. In most cases, these would not happen when a certain choice of liberty is stands to affect other members of the society. In the United States, many obstacles to liberty have been identified; nevertheless, an analysis according to John Stuart Mill’s philosophy indicates that exceptions exist to limit some choices.
Mill, John Stuart. On Liberty, MobileReference, 1859. Web. November 22, 2013
Philosophy refers to the basic attitudes, beliefs and values held by an individual or a particular problem. It is the study of any form of problem that is connected with values, reason, language, reality and existence of things as they appear to the common eye. Philosophy, unlike other social sciences, seeks to critically evaluate these problems and find a permanent solution to them (Durand & Kevin, 2004). Some of the most renowned philosophers include Immanuel Kant, Rene Descartes, John Locke and John Stuart Mill. The discussion here forth is an in depth analysis of the views held by some of these scholars.
Rationalism and Empiricism and Kant’s assessment of the problem of knowledge
Immanuel Kant introduced the concept of synthetic and analytic judgments to help distinguish propositions as used in language. He described judgment as a special form of knowledge and cognition, which stands to represent an object mentally. Judgment can also be said to be a representation of the view that a person holds when presented with different concepts.
To distinguish between analytic and synthetic statements, we shall view them as propositions that is, analytic and synthetic propositions respectively. Analytic propositions are held true as per the meaning they confer to the reader whereas synthetic propositions are said to be true depending on how their meaning relates to the world at large. Analytic propositions have their predicate concepts in the subject concept while the predicate concept of synthetic propositions cannot be found in the subject concept. An example of an analytic proposition is All squares have four sides. In the statement, the square is the subject concept whiles the words have four sides serves as the predicate concept. In the case of synthetic propositions, we can use the statement All men are happy. The word men serves as the subject concept but the words are happy do not necessarily reflect on the subject hence cannot be said to act as predicate concepts.
In general, Kant said that analytic statements could easily be identified by the concepts used and determining if they are true. The statement All squares have four sides is in itself true and one does not require prior experience to know this. However, synthetic statements cannot be said to be true unless one has prior knowledge on the said subject. In our case statement, not all men are happy.
Kant went further ahead to come up with priori and posteriori judgments to help in further distinction of synthetic and analytic statements. He defines priori statements as propositions that do not need prior experience for verification. Priori statements therefore mostly rely on logic, although at times experience may be required. An example of a priori statement would be All teachers are educated. In this statement, one does not require any experience or need to consult to know that teachers are educated people. Logically, teachers have to be educated so that they can also pass the knowledge they possess to students. Posteriori statements on the other hand require experience to determine if they are true or not. For example, All women are unhappy. One would require prior knowledge as well as consultations to determine if this is a fact.
Kant further proposed that priori and posteriori statements are justification propositions. To understand and analyze the justifications of either proposition, one needs to have proper knowledge of the concepts described by the said statement. In our case, one needs to know who teachers and women are in order to justify the statements (Durand, 2004).
Rationalists argue that knowledge is derived from a person’s innate knowledge. According to them, when an individual is born he has some knowledge that is used as a basis for acquiring further knowledge as he grows. Rationalists argue that innate knowledge, which they term as reason, is more superior to sense experience. This can be seen where most people are most likely to follow their instincts when it comes to decision making. They bring forth the aspects of induction and deduction. This brings forth statements such as the existence of a supernatural being, which people believe from an early age because of the knowledge that they have at birth.
Empiricists on the other hand believe that at birth, the mind of an individual is tabula rasa meaning an empty plate. To them, our knowledge is entirely dependent upon sense experience as one grows up. They are against the rationalists’ theory that reason is superior. They argue that since we are born with empty minds, we do not have any form of reason that can give us knowledge. Therefore, we have to rely entirely on our experiences as we grow to impart us with knowledge. Empiricists therefore maintain that sense experience is the sole source of knowledge for all humankind.
Synthetic a priori judgments, as discussed by Kant, are statements that provide us with the truth. They provide the basis for most human knowledge. He gave examples of knowledge in mathematics and sciences, which require a person to have prior experience to understand the concepts henceforth. For this reason, I believe that empiricism holds the best account of explaining these forms of judgments. One must acquire knowledge before he can claim to be good in mathematics or science. It is therefore right to say that sense experience is the best source of knowledge.
The Problem of Induction
Induction reasoning is used where general statements are studied before a conclusion is arrived at. These inductive statements are used to give some support for the conclusion. Inductive reasoning therefore, according to philosophers, helps to supply truth to the truth that emerges in the conclusion of what one is writing or researching. However, most of the truths presented are mere probabilities as shown by Bertrand Russell.
In his book, The Problems of Philosophy, Russell wrote a very vital essay called On Induction. His viewpoint of induction is like that of David Hume who maintains that the consequent occurrence of any two events does not have any connection. For instance, many people believe that when activity A occurs, it must result in activity B. However, Hume argues that these activities occur as per the rules of nature. Russell supported Hume by saying that one cannot justify induction and introduced the concept of uniformity in nature. The uniformity of nature, as Russell puts out, means that anything that has happened in the universe or that which is about to happen does so in accordance to general rules of nature which do not allow for any exemptions. The uniformity of nature in addition supplies us with knowledge that we use to make judgments of our future based on our past.
It is for this reason that we make conclusions of how our future will be based on what we have experienced in our past. This principle applies not only to human beings but also to animals. Russell gives an example of an animal that has gotten used to receiving food from the same person every day. Whenever it sees that person, the animal automatically relates him to food and hence expects to receive something to eat. However, in some cases the person might actually come to slaughter the animal instead of offering it food, as is the norm. This form of behavior disrupts the normal relation between the animal and man. However, the rules of nature actually allow such things to occur.
In the case of man who is used to an event such as the rising of the sun every morning will expect this to occur on a daily basis as is the norm. When one is asked as to why they believe that the sun will rise the following day, the most probable answer will be that because it has always risen every day. A person may further explain that since there is nobody or anything that can interfere with the motion of the heavenly bodies, then nothing can stop the sun from rising in the future. The only reason for this kind of positive judgment is that our past knowledge has taught us that the sun will always rise in the morning. Russell concludes that our expectations of what will happen in the future are based merely on what one has already experienced in the past and does not that anything will happen to change how things operate.
Because of this, Russell views the belief in uniformity of nature in inductive reasoning as a problem to our judgments. He says that one point, our expectations on the uniformity of nature disappoints those that are entirely dependent on it. He argues that according to science, nature does offer exceptions to the everyday occurrences. For instance, falling heavenly bodies like meteors could cause a change in the motion of the other heavenly bodies. Aero planes are also not subject to the laws of gravity as is the case with some bodies, which fall back to earth when thrown to the air. These rules out the general expectation of people that nothing can float on air. This brings out the aspect that what we see today is not necessarily a reflection of what will happen tomorrow. Russell’s essay therefore rules out the use of inductive reasoning as a source of knowledge.
As earlier discussed, empiricists argue that sense experience is the best source of knowledge. They believe that a person’s mind at birth is an empty plate and writing on it only appears once a person starts relating to the external world. As one grows, the things that he goes through will definitely influence his behavior and expectations from those around him. Current experiences therefore have a direct impact on an individual’s knowledge of what the future has to offer.
Empirical knowledge can therefore be viewed as a form of inductive reasoning. This can prove problematic because inductive reasoning does always confer the truth about the conclusion that has been made. Sense experience can be used to refer to the inductive statements that are used as supporting evidence in the conclusion. What we see happening today and expect to happen tomorrow may not be exactly what happens. This means that our sense experience will sometimes disappoint us, especially fi someone was counting on something good happening. For instance, a person who has gotten used to receiving birthday presents every year will be disappointed when at one time in his lifetime nobody gives him a gift on his birthday.
The concept of uniformity in nature that emerges from inductive reasoning therefore poses as a major threat to empirical thinkers as it brings them to reality that their knowledge may not always be correct. It calls for them to rely on other sources os knowledge apart from sense experience to affirm their expectations of today from their yesterday’s experiences.
Realism vs. Phenomenalism
Phenomenalism is a concept that is used to explain the fact that physical objects do not exist in themselves but only when viewed by an individual. This is to mean that they exist in relation to the perception of the person or in accordance to the environment that they are found. The time of existence of a physical object also matters when it comes to explaining its existence and usefulness. Phenomenalism therefore introduces the aspect of sense data as a representation of physical objects that exist in the world today.
John Stuart Mill brought forth a theory of perception that later came to be referred to as classical phenomenalism. He claimed that the permanent and continuous experiences that people have with physical objects is what keeps these objects in existence. According to Mill, when a person talks about any physical object, he is doing so in relation to any experience he might have had when dealing with or using the object. He maintains that we can only feel the existence of physical objects if we are able to relate with them. From the experiences gained, we can then describe the objects in terms of their color (red, black or white), shape (square, circular or triangular). He therefore relates this to phenomenalism and says that these mental operations of man are what bring out the lively aspect of physical objects.
Berkley on the other hand holds that physical objects continue to exist even when no one is seen them. He held the view an ever-present God sees all objects, hence, maintaining their existence. He further says that only the objects that are seen exist and that objects are ideas. His contribution to phenomenalism was that of sensible objects, which he gave identification by reference to divine beings and human ideas. He argues that human ideas are the source of any physical object that is in existence today. For instance, before the physical form of a chair existed, it was first an idea that was conceived in the mind of man.
Both Stuart and Berkley are therefore supporters of the concept of phenomenalism. They both agree that whilst physical objects are essential to human beings, their existence relies on something more powerful like imagination. This is brought out using the aspect of sense data, which essentially exist in the mind of a person. Sense data enables a person to view an object and describe it according to the experience derived from the, as brought out by Mill. Sense data therefore acts as an enhancement and further description of phenomenalism.
Winston Barnes however stands out against phenomenalism as brought out by Mill and Berkley. He argues that while these two philosophers hold that physical objects cannot be seen in their physical manner. Barnes is of the point that in reality we see tables and chairs in our everyday lives. According to him, our five senses: hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling, and tasting brings forth the existence of the physical objects around us. He sees sense data as a description of the perceptual existence of physical objects as used by Mill and Berkley in their description of phenomenalism. He uses the sense-datum theory to explain his differing opinion about phenomanalism. He points out that our perceptions on the existence of physical objects and sense data are closely related. Both concepts give us an in depth understanding of our physical world.
Barnes further argues that the sense data depicted by Mills and Berkley does not exist in actual sense. He believes that the physical objects are always around us and with the use of our senses we can see whatever it is that is in our environment. Barnes points out that it is only by the use and relating with the physical objects that we can actually come to accept their existence and appreciate their usefulness.
Bottom of Form
The philosophy of perception is concerned with the nature of the perpetual experience and the status of perceptual data in particular how they relate to beliefs and knowledge of the world (Heina������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������m�a�a� �a�n�d� �R�e�u�t�e�r�,� �2�0�0�9�,� �p�.� �7�3�)�.� �S�e�n�s�o�r�y� �p�e�r�c�e�p�t�i�o�n� �c�a�n� �b�e� �d�e�f�i�n�e�d� �a�s� �t�h�e� �s�t�i�m�u�l�u�s� �t�h�a�t� �a� �h�u�m�a�n� �t�a�k�e�s� �i�n� �a�n�d� �p�r�o�c�e�s�s�e�s� �t�h�e� �s�t�i�m�u�l�i� �t�o� �g�i�v�e� �f�o�r�t�h� �i�t�s� �u�n�d�e�r�s�t�a�n�d�i�n�g� �u�s�i�n�g� �t�h�e� �f�i�v�e� �s�e�n�s�e�s� �(�D�e�,� �2�0�1�0�)�.� �U�n�l�e�s�s� �t�h�e�r�e� �i�s� �s�e�n�s�e� �i�n� �t�h�e� �m�i�n�d�,� �t�h�e�n�,� �t�h�e� �m�i�n�d� �c�a�n� �b�e� �s�a�i�d� to have nothing at all. However, various attributes may influence the accuracy or correctness of information that is received by senses and the way it affects the perception of the data. This therefore leads to the believe that, the interpretation of the sensory data to give accurate information can be trusted to a certain extent. In the subsequent part of this study, the research will give reasons that indicate the reliability of the sensory data and the role of nature and nurture in sensory perception.
Some of the factors that may contribute to the accuracy of the sensory data include the sight, smell and taste.
Reliability of the information observed, (sense of sight) in most cases, the data or information that is given by our objects of sight is in most cases accurate. This is irrespective of the surrounding and the world that surrounds us. For example, if people are talking, it is a fact that they are talking and one will see that. In addition, if we see the sun, it is obvious that it is warm and there are no clouds.
The data source and the cognitive ability all the data that is received by the brain has to be received through the various senses including the sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing. This being the case, the brain has detectors, lenses and amplifiers that help to report accurate information or accurate perception of the data so obtained. Any data that is deemed inaccurate is manifested when the information is received in the brain and the brain interprets it into the accurate sensory perception.
Smell and touch are also attributed to the accuracy of the sensory perception. It is a fact that our senses are able to identify whether a place is cold or warm from the sense of touch. At the same time, we are able to distinguish when there is smoke or sweet aromatic taste. All these are attributes of accurate sensory perceptions.
Factors contributing to the accuracy of sensory data
For our sensory data to be accurate or inaccurate, several factors are responsible for affecting or promoting the sensory data in conveying the accuracy of data. Some of these factors include, balanced diet, sleep, exercise to the senses and even experiences and exposure
Diet One of the major factors that contribute to the conveyance of accurate sensory data is balanced diet. Consumption of a balanced diet helps the brain to keep on functioning properly without being exhausted.
Otherwise, lack of proper diet will reduce the capability of the brain function; thus, leading to the brain’s conveying inaccurate sensory perception (Kilcast, 2000).
Adequate sleep and exercise to a great extent promote the accuracy of the sensory data. Sleep is vital as it gives the mind the opportunity to rejuvenate thus giving the mind the opportunity to synthesize the data received and report accurate data. Exercise helps the mind to refresh, which results to better conveyance of reason.
Our senses also contribute to the accuracy of the sensory organs in the sense that, when we see, hear, smell, or touch, we have the capability of identifying the perception (Diener, 2003, p. 163). Therefore, this helps us to know what is appropriate, where it pains and other feelings through seeing, hearing and even touching.
Roles of nature and nurture
Nature affects the stimuli that received and interpreted by the sensory data. This means that when interpreting a certain context, the interpretation and the context depends on the environment and the experience one is exposed to. On the other hand, nurture helps in the evaluation and interpretation of a certain context. That is, nurture is used to interpret the nature content of the environment in question.
De, R. R. (2010). Descartes and the puzzle of sensory representation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Diener, E., Kahneman, D., & Schwarz, N. (2003). Well-being: The foundations of hedonic psychology. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.
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Japan Colonialism: An Analysis of Expansionism using Mearsheimer’s Theory of Offensive Realism
n, its expansionism using Mearsheimer’s theory of offensive realism
John J. Mearsheimer is distinguished in the Chicago University as a Professor who teaches Political Science. He is the co-coordinator of the International Security Policy. He wrote a book by the name, The Tragedy of Great Power’ regarding the concept of the theory on international relations. He gives an account of offensive realism and explains the pessimism associated with it. His world possesses a consideration as one that will never cease to experience some conflicts and disagreements of the many great powers. There is a possibility of competition on harmful security to rise again in Europe and the north eastern parts of Asia. The worldwide institutions have no ability to intervene for peace in the states and thus, in the near future, the U.S, ought to assist Germany and Japan to have their own nuclear weapons.
The great powers are aggressive even if they have incorporated liberalism in their democracies. Mearsheimer in the articles and books he wrote, give his suggestion and summarizes the conclusions of these contradictory statements. The articles and books cover a wide scope of the security offered internationally. In the 1990s, his work had proposed many known debates and arguments associated with the discipline, not only in the real tradition of his work but also in the wider scope of international relations. The remarkable inspiration towards the debates and the setting of the agenda of Mearsheimer makes him the most recognized and contradicting scholar in the traditions of America. To analyze his work, Mearsheimer deals with the limitations, potential of the endeavors on the theory whose conclusions are founded on the offensive realism (Mearsheimer, 2010). Due to its centrality, an analysis of his attributes to developing the theory in the discipline of international relations has a natural departure point in an analysis of the offensive realism theory.
The question that arises is the extent to which he has contributed towards development of the theory. The theory is not only used to explain the experience of the Western countries but also in Asia. This theory extensively gives an account of why expansionism and the aggressive nature of great powers provide firm answers to situations related with living under the international system. Mearsheimer provides significant path explaining the duty of power and the physical setting in the political world.
He highlights the dynamics of the theory using the basic assumptions and his main arguments to define the constitution of the international system.
The system has a sensible anarchy. This implies that, there is no government in the world, which governs another government of another country. The implementation of its rules and punishing the wrongdoers is the responsibility and duty of that particular country making the system to stand out for self-help. The theory holds that there is no nation that can be convicted of the intentions of the other nation, that the state cannot use the military abilities to fight the first one. It also holds that survival is the core objective in the system, which is the top most goal due to the state’s autonomy being a need to achieve other objectives. There is an assumption that the rationality of the states applies, that requires them to strategically think about the situations outside their senses, and go for the strategy that leads to maximization of both security and chances of survival. The fifth assumption is that, a state has offensive capability that enables it to injure and damage one another where even the dangerous weapons would be utilized to hurt.
The main arguments are, nations always look for chances to attain power over their enemies due to the setting of the anarchy they work in. Usually, there is no savior to cry to when a state raids another state and this challenges states to seek expansionism in their power whether geographical power, military power or economical power to maximize their security. Mearsheimer suggests that, the political power of a state comes from the military strength (Spykman & Nicholl, 2009). This is because, large water masses probe challenges of expanding the capabilities of the armies of land to project power thus acts as a source of artificial division globally. Another reason for this is military power dominates land force in today’s era. Oceans inhibit a state from accessing the hegemony of a state thus; the objectives of a state are meeting the core objectives (Mearsheimer, 2006). One is achievement of regional hegemony. This hegemony aims at preventing other states from attaining regional hegemony.
States maintain a balance in power in the regions. This is to ensure that, there are many powers to keep them busy amongst themselves. This in turn ensures that they do not challenge the interests and concerns of the regional hegemony that they would freely do when the competitors neighbouring them could not have occupied them (Zakaria, 2001). An example is the United States that attained its regional hegemony and later sought in interventions when it appeared as if another state was achieving the regional hegemony. The interventions are the imperial Germany, Nazi Germany, Imperial Germany and the Soviet Union.
Mearsheimer argues that great powers will always try to maximize their portion of the wealth of the world because the strength of the economy is the foundation of the strength of the military (Clark, 2003). They try to prevent the domination of the powers of their rivals in the regions that produce wealth in the regions. His assertion is that great powers will always seek superiority of nuclear powers against their enemies to destroy them. He opposes the subject of the sates living in a world of assured destruction that is mutual and that they prevent development of defenses to oppose the nuclear weapons (Mearsheimer, 2006).
Case study 1
The imperial Japan, its expansionism using Mearsheimer’s theory of offensive realism in Korea
In 1904, Japan, which desired to dominate Korea, declared war in Russia. This war was between these two great powers and due to the reason that the main aim was to invade Korea, the war took place in the entire Korea. When Japan was declaring the war, two divisions of army were dispatched in Korea to inhabit Seoul and other significant regions in the country as foundations of their operations. Japanese later influenced Korea to enter into an agreement with them and signed the Protocol between Japan and Korea. They constructed the railroads from Seoul to Pusan and from Seoul to Sinuiju and stole millions of land for their military to use. In 1907, the emperor of Korea named some envoys to the peace conference in Hague, to publicize the unfairness and injustice of the inhabitation of Japan in Korea to the world (Mearsheimer, 2006). These efforts of the emperor did not work because of the rampant and strong interference of Japan.
Later, they forced Korea to enter into an agreement with them concerning the first convention between the two countries. This led to them taking over the powers of education, police officers, and military in 1904. They also grasped the power of the palace and later the diplomatic rights and the second convention they forced Korea to sign. In 1906, Japan encompassed the powers of control and established in Seoul, a Bureau for the governor to control the internal affairs of Korea. The first governor was appointed during this time and he took over the Koreans’ will. Japan threatened and made the ministers who arose against them slaves, and set troops of armies to create an environment of terror all over the country. Kojong, the emperor of Korea, tied to dispatch the special envoys again and resisted against the aggressive acts of Japan. In return, Japan forced the emperor to be abducted and Sunjong became the new emperor. Japan later forced the army of Korea to disband, which made the country lack self-defense (Mearsheimer, 2006).
The immediate effects of this lay on the police and the powers of the judiciary. By suppressing the two powers, the Japanese police had the control of the security nation-wide. This made the Koreans be deprived of their freedom of association and speech as well as taking away the country’s sovereignty. In 1910, Korea became a colony of Japan. From then, until 1945, Korea was under the colonial rule of Japan, who subjected the people to suffering and torture because they were considered uncivilized. The men were forced to labor in the productive sectors for the benefit of Japanese while the women were abused sexually.
Case study 2
The imperial Japan, its expansionism using Mearsheimer’s theory of offensive realism in Manchuria
Japanese army invaded Chinese troops in 1931 in the event called the Manchurian Incident. From September 20 to 25, its forces took Changtu, Tiaonan, Kirin, Liaoyang, Hsiungyueh, Chiaoho, Huangkutun and Hsin-min to efficiently ensure that there was secured control in Kirin and Liaoning. They were attempting to gain the control on the province wholly to encompass East Asia, which later became one of the sources of World War II. Japan modernized from 1868 to the time of World War II. It emerged with big companies that were the trading firms. Its expansion was had an association of expansion of wars. Examples are the defeats of China against Korea and Russia against Manchuria. The navy of Japan was the first in the hierarchy of modern powers that were industrialized. During World War 1, Japan encompassed the Islands of German that are north of the equator. Later, it moved to encompass the East Asia (Blaker, 2002). This is because the world had broken up in to the trade unions and blocs and it froze out of the multiple markets. Later in 1929, it was hard hit by depression and there were no solutions to the challenges laid by the depression, which later became worldwide. This was because the civilian government was weak thus; Japan employed its strong army to win colonies.
The army generals conducted campaigns to exploit the industries in various countries for Japan. This was when it attacked Manchuria leading to accusations by the Nations League. By this time, Japan had made investments of large sums of money in Manchurian economy that had the control by the Railway Company in South Manchuria to acquire it fully. Their aim was to compete geopolitically to dominate in the region with the United States, the Soviet Union and many countries in Europe that intended to win colonies in Asia (Grieco, 1990). When they had achieved taking over Manchuria, Japanese established the state of Manchukuo, the home of the family of the ethnic group that was ruling. This state was their occupation only, which was proclaimed in 1932.
Changchun city was given a new name, Hsinking and became the capital. The Japanese navy initiated the invasion of Manchuria with the objective of preventing the advancement of the nationalist forces of China that were a threat to the interests of Japan on Asia. Manchuria had both raw materials as well as natural resources that Japan wanted to use in their resources to boost its economic goals and this was only possible through taking over Manchuria.
Why Japan colonized Korea and Manchuria
The Japanese appreciated the rampant agricultural culture that was in Russia, specifically in the two areas that are recognized to be the most productive in the region. That is the Romanovka and Trekhrech’e. This is the reason why Japan colonized Manchuria- to enjoy the agricultural state of Manchuria. By making Manchuria its colony, it would be easier to stop the Chinese naturalism in the region and create the spirit of nationalism in the region that would in return increase the level of productivity in the agricultural sector in the region. This would benefit the Japanese. Japan considered Korea as a source of human labor and natural resources. Japan needed labor in their industries that were developing at a very high rate. Due to this, it made Korea one of its colonies to get people who would become slaves to work in the industries. The natural resources acted as inputs that were in Korea, were used by the Japanese to make products in their developing industries. Since it regarded it inferior, it was used as a way of extending control over the continent of Asia. Korea had investment opportunities because of the uncivilized nature. Japan took the advantage of this thus made it its colony to make industrial investments.
This information was collected both in Japan and Russia. The documentaries of Asia and Japan have been analyzed and the analysis has revealed this. There are surveys that the Japanese in the villages in Russia, which they used to shoot documentary films. The data is also used to publish articles and magazines like the Women’s Magazine. The major publications are the report of the Museum of Ethnology and Post socialist Perspectives. Certain researchers with the residents of the regions as well as the respective descendants hold interviews to get the relevant information concerning the Japanese imperialism in Korea and Manchuria (Snyder, 1989). The scholars in the several institutions found in Japan on the regions in both Manchuria and Korea has useful information concerning this concept. An example of a survey that was conducted is the Economic Survey in the northern regions of Manchuria under the Research Bureau of Manchuria.
Realism is a traditional research method that can really bring improvements and progress. Nevertheless, realism has flaws just like any other concepts of international relations. Use of multiple approaches to explain the improvement in the social sciences is indispensable. Progress will be possible when criticism does more than to only delegitimate the concept of realism or another approach that criticism dislikes (Kennan & Mearsheimer, 2012). Many of the improvements in realism set their foundation on the realistic debates from within and not the realistic debates from outside the setting. An example of such a progress is the Mearsheimer’s theory of offensive realism that shows the description of the power of this discipline in the case of Korea and Manchuria. The Japanese tried to entirely control the region and increase their portion over their enemies.
The criticism concerning realism as well as the great powers is that, there exists an understatement of the level and diversity of realism due to the few and shallow samples of the theories of the realists. There ought to be an analysis of the concept of realism that shows its criteria that incorporates a wide range of the theories that make it. A more useful and clear examination would be the one that includes a narration of the wide literature on realism, which could be described defensive as well as neoclassical (Rosen, 1991). It is not certain that the rest of the researches that address the issue of international relations satisfy the criteria of distinctivess. Realism is a philosophy thus, not a practical neither a scientific theory that can be tested making it hard to prove or disapprove it. When one concept of realism fails, this ought not to be the generalization of the whole discipline as a failure too. The contemporary theories may make guesses that contradict, and the scholars should intervene and settle the disagreements by analyzing the record to check the theory that is correct or that goes past the current theories by modifying or developing new theories. Though realism intends to describe a situation or thing as it appears, the pessimism associated with it in making predictions is at disputes with the criteria of progress. Realistic thoughts are regarded as dangerous to the power of progressing in reason, and must be eliminated.
The intolerance may sometimes result to criticism of realism in explaining the goodness of this cruel tone in their critics. This is why critics ignore some significant concepts of realistic theories. Realism, according to Mearsheimer has the role of designing and shaping the character of a state but the nature of the system does not influence its character. States are encouraged to act in ways that will prevent other states from doing them. States have the right to to engage in some foolish things, which mean that they will have to overlook the imperatives of the system at their real causes or perils. Mearsheimer point out that, it is not the ability that great powers will harbor desires and interests; rather the challenge of incorporating and making power effective is what furthers their distance. This clearly collaborates with the argument of Mearsheimer, which the core aim of great powers is to attain regional hegemony and preventing the rise of fellow enemies and competitors and that are far away in the world. They do this by maintaining balanced power that supports this core objective.
Blaker, M. (2002). Case studies in Japanese negotiating behavior. Washington, D.C: US Inst. of Peace Press.
Clark, R. (2003). Japan and Korea. Paramus, NJ: Globe Book Co.
Grieco, J. M. (1990). Cooperation among nations: Europe, America, and non-tariff barriers to trade. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Kennan, G. F., & Mearsheimer, J. J. (2012). American diplomacy. Chicago, Ill. [etc.: The University of Chicago Press.
Mearsheimer, J. (2006). Structural Realism Chapter 4.
Mearsheimer, J. J. (2010). Liddell Hart and the weight of history. Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press.
Rosen, S. P. (1991). Winning the next war: Innovation and the modern military. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Snyder, J. L. (1989). The ideology of the offensive: Military decision making and the disasters of 1914. Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press.
Spykman, N. J., & Nicholl, H. R. (2009). The geography of the peace. Hamden, Conn: Archon books.
Zakaria, F. (2001). From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of America’s World Role. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Running Head: PHILOSOPHY 1
Rene states that personal realization is more foreign to an individual than having knowledge of the truth and other matters that are foreign to him or her. The mind should have the freedom to explore different factors without being confined to what is considered as the truth. Rene further states that the mind should be given free rein so that when the time and situation demands, the mind can allow the process to take the course. The things we see and know are likely to be confused because of differences in perceptions. Its distinct descriptive characteristics are available like color, shoe size and feel that enables one to identify it.
However, fire is destructive in that when ice is burned, it loses the traces of honey flavor, scent, the color changes and the original shape is lost. In addition, the size increases, it becomes hot and liquidifies, hot to touch and on rubbing it, the original sound disappears. This representation indicates that objects cannot be fully described through the use of senses because a change of condition or situation is likely to later the form. Rene further explains that wax is a body that can manifest itself in different ways. The several changes that take place in objects cannot be fully understood through imagination.
When one observes the universe, he or she sees objects like human beings and structures and use his or her judgment to ascertain what they are seeing. The question is, are objects just what they appear like from the outside or by a careful analysis and use of common sense? Moreover, a careful analysis of what one sees and the common sense about the object in question gives a better picture and places an individual in a better position to come up with viable imaginations. Despite the characteristics an object possesses and its distinguishing characteristics, judgement and perception cannot be arrived at without the involvement of the human mind.
Personal evaluation and ability to make judgements is critical to say with certainty whether one’s judgement is a true representation of the object in question. Judging that wax exists because one is able to see it means that the individual in question also exists because he or she is able to see. However, there a difference between an act like seeing and thinking that one sees because the latter might be an illusion. Judging from the sense of touch means that an individual exists and the same case applies to judging from imagination. The factors used to describe wax are applicable to all other factors that are external to an individual like the us and believe in the existence of a deity. Perception of phenomena based on other factors other than sight and touch is an indication that the individual l is knowledgeable of the phenomena.
A belief that god exists cannot be ascertained through sight and touch but only through imagination and external perception of what one believes of his or her deity. The external world is objective and people can only experience it through the imagination and creation of images that according to them are representative of the phenomena in question. The difference between the idea of god and the wax example is that he cannot be seen or touched. In addition, believers do not know the form in which he exists and therefore cannot anticipate change when conditions and situations change like in the wax example.
On the other hand, the sun can be recognized through sight but cannot be touched because is an external phenomena to humans. However, because people can see it, there is a set of observable and imaginative phenomena that are used to explain it like the sun rising and going down. In addition, at night, speculations and scientific studies enable humans to assume that sun rays have been obstructed by the earth’s rotation. In the discourse on method and meditation on first philosophy, Rene has tried to give a clear picture of how various things people see can be described by the conception of the mind. From the wax example, Rene concludes that it is not the physical appearance of an object that gives it its definition of something but perception has to go beyond what people see.
Through the wax’s discussion and definition, Rene tries to give a clear picture of how people perceive different things and give personalized conclusions depending on one’s knowledge. According to Renés literature, the wax’s description that is based on sight, touch, size, shape and other physical factors is bound to change if the surrounding conditions like temperature change. The description of the same object after being burned is totally different but deep down, it is still the original substance from honey combs and flowers. From this description we can conclude that the world is not purely made of what we see or feel because change does not transform objects.
Ideas on both the sun and god differ from one individual to another, and the hypothesis developed to explain, develop an understanding and cope with worldly situations enables people to give phenomena that are considered to be because they offer a meaning. These myths can neither be proven through sight or touch because the sun is an external phenomenon. For instance, some communities name children depending on time or position of the sun at the time of birth.
All communities have a myth explaining on their origin and the existence of a deity that is considered as supreme to all human beings. However, the god cannot be seen, touched or his existence cannot be proven but this does not mean that humans do not exist. The beliefs about gods is not universal because the myths differ from one community to another in contrary to physical objects like wax whose name is universal and its physical characteristics can be used to describe it universally. In addition, although the gods are believed to change from good to evil depending on the actions of the human beings, the assertions are based on beliefs that cannot also be proven.
In conclusion, through the wax’s discussion and definition, Rene tries to give a clear picture of how people perceive different things and give personalized conclusions depending on one’s knowledge. According to Renés literature, the wax’s description that is based on sight, touch, size, shape and other physical factors is bound to change if the surrounding conditions like temperature change. The description of the same object after being burned is totally different but deep down, it is still the original substance from honey combs and flowers. From this description we can conclude that the world is not purely made of what we see or feel because change does not transform objects.
Running Head: Philosophy 1
Helping a friend when you have your own tasks to accomplish
Some of my friends say they will help out the friend while others claim that they will only help out the friend once they are through with their own tasks. Friendship means being ready to forgo your own endeavors for someone else. A true friend will help a friend when they are in need at no matter what cost. Your own tasks may also not be urgent and it will be wise of you to put them aside for a while as you attend to those of a friend in case they are pressing.
Some of my friends are not for the idea of bringing your own tasks to a halt because of a friend. They argue out that your needs may be as pressing as those of your friend. Thus it will be wise of you to take your time handling your own roles then help a friend once you are through. They gave an example of your own house being on fire and you run to help a friend put out a fire at their place. Definitely yours will burn down consuming everything and the friend may not take you in to stay with them. I find the two answers correct depending on the situation on the ground. Hence it will be wise for one to consider the conditions of such a situation before deciding.
Receiving extra balance from a blind vendor
Most of my friends admit that they have been in such a situation not once, not twice but several times. In most of those situations they walk away with the cash without saying a word. However, they feel it is wrong to rob a blind man of their hard earned money. A few of my friends however agree that it is wrong to take such cash and they consider returning the cash to the blind man the best thing to do. This is because of the religious beliefs that they live by. Some also claim that their conscience should always be clear.
Yes, it may look wrong to take the cash but one may be so much in need of the cash than even the blind man. Nature tries to balance out resources in society. It is not a mistake that nature directed the blind man to give you extra cash. Also one may be in town and they have no money to use as fare back home or they have nothing to buy lunch with. On the other hand the blind vendor may have sold so many newspapers and made huge profits. In such a situation then a friend will be justified to walk away with the cash and consider that as one of the ways through which nature balances the distribution of resources.
Analysis of the answers given
Some of the answers given by my friends agree with those in the text while others do not agree. For the first question I consider helping a friend once you are through with your own task to be the best answer. It is only wise to help others when you have extra resources not when you have less than enough. Time is one such important resource thus using it to help a friend is only justified when it is in excess. For the second case I consider giving the extra balance back to the blind vendor the right answer. Yes, nature tries to balance resources as stated by some of my friends. However, there are right ways of earning your own cash, for instance one could work hard and help the blind vendor to sell newspapers in exchange for some pay.
Editing Essay 2
The field of philosophy owes a lot to the contributions of the two world’s most famous Greek philosophers, Socrates and Plato. These philosophers nullified commonly held beliefs and sought to think for themselves on the nature and origin of life. The philosophical views changed the way of thinking in their lifetime, and they still form the cornerstone of wisdom in the contemporary world. The philosophers share similar views, mainly because Plato was Socrates’ student. However, although their views are similar in several ways, the philosophers also disagree on major areas in philosophy. For instance, both Socrates and Plato address concepts of justice by exploring the role of adherence to the law, customs, governments, ethics, morality, and conscience in determining the success of a society. This paper explores the major differences in the philosophical views of Socrates and Plato on knowledge and justice.
Both philosophers studied various concepts concerning justice and the need for man to be just, and they agree that justice is necessary for a successful community. However, they differ in their views regarding the ability of man to be just. Plato believes that man is inherently able to act justly, whereas Socrates is pessimistic about man’s ability to be just. According to Socrates, the law is necessary to ensure justice within a community. He proposes that legal punishments reduce the evil that exists in man’s souls, but they are unable to make the man just. Thus, person is unable to be just under any circumstances, and he or she is just only in death. Plato disagrees with Socrates, he believes that justice cannot be legislated; thus, the law does not play an important role in ensuring justice (Rubin 4). Plato pays tribute to divine intervention, which gives man the inherent power to do good. He uses the fact that the law is drafted and implemented by man to prove his optimism about man’s ability to be just. According to Platonic justice, it is possible for a city to be virtuous if all people perform their functions, such as in governance and taking care of relevant issues concerning the community members (Rubin 23).
Plato and Socrates also share their views concerning knowledge. They both seek to offer a distinct definition of the word knowledge’ and an explanation regarding the role of education in the society. The philosophers differ on three accounts in this field. According to Plato, an individual acquires knowledge from past information existing in his or her soul. Thus, he equates knowledge and perception to an argument that Socrates refutes. According to Socrates, perception is not equal to knowledge since man has the ability to identify a foreign language without having prior knowledge about the language. He also disagrees with Plato’s argument that knowledge is equal to true belief. This is because an individual may believe unfounded facts, in which case the belief will not be the knowledge. White (167) presents an example for this when he states that if we have a memory-imprint of Theaetetus, and the same time perceive Socrates, we can, by wrongly fitting the sensory impression of Socrates into our memory imprint of Theaetetus, do something that he is willing to count as falsely believing that the thing that we are perceiving is Theaetetus. Plato defends his stand by including a rational account to make true belief be a knowledge. However, Socrates further refutes this argument because it is difficult to differentiate between rational and irrational accounts (White 167).
The philosophers also differ in their views regarding the role of knowledge in the society. According to Socrates, education is valuable to humanity in that it creates virtuous humans, and thus, he equates good virtues to knowledge. In Benson (260), Socrates feels that once one recognizes one’s ignorance, one must recognize that a life in such a state is not worthy living. He believes that a good education needs to avoid exposing children to wrongdoing and setting rules and laws that ensure justice within the community. This increases the chances of growing in a just and knowledgeable society. On the other hand, Plato does not believe in the ability of laws to create a just government. This is because the rulers and lawmakers are also prone to making mistakes, and the law may fail to offer justice occasionally. Rather, he believes that if people are educated, there will be no need for legislating justice. This is because educated leaders make great leaders, and a government, consisting of such leaders, greatly determines the kind of justice practiced (Benson 260).
In conclusion, Plato challenged the views of his teacher, Socrates, regarding various aspects of life. This paper focuses on two major areas, where these philosophers share similarities and differences, that is, in justice and knowledge. While Plato believes in man’s ability to be just, Socrates believes that only the law can enact justice. Plato nullifies the role of the law in ensuring that justice prevails in a society, and instead, he upholds the role of morality and the conscience in enhancing justice. Regarding knowledge, both Socrates and Plato feel that the knowledge is essential in building up a successful society. However, Socrates feels that education and the law should work together to ensure justice while Plato disregards the role of the law and upholds education in itself. The philosophers also disagree concerning the definition of knowledge.
Benson, Hugh H. Socratic Wisdom: The Model of Knowledge in Plato’s Early Dialogues. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print.
Rubin, Leslie G. Justice V. Law in Greek Political Thought. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997. Print.
White, Nicholas P. Plato on Knowledge and Reality. Indianapolis, Ind: Hackett, 1987. Print.