Tag Archives: Coursework Essay

Marx On Alienation and Human Nature, Part 2



(NB: This is not a new essay; I have split the old one in two.)

Was Marx Right that People would not be Alienated Under Communism?

Three considerations prefigure an assessment of Marx’s account of workers’ alienation Read the rest of this entry



Part 1: What Is Alienation?

To know what Marx meant by ‘alienation’ is not straightforward because there is no single phenomena that he identified as alienating. Our colloquial usage of ‘alienation’ often refers to a feeling, but for Marx it need not be felt at all. Concepts of alienation were important in the idealist tradition contemporaneous to Marx, and were conceived of as the coming apart of something, the separation of essence from existence. Read the rest of this entry

Marx On Alienation and Human Nature, Part 1


An Evaluation of the Positions of Hart and Dworkin on the Role of Judges Faced with Hard Cases

lady-justice2‘Hard cases’ is a general name for those cases where the law is not clear as to who the judge should rule in favour of, which are normally due to a lack of relevant precedent. This role of judges is controversial among philosophers because if there are such gaps in the law it would appear that when decisions are made, the substance of the new ‘law’ created would be chosen by them. Read the rest of this entry

‘Hard Cases’ For Judges


Do Physical Objects Possess Temporal Parts?

president_baracl_obama_changeThe problem of qualitative change is how an object that has a particular property at one time can be numerically identical with an object that does not have that property at a different time without violating the principle of the indiscernability of identicals.[1] (This is distinct from the problem of mereological change: can object that has particular parts at one time be likewise identical with different parts at a different time?) There would be a very significant philosophical conclusion should we be unable to solve this, namely that we cannot make literally correct statements of the form ‘the banana changed from green to yellow’. Read the rest of this entry

Identity and Change


An Assessment of the Positivist Critique of the Natural Law Claim that Law and Morality are Inseparable

hitler460The central claim in the positivist approach to the place of morality is that the law draws its authority from the legitimacy of the law-making body and that this has nothing to do with morality. So long as certain conditions (varying between philosophers) are fulfilled, such as that the laws this body makes are generally respected, that they are made known for citizens to learn if they wish, and that the specific law was passed according to the correct procedures in that system, it qualifies as an authoritative law. Another way of putting this is that it is the form of the law, solely those factors that are extrinsic to that law itself which determine its authority. Read the rest of this entry

Legal Positivism and the Separation Thesis


The following is another essay I wrote back in 2008.

Is Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean A Plausible Guide To Moral Goodness?


Aristotle_4Aristotle’s (384 BC – 322 BC) doctrine of the mean has a privileged place in one of the grand moral traditions, that of virtue ethics. Virtue ethics retains a widespread influence today, particularly via its thirteenth century formulation by St. Thomas Aquinas, which remains at the core of the moral teaching of the Catholic Church, and via its twentieth century reunion with the secular mainstream of moral philosophy through the work of several Catholic scholars, particularly Alasdair MacIntyre.[1] This essay endorses virtue ethics and argues that the doctrine of the mean is a plausible guide to moral goodness, but is not by itself adequate as a guide to all-things-considered moral rightness. Read the rest of this entry

Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics


The following is another essay I wrote back in 2008.

Does Plato Provide A Good Argument For the Immortality of the Soul?

plato1Plato (423 – 347 BC) provides several arguments for his claim that the soul is immortal, and for various reasons none of these are convincing. Their fundamental flaw is that the existence of a kind of soul to which the arguments apply is presupposed. Most of the arguments are found in his Socratic dialogue Phaedo (of which the Recollection Argument is also found in the Meno, but I do not cover that version here) and a further important one is found in the last book of The Republic (another Socratic dialogue). Read the rest of this entry

Plato On Immortality