sarahafejee
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Need help on philosophy and ethics

less time so hoping i can skip one topic from philosophy (out of five) and 2 topics from ethics (out of seven)

what is the easiest topics to learn and what came up in June 2013 and whats the best technique to revise as I'm finding it super difficult and super boring. only got a C last year but one UMS of a 'B' need a B overall in this topic.

please help ASAP
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ehill36
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Hi,
With regards to philosophy you can guarantee there will always be a question on Religious language an and attributes of God, so definitely those two, however attributes of God is also the hardest. I recommend revising religious language, life after death, attributes of God and maybe religious experience? And definitely leave out revelation.
With regards to ethics do not leave out any applied ethics or virtue ethics. Although they may be the hardest they are the most likely to come up. So I suggest leaving out maybe Meta ethics? (However Meta ethics does coincide with religious language)
Personally I would try not to leave any out but if you are going to, I suggest revelation and maybe something like meta ethics? (pretty hard)

I predict, dualism/monoism and falsification principle might come up. And environmental ethics/sex ethics/ freedom and determinism but could be totally wrong!!!!


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BrunoRussell
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(Original post by sarahafejee)
Need help on philosophy and ethics

less time so hoping i can skip one topic from philosophy (out of five) and 2 topics from ethics (out of seven)

what is the easiest topics to learn and what came up in June 2013 and whats the best technique to revise as I'm finding it super difficult and super boring. only got a C last year but one UMS of a 'B' need a B overall in this topic.

please help ASAP
Note there are no topics which are guarenteed to come up!! In philosophy any one of the five topics could be omitted. The predictions for this year, based on exam trends are below:

Philosophy
1) Critically assess the claims that Ayer provides to religious language
2) "Miracles are nothing more than a matter of interpretation". Discuss
3) "Religious experiences are not proof of the divine". Discuss
4) Critically assess the claim that monism provides a better approach than dualism

Ethics
1) 'Freud provides the best views on the conscience'. Discuss
2) Critically assess the claim that we have a moral duty to protect the enviroment
3) To what extent is Virtue Ethics a strong moral theory?
4) 'Natural Law is the best approach to sexual ethics'. Discuss
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Emily Martha
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(Original post by BrunoRussell)
Note there are no topics which are guarenteed to come up!! In philosophy any one of the five topics could be omitted. The predictions for this year, based on exam trends are below:

Philosophy
1) Critically assess the claims that Ayer provides to religious language
2) "Miracles are nothing more than a matter of interpretation". Discuss
3) "Religious experiences are not proof of the divine". Discuss
4) Critically assess the claim that monism provides a better approach than dualism

Ethics
1) 'Freud provides the best views on the conscience'. Discuss
2) Critically assess the claim that we have a moral duty to protect the enviroment
3) To what extent is Virtue Ethics a strong moral theory?
4) 'Natural Law is the best approach to sexual ethics'. Discuss

Hi, can I just ask where you got these predictions from? I was also given predicted questions that were slightly different to these.
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BrunoRussell
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(Original post by Emily Martha)
Hi, can I just ask where you got these predictions from? I was also given predicted questions that were slightly different to these.
official predictions from online site that our teacher sources. for the AS this year they got 3 of the philosophy right and 3 of the ethics.
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weirdnessandcoffee
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I'm leaving out Religious language and Meta Ethics- hate them with a passion, yet ironically I remember a lot for religious language without revising because I hate it so much.

Have a feeling Revelation and Holy Scripture could be tied into one of the religious experience questions.
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Emily Martha
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(Original post by weirdnessandcoffee)
I'm leaving out Religious language and Meta Ethics- hate them with a passion, yet ironically I remember a lot for religious language without revising because I hate it so much.

Have a feeling Revelation and Holy Scripture could be tied into one of the religious experience questions.
So do I, it hasn't come up for a while. I really hope that the omni-qualities of God don't come up, I just cannot fully understand them, although there's been a question on them every year :/
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BrunoRussell
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(Original post by Emily Martha)
So do I, it hasn't come up for a while. I really hope that the omni-qualities of God don't come up, I just cannot fully understand them, although there's been a question on them every year :/
I think it's likely omni-qualities won't come up. there are 5 topics and 4 questions and they normally go on rota. it's either going to be that or religious language that is omitted in the paper this year, and the predictions are saying the omni-stuff.
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Emily Martha
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Having done a mini-plan for the question "Critically assess the claims that Ayer provides to religious language", I said:

Intro/ Ayer's claims: Religious language is meaningless because it cannot be proven by sense observation

Agree: Via Negativa, religious language is meaningless because our imperfect language cannot describe a perfect God. Also, Ayer's claim that something that cannot be proven makes sense because it can never be verified- you can never check the phrase "God loves me".

Disagree: Just because it cannot be empirically proven it doesn't mean that it is meaningless. Tillich who believed that language is symbolic, myths which use metaphors, Aquinas' analogies which show how we can use language to talk about God. Wittgenstein's language games shows how religious language is meaningful when used in the correct context. And then Ian Ramsey's models and qualifiers- meaninful, if we say "Jesus is like a shephard" we use our human model of a shephard to understand it. As such, religious language doesn't have to be tangiable to be meaninful.

Conclusion: Religious language can have meaning even if it cannot be emperically proven.

Does anyone know if I'm on the right track? I think I focused more on "religious language is meaningless" rather than "religious language is meaningless because it cannot be proven by sense observation", but I tried to make it relevent because the basis of Ayer's claim is that religious language has no meaning.

Any feedback would be appreciated

Thanks x
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abiislame
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hey can anyone help me with the question "understanding ethical language can help in making ethical decisions" meta-ethics is my weakest topic and i'm really stuck on what to do for it :/
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BrunoRussell
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(Original post by Emily Martha)
Having done a mini-plan for the question "Critically assess the claims that Ayer provides to religious language", I said:

Intro/ Ayer's claims: Religious language is meaningless because it cannot be proven by sense observation

Agree: Via Negativa, religious language is meaningless because our imperfect language cannot describe a perfect God. Also, Ayer's claim that something that cannot be proven makes sense because it can never be verified- you can never check the phrase "God loves me".

Disagree: Just because it cannot be empirically proven it doesn't mean that it is meaningless. Tillich who believed that language is symbolic, myths which use metaphors, Aquinas' analogies which show how we can use language to talk about God. Wittgenstein's language games shows how religious language is meaningful when used in the correct context. And then Ian Ramsey's models and qualifiers- meaninful, if we say "Jesus is like a shephard" we use our human model of a shephard to understand it. As such, religious language doesn't have to be tangiable to be meaninful.

Conclusion: Religious language can have meaning even if it cannot be emperically proven.

Does anyone know if I'm on the right track? I think I focused more on "religious language is meaningless" rather than "religious language is meaningless because it cannot be proven by sense observation", but I tried to make it relevent because the basis of Ayer's claim is that religious language has no meaning.

Any feedback would be appreciated

Thanks x
Hey - this is looking good - three things to note:

1. I'm guessing you know Ayer's claims in more detail for your first section, you would need to mention logical positivists, Vienna Circle and how Ayer proposes a weak or indirect verification of putative statments

2. Be careful with the Via Negativa. It DOES NOT say that religious langauge is meaningless - only speaking about it positivly is. Speaking about it negativly grants it meaning. It does support Ayer to some extent but I feel really does better as a counter-argument to Ayer as he negates to consider the implication of negative theology

3. What about the direct supporters and criticisers of Ayer? Think about Hick and the eschatalogical verification (celestial city). On the other hand, Flew supports Ayer's ideas on sensory observation (although he adapts them to create what he considers a more coherent argument with falsification).

Furthermore, in my opinion it's a lot easier to critically argue that Ayer is wrong, but as long as you justify your conclusion that doesn't really matter.
Hope that helps
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BrunoRussell
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(Original post by abiislame)
hey can anyone help me with the question "understanding ethical language can help in making ethical decisions" meta-ethics is my weakest topic and i'm really stuck on what to do for it :/
You wouldn't get a question like that as the focus of meta ethics is not understanding moral language, but rather judging if it has meaning.
The questions that could come on this topic would include:

  • How accurate is the view that ethical language is essentially meaningless?
  • 'Ethical language is nothing more than an expression of emotions'. Discuss
  • Critically assess Moore's ideas on ethical language


Hope that helps
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abiislame
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Ahh okay thank you! Yeah the question did stump me a bit but the ones you suggested I could do
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Emily Martha
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(Original post by BrunoRussell)
Hey - this is looking good - three things to note:

1. I'm guessing you know Ayer's claims in more detail for your first section, you would need to mention logical positivists, Vienna Circle and how Ayer proposes a weak or indirect verification of putative statments

2. Be careful with the Via Negativa. It DOES NOT say that religious langauge is meaningless - only speaking about it positivly is. Speaking about it negativly grants it meaning. It does support Ayer to some extent but I feel really does better as a counter-argument to Ayer as he negates to consider the implication of negative theology

3. What about the direct supporters and criticisers of Ayer? Think about Hick and the eschatalogical verification (celestial city). On the other hand, Flew supports Ayer's ideas on sensory observation (although he adapts them to create what he considers a more coherent argument with falsification).

Furthermore, in my opinion it's a lot easier to critically argue that Ayer is wrong, but as long as you justify your conclusion that doesn't really matter.
Hope that helps

Thank you so, so much! Your feedback was really clear (and very useful). All that you've suggested seems screamingly obvious now. If we're lucky enough to be blessed with these predicted questions then I won't do this one anyway, but I thought I'd do a plan to be on the safe side
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The Empire Odyssey
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I don't want to revise for philosophy or ethics... I hate the subject with a passion.. It's going to be hell and back when I start my revision on Monday...
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Emily Martha
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(Original post by BrunoRussell)

Philosophy
1) Critically assess the claims that Ayer provides to religious language
2) "Miracles are nothing more than a matter of interpretation". Discuss
3) "Religious experiences are not proof of the divine". Discuss
4) Critically assess the claim that monism provides a better approach than dualism

Ethics
1) 'Freud provides the best views on the conscience'. Discuss
2) Critically assess the claim that we have a moral duty to protect the enviroment
3) To what extent is Virtue Ethics a strong moral theory?
4) 'Natural Law is the best approach to sexual ethics'. Discuss

Just for comparison, here are the predictions that I got given.

Philosophy
Question 1

"Religious Experiences are self-authenticating". Discuss.

Question 2

"Monism is more believable than dualism." Discuss.
Question 3

Assess the claim that miracles are just coincidences and not divine.
Question 4

To what extent are A.J. Ayer's criticisms of religious language successful?

Personally, I think that these would be very good questions on the whole except for question 1- the phrase "self-authenticating" is a bit puzzling, but I would read it as a "Theresa of Avila, William James etc vs. Freud, Marx, Dawkins etc" sort of question, with the former arguing for and the latter against.


Ethics
Question 1

Evaluate Freud's view that conscience is a product of our upbringing.
Question 2

"Businesses have no ethics because they have no conscience". Discuss.
Question 3

Which ethical theory you have studied has the best approach to issues surrounding contraception?
Question 4

"Virtue ethics is of no practical use in solving moral problems". Discuss.
Question 5

"Only a strong virtue ethic can protect the environment". Discuss.



These questions are also quite good ones, although I don't particularly like 2 or 5. As with above, the wording can sometimes obscure what they want from you i.e. with number 5 I'm not enirely sure what a 'strong virtue ethic' is.

But on the whole, they're very similar to your questions, and I would be estatic if they came up
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BrunoRussell
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(Original post by Emily Martha)
Just for comparison, here are the predictions that I got given.

Philosophy
Question 1

"Religious Experiences are self-authenticating". Discuss.

Question 2

"Monism is more believable than dualism." Discuss.
Question 3

Assess the claim that miracles are just coincidences and not divine.
Question 4

To what extent are A.J. Ayer's criticisms of religious language successful?

Personally, I think that these would be very good questions on the whole except for question 1- the phrase "self-authenticating" is a bit puzzling, but I would read it as a "Theresa of Avila, William James etc vs. Freud, Marx, Dawkins etc" sort of question, with the former arguing for and the latter against.


Ethics
Question 1

Evaluate Freud's view that conscience is a product of our upbringing.
Question 2

"Businesses have no ethics because they have no conscience". Discuss.
Question 3

Which ethical theory you have studied has the best approach to issues surrounding contraception?
Question 4

"Virtue ethics is of no practical use in solving moral problems". Discuss.
Question 5

"Only a strong virtue ethic can protect the environment". Discuss.



These questions are also quite good ones, although I don't particularly like 2 or 5. As with above, the wording can sometimes obscure what they want from you i.e. with number 5 I'm not enirely sure what a 'strong virtue ethic' is.

But on the whole, they're very similar to your questions, and I would be estatic if they came up
Yer they are quite similar, philosophy basically exactly the same. I would be OVER THE MOON if these are our questions. I could do all of those philosophy questions and all the ethics ones, with the exception of one. For philosophy I just don't want myths, biblical scriptures and revelation, reincarnation or the attributes of God. Don't mind one question on them as still as I have one to choose from. That's why that predicted paper would be a dream,

We went through self-authenticating at school, here you could take two approaches
1. Religious experiences prove religious experiences by their nature - think of different criteria proposed by James and Avilla
OR
2. Relgious experiences are authenticated by 'the self' - this seems to be more of the approach that Swinburne leans to.

In terms of against, for point 1 they'd be looking for Freud, Marx, Jung and the likes. For point 2 perhaps Kant, Dawkins and Freud although of course you may have exact philosophers you have learnt (I have Edward Pinter).
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Anny Smiles
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The definition I found online for self-authenticating is "the act of proving that something, usually a document, is genuine or true without the use of extrinsic evidence."

But James likes to talk about the fruits of religious experience- do they count as "extrinsic evidence"?

Obviously Freud & Marx & Dawkins & the like will say it isn't self-authenticating because it's neither true without evidence nor true with.

I can see how Swinburne focusses less on the evidence because he's all about accepting people's testimony without proof... but James' view confuses me?
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Anny Smiles
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[double posted]
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Emily Martha
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(Original post by Anny Smiles)
The definition I found online for self-authenticating is "the act of proving that something, usually a document, is genuine or true without the use of extrinsic evidence."

But James likes to talk about the fruits of religious experience- do they count as "extrinsic evidence"?

Obviously Freud & Marx & Dawkins & the like will say it isn't self-authenticating because it's neither true without evidence nor true with.

I can see how Swinburne focusses less on the evidence because he's all about accepting people's testimony without proof... but James' view confuses me?

Thanks so much for your definition. William James' views confuse me too! I started up a thread in A Level Philosophy & Ethics hoping that someone would post some ideas, but no-one has just yet
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