Archives for the month of: March, 2016

janetthomas

In philosophy intentional states mean the directing of one’s thoughts towards some object or idea. The philosopher Fred Dretske investigated the claims of the late philosopher Roderick Chisholm who argued that intentional states could only be mental states. This claim was derived from the thesis of the nineteenth century philosopher Franz Brentano in his 1874 book Psychology from an Empirical Standpoint. This essay will explore the claims made by Chisholm and Dretske and ascertain the validity of their arguments as to whether the all the contents of the mind are physical or mental states.

A feature of mental states is their content. For example, when I see a cat, I am perceptually aware of that cat, or when I believe that it is going to rain, my belief represents a state of the weather. David Chalmers (ed. 2002, p. 473) states that a feature of mental states is defined…

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janetthomas

Celsus was a Neo-Platonist that lived in the time of the late second century. He wrote a book against Christianity called The True Word. Celsus’s work is only known through the Christian apologist Origen’s writings. Origen of Alexandria was a Christian theologian who cites much of Celsus’s work in his book Against Celsus. Porphyry was a philosopher born in the Roman near East and who wrote in the second half of the third century after the persecutions of Decian and Valerian. His book, Against the Christians, was responded to by various Christian apologists such as Eusibius, Methodius, Jerome and Augustine.

Celsus’s first criticism is to do with God’s descent amongst men. For Celsus, this is an impossibility because God, even by Christian belief, is immutable, unchanging and pure. For God to undergo such a transformation, he would have to go from a pure to a blemished state, from good…

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janetthomas

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The persecution of Christians by Diocletian began in 303 C.E. at a time when the Roman Empire was under extreme economic pressure. The economy of currency had been ruined and the tax system had to be based on payments in kind, just as the military were also paid in kind. Certain occupations that were considered to be essential for the maintenance of the Empire became known as ‘compulsory services’ and those engaged in them were prohibited from changing them. To try and unify the Empire at this politically difficult time, Diocletian used the state religion.

Diocletian had divided the Empire into four princeps to be run by four emperors. In 293 C.E. he appointed Galerius to the eastern empire of the Balkans. Galerius married Diocletian’s daughter Valerian who, along with her mother, was a Christian. It is considered by Eusibius that it was Galerian, at the behest of his mother…

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janetthomas

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The Jewish Revolts against Roman rule were reflective of Jewish dissent in the Maccabaen revolt of the second century B.C.E.. The Jewish leader, Mathathias, states to king Antiochus- “Although all nations obey king Antiochus…I and my sons, and my brethren will obey the law of our fathers”[1].Under Julius Caesar in the first century B.C.E., the client king Herod negotiated for the Jews to have a favoured status within the empire. It allowed them to practice their religion freely: they were exempted from military service, they had the right to assemble and could send money to Jerusalem[2]. So to explore whether the Jewish Revolts of the first and second centuries were politically or religiously motivated, one should first explore the change of status that the Jews experienced under subsequent Roman emperors and its outcome.

Prior to the first revolt of the Jews against Roman authority, the Jewish…

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janetthomas

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This essay will explore how far the Roman writers Horace, Ovid, Seneca, Petronius, and Juvenal thought the Jewish people were disturbing Roman society through proselytizing. These writers were an elite group in Rome. They were both patronised by the aristocracy but most were also high-born themselves[1]. Through exploring the backgrounds of these writers and the times in which they wrote I will assess why they may have thought as they did and the quality of their testimony.

Horace and Ovid lived in the triumviral and Augustan eras from 43 BCE. During this period poets assumed a different role to the one that had been traditional in Rome that of conferring lasting fame, to a role of ‘serving citizens of the state in a moral and educative fashion’[2]. This period also saw the rise of Herod the Great in Palestine, who managed to obtain the favour of…

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janetthomas

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Nils Holtug argues for the Value of Existence View which makes ‘the comparative claim that existence can be better (or worse) for a person than non-existence’ (p.370). Derek Parfit and John Broome argue against this view by stating that it is incoherent. Parfit argues that causing someone to exist cannot be better for a person because the alternative would not have been worse. Broome argues that it can never be true that it is better for a person to exist than to not exist because if she had not existed there would not have been a ‘her’ to have been worse off.

The argument set out by Parfit and Broome is called the Metaphysical Argument and it relies upon two premises. The first premise makes the judgement that it is better (or worse) to exist than never to exist and entails that it is worse (or better) to not exist…

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janetthomas

Commercial surrogacy is defended on five main principles. The first is its effective means of allowing childless couples to have children is considered to make it a significant good. Second, the rights for autonomous adults to procreate and form contracts are too fundamental to interfere with unless it causes a significant harm. Third the act of surrogacy is seen as altruistic and to be encouraged and finally, commercial surrogacy should be seen as no different to and consistent with already accepted practices in the reproduction and raising of children.

Anderson argues against these principles stating that commercial surrogacy makes women’s labor a commodity. By applying market norms to this labor it regards the woman’s body and her role as a mother as one of mere use. For Anderson, it is the worth and respect that should be given to a woman for her labor, with regard to gestation and childbirth…

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