Werner Herzog’s ‘Into the Abyss’

Conversations with death row inmate Michael Perry and those affected by his crime serve as an examination of why people – and the state – kill (IMDB).

In class we talked about Werner Herzog’s Into the Abyss. The discussion questions are below if you click on the image.

into the abyss

For your review it would be great if you engage with the big questions the film poses rather than just critique the methods/techniques used in its production. In your answer you might like to include:

  • Your opinion(s) about the legitimacy of capital punishment
  • Your reasons for it
  • Some arguments and points made by different philosophers (especially Bentham and Kant)
  • Some mention of the case of Carla Faye that Captain Allan mentions
  • Some religious view points
  • A detailed and reasoned explanation as to which opinions you agree/disagree with and exactly why

The following might help:

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The Real Meaning of Jihad…

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The word ‘jihad’ is becoming increasingly used in news, on the internet and even in films like Matt Parker and Trey Stone’s Team America. Your task is to research an example where someone has claimed that a violent act is somehow justified in Islam and to use everything you know about Islam to decide wheter or not you think this claim is well-founded.

Your answer should include a substantial description of the event itself, an account of your understanding of Islam’s teachings on violence and, finally, an evaluation of whether you think ‘true’ Islam would approve of the actions you have described. You should give balanced reasons for your answer.

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Good Luck.

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Penetecost and ‘tying it all together’.

1. What was the message?

 

2. How might this fit with what you know of Desmond Tutu and what Jesus said about the Kingdom of Heaven?

 

3. Have a look at the songs below by Ellie Goulding and Phillip Phillips. People have claimed these are songs about Christianity. What evidence can you find in each one for this?

Kingdom of Heaven (and now Love and Pentecost) Part 2

Today we’re going to look at what some people understand by the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ today. If you look at the cooments on the above song on YouTube, you will see that there are a lot of people claiming that is what this song is about. By the end of the lesson you will need to write an answer on which of these two songs you think is most like the ‘Kingdom of God’. Remember Understanding beats remembering, applying beats understanding, and building and analysing beat everything else!! Good luck.

Kingdom of Heaven Challenge 2015

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Jesus had this massive idea to try and explain to people. To help them get it he gave lots of pictures. Try and work out what you think the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ really is…

To post your paragraph click on ‘leave a reply’ below. Just put your initials in the name box, any email (it won’t come up) and leave the web page blank, then paste your answer from word or pages… Try and make your answer the very best you can…

Thank You 🙂

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Today’s S4 Class – Utilitarian vs Kant’s Ethics


Is lying always wrong or does Jack Black do the right thing?

In this clip Elliot Vaugn decides that it is better to speed up Tom’s impending death in order to preserve DEX (life-preserving drug) to increase his own chances of survival. Utilitarianism in action or breaking a moral absolute?

Questions

On a piece of paper and for each clip:

  • Describe what happens in the clip you watched.
  • How would a good utilitarian have acted in this situation – you must explain why as well as what you think.
  • How would Kant insist one should act in this situation? Again you must argue for your answer. (We only began to talk about this last day so you may struggle to remember that Kant said “if you’re not sure what to do you should imagine that everyone will do what you’re about to do all the time”. If you think everyone doing that would be okay then you can do the action, if you wouldn’t – you shouldn’t.) Remember, Kant is concerned with whether the action is logical – whether then intentions are good or selfish – think Sheldon Cooper!

Need more help? Click the image below.
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  • What did you think was the right thing to do here? Were your reasons more Kantian or utilitarian?

Vardy on the Ontological Argument

In high-school education, Philosophy of Religion in general, and the traditional arguments for God are becoming a well (perhaps over-?)trodden path. The danger of this is that if it is taught badly, or even indifferently, students can be left at the end of a unit feeling like they haven’t changed their minds about anything and feeling that they must agree with a certain understanding of causation, say, to maintain their original beliefs. Philosophy then becomes a sort of stroll or tour to apparent complexity but remains uncritical and impotent. Perhaps this is unavoidable before university (though I certainly it is not) and I am sure I have just condemned myself in saying the above.

I’m certainly not claiming that there is a clear and obvious ‘right’ answer in a lot of the areas we discuss, only that there are plenty of ideas that, under closer inspection, show themselves to be problematic.

ANYWAY, the reason I was prompted to think of this was that in his Thinkers Guide to God, Peter Vardy makes a claim that breaks from this ‘tour’ of different but equally valid offerings. He quite plainly accuses John Hick of misunderstanding non-realism, claiming that this leads him to err in his judgement of ontological arguments (87).

In doing so he is making a claim about what the religious believer means by ‘God exists’ in a way that reminds the reader of Swiss theologian Karl Barth’s interpretation of Anselm’s famous argument. Noting Malcom’s reliance on Wittgenstein, Vardy suggest that we must look at religious experience to progress in discussions about God’s existence. For the believer, God’s existence is certainly thought to be necessary, where the non-believer do not presume this in the same way. Vardy is claiming that such an argument offers no proof that the YHWH of Christianity, Islam and Judaism exists and in doing so he is in the company of both Hume and Kant.

Kingdom of Heaven Challenge Year 3

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Jesus had this massive idea to try and explain to people. To help them get it he gave lots of pictures. Try and work out what you think the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ really is…

To post your paragraph click on ‘leave a reply’ below. Just put your initials in the name box, your school email (it won’t come up) and leave the web page blank, then paste your answer from word or pages… Try and make your answer the very best you can, it will be a major part of your final S2 report…

Thank You :)

End of term Buddhism task…

Hello, heard two people the other day arguing about whether these Kula Shaker songs from like 1996 were ‘Buddhisty’… You’re all experts… tell me what you think… usual story; make sure you explain why you think what you think…

At The Moment That You Wake From Sleeping
And You Know Its All A Dream,
Well The Truth May Come In Strange Disguises
Never Knowing What It Means.

 

Hidden in the misty forest that desire send
Mesmerised like fireflys falling through a flame

A really good revision question…

Every so often i get a really good question emailed to me… Here’s the latest… Hope it helps and pleas keep them coming….(james@ibphilosophy.org)

You know the five skhandas are they there the Buddha’s way of proving there is no self and that the the five skandas are things which people argue make you who you are and the Buddha is saying that is rubbish in his own holy buddhist way?

And here’s the reply:

Ye you’ve nailed it. The skhandas are five of the things that the Buddha thought most people wud say make as the same over time. But all five are IMPERMANENT and so cannot be the thing in me that’s the same today and tomorrow. Because of this, he thinks that people who believe in a permanent self have got it wrong.

The worst thing about this is that belief in the self leads to some pretty strange behaviour and usually increased DUKKHA suffering. Hatred, greed and delusion usually all stem from not just believing in a self but that ‘I’ am better/more deserving of things than other people.

Hope your having a good weekend, in the quiz the other day you knew loads so you’ll be totally fine…

See ya Monday

MacIntyre on Nietzsche’s Criticism of Kant’s Ethics

 

I’m a bit of a big fan of Alasdair MacIntyre. His Short History of Ethics carried me through my studies at university before reading After Virtue and then moving in a slightly different direction. Here he describes Nietzsche’s criticism of Kant very clearly. I would have this discussed in any IB or A Level (this isn”t in Higher or AH but good to know about) essay on Kant’s Ethics:

…Nietzsche’s accusation is that in fact Kant assumes what he sets out to prove. He takes it for granted that we are entitled to make moral judgements and enquires what must be the case if this is so; he never asks, as Nietzsche does, whether we are so entitled.

 

I know it’s too early… But…

here are some excellent resources that you could use to aid you in your RMPS (Religious, Moral & Philosophical Studies) revision… especially when your getting bored of writing… First is utilitarian philosopher talking about the use of embryos on bigthink.com:

The above would be perfect for Int 2, this one might be better for those of you doing advanced or higher… Baroness Warnock on Radio 2 (I haven’t listened to this yet but hear it’s very useful):