#RepealThe8th: Critically discussing Article 40.3.3, including its identification of equating the life of the foetus to the life of the mother.

O’Toole (2013) declares “Ireland is a little dot of backwardness in a sea of progressive reproductive values” due to the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution. The Eighth Amendment, less commonly known as Article 40.3.3, was approved in 1983 and states: “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.” (Irish Statute Book, 1983). This has come to mean a near-absolute prohibition on abortion in Irish law because successive Irish governments have understood the Eighth Amendment to mean that the rights of the foetus outweigh the rights of the mother – and, subsequently, that foetus has the right to life. In other words, Article 40.3.3 equates the life of the foetus to that of the mother. Today however, there is a campaign to repeal Article 40.3.3, including the Twitter movement #RepealThe8th (Twitter, 2018). This has prompted the Irish government to hold a referendum on the 25th of May 2018, which will ask voters whether they want to repeal Article 40.3.3 (Bardon, 2018). If Ireland votes in favour of the repeal, the Irish government have said that it will introduce legislation that will allow unrestricted abortions up to 12 weeks of pregnancy (McDonald and Sherwood, 2018).

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Evaluate Nietzsche’s claim that the Hindu caste system is “merely the ratification of an order of nature”.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900) claimed that the Hindu caste system was simply the ratification of an order of nature in his book The Anti-Christ (1895) – “The order of castes, the supreme, the dominating law, is only the sanctioning of a natural order” (Nietzsche, 2003a: p. 189). Arguably, this claim by Nietzsche is an expression of how much he admires the Hindu caste system. However, much of Nietzsche’s philosophy greatly criticises the Christian faith, and he attempts to construct an alternative to the views and values held by Christianity. His references to Hinduism are no exception and he uses Hinduism to discredit and attack the notion of Christianity. Therefore, the purpose of this essay is to critically discuss the extent of how the Hindu caste system reflects the work of Nietzsche. This essay will do this by first discussing the context of ‘Nietzsche’s India’ – a term used by David Smith (2004) – and how it could ultimately impact his thoughts surrounding the Hindu caste system. Moreover, this essay will discuss Nietzsche’s ignorance of the racist origins of the caste system and prominent Nietzschean themes particularly relating to his criticism of democracy. Ultimately, this essay will conclude that the context in which Nietzsche understood Hinduism is paramount, and that his ‘beloved’ caste system does not allow for the principles he preaches.

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On what grounds might a Buddhist reject the existence of God?

The term ‘God’ is used in a varied number of connotations. Helmuth Von Glasenapp (1970: p. 15) describes ‘God’ in three ways. Firstly, in the most general sense ‘God’ takes on the meaning of supernatural beings that are prayed to or made images of by humankind. Secondly, in a Judaeo-Christian sense, ‘God’ is the name of the one eternal and supernatural personal being who created the world and, thus, rules over it. Finally, ‘God’ in philosophy takes on the meaning of the Absolute – the impersonal ens realissimum (Latin for ‘the most real being’) – which is the ground that it does not matter whether it (or He) coexists with the world, surrounds the world, or is active within the world. Therefore, despite the various meanings relating to the term ‘God’, this essay will focus on the Judaeo-Christian concept and, in so doing, examine the grounds on which a Buddhist might reject the existence of God.

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Critically discuss the themes of religion and political freedom in the Enlightenment.

The Enlightenment refers to the intellectual movement that began in England in the 17th century. The key protagonists were John Locke (1632 – 1704) and the deists, and further developed in France in the 18th century with Voltaire (1694 – 1778), Denis Diderot (1713 – 1784) and other Encyclopaedists (Honderich 1995). Almost every European country, and every sphere of life and thought was affected by the Enlightenment – hence this ‘enlightening’ period has commonly become known as the Age of Reason. In the place of faith, people started to turn to reason and logic to determine what was true and false, and what was moral and immoral. As a result, political thought developed significantly throughout the Enlightenment, whereby the previous central role of religion in society arguably became threatened. Indeed, for many Enlightenment thinkers, religion was “unacceptable in any established ecclesiastical shape or form” (Porter 2001: p. 29). The purpose of my essay, therefore, is to critically discuss the themes of religion and political freedom in the Age of Enlightenment. In particular, I will critically discuss some of the main thinkers of the Enlightenment, including Kant, Locke and Rousseau, and evaluate their political thoughts and how it impacts religion in the Age of Reason.

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Feminism is egalitarianism. Discuss.

Feminism is a political movement that aims for equal rights between men and women. Meanwhile, egalitarianism is a concept in political philosophy that advocates that all people should be treated as equals. Therefore, a fundamental question arises – could feminism and egalitarianism be described as advocating for the same ideals? Thus, the purpose of this essay is to critically discuss whether feminism is a branch of egalitarianism. In particular, I will discuss what feminism and egalitarianism as concepts and political movements entail. In essence, this essay will interrogate whether we should abandon the term feminism and replace it with egalitarianism, due to the name of feminism being somewhat ‘tarnished’. Through a balanced evaluation of the similarities and differences between the two movements, I will ultimately conclude that feminism is one of the many divisions of egalitarianism.

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Critically discuss the significance of Optimism in Candide.

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Candide (1759), or Optimism, is a French satire written by Voltaire (1694 – 1778), a philosopher of the Enlightenment. Candide quickly became a bestseller of the European book trade in the eighteenth century; at least 20,000 copies of the book were sold within a month of its publication and, consequently, has become one of the key texts of the Enlightenment (Pearson 2008). In this essay, therefore, I will discuss Candide and its impact on the Age of the Enlightenment. In particular, I am going to critically discuss the significance of optimism in Candide, a major recurring theme in the novel that Voltaire attacks.

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What role does scripture play in fundamentalist ideology?

When one thinks of fundamentalism, one most likely thinks of violence, preaching and a literal interpretation of scripture. But to what extent does scripture play a role in fundamentalist ideology? In this essay, therefore, I shall focus primarily on Islamic and Christian fundamentalism and their sacred texts – the Quran and the Bible. I will illustrate how religion and ideology are conjoined with one another when exploring fundamentalism. I will also address the question why do fundamentalists select particular passages from their chosen scripture and declare them as “decisive authority” (Lawrence 1995: p. 60)? Ultimately, I will critically examine what Islamic and Christian fundamentalist ideology entails and how their scriptures play a role, and how it underpins their ideology.

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