This essay argues that the Enlightenment is the most important concept among the three given in the title. The Age of Enlightenment was a period in early modern history when western societies, led by its intellectuals, made a marked shift from religion based authority to one of scientific reason. Prior to this period, the Church and the State were intricately interlinked; and the Enlightenment sought to sever states and politics from religion through the application of rational analysis based on scientific observation and facts. This movement traces its origins to the seventeenth and eighteenth century Europe. Similar undercurrents of progressive thought were seen in the New World as well, most notably from such intellectuals such as Tom Paine and other proponents of American independence (Porter & Teich, 1981).
The Enlightenment has had a profound impact on the cultural evolution of Western Europe in particular and the whole of the continent in general. A landmark piece . . . Read More
Charles Darwin and John Stuart Mill were both influential thinkers of the nineteenth century. The lifetime’s work of Charles Darwin has been in the realm of evolutionary biology, but his theories are highly relevant for contemporary human societies as well. John Stuart Mill, on the other hand, is best known for his conception of the principle of Utilitarianism, which finds application in modern . . . Read More
The Bhagavad Gita, which is part of the classic Indian epic the Mahabaratha, records the dialogue between Arjuna, the Pandava warrior prince and Lord Krishna who is also his chariot driver. When faced with the prospect of fighting his own cousins in the field of battle, Arjuna is despaired and aggrieved. He communicates his moral dilemma to his mentor and guide Lord Krishna, who in turn offers Arjuna a discourse on Hindu dharma. While the advice is directed to Arjuna, it is also broadly applicable to all human beings in different contexts in their lives. Krishnaderives his code of conduct from the ancient Hindu tradition of Varna Dharma, which was an extension of the caste-system followed in India. According to this system, members of each of the four castes have their own social roles to perform. Striving to fulfill these roles without questioning them is considered a virtue. Arjuna, having born into the Kshatriya caste (the . . . Read More
1. What does Epicurus means by saying that pleasure is our ‘primary native good?
When Epicurus writes that pleasure is our “primary native good”, he is implying that what is pleasurable is also ultimately a good thing. Epicurus is referring to pleasure as a state of well-being and not as a temporary state of excitement and sensual stimulus. In other words, to dwell in a tranquil state of mind that is devoid of pain and fear. Epicurus uses our . . . Read More
Right from the publication of his first major work “The Selfish Gene Theory”, Richard Dawkins is never free of controversy. While Dawkins is impeccable as a scholar and an academic, most of his detractors are from the religious and conservative sections of the population. Over the years, Dawkins’ works on evolutionary biology have drawn equally vociferous applause and protest. The last in the sequence of his seminal works is “The God Delusion”. In this book, . . . Read More
Thesis statement: Capital punishment proves ineffective as an instrument of deterring violent crime on political, ethical and theological grounds.
The American public has long been supportive of capital punishment for convicted murderers, and that support continues to grow even today. In a Gallup Poll conducted in 1981, two in three Americans expressed overall approval for the death penalty. That support rose to three in four people in 1991, and to four out of five in 1994. Although these polls need to be interpreted with careful attention, it is . . . Read More
Hindus believe that the death of a human being only extinguishes the bodily form of existence as the soul reincarnates in another life form. The exercise of Sanatana Dharma (the central theological system) is to gain the favor of the powers of creation so that the soul finds a happier and an elevated existence in its next life-episode. A failure to live a virtuous life would demote the human soul to find the body of a lesser animal in its next life. These reincarnations are not meant to go on in never-ending cycles. The purpose of a Hindu’s life is to aspire for the ultimate experience . . . Read More
Hinduism places emphasis on worship of nature. Indus Valley was the cradle of the religion. Hence, the way of life afforded by its geography holds religious significance as well. The Indus River was vital to the survival of its surrounding inhabitants; so worship of river god is a basic tenet. This also explains the reverence accorded to river Ganges, the dependents of which refer to it as Ganga Mata (Mother Ganga). The plains on either side of these rivers provide the necessary fertile grounds for growing subsistence crops. And at the time of . . . Read More
Hinduism as a term was first coined by British colonialists to facilitate the process of census taking. Although the word Hindu derives from the river Indus and the civilizations that grew along its banks, Hindus form the majority in the Indian subcontinent and are settled across the length and breadth of the Indian landscape. Also, those who are categorized as Hindus have diverse ethnic, racial, cultural and linguistic backgrounds. The concepts of the deity and . . . Read More
The Profession of Faith is Rousseau’s attempt at analyzing God and Religion. It concerns the Priest’s (the narrator) introspection of what his duties are as a human being. In particular, the Priest attempts to learn what mode of conduct God prescribes him. To decipher the “rules I ought to prescribe myself in order to fulfil my destiny on earth according to the intention of Him who put me there”. Consistent with the rest of the text, Rousseau emphasizes the significance of honest . . . Read More