The Gunpowder plot
The Gunpowder plot was a November 5, 1605 plot to blow up King James of England and the parliament for their continued persecution on Roman Catholics in the country. The plan to blow up the monarch was hatched by Robert Catesby and other like-minded people who had the hope of replacing the Protestant government with a Catholic system of governance. Unfortunately, one of the conspirators, Guy Fawkes was discovered in the basement of the building with barrels of gunpowder before exploding it. Guy and his team of conspirators were tried and found guilty of treason, which handed them direct execution. Following their execution, Britain remembers November 5 annually by celebrating Guy Fawkes Day.
If not for Sir Thomas Knyvet who discovered Fawkes, probably King James and the parliamentarians would have perished. The discovery of Fawkes led to a thorough search of the premise, with 36 barrels found. After torture in custody, Fawkes exposed other conspirators who were behind a plot to annihilate the King and his government and install a pro Catholic leadership. It is believed that Catesby was a bitter man, an English Catholic, who sought to revenge against the government because Queen Elizabeth I persecuted his father for rejecting conversion to the Church of England. On his side, Fawkes had converted to Catholicism and fought in the Catholic Spain forces in Netherlands, which was also under Protestant leadership.
The aborted gunpowder plot is believed to have been leaked to authorities, which called for a thorough search of The House of Lords building. Lord Monteagle was related to one of the planners of the plan. He received an anonymous letter, warning him against attending parliament because of possible attacks. He however alerted the authorities, resulting into the last minute discovery. Importantly, all the plotters were either killed or put on trial and executed for treason.
After their trial Fawkes and his team were to be hanged in London. Fawkes however killed himself moments before the execution by jumping from a ladder as he climbed the gallows on January 31, 1606.
The failed gunpowder plot was to have far-reaching effects on English Catholics. The government introduced repressive laws, eliminating them the right to vote. In other words, the government did not recognize them as English citizens following the attempt to kill the King and members of Parliament.
Without the capture of Fawkes, it would have been impossible to discover the barrels of gunpowder. Additionally, it would have been a toll order to seize the conspirators, who included Catesby. After his capture, he was detained at the Tower of London, where he underwent bodily torture. By the time he revealed all the plotters, most of them had fled to the countryside, fearing their arrest. This did not deter authorities from catching up with them. During the countrywide search, a shootout ensured at Hobeach house, leaving four of the conspirators dead, including the ringleader, Catesby. Eight others were rounded up and tried for treason before being hanged in London. On the material day, some of the plotters are said to have begged for forgiveness while others remained mum as their fate was already sealed. Fawkes was the last to face the gallows having suffered mental and physical damage because of prison torture. He however survived the disembowelment by jumping from the ladder and dying.
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The Great Fire of London
The September 1666 Great Fire of London, remains a historical event in the world today. The fire accident occurred at King Charles II’s house, on Pudding Lane, located near the London Bridge. The fire spread to the Thomas Street, gutting warehouses that had combustibles. It later became an inferno following strong easterly winds blowing at that time. The Great Fire was put out on September 6, with about four-fifth of London destroyed. Even though the fire took almost six days, only 16 people were confirmed dead by authorities.
According to investigations, which were later carried out, the Great Fire of London was disaster in waiting. By 1666, the City of London was mainly medieval houses, which were made of oak timber. For poor dwellers, they covered their structures with tar to prevent rain. However, these made the houses vulnerable to fire accidents. The city also had narrow streets, making it hard for fire fighters while making it easier for the fire to spread from house to house and street to street. Putting out the fire was difficult since the technology of the day was use of pails and neighborhood buckets. In some cases, the fire brigade team used hand-pumps. Even though citizens were told to check their houses for possible dangers, many were careless and did not heed to safety instructions.
What caused the fire? It was believed that the King’s baker, Thomas Farrinor, failed to extinguish the oven appropriately on September 1, 1666. Sparks from smouldering ambers caught fire and ignited firewood, which was next to the oven. The fire that broke out razed his houses down to ashes, even though Farrinor and his family survived the tragedy after escaping using the upstairs window. Unfortunately, one of the bakers died, making him the first causality of the fire.
The fire later extended to Star Inn after the fire from the bakery caught straw and fodder, spreading to Thomas Street. Here, the fire gutted down warehouse, containing a wide range of inflammables like spirits, coal, lamp oil and candles among others. This exploded into a flame that was incontrollable. As a result, locals stopped putting up the fire and rushed home to salvage their belongings as the fire threatened to consume the entire city of London.
The climate of the day further favored the easy spread of the blaze. A hot and dry summer, coupled with strong winds was enough to render the fire unmanageable by any firefighters of that time. As the flames extended to other parts of the city, authorities engaged all their efforts to tame it. In some case, they tore buildings to create firebreaks even though the raging fire overtook them before they could achieve anything. Thames River became a safe refuge as people rushed in, dragging their possessions too. Those who rendered homeless and had nothing to hold on went up the hills in the outskirts of the city. The fire was so powerful that light from the blaze could be seen 30 miles away. By September 5, the fire was coming under control and on the following day, it was put out completely.
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Execution of Charles 1
Charles I was executed in 1649 after he was found guilty of treason by Parliament. He was also accused of murder and described as a great enemy of the Commonwealth of England. He remains the first English monarch to be tried for treason and beheaded. It is a common event in England’s history and a contentious one. During that time, there was no law stipulating the trial of a King or Queen of England. Thus, Isaac Dorislaus from Holland wrote an order that established a court, which was to try the King. Dorislaus largely based his write-up on ancient Roman law, which stated that a military body or government could oust a dictator. The execution of Charles had a wide range of effects to the people of England and its future leadership. Importantly, it led to a leadership gap by the Stuarts for eleven years from 1649 to 1660. It also saw Oliver Cromwell rise to become a prominent personality in England.
According to the law that was quickly put in place, the trial of Charles I was to be heard and determined by 135 judges. However, only 68 turned up as the other half boycotted to avoid being associated with the historic trial of the monarch. It is important to note that not all parliamentarians supported the trail of the King. But by December 1648, those against the decree were no longer attending parliament sessions, following a Colonel Pride that was reinforced by soldiers. The Rump Parliament comprised of parliamentarians whom Cromwell thought they sincerely supported the trial of the King. These were the only members who attended parliament sessions. However, out of the 46 members of the Rump Parliament, only 26 voted in favor of the decree to try the King of England. This means that even among those who supported Cromwell, there were differences on whether to try Charles I or not.
The appointment of the Chief Judge of the High Court also demonstrated the division among the people and administrative systems. For example, none of the 68 judges who turned up for the trial of the King was willing to be the Chief Judge. Thus, they hired a lawyer, John Bradshaw. Even though Bradshaw accepted to be the Chief Judge, he was aware of the cost of his job as the decision was not popular in England. He even feared losing his own life. It is Bradshaw that read out the final verdict that found Charles I guilty of treason, who punishment was death.
Many historians to-date question the legality of the case, depending on how the trial was conducted. On the material Day of Judgment, the hall was full of soldiers to protect the judges against angry public and ensure that the King does not escape. Members of the public were also not allowed to get into the hall until the judgment was read out. This raised eyebrows over the sincerity of parliament to try the King. In the hall, Charles I did not defend himself, he did not take off his hurt to honor judges trying him. He also did not acknowledge the legality of the court behind his trial. These proved a point to the judges that Charles was arrogant and could not accept his faults, making him a threat to others. It was until Bradshaw read the judgment that Charles I tried to defend himself only to be told that he had squandered his only chance to do so. He was executed on a cold Tuesday, January 30, 1649. The king took the last walk at St. James Park, and had bread and wine as last meal. His execution was delayed because the initial man to do the job refused at the last minute.
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The English Civil War, one of the reminiscent wars in the history of England was fought between 1642 and 1651. The wars stemmed from differences between King Charles I and the country’s parliament. The bone of contention was the powers of the monarchy and the rights of Parliament. In the early stages of the war, members of Parliament wanted to retain Charles as the King of England but with a more powerful parliament. Parliamentarians trounced the royalists even though the latter had made early victories. The escalation of conflicts led to the execution of Charles and the formation of a republic. Though Charles II was welcomed to become king in 1660, parliament set an inevitable parliamentary system for the nation.
What caused the disagreement? When he ascended to power in 1625, Charles I believed in having powerful Kings as he ruled over England, Scotland and Ireland. This was a major cause of conflicts, as parliament had the final word on raising monarchy funds. He therefore dissolved the House frequently because of members’ continuous attack on his cabinet ministers and their hardness in approving his money. In 1629, the King stopped sourcing funds from parliament. Instead, he began funding his system using outdated taxes. This angered the entire population. In 1638, Charles’ attempts to introduce a new prayer book on the Church of England was met with furry and resistance even from the Bishops. What followed was documentation of Scottish complaints in the National Covenant.
Due to lack of funds to counter Scottish revolt, Charles recalled parliament in 1640, before dissolving it for members’ criticism. Because of Charles’ way of handling parliament, the house began taming him but introducing laws for regular sessions and restricting the king against unwarranted dissolution. His closest advisor, Earl Strafford was convicted of treason and parliament sanctioned his execution. In 1642, Charles withdrew to Oxford after his attempts to arrest five members in the house were thwarted.
Different political factions failed to agree and clashed in October 1642, at the Battle of Edgehill. This marked the first English Civil War. The conflicts and realignments continued with Charles being forced to free troops. Following these developments, parliament supported Scotland even as the King made peace in Ireland.
Royalists won at Cropredy Bridge in June 1644, before parliamentarians registered a major win at Battled of Marston Moor in July. Following this victory, parliament formed its army in 1645, prohibiting its commanders from holding sessions in parliament. In April 1646, Charles surrendered to the Scottish army, which handed him over to Parliament. Upon his ousting, parliamentarians started scrambling to form the government, and found the involvement of the King to be critical. He signed an agreement with the Scots, that backed with Royalists revolts would invade England. This failed miserably and angry parliamentarians recommended that Charles be charged with treason. He was executed on January 30, 1649 after being found guilty. This led to uprisings. Cromwell went to Ireland to avoid resistance, winning several battles. In June 1650, Charles II arrived in Scotland and merged with Covenanters. Royalists battled with Cromwell troops at Worcester on September 3 where Charles II was defeated and fled to France in exile.
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Darien Scheme was an unfortunate ambition of a few people to establish a colony on the Isthmus of Darien in the year 1698. Following the ill-faced scheme, Scotland lost its economic stability and became bankrupt. According to history, Darien Scheme was a creation of William Peterson, the founder of the Bank of England. Having travelled extensively through America and West Indies, Peterson, a Scot, drew most of his fortunes from international trade. His main intention was to find a colony for his motherland and encourage trade with the rest of the world thus creating wealth and economic development for his nation. The question that historians still grapple with is why Peterson chose Darien, which is the modern Panama. He had never been to Darien, but chose to believe the testimonies of sailors, leading to a tragedy.
To understand this scheme better, we look at the Company of Scotland, whose stakeholders were mainly Scottish and English. It is important to note that English and Dutch shared capital investment risk, during the reign of William Orange from Holland. Nevertheless, the English Parliament annulled their involvement in the scheme, after East India Company threatened to pull out its trading rights. English withdrawal almost killed the scheme idea, save for William Peterson, who convinced Scottish Parliament that the investment would richly benefit Scotland in future.
Because of the persuasion from Peterson, almost all Scots invested in the scheme, with the wealthy in the society taking the lion share of the investment shares. The scheme was to see them prosper financially. This meant the Company of Scotland had a surplus of £400,000, which was almost equivalent to the wealth of the nation. Peterson built five fine ships using the money and used them to ferry colonists to their new land. They also carried various supplies to keep them before they could establish in the new colony. There were more than enough volunteers for the expedition as most Scots lived in abject poverty.
William Peterson named the new colony Caledonia and gave orders to make the upland area the capital, which would later become News Edinburg. There was jubilation as people hoped for better lives. This was short-lived since Peterson had never seen Darien, a mosquito-infested swamp, which could not support farming and habitation. Many died during the voyage because of unfavorable conditions, reducing the workforce. The state of events was dire that even Peterson lost his wife. Due to lack of contact at home, it was believed that those in Caledonia were prospering. More ships were sent out to the new colony with more Scots. Unfortunately, they encountered the same challenges as their compatriots; many died on the way while others landed dying because of primitive conditions, diseases and starvation. The new settlers at Caledonia faced numerous challenges including battles with the Spanish and starvation. Following a series of calamities, Peterson’s idealistic schemed was dropped. This led to the dissolution of the Company of Scotland by the English Parliament, following an order by William Orange. Because of Scotland’s bankruptcy, the King of England allowed their compensation but it could provide for herself. As a result, the Act of Union was inevitable.
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Over the years, obesity remains a leading health concern among developed countries of the world, including the United States. Research shows ever-rising cases of obesity of among adults and children in America, a trend replicated in most developed and developing nations. While many people would want insinuate that the “obesity endemic” has been blown out of proportion, the writings are on the wall; it is a global scourge. Even though obesity might not be Black Death, it is needless to mention that it leads to numerous killer diseases like heart diseases, cancer and diabetes, since obese children are likely to become obese adults. These diseases drain world economies as huge funds are redirected into treatment and management of victims instead of channeling the resources to economic development. This paper explores some of the causes, effects and ways of taming obesity epidemic in our society today.
Nutritionists simply define obesity as excess body fat, which results from environmental and genetic factors that one cannot control easily through dieting. Medically, one is obese, if they have Body Mass Index, commonly known as BMI, which is 30 and above. BMI is a professional tool used to measure obesity in people. Obesity is a major predisposing factor of most killer diseases, and there is every need to control, prevent and avoid it as much as possible. Surprisingly, most people with obesity have no idea of their status, frustrating efforts to manage the scourge globally.
While the worry should not be, whether one is obese or not, it is vital to understand the causes of obesity among millions of Americans and other people worldwide. Most experts agree that obesity epidemic stems largely from eating too much and exercising too little. The only difference here are the specifics, like what is it that you feed on excessively. While genes may a role to play, some people have a contrary opinion owing to the fact that succeeding generations continue to experience increase in weight. This means there are other factors, mainly environmental that are contributing to these trends. For example, modern technology encourages a sedentary lifestyle more than ever. Today, one can spend a whole day without covering 100 meters walk, because of cars, mobile communication and computers, which jointly reduce moving from place to place on foot. This is different from what previous generations knew, because of low technological advancements of the day.
However, one of the most blamed factors is poor eating habits. To break this down, junk eating has become a fashion in modern day and age. Children, youth and adults are consuming junk foodstuffs, which are having a toll on their health unknowingly. This on the other hand, has been encouraged by massive advertising of these products, by the media. Today, there many food adverts that TV viewers watch in a one-hour news bulletin. Most of these adverts encourage eating sugary and high caloric foodstuffs to attain a given body size or figure. Fast food companies are not only competing for space on our streets but also having as an obese effect on the population. While these causes are, well known, controlling obesity epidemic appears to be a toll order. The problem intertwined with a wide range of other factors, which requires joint efforts to combat. Nonetheless, it is a problem that can be handled.
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The Jacobite risings, also called the Jacobite Rebellion took place between 1745 and 1746. In this essay, we discuss the events that led to the rebellion, including the retreat and aftermath. To understand this better, we shall also focus on the kings that were in power during the revolt or those that largely contributed to the uprising. A prominent name in the history of Jacobite Risings is Bonnie Prince Charlie, a grandson of King James, who was dethroned in from British monarch in 1688 by William through a plan by politicians, as he supported.
King James had strong support for Catholicism, a stance that most politicians of his country did not buy. Initially, Parliament proposed that William and Mary to serve in acting capacity until James Francis Stuart attained maturity, a proposal that William from Holland vehemently rejected and threatened to return to his country. Because of the fear of a power vacuum, parliament recognized William and Mary as the monarchs, sowing the seeds of Jacobite Revolutions. Jacobite was coined from the Latin equivalent for James- Jacobus.
The 1745 Jacobite uprisings are famous in the history of Britain. Around that time, Charles sailed to Scotland, even though he had to overcome an array of challenges. Because of the stories he got, Charles was worried about an uprising because of his presence and only sent letters to his father about his plans to travel. On July 23, 1745, he landed at Hebridean Island, with Seven Men of Moidart. There he planted the Prince’s flower, which to-date, is only found in Scotland and nowhere else in the world.
Following Charles’ arrival in Scotland, highland chiefs were not ready to join him, since he did not sail with an army from France. The first chief t join him was Ranald McDonald before others followed. Charles status rose on August 19, when more than 1500 people assembled to hear from him though more chiefs remain reluctant to join him. Tales however about his enthusiasm and charm attracted more chiefs who heard the testimonies. Additionally, Campbells decision to gather consolidate support for government forces also compelled other clans and individuals to join the Jacobite cause.
Having marshaled an army, Prince Charles went across Scotland, reaching Perth in September, where he stayed at the Salutation Hotel. He was joined by Lord George Murray, who later became a lieutenant in the Jacobite Army. While in Perth, the Prince visited Scone, where most of his ancestors had been sworn into office. The Jacobite army entered Edinburg on September 21under Sir John Cope, awaiting reinforcement. Under the command of Lord George Murray, the Jacobites attacked the south by surprise at Prestonpans. Even though the battle lasted for only 15 minutes, Jacobites achieved psychological morale.
Prince Charles crossed the English border with 5500 men and by December 4, they were at Derby, 120 miles from London. Here, they experienced harsh winter weather and faced an attack of 12,000 men of Hanoverian Army, which had the southern support. This forced Charles to retreat. On January 17 1746, Jacobite and Hanoverian armies clashed near Falkirk, with the witty and tactful Lord George Murray leading the Highlanders to inflict causalities on their opponents, forcing them to leaven in confusion. Importantly, Jacobite Army never lost any battle between Glenfinnan to Falkirk.
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The Glorious Revolution took place in 1688 and is sometimes referred to as the 1688 Revolution. The revolt ended the rule of James II, ushering in the sovereignty of William III and Mary II. It occurred after James II declared his intentions to reinstall Roman Catholicism as the national religion. Many people remember the constant dislocation of the English Civil War owing to the stability of Charles II at the time. During this time, most people were not willing to see the country in unstable state of turmoil and endless military conflict.
Because of James II policies and leadership style, there was enough discontent in the Tory and Whig parties. This displeasure forced main politicians to invite William of Orange, a Protestant to come and take the leadership of the country by dethroning James II. Important to note, William’s wife, Mary was the daughter of James II and granddaughter of Charles I. Following the invitation by leading politicians, William arrived in Devon in November of 1688, forcing James to fly to France on December 23, 1688. James’ departure left a leadership vacuum and in January 1689, William convened parliament, which passed necessary laws to recognize the success of the revolution. Most politicians who were against the leadership of James II saw him as a source of instability for the country. They believed that by ousting James II, they would take back the society where it belonged in the days of status quo and when Protestant faith was guaranteed without political interference.
In a bid to acknowledge his rule, parliament passed the December 1688 Bill of Rights, which decaled that James had resigned and the crown passed to William and his heirs. However, this unity to overthrow James and install William and Mary was not to last forever. There was disagreement on the procedure to run the monarch, leading to the splitting of politicians who were previously united under James II. One faction of the divide recognized Mary as the only legal heir to the throne since she was of the same lineage. Even though many years had elapsed after the rule of Charles I, there are people who held him with high regard as the monarch even though this was not as an individual. On the other hand, strict legitimists opined that William was the only recognized family member as he was ruling in the absence of the monarch.
William from Holland was a staunch and respected Protestant leader. He was also unhappy with the discontent and threatened to go back to Holland if he was denied full royal powers. Because of the turmoil and the fear of experiencing military rule in England, no one welcome the idea as it would have created a political vacuum, which no one supported. However, a few leaders from the Whig party argued that it was necessary to give the people a chance to choose who to become the monarch, without dividing the nation along political ideologies and leadership inclination. However, the Bill of Right, which empowered William in December 1688, forbade the monarch from being a Catholic and from marrying a Catholic too. The legislation further handed excess power to power, a turning point that historians view as the origin of constitutional monarchy. For instance, prerogative courts like the Ecclesiastical Commission were abolished. The law further recognized parliament as the only authority allowed to raise taxes.
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What is antibacterial resistance? This occurs when an antibiotic can no longer control or kill bacterial growth effectively. In other words, the bacteria develop a mechanism not to respond to the drug and continue multiplying despite the presence of healing levels of the recommended antibiotic. Antibiotic resistance is one of the major challenges facing medics and pharmacists as the trend continues to escalate among the world population. In this essay, we explain the concept of antibiotic resistance, including global facts and trends, causes, and possible control measures.
According to the World Health Organization, WHO, antibiotic resistance is a threat to the health of people in the world as it affects effective prevention and treatment of infections, caused by microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses. Because of the magnitude of this problem, it requires the attention and efforts of every government through action-oriented measures. In addressing the issue of antibiotic resistance, it is worth noting that the problem cuts across the whole world and no single country is safe even though the levels of this kind of resistance may vary from nation to nation because of different factors. When new resistance mechanisms emerge, they quickly spread to the rest of the world, making it a global problem.
By the year 2012, there were about 450,000 new of multidrug-resistant TB, and Extensively drug-resistance TB has been identified in 92 countries of the world. Patients who develop MDR TB always require extensive and prolonged treatment as compared to those who do not have any resistance towards TB drugs. Resistance against anti-malaria drugs is highly prevalent across the globe especially in countries that are malaria stricken. This has forced the adoption of new drugs, different from what the past generation used to deal with scourge.
Unknown to most people in the world, antibiotic resistance occurs naturally. Normally, when an antibiotic is applied on bacteria, there are those that resist its effects and survive while others are highly susceptible and either die or their action inhibited. As a result, there is selective pressure on the survival of bacteria in a patient’s body. Importantly, not all antibiotic resistance cases are induced by human beings. For example, some resistance cases are natural as bacteria may generate and use antibiotics to attack competing bacteria in human body, leading to low level of natural selection for drug resistance.
Nonetheless, experts attribute the skyrocketing levels of antibiotic resistance to overuse and abuse of drugs in the market. In most countries of the world today, it is possible to purchase antibiotics over the counter without the prescription of a doctor. This is worsened by the massive use of the internet where the public can order drugs online without any prescription. In some cases, which could also be common and shocking on a large scale, patients use antibiotics unnecessarily to deal with viral infections like common cold. While this is the case, there are bacteria, which are naturally resistant to specific types of antibiotics. Other common ways of acquiring this resistance is through genetic mutation and acquisition of resistance from other bacterium.
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Will to Believe
The Will to Believe asserts the adoption of a belief without prior evidence of its truth. The philosophy is mainly about defending the rationality of religious faith even lacking sufficient evidence of religious truth. It aims at the justification of faith, a defense of our right to adopt a believing attitude in religious matters, in spite of the fact that our merely logical intellect may not have been coerced. According The Will to Believe is a lecture that was first published by William James in 1896.
The central argument of William James in this lecture touches on the idea that access to the evidence for whether or not some beliefs are true depends on crucially upon first adopting the those beliefs without evidence. For instance, James urges that it can be rational to have unsupported faith in one’s ability to accomplish tasks that require confidence. Importantly, James points out that this is the case even for pursuing scientific inquiry. Besides, he further argues that like belief in one’s own ability to accomplish a difficult task, religious faith can also be rational even if one at time lacks evidence for the truth of one’s religious belief.
In the opening statements, James points out that most free thinking people do not usually believe that one should have religious faith since it cannot be rationally demonstrated. James believes differently. One is that faith is sensible, though not rationally demanded. He argues that one does not choose his or her beliefs but just has them. He further defends this this claim with a series of examples focusing on how we could not choose to believe things which we know to be false, such as that Abraham Lincoln did not live or that you are not sick when you are not sick when you are.
According to James, we often look towards leaders and the authorities, and model our beliefs after theirs. We believe and do not know why; we often accept what we have been told. Despite the length to which he discusses free will, but he is not too clear on this point. It should be noted that there are passional tendencies and violations which can come before and after a belief. Most importantly, James argues that like belief in one’s own ability to accomplish a difficult task, religious faith can also be rational even if one at the time lacks evidence for the truth of one’s religious beliefs.
In order to understand well the Will to Believe, James proposes that one needs to apply abstract and concrete way of thinking. In terms of abstract, we have the right to believe at our own risk any hypothesis that is alive enough to tempt our will. In a concrete way of thinking, the freedom to believe can only cover living options which the intellect cannot through itself resolve; and living options never seem absurdities to him who has them to consider. On conclusion, James points out that whether we choose to believe or not to believe, or wait to believe, we choose our own peril, our own fate.
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Problem of Free Will
Before moving on to define what the problem of free will is all about, it is important to begin by defining what free will is. Free will is defined as a philosophical term of art for a particular sort of capacity of rational agents to choose a course of action from a variety of alternatives. Different people have varied definitions of free will that only leads to further confusion to the underlying problem of free will.
Since the beginning of the Problem of Free Will, it has been intimately connected to the question of moral obligation or responsibility. Most of the ancient thinkers on the problem were trying to point out that we humans have control over the decisions that we make, that our actions are dependent on us, and that they are not determined in prior by fate, arbitrary gods, logical necessity, or even natural causal.
The Problem of Free Will has often been described as a question of reconciling, ‘free will’ with one or more of the various kinds of determinism. As a result of this, the problem is based on two things, the exact definition of free will and which among the various determinisms is being reconciled. The standard argument against free will is that it cannot possibly be reconciled with either determinism or randomness, and that these two exhaust the logical possibilities.
The ideal Problem of Free Will is to reconcile an element of freedom with the apparent determinism in a world of causes and effects, a world where events occur following a great causal chain. Determinists are against such freedom while compatibilists redefine freedom. Even though our will is determined by prior events in the causal chain, it is in turn causing and determining how we act. According to compatibilists, determinism by our will allows us to take moral responsibility for every action that we commit.
Libertarians think that the will is free when a choice can be made that is not determined or necessitated by events that took place in prior. The will is free when alternative choice could have been made with similar pre-existing conditions. Freedom of the will allows a person to say, ‘’I could have chosen (and done) otherwise.’’
The most recent debate on the Problem of Free Will uses a taxonomy of positions that has caused a great deal of confusion, mostly linguistic and partly logical. Instead of directly tackling the models of free will, the debate is carried out indirectly. According to most philosophers, determinism is viewed as the greatest threat to free will. For example, in Joe Campbell’s book titled, ‘Free Will’, he describes the problem of free will as the free will dilemma. According to him, the central problem can be summed up as:
- If determinism is true, then no one has free will
- If indeterminism is true, then no one has free will.
- Thus, no one has free will.
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Free Will and Determinism
The Problem of free will is one that has been debated for centuries. According to some people, their belief is that humans have the capacity for free will; the ability to choose their actions without being coerced to follow a particular channel by either the influence of others or by natural laws. For most theists, free will is regarded as a special gift from God. The notion of human free will is also an important premise for a lot of what happens in human society- especially when it comes to our legal apparatus.
Other people on the other hand, argue that if the universe itself is deterministic in nature, then human actions must also be deterministic. Hence, modern determinism tends to be an extension of modern science. If human actions simply follow the course of natural law, then it is difficult to hold that those actions can be chosen freely. The advocates for determinism run into some sort of contradiction, however, when they try to argue their point with those who propose free will. If it’s true that nothing is chosen freely, then those who believe in the existence of free will do not do so by choice. As a result of this, it would make no difference trying to convince anyone of anything if all events are determined.
When debating between the problem of free will and determinism, it is important to note that both terms tend to be defined in such a way as to explicitly exclude the other. The philosophical position of compatibility argues that these concepts do not need to be defined in such a mutually exclusive manner. In fact, both free will and determinism can be compatible.
For the theist, the problem of free will and determinism is slightly different. Instead of wondering if natural laws mean that human actions are all determined, the theist must also ask whether o not their god has in advance, determined all events in the universe, including their own. If so, that will mean that their ultimate fate will be determined. This position was adopted most completely and explicitly by John Calvin, a Reform theologian. He argued that some people are pre-destined to be saved and some are predestined to be damned, and there is absolutely nothing that any person can possibly do about it.
On conclusion, it should be noted that if determinism is true, then our acts are the consequences of the laws of nature and events in the remote past. However, it is not up to us what took place before we were born, neither is it up to us what the laws of nature are. Besides, if no one is morally responsible for any state of affairs, then there is no such thing as moral responsibility. It should be noted that pure determinism and free will approach does not seem appropriate when studying human behavior. Even though people do have a choice, their behavior is always subject to some sort of biological or environmental pressure.
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The Problem of Evil
The Problem of Evil is a philosophy of religion that states that the existence of evil in the world is a strong argument against the existence of God. This philosophy is the greatest obstacle to the belief in the existence of God. Looking at the extent and depth of suffering in the world, whether due to inhumanity of man to fellow men or to natural disasters, some people find it hard to believe in the existence of God. However, how can one be sure that God does not exist?
The Problem of Evil mainly seeks to question how to reconcile the existence of evil with that of a deity who is, in either absolute or relative terms described as omniscient, omnibenevolent and omnipotent. An argument from evil tries to point out that the co-existence of evil and such a deity is unlikely or impossible if put in absolute terms.
There are quite a number of responses that different people have been given to the Problem of Evil. These include the explanation that the act of creation by God as expressed in the Pentateuch and act of judgment by God are similar acts. The condemnation of evil by God is believed to be executed and expressed in his created world. It is a judgment that can never be topped due to God’s all powerful, elf-originated will, a constant and eternal judgment that shall be announced and communicated to people on Judgment Day. Based on this explanation, God is viewed as good since his judgment of evil is a good one.
The problem of evil can be simply stated as, If God is so good, why is his world so bad? If an all-good, all-wise, all-loving, all-just and all-powerful God is in control, why does he seem to be doing such a miserable job of not protecting all equally? Why is it that bad things happen to good people who fear him? These are some of the questions that have made many people to abandon their faith. According to studies, the Problem of Evil is the main reason why a number of people abandon their faith to even become atheists.
The Problem of Evil is certainly the greatest test of faith, the greatest temptation to unbelief. Besides, it is not just an intellectual objection. It is something that believers can feel, they live it. That is the reason why most people who have read the Book of Job in the Holy Bible have found it to be more arresting.
According to atheists, God cannot have morally sufficient reasons to permit the evil in the world. But this assumption is not necessarily true. Provided that it is possible that God has morally sufficient reasons for permitting evil, it then follows that God and Evil are logically consistent. Even though this may also not seem to be logically possible, at least it can be reported that it has been widely agreed among contemporary philosophers that the logical problem of evil has been dissolved. It is logically possible for God and evil to co-exist.
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The Principal-agent problem is a specific game-theoretic description of a situation whereby there is a player called the principal and, one or more other players known as agents. The two parties in this situation have utility functions that are in a way different from one another. Principal-agent problem can be said to arise when one party (agent) agrees to work in the favor of another party (principal) in return for some incentives. Such an agreement may be very costly for the agent, thus, leading to the problems of conflicts of interest and moral hazards. Based on the costs incurred, the agent might start to pursue his own agenda, ignoring the best interest of the principal, hence causing the principal-agent problem.
The costs incurred by the agent and the subsequent conflict of interest come about due to the skewed information symmetry and the risk of failure faced by the principal. For instance, shareholders of a company conduct the appointment of managers to look after the proceedings of the company and earn profits on their behalf. The shareholders expect the managers to undertake the distribution of profit to shareholders. However, the managers realizing their own growth and salary expectation try to retain the profits for the future in order to be on the safe side. Such a practice can lead to principal-agent problem.
Today, the principal-agent problem is s common occurrence in most large corporations. The main area where the problem originates is that, the incentives to the agent are not necessarily going to lead to the behavior which best interests the principal. What is in the best interests of the management is not necessarily similar to what is in the best interests of the shareholders. In the case of large corporations, the shareholders are the principals while the management is the agents.
The problem comes up where the two parties (principal and agent) have different interests and asymmetric information (the agent is highly informed than the principal), such that the principal is not able to directly ensure that the agent is always acting in its (principal’s) best interest. Especially when activities that are of value to the principal are costly to the agent, and where elements of what the agent does are expensive to the principal. Concerns of the principal in such a case are based on the possibility of being exploited by the agent that he chooses not to get into any transaction at all, when the deal would have actually been in the interest of both parties.
There are various avenues that can be pursued in aligning the interests of the agent with those of the principal. In an employment scenario, employers (principal) may use mechanisms like profit sharing, piece rates/ commissions, efficiency wages, the threat of terminating the employment of affected employees, performance measurement among others. Cash bonuses for meeting certain targets are yet other avenues that can be pursued towards combating the principal-agent problem.
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The Original Position is a hypothetical situation that was developed by John Rawls, an American philosopher as a thought experiment applied in replacement of the imagery of a savage state of nature of prior political philosophers like Thomas Hobbes. In this situation, the parties select principles that will determine the basic structure of the society they will live in. This choice is made from behind a curtain of ignorance, which would deprive participants of information about their particular characteristics; a person’s ethnicity, social status, gender and, most important, Conception of the Good (an individual’s idea of how to lead a good life) This places the participants under the limitation to select principles impartially and rationally.
Basically, the idea of the original position goes to back to political philosophers who posited an original state of nature, where humans came together and made a social contract for their benefit. Instead of supposing this to be a historical situation, Rawls makes it a thought experiment. He asks us to suppose that each one of us had no idea who we are, where we are from, our placement in society, what class we belong to, how much money we have, what race or culture we come from, what religion we believe in, what code of ethics we follow, ho we want to live our life among other things. He asks us to pretend that we had none of that.
With regards to a source experiment, the original position is a hypothetical position that is designed to accurately reflect the kind of principles of justice that would be manifested in a society premised on free and fair cooperation between citizens, including respect for liberty, and an interest in reciprocity.
In the state of nature, it can be argued that the strong and talented type of persons would be able to push the weak and disabled by virtue of the fact that the stronger and more talented would cope better in the state of nature. This form of coercion is sometimes thought to validate any contractual arrangement that occurs in the state of nature. In this hypothetical position, however, representatives of citizens are placed in vacuum, whereby they are deprived of information about the individuating traits of the citizens that they represent.
Now if supposedly, a bunch of people who are exactly the same as in the respect illustrated above were coming together to figure out the principles to base society on, would there be anything substantial to be expected? This is what the original position is all about, a position of ‘’blind justice’’, where there is no bias towards one’s station in life. According to most people, blind justice is the best form of justice. Thus, the principles that the individuals in this position would agree upon are the principles of justice. However, it should be noted that even in such a society, there are people who will have to reject the idea of original position, or the principles that would be agreed to.
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