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The fact that the argument is a posteriori has advantages however.
But it will often be the case that you are working on a topic where you expected to be familiar with two kinds of material: primary texts (classic statements of a position by one of the great figures in the history of the subject), and secondary texts (modern commentaries on or discussions of these classic positions).
In these cases I recommend that you read the classic texts first, so that you approach them with an unprejudiced eye (or at least an eye unprejudiced by modern commentary), perhaps in the rapid, surveying manner suggested above, before looking at secondary material.
The strengths of the Cosmological Argument lie in both its simplicity and easily comprehensible use of logic.
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As far as preparing to write a philosophy essay goes, the most important single piece of advice that can be given (obvious, but still worth stating clearly) is: .
Unless you are a genius, you will not be able to excogitate from nothing what the interesting philosophical questions in any given area are, and how one should go about addressing them.When you have looked at a reasonable amount of secondary material you should then - if your reading of that material has not already forced you to do so - go back to the primary texts and read them carefully.If you are working with a textbook such as Cottingham's , which provides only extracts from the great philosophers of the past (and present), it may be necessary to go beyond what the textbook provides and read whole texts or at least larger extracts than your textbook provides. In the past at Sussex, none of our courses made use of textbooks: students were required to find the sources themselves in the library, and were often asked to read whole texts (treatises, dialogues etc.) even though the seminar discussion might focus on only part of the set texts.When you have finished a cursory reading of the text, you should re-read the same text carefully, taking notes, and trying to understand as much as you can, before moving on to other relevant texts.Alternatively, you might prefer to continue applying the technique of rapid, fairly superficial reading to other texts in the same area, to get an even more general (though still superficial) grasp of the terrain, before returning (as you should) to all these texts (or as many of them as you can manage) and subjecting them to thorough re-reading.It is good to read philosophy (and especially to ) with specific questions in mind: how does the author address such-and-such a problem, or how does he/she resolve the apparent contradiction between the view stated on p.5 and that stated in the conclusion?If the subject matter you are investigating is a modern topic with no significant distinction between primary and secondary literature, the above guidelines will, I think, serve you well just as they stand.[...] In the state of nature described by Locke, all men have the right "to dispose of himself and his possessions as he thinks fit" (Plamenatz, 1992, p338).This broad conception of property makes it equivalent to freedom and is limited only by man's obligation to God to not destroy himself and by the recognition of the same right of others.[...][...] The Cosmological Argument is an 'a posteriori proof' of God's existence, i.e.It is based on a set of premises which are drawn from experience but do not necessarily contain the conclusion within the premises.