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Definition of a Case Study in Philosophy
A philosophy case study is a type of paper where the research method includes a close, comprehensive, and detailed examination of the subject of the research (case), as well as its related contextual conditions. Although no single case study definition exists, a case study in philosophy has long been prominent in many disciplines and professions.
The “case” studied can be a person, an organization, an event, or an action that exists at a specific time and place. However, when a case is used in an abstract sense, it can be the subject of many research methods, not just a case study. Case study papers include studies of people, events, decisions, periods, and other subjects of research.
Peculiarities of a Case Study in Philosophy
- The choice and application of methods of a case study are predetermined, and follow from the nature of the phenomenon being studied, and from the tasks that the student sets.
- The process of research for writing a case study is always carried out on the basis of historically developed methods.
- You can use different methods for writing a philosophy case study. Such methods include the laws and categories of dialectics, observation and experiment, comparison, analysis and synthesis, induction and deduction, etc.
The Aim of a Case Study
You can see in different examples of case study papers that they have particular aims. It is important to understand that a case study can have only one goal. Sometimes it is permissible that it consists of two parts, but then these components must necessarily be interconnected logically.
The aim of a case study is the answer to the question of why this experiment is being conducted. The student must formulate the significance of the result, which he or she hopes to get after the completion of the work. In fact, the goal derives from the problem of study, and the problem is determined by the topic. You can build a whole hierarchical pyramid: the theme – the problem – the goal – the task.
The goal must be clear and understandable. You can not write abstract statements and general phrases. It is necessary to clearly understand whether it is possible to realize the plan and, if so, how to do it. It is recommended to use the verbs in an undefined form: “examine,” “define,” “develop,” “reveal,” “establish.” Another option is to start the phrase with the noun: “investigation,” “determination,” “demonstration,” “clarification.”
Structure of a Case Study
As you can see in different philosophy case study examples, it is necessary to study documentary sources. Such a case study is valuable, because the author points out new facts, studies, and so on. The presented work must contain clear organization and structuring. It should contain an introduction, a main body on the study conducted, a conclusion, and sources.
- Introduction. The introduction provides a description of the relevance of the topic, as well as the problem that is being considered and studied. It is worth pointing to the goal and the main task. It is also important to indicate what time frame the topic covers. Also, you need to indicate an overview of the sources that were the basis for writing the paper.
- Main body. The main body of a case study should be written according to the chosen topic, and it is important to respect the time frame that was specified in the introduction. Don’t show already well-known facts that simply overshadow your new information and discoveries. First of all, try to focus on new, interesting discoveries.
- Conclusion. At the end of the case study, it is necessary to draw the appropriate conclusions, which will relate specifically to the goals and objectives that were indicated in the introduction section.
How to Form a Hypotheses for a Case Study
In many case study research sample papers, one can come across such a completely contrived element as the “research hypothesis.” Almost always the hypothesis is formulated in the end of a paper, which roughly distorts the essence of the hypothetical deductive method itself. Moreover, this prevents the correct understanding of the essence of this method and mastering of it.
Hypothesis building techniques vary in:
– form (“if x, then y”);
– level (empirical and theoretical studies);
– character (modification, revolutionizing);
– formation mechanism (simple: inductive or deductive; complex);
– logical structure (linear – 1 assumption; branched – possible consequences);
– functional purpose (explanatory, predictive, mixed).
When formulating a hypothesis, it is necessary to take into account such an important characteristic of it as verifiability, which presupposes the existence of adequate methods for testing this hypothesis. There are many methods for constructing hypotheses:
- Brainstorming is a collective method of finding new ideas and solutions.
- The symbolic analogy is an analogy by which the problem is described in several words generically.
- The association method is based on a person’s ability to transform previously acquired knowledge so that it can be used for new conditions.
- The inversion method provides the consideration of the problem from opposite positions in relation to the adopted ones.
Case Study Sample Paper
Images of vigilantes have been used in art and literature for a long time. As a rule, the vigilante is a protagonist and get the sympathy of readers and viewers. Such heroes decide to break the law and take justice into their own hands after they have witnessed a crime or become a victim.
In popular culture, vigilantes have a range of specific qualities. They may vary but remain unchangeable in general terms:
- Witness or victim of a crime. An encounter with the criminal world is a determining factor which makes a hero to become a vigilante.
- Double life. In order to protect their families and friends from the revenge of criminals or arrest, vigilantes lead double lives and hide their real identities.
- Moral code. Although a vigilante cannot follow the law in all the decisions, he or she sticks to the code of honor. For example, some heroes refuse to use a firearm or blackmailing.
- Abilities. As a rule, a vigilante has special skills or superpowers in the first place or receives training that allows him or her to surpass the criminals physically or intellectually.
- Contrariety. Usually, vigilantes don’t receive unanimous support from the general public. Some people become their fans and allies, while others criticize their activity and conflict with them.
The image of the vigilante has become extremely popular in the movies, series, and comic books about superheroes. However, vigilantes exist in our reality. They are not a figment of the imagination. Nick Allen, the Daily Telegraph’s Washington Editor, shares the story about Phoenix Jones, “the masked vigilante,” who protects the citizen of Lynnwood in his article (The Telegraph).
Unfortunately, analyzing the activity of a real-life vigilante is impossible, as such research requires access to the police records. A fictional character will be used to examine ethical issues of this case study.
For the case study, the character of Batman will be analyzed. This superhero “was created for DC Comics by writer Bill Finger and artist Bob Kane” (Sanderson et al.).
This hero has been chosen according to the following criteria:
– sufficient amount of information;
– compliance with all the qualities of vigilantes;
– contradictory points of view on Batman’s activity.
Bruce Wayne witnessed his parents’ death at the hands of a robber. From that moment on, he has decided to fight the criminals in his native Gotham City in the name of his father and mother. He acts openly as an heir to a rich family and as a CEO of Wayne Enterprises and donates million to charity. After receiving combat training, he began to fight criminals in Gotham City under the mask of Batman. He refuses to use a firearm and disarms his enemies without resorting to assassination. Batman also uses listening devices, intimidates criminals, and hacks national security systems for his purposes. However, he never uses force, unless he is 100% of the person’s guilt. Thanks to Batman, many criminals have been arrested, and the crime rate in Gotham City has lowered.
In the case study, the following issues are examined:
- Is Batman a superman from the perspective of the Nietzschean philosophy and does it justify his actions?
- Is Batman a criminal and does the police have the right to collaborate with him?
- Does Batman protect or violate the generally accepted moral code?
1. Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher of the 20th century, claimed that “man is something that is to be surpassed” (3). He created a concept of a superman (Übermensch) who had the following qualities: inhuman intelligence and will, the will to power, and super-individualism. His concept has been interpreted multiple times by different authors. For example, the protagonist of the novel “Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoevsky Rodion Raskolnikov asks himself “whether I am a trembling creature [regular human being] or whether I have the right [the right to kill as a superman]” (588).
Batman possesses skills and abilities that surpass the ones of a regular human. He is ready to break the law to achieve his personal purpose. However, he cannot be considered an individualist as the common good is more important for him than his own life and desires. Besides, he has no will to power, though he is a talented leader. In such a manner, the Nietzschean philosophy cannot be applied to the case of Batman and does not justify his actions.
2. From the perspective of the law, Batman is a criminal. The use of brute force toward another person can be justified only when it is classified as self-defense, and Batman’s attacks on criminals cannot be considered an attempt to defend himself. In addition, espionage, stalking, and hacking are also outside the law. However, the question of collaboration between Batman and police officers remains open. A part of policemen, including Commissioner Gordon, are ready to co-work with the vigilante for achieving a common purpose. Others do not support his actions and keep trying to reveal his identity and arrest the hero. When it comes to the juridical point of view, Batman is a criminal, and police officers do not have the right to collaborate with him.
3. Batman is more likely to be a defender of the generally accepted moral code than a perpetrator. His goal is noble, and his means — even when they are outside the law — are restricted with his moral code. He does not commit homicides and avoids the confrontation with police officers when it is possible. Besides, his activity has entailed the lowering of a crime rate in Gotham City.
Batman is a typical representative of the vigilante in today’s pop-culture. From the perspective of the Nietzschean philosophy, he is not a superman, though he has superior skills and abilities. The law also cannot justify his actions, and the police have no right to collaborate with this hero. However, he can be considered a defender of the moral code and order. His main purpose is the prosperity of Gotham City and its citizens. Batman controls himself by following the code of honor which excludes murders, the use of a firearm, and intentional conflicts with police officers.
Allen, Nick. “Phoenix Jones: the Masked Vigilante Protecting Lynnwood, Washington.” The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 6 Jan. 2011, www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/8244078/Phoenix-Jones-the-masked-vigilante-protecting-Lynnwood-Washington.html.
Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Crime and Punishment. Oxford University Press, 2019.
Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm. Nietzsche: Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Edited by Adrian Del Caro and Robert B. Pippin, Cambridge University Press, 2006.
Sanderson, Peter, et al. “Batman.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 8 Oct. 2018, www.britannica.com/topic/Batman-fictional-character.
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