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Unit 32 – Social Philosophy

Difficulty: Medium/hard

Time: 1 minute 30 seconds

The comment below was recently made by philosopher, Slavoj Zizek:

“…When you buy an organic apple, you’re doing it for ideological reasons, it makes you feel good: ‘I’m doing something for Mother Earth,’ and so on. But in what sense are we engaged? It’s a false engagement. Paradoxically, we do these things to avoid really doing things. It makes you feel good. You recycle, you send £5 a month to some Somali orphan, and you did your duty.”


1. Which of the following best summarises Zizek’s main point?

  • A      People should send their money to Somalia instead of wasting it on organic apples
  • B      Social consciousness is a myth perpetuated by Western culture
  • C      People have been tricked into operating safety valves that allow the status quo to survive unchallenged
  • D      Vehicles of social change are fuelled primarily by guilt



Unit 1.13 – 2012 Olympics

Difficulty: Easy/Medium

Time: 6 minutes


The following are a series of letters to the editor of concerning various aspects of the London 2012 Olympic Games.


Letter 1

My four children would have been thrilled to see even one event in the Olympic village. Yet after bidding online for numerous tickets we did not get any. Having the Games in London is like having a party in your house, being asked to pay for it and then not being allowed to attend. I went to the Munich Olympics which had none of the restrictions on attendance with tickets available during the games. 2012 seems a jamboree for sponsors, providing unhealthy food with a large proportion of the tickets reserved for corporate use. I’m now booking a holiday abroad during the Olympics. We’ve all had enough of watching sport on TV. I just hope my children will get a chance to see the Olympics live when they take place in another country.


Unit 1.7 – Communism Debate

Difficulty: Medium

Time: 9 minutes

The following are a series of comments which relate to arguments for and against Communism: a socialist form of government in which resources and wealth are distributed evenly among the populace according to need.


          The only way for society to function is through a natural process of supply and demand. Arbitrary allocations of resources and manpower of indefinable value are not only inefficient, but also reckless.


II         The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. The freeman and the slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf… the oppressor and the oppressed, in constant opposition to one another; a conflict that each time ended either in a revolutionary reconstitution of the entire society or the common ruin of the conflicting classes.


III        The bourgeoisie has stripped the halo from every profession which was once honoured and admired with reverent awe. It has turned the doctor, the lawyer, the priest, the poet and the scientist into its paid wage-slaves.


IV        “We tried so hard to create a society that was equal, where there’d be nothing to envy your neighbour. But there’s always something to envy. A smile, a friendship, something you don’t have and want to appropriate. In this world there will always be rich and poor. Rich in gifts, poor in gifts. Rich in love, poor in love.”