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Phil 2265: Social / Phil 2265: Social / Political Philosophy Political Philosophy McDaniel College Fall 2004 Hill 017 MWF 12:40-1:40

Phil 2265: Social / Political Philosophy McDaniel College Fall 2004 Hill 017 MWF 12:40-1:40.

Jan 17, 2016



Benedict Todd
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  • Phil 2265: Social / Political PhilosophyMcDaniel CollegeFall 2004Hill 017MWF 12:40-1:40

  • One final question:Should there be a state at all?

  • The central question:If the state is that organization that has some kind of authority over me, what is authority anyway?

  • AuthorityNot powerNot enough to command what I would do anyway.Not enough to convince me that what you want me to do is right (thats persuasion).

    Its doing what someone wants you to do precisely because they tell you to do it.

  • SubmissionOught I submit to authority?

    Note: Is never implies Ought

  • AutonomyMoral responsibility is entailed by the ability to choose otherwise.

    The responsible person is autonomous: he or she submits only to the moral laws that he or she imposes on himself or herself.Note, one can give up autonomy, but not responsibility.

  • Submission & ObedienceWhen we agree to follow an order because it is an order, we do voluntarily submit our autonomy.Why, on what grounds, might we give up our autonomy?Religious reasoningPlato: because the philosopher-kings are wiser than us.Hobbes: because were better off under the patronage of the sovereignLocke: because were better off under a limited, liberal governmentRousseau: because the general will is always right.

  • The argumentAutonomy of the individual is in staunch contradiction to the very notion of authority.Therefore, Anarchism is the only political doctrine consistent with the autonomy of the individual.

    Solution: unanimous direct democracy.

  • Problems:V. strong notion of autonomy: is it true that I must submit only to moral laws I impose on myself?When, for example, does this autonomy manifest? When I turn 18? When does it disappear? When Im senile? Crazy? Who is to be the judge?In Wolffs anarchistic society, do we get to ostracize those those who are senile, crazy, etc? And who gets to be the judge?

  • The reasoning itself:Moral responsibility is entailed by the ability to choose otherwise.The responsible person is autonomous: he or she submits only to the moral laws that he or she imposes on himself or herself.The political person ought to be autonomous.

  • PracticalityThe idea autonomous agent of Wolffs anarchic society is wholly rational and educated about all matters of state and governance. Is this possible?Is it desirable?Do we really want people who went to Bob Jones university (e.g.) making judgments about what counts as science in the classroom?

  • The paradox of political philosophyAutonomous, rational agents are the ideal, but as a matter of fact, most people dont want to be autonomous and they are not rational.Is education the key?Are people deluding themselves?How can we think that we (that is, the educated) should have a say, but simultaneously deny that right to those who are irrational?

  • What is rational, really?In the Nazi case, suppose we choose to collaborate because the penalty of resistance is too great.Isnt that a rational, reasonable choice based on all the information?In the restaurant case, either we research each individual restaurant ourselves, record and evaluate over a series of visits and sample dishes, or we listen to the guidebook.Isnt it a rational, reasonable choice (in short, an autonomous choice) to give up our autonomy?

  • Hold on a minuteHow bad is it to give up ones autonomy?Autonomy demands a great deal of responsibility to educate oneself, to think critically, etc.Why shouldnt I trust the experts, they are, after all, experts for a reason.Being a juvenile isnt that bad a thing anyway.Maybe its better (rationally) to be ruled than to rule.

  • TrustIf we truly have a benevolent state, giving up ones autonomy aint so bad. Being a baby aint so bad, and babies arent autonomous.BUT NOTE: it doesnt matter what kind of state: benevolence is the key, not the structure of the Govt. A monarchy is just as good as a dictatorship is just as good as a representative democracy.

  • A paradox once again:There just arent any benevolent states.De facto, not de jure.

  • What to do?

  • Late 19th Century AnarchismGoldmans (1869-1940) Anarchism was published in 1910.She founded Mother Earth magazineTolstoy (1828-1910) in Russia: Christian AnarchismBakunin (1814-1876) & Kropotkin (1842-1921)Proudhon in FranceThoreau

  • HaymarketMay 4th, 1886. Chicago.May 1st: Thousands of workers protested for an 8-hour work dayMay 3rd: Many of the protesters assulted, and shot. One killed.May 4th: A bomb was thrown. One police officer was killed, 7 died later.8 anarchists were tried for being anarchists, and sentence to death. 4 were executed, 1 committed suicide and 3 were released in 1893.

  • McKinleyIn 1901, an Anarchist named Leon Czolgosz assassinated William McKinleyGoldman, along with Berkman and others, were arrested and deported: again for being anarchists.In 1920, Sacco and Vanzetti were tried in Boston, found guilty and executed (1927) for a robbery. They case against them was that they were anarchists. (they were, in fact, communists).

  • MexicoZapata and Flores, leaders of the Mexican revolution in the 1920s were anarchists.Anarchists were a major side in the Spanish Civil war.

  • The QuestionAll of this was over 100 years ago!Is so few of the complaints have changed (people still hate their jobs, are dehumanized by machinery, dont own the products a their labor (including intellectual property!)), why have the number of people willing to entertain the ideals of Anarchism and Socialism reduced so greatly?