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Social and Political Philosophy

Feb 24, 2016




Social and Political Philosophy. Justice. Opening Discussion. What is justice? How do we enforce justice? How do we evaluate “ equality ” as a component of justice? How far should the just state go (or not) in promoting equality in society?. Video. It’s not just about the chicken…. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Social and Political Philosophy

JusticeSocial and Political PhilosophyOpening DiscussionWhat is justice?How do we enforce justice?How do we evaluate equality as a component of justice? How far should the just state go (or not) in promoting equality in society?

2VideoIts not just about the chicken.Individualism vs. CollectivismIndividualism emphasizes the importance of individual rights. Similar to liberalism

Communitarianism rights of communities and societies are sometimes more important than individual rightsHow do governments ensure justice?Concept of justice difficult to defineLaw Naturalists law is devised from universal command to do right over wrongLegal Positivists law is only identified by reference to factual information, legal precedents and legislationConcept of justice goes beyond extent of the lawJustice that love gives is a surrender, justice that law gives is a punishment.Mahatma Gandhi

You know, the courts may not be working any more, but as long as everyone is videotaping everyone else, justice will be done.MARGE SIMPSON, The SimpsonsJustice is truth in action, Benjamin DisraeliThe moral arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice, Martin Luther King Jr.Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither is, in my opinion, safe, Edmund Burke

5ActivityPenny game

4 volunteersDistributive JusticeDistributive JusticeHow does a just state distribute both its burdens and its benefits across societyAre the annual salaries of the following is an arrangement of a just society:Peyton Manning ($14.17 million, or just under $900,000 per game). A line cook in Mississippi making minimum wage ($13,624). John Rawls and Robert Nozick offer two very different but compelling answers to these questions of distribute justice.

8John Rawls (1921-2002)What is justice, how do we arrive at it, and how do we structure our society in a just way?How do we decide between which inequalities are acceptable and which are unacceptable.

9Rawls and Distributive JusticeDilemma - citizens operate from a biased position given their different backgrounds, worldviews, and self-interest based on their (known) position in society., Agreements in the form of a mutual social contract are difficult to arrive at. Even if such agreements can be made, the process may not be a fair one because it is difficult to avoid one group dominating others.10Rawls and Distributive JusticeThis is Rawls argument for justice as fairness: not that justice IS fairness, per se, but the process through which we collectively arrive at our conception of justice is fair because we all operate from the original position of equality, and our ignorance to our respective positions provides a fair playing field from which we can come to a mutual conception of a justly arranged society. 11Reading The veil of ignoranceGetting our fair share of the pie

Rawls and Distributive JusticeFrom the original position, members of a society can develop an overlapping consensus, through which they can agree on a shared political and societal structure.Two essential principles of justice:1.) Everyone in society receives fundamental and equal political rights and liberties.2.) Inequalities in society are acceptable, but must be open to all to overcome (mobility and opportunity) and be structured in a way that is of the greatest benefit to the least advantaged (the maximin principle.)13Robert Nozick (1938-2002)Nozicks concept of justice goes to the purpose of the state (why we grant our tacit agreement with the social contract in the first place), which is to protect our rights. Therefore, the state is unjust when it violates our rights. What, then, are our rights?

14Nozick and Distributive Justice View of wealth is important to his concept of distributive justice Wealth isnt unattached, waiting to be distributed. Rather, wealth has attachment to individuals, who have just claims to their wealth. Wealth is (naturally) redistributed in society but redistribution is based on liberty15Nozick and Wilt ChamberlainThought experiment: Imagine that all wealth in society is distributed according to our ideal pattern, possibly where all are given an equal share. Wilt Chamberlain is signed to a contract where he is paid 25 cents for each ticket bought; and fans (who know about this arrangement) drop an extra 25 cents into a separate Wilt bucket upon admission to see him play. At the end of the season, he has made $250,000, upsetting the original pattern of equality. Is this just? Because the starting point was just, and all later steps were voluntarily made, how is this unjust? 16Liberty vs. Patterns of wealthFor Nozick, then, the question of distributive justice boils down to a value choice between liberty and patterns. If we accept his overarching (classical liberalism) view of the statethat it exists to protect our rights and libertiesthen we must put aside desired patterns of redistribution in favor of the first duty of the state to protect our rights.17Nozick and taxesTaxation for redistributive purposes is akin to forced labor, as time is money, and we should think of the government taking x amount of our income means they we are also working x amount of hours per week for the sole benefit of othersSuch a system makes the state a part-time owner of its citizens

Advocated for minimal state only purpose is to equally protect rights of its citizens anything beyond this begins to violate rather than protect rightsCharity is okay as long as its voluntary18Nozick and Distributive JusticeThe consequences of such a redistributive system are not just an infringement of our rights, but also a loss of our ability to freely pursue our place in society. The redistributive state treats us not as inviolate individuals, but instead uses us in certain ways by others as means or tools instruments our resources, The minimal state, by respecting our rights allows us, individually or with whom we choose, to choose our life and to realize our ends and our conception of ourselves How dare any state or group of individuals do more. Or less (Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia, 333-334.)19Justice as representation and recognitionPolitics of representationPolitical representation is the activity of making citizens' voices, opinions, and perspectives present in the public policy making processes. Political representation occurs when political actors speak, advocate, symbolize, and act on the behalf of others in the political arenaEg. VotingJohn Courtney political scientist found BC, Alberta and Ontario have fastest growing populations and are underrepresented in House of Commons. Is this fair? Do we apply a utilitarian response?Voting who should be allowed to vote and at what age?What are the reasons for limiting those rights? Can these limits be applied fairly?

Might makes right can tear the country apart.21Race and Representation in mediaPolitics of Representation:When minorities struggle for recognition/rights/sharing of power in political, cultural and media institutionsDiscloses fundamental human need: drive for identity: to escape the psychic prisonof a world view that excludes or denies (Fleras:307)Media forms an important function in:FramingRecognizingRepresenting Cultural/ethnographic groupsIssues and ProblemsIn media:Analysis of ownership & controlAnalysis of workers/work routines in news manufactureAnalysis media contents/reception ( latter scarce)In societySocio economic studiesSocial dysfunctions ( conflict, threats to social cohesion)Anti social behaviors: stereotyping/hate/social exclusivenessAllegations Against MediaAboriginals, people of colour, immigrants and refugees tend to be underrepresented InvisibleIrrelevantVictimizedTrivialized

Or misrepresentedRace-Role Stereotyped ( Fleras: 286)DemonizedScapegoatedWhitewashed/TokenizedWhat Social Responsibility?Charter of Rights and FreedomsS. 15 (1) No one is to be discriminated against, regardless of race or ethnicityIn Broadcasting Act (1991): Serve the needs and interests and reflect the circumstances and aspirations of Canadian men, women and children, including equal rights, and the multicultural and multiracial nature of Canadian society and the special place of aboriginal people in that societyIn 1985 CRTC introduces Ethnic Broadcasting Policy: allows entry of private sector stations catering to other language groups( but access to fewer public subsidies )IdentityA subjective sense of belonging

Self IdentitySocial IdentityPolitical IdentitySelf IdentityYour life historyExplains why you do something, who you want to be, and what to do about advancing your interestsMay be personal style, personal peer and family identity ( notion of primary group)Social Identity TheoryImportance of a persons social identity in forming self-conceptGroup based aspects of an individuals self-definition, derived from membership in and identification with social groups( black pride movement: hip hop subculture etc.)Social IdentityAssociated with the rights, obligations and sanctions you enjoy in your social rolesUsual markers are age, sex, race ( immutable social markers)Primordial realms: immediate community of work or livingIncreasingly involving social causes/missionsMedia are resources in finding social identities: role assimilationNew Ideas about IdentityRefute notion of identity as fixed, universal or essentialSees media as a major resource for the construction of cultural identities within the lived experience of everyday lifeAccessible to virtually everybodySite of popular knowledge

Identity in continual contest and constructionStereotypeFrom the Greek: stereos (solid) and typos ( mark)What Walter Lipmann calls fixed pictures in the headA form of mental shorthand of associations with social beings/ as sorted into social categories/ by traits real or imaginedMinority critics often argue they