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POLITICAL POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY PHILOSOPHY
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Week 3 - Political Philosophy

Jan 22, 2018

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  1. 1. POLITICALPOLITICAL PHILOSOPHYPHILOSOPHY
  2. 2. Main Question: Should the StateMain Question: Should the State Exist?Exist? YESYES:: 1.1. LibertarianismLibertarianism 2.2. Egalitarian LiberalismEgalitarian Liberalism 3.3. CommunitarianismCommunitarianism NONO:: AnarchismAnarchism We will look at 1 and 2 in detail
  3. 3. Thomas HobbesThomas Hobbes English philosopher, 1588 1679English philosopher, 1588 1679 WroteWrote LeviathanLeviathan in 1651in 1651 Famously reported that my mother gaveFamously reported that my mother gave birth to twins: myself and fearbirth to twins: myself and fear FearFear was the main factor behind Hobbeswas the main factor behind Hobbes political views, which he outlined inpolitical views, which he outlined in LeviathanLeviathan
  4. 4. The State of NatureThe State of Nature A hypothetical scenario in whichA hypothetical scenario in which no government existsno government exists Perfect equalityPerfect equality Perpetual war or threat of war overPerpetual war or threat of war over gain, safety, and glory scarcity ofgain, safety, and glory scarcity of goodsgoods
  5. 5. Hobbes justification for the monarchy:Hobbes justification for the monarchy: In such condition, there is no place for industry; because theIn such condition, there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of thefruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may beearth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments ofimported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving, and removing, such things as require much force; nomoving, and removing, such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts;knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all,no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear,continual fear, and danger of violent deathand danger of violent death; and; and the life of man, solitary,the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and shortpoor, nasty, brutish, and short.. Leviathan XIII "Chapter XIII.: Of the Natural ConditionLeviathan XIII "Chapter XIII.: Of the Natural Condition of Mankind As Concerning Their Felicity, and Misery."of Mankind As Concerning Their Felicity, and Misery."
  6. 6. So how do we escape?So how do we escape? THE SOCIAL CONTRACTTHE SOCIAL CONTRACT Citizens come together and agree to surrender their natural freedoms to the state, creating a LEVIATHAN / MONARCHY / GOVERNMENT in the process.
  7. 7. Modern example = SomaliaModern example = Somalia Some discussionSome discussion:: Consider the current political landscape ofConsider the current political landscape of Somalia. What might Hobbes say and what mightSomalia. What might Hobbes say and what might he use it to show?he use it to show?
  8. 8. John Stuart MillJohn Stuart Mill British philosopher, 1806 1873British philosopher, 1806 1873 WroteWrote On LibertyOn Liberty in 1859in 1859 Advocated the existence of aAdvocated the existence of a LIBERTARIANLIBERTARIAN STATESTATE centred aroundcentred around NEGATIVENEGATIVE LIBERTYLIBERTY
  9. 9. NEGATIVE LIBERTYNEGATIVE LIBERTY Negative Liberty = freedomNegative Liberty = freedom FROMFROM statestate coercion. Ifcoercion. If XX isis legallegal then it means that, as athen it means that, as a subject of the state, one hassubject of the state, one has negative libertynegative liberty toto XX. Can you name some other examples?. Can you name some other examples? More on Positive Liberty laterMore on Positive Liberty later
  10. 10. LibertarianismLibertarianism Focused onFocused on INDIVIDUALINDIVIDUAL LIBERTYLIBERTY does does notnot concern itselfconcern itself withwith groupsgroups oror communitiescommunities Every man is an islandEvery man is an island Governments job is based on theGovernments job is based on the HARM PRINCIPLEHARM PRINCIPLE
  11. 11. Harm PrincipleHarm Principle What objection might one raise to this principle? What about free speech and the MARKETPLACE OF IDEAS? The Harm PrincipleThe Harm Principle the only purpose for which power can bethe only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilizedrightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm tocommunity, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.others. - Mill,- Mill, On LibertyOn Liberty, Chapter 1., Chapter 1.
  12. 12. For Mill, liberty is notFor Mill, liberty is not inherentlyinherently good, but it isgood, but it is instrumentallyinstrumentally good because it can be used togood because it can be used to bring about the greatest happiness of thebring about the greatest happiness of the greatest number.greatest number. Utilitarian / Individualist paradox (pennies andUtilitarian / Individualist paradox (pennies and pounds)pounds)
  13. 13. John RawlsJohn Rawls American Philosopher, 1921 2002American Philosopher, 1921 2002 WroteWrote A Theory of JusticeA Theory of Justice in 1971in 1971 Developed the idea of Justice as FairnessDeveloped the idea of Justice as Fairness Governments job based onGovernments job based on NEGATIVENEGATIVE AND POSITIVE LIBERTYAND POSITIVE LIBERTY this is known this is known asas EGALITARIAN LIBERALISMEGALITARIAN LIBERALISM
  14. 14. POSITIVE LIBERTYPOSITIVE LIBERTY A governmental entitlement to Rawlsian equalA governmental entitlement to Rawlsian equal basic libertiesbasic liberties Example = personal property (such as a house)Example = personal property (such as a house) The state interferes to protectThe state interferes to protect ANDAND serve itsserve its subjectssubjects Liberalism = much state interferenceLiberalism = much state interference Libertarianism = as little state interference asLibertarianism = as little state interference as possiblepossible
  15. 15. So, Negative and PositiveSo, Negative and Positive 1.1. Negative Liberty =Negative Liberty = freedom fromfreedom from harm. About what the state should orharm. About what the state should or should not doshould not do toto you. Libertarianism.you. Libertarianism. 2.2. Positive Liberty =Positive Liberty = entitlements toentitlements to equal basic liberties. About what theequal basic liberties. About what the state should or should not dostate should or should not do forfor you. Liberalism.you. Liberalism.
  16. 16. Rawls Difference PrincipleRawls Difference Principle MaximinMaximin = maximize the benefits of the worst- = maximize the benefits of the worst- off (i.e., those who have the minimum benefits).off (i.e., those who have the minimum benefits). IfIf makingmaking everybody equal is the goal, then theeverybody equal is the goal, then the state cannotstate cannot treattreat everybody equally! Some areeverybody equally! Some are naturally / originally better-off than others!naturally / originally better-off than others!
  17. 17. The Veil of IgnoranceThe Veil of Ignorance Imagine yourself in the Imagine yourself in the original positionoriginal position no no knowledge of your sex, skin colour, place ofknowledge of your sex, skin colour, place of birth, etc.birth, etc. In this position, Rawls argues you wouldIn this position, Rawls argues you would distribute all goodsdistribute all goods equallyequally The government should do the sameThe government should do the same
  18. 18. Communitarian ObjectionsCommunitarian Objections Liberalism + Libertarianism = individual precedes theLiberalism + Libertarianism = individual precedes the communitycommunity Communitarianism = the community precedes theCommunitarianism = the community precedes the individual. The community is theindividual. The community is the political agentpolitical agent. No. No man is an island!man is an island! Concerned with theConcerned with the moral fabric of the communitymoral fabric of the community too much liberty is bad! (examples = drugs andtoo much liberty is bad! (examples = drugs and prostitution in liberal societies)prostitution in liberal societies) The Veil of Ignorance theory is incoherentThe Veil of Ignorance theory is incoherent
  19. 19. AnarchismAnarchism Difficult position to defendDifficult position to defend Education instead of coercionEducation instead of coercion State of Nature is theState of Nature is the idealideal state - butstate - but notnot a bad one!a bad one! William Godwin = future anarchism. CultivateWilliam Godwin = future anarchism. Cultivate reasonreason throughthrough educationeducation.. FrankensteinFrankenstein, the wretch: For a long time I could not conceive, the wretch: For a long time I could not conceive how one man could go forth to murder his fellow, or evenhow one man could go forth to murder his fellow, or even whywhy there were laws and governmentsthere were laws and governments; but when I heard details of; but when I heard details of vice and bloodshed, my wonder ceased, and I turned away withvice and bloodshed, my wonder ceased, and I turned away with disgust and loathing (Chapter 13.)disgust and loathing (Chapter 13.) Kropotkin = Kropotkin = mutual aidmutual aid theory. Education about the theory. Education about the generalgeneral goodgood.. No private property!No private property!
  20. 20. Stirners OntologicalStirners Ontological AnarchismAnarchism German philosopher, 1806 - 1856German philosopher, 1806 - 1856 WroteWrote The Ego and Its OwnThe Ego and Its Own in 1844in 1844 The state does not exist!The state does not exist! Only the Ego existsOnly the Ego exists Probably influenced Nietzsche a great dealProbably influenced Nietzsche a great deal To own oneself means to be free of the illusion ofTo own oneself means to be free of the illusion of the existence of the state it is a the existence of the state it is a spookspook The strong take things they make things their own The strong take things they make things their own and do not recognise the legitimacy of any stateand do not recognise the legitimacy of any state Obey the state out pure self-interest, but do notObey the state out pure self-interest, but do not acknowledge its authorityacknowledge its authority
  21. 21. Suggested ReadingSuggested Reading Wolff, Jonathan (1996).Wolff, Jonathan (1996). An Introduction to PoliticalAn Introduction to Political Philosophy.Philosophy. OxfordOxford University Press.University Press.