Butler, Locke & Kant

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19 Apr 2012
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18/04/2012
1
PHIL 191 HUMAN NATURE
FROM THE MEDIEVAL WORLD TO MODERNITY
A lot happens between Aquinas [1224-74] and Butler [1692-1752]
The Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation(s), the Scientific Revolution(s), the
great discoveries (including circumnavigating the globe), the Gutenberg printing
press and the start of The age of Reason and the Enlightenment
Sometime in this period Modernity begins
But what is “Modernity”? Dam good question
My answer is…………
MODERNITY AND HUMAN NATURE
The Bacon Descartes theory of science and technology: We must learn to
understand Nature correctly by using
The Proper METHOD
If we can only learn the truth about nature and its laws, causes, forces etc. then we
can apply this knowledge to benefit humanity.
THE VIRTUOUS CIRCLE
Agriculture, disease control, transportation and communication More and better
food, longer lives, fewer deaths in infancy, quicker movement of persons and
information
THE ENLIGHTENMENT PROJECT
Western philosophy and science inherited conflicting views of SCIENTIFIC METHOD
[Bacon‘s so-called induction versus Descartes’ deduction] this lead to many other
views later.
It also led to conflicting views of what were then called the “MORAL SCIENCES”.
The amazing success of Newtonian science gave great hope that the same method
could be applied to produce “A Newton of the Moral Sciences or, as they later
became, the “Social Sciences”.
THE PROBLEM(S) OF EGOISM
PSYCHOLOGICAL EGOISM
Theory of HN that: All humans everywhere are [almost] always motivated by self-
interest even when it seems that they act altruistically
Altruism” = “to act in the interests of others at a cost to one’s self”
2 types of ALTRUISM
Kin Altruism
Reciprocal Altruism
P-T-A APPROACH TO HUMAN NATURE
[P] Problem: is HN entirely or at least mostly egoistic?
[T] Theory 1: Egoism: we are entirely or at least 98% egoistic so who cares about
the other 3%?” *
Theory 2: Altruism: many humans act unselfishly more than 3% of the time and do
so for non-egoistic reasons.
[A] Argument: lots of evidence to support egoism but also a significant amount to
support altruism.
* A shirt my wife gave me says: “I am right 98% of the time who cares about the
other 3%?”
BISHOP BUTLER’S PROBLEM
To defend the Christian view of human nature against critics especially those of
egoistic bent
Why does egoism undermine Christian ethics?
It seems to conflict with the fundamental principle: “Love thy neighbor as thyself”
If we are naturally selfish we cannot love our neighbor as we love ourselves and
therefore cannot have a duty to do so. [Why does this follow or does it???] Sigmund
Freud will later use exactly this same argument!!!
BISHOP BUTLER’S THEORY
Well stated on page 85 [4.] based on comparison of “the nature of man as
respecting self and tending to private good*…and the nature of man as having
respect to society and tending to promote pubic good,* the happiness of that
society” RS
Then he derives a very contentious conclusion: the two goods are not “inconsistent
… [but] mutually promote each other. [ibid.]
OK but how does he argue this?
* my emphasis
BISHOP BUTLER’S ARGUMENT
Premise 1: “there is a natural principle of benevolence in man85, [6.] which he
uses to make an analogy: benevolence is to society what self-love is the individual
So my self-love wants what is good for me and so therefore my benevolence makes
me want what is good for society.
Well on Friday Nov. 4, a day for random acts of kindness, I performed 3 such acts.
But did I do this so everyone would think: “What a wonderful great person Prof.
Hayes is!!!?
BUTLER’S ARGUMENT PREMISE 2
[Observation of] Human nature reveals “several passions and affections”* that are
“distinct from both benevolence and self-love” 86 [7.] and which contribute both to
public good and private good. 87 [7]
Then he clearly anticipates Adam Smith’s most famous idea the Invisible Hand” 87
[7 RS]
* what we call emotions and desires today although we still distinguish “cognitive”
and “affective” as in neurological studies [and in Spinoza]
BUTLER’S ARGUMENT PREMISE 3
3. “there is a principle of reflection in men” 87 [8.] that distinguishes between
approval and disapproval of “their own actions” not just those of others.
This refection he calls “conscience” = “con” plus “science” (= knowledge) and so
means knowledge of right and wrong.
BISHOP BUTLER’S CONCLUSION
89 [10.] this leads to a different view of HN where he presents a reductio ad
absurdum of egoism:
It assumes we are atomistic individuals i.e. “the speculative absurdity of considering
ourselves as single and independent, as having nothing in our nature which has
respect to our fellow creatures.
However he admits that there are still problems!!
BUTLER’S COUNTER-ARGUMENTS
89 [11.] but don’t humans have dispositions to do evil and inflict harm on others as
well as do good?
Yes but they also have ungoverned passions and desires that lead to injure
themselves!!
There is no real love of injustice or injury there is “only eager desires after such and
such external goods” 89[12RS]
COOL SELF-LOVE & HUMAN NATURE
89-90 [13-14. ]
The gist of this argument is: yes there are people totally indifferent to the well-being
of others or just fanatics [e.g. Carlos the Jakal] but there are also people equally
perverse in pursuing their own self-interest who lead dissolute lives that end sooner
then they need to
SERMON II: UPON HUMAN NATURE
The main point here is to refute counter-arguments
He starts with a huge epistemological analogy
Later it becomes the idea of a “Moral Sense”
We have our 5 external senses and we have a heart and conscience that is just as
reliable as those 5 senses.
OK but what about the perverse elements in our human “inner person”?
WHY DOES INTEREST AND PASSION OFTEN PREVAIL?
Butler is willing to concede a number of points to the opponent
First Interest and Passion often prevail over Reflection and Conscience
In addition some people pursue honour, other riches and other pleasure
Why should the “virtuous” blame the ambitious, the covetous or the dissolute? Since
they all equally follow theIr nature
In addition the word “Nature” is ambiguous
NATURE LEADS IN CONTRARY AND CONTRADICTORY DIRECTIONS
Sometimes nature leads us to follow the law and other times it leads us to the
contrary
94 [12] very very very NB: Human nature is a mixture of “appetites, passions,
affections, and… the principles of reflection or conscience”
Is following nature following the strongest of these or
something else
?
2 IMPORTANT DISTINCTIONS
The distinction between “
power
” and “
authority
[94, 14]
The latter is
de jure
while the former is
de facto
No man seeks misery for himself” and no man seeks misery for other UNLESS 95,
[17] IS he correct here? what about sadists and others who inflict pain and suffering
on others without any obvious gain to themselves except……………..?????
SERMON III: UPON HUMAN NATURE
Also starts with quotation from St. Paul relevant to Natural Law theory
For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in
the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves
Rom. 2:14
THIS SLIDE HAS NO TITLE
97 [6] the ultimate problem of egoism
Why should I give a dam about anyone other than me, myself and I??
“There is seldom any inconsistency between our duty and what is called interest” 98
[8]
These conflicts are “fewer than are commonly thought’ maybe but…….
THE SUMMARY OF THE ARGUMENT
98 [9] The nature of man: Three key theses:
1. Reasonable self-love and conscience are the chief or superior principles in the
nature of humans.
2. Conscience and self-love, if we truly understand our true happiness always lead
us in the same way
3. Duty and interest are coincident, for the most part, in this world *
*And definitely in the next
PREVIEW OF THE FINAL 3 WEEKS
Two final Christian theorists of Human Nature: John Locke, the Godfather of modern
empiricism and Immanuel Kant
Two proto-liberal theorists of Human Nature: John Locke and Immanuel Kant the
Godfather of modern cosmopolitanism and of the League of Nations [and so of the
UN]
KANT APPEARS TWICE
Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone
Intriguing title but: what does it mean and how is it relevant to HN?
And what does
Limits of Reason Alone
” mean?
Was is das Aufklarung
? = What is Enlightenment?
Kant’s answer is possibly the best ever given
A lot of what you will hear about “The Enlightenment” is pure BS so……
CHRONOLOGY AND LOGIC
Proto-Liberals:
Locke: 1632-1704
Kant: 1724-1804
Condorcet: 1743-1794
Van Humboldt: 1767-1835
Proto-conservatives:
Machiavelli: 1469-1527
Hobbes: 1588-1679
Samuel Johnson: 1709-1784
Modernity and Human Nature
The stadial theory of human history
Comptean positivism
Humans goes through 3 stages:
1. Theological/religious
2. Philosophical/metaphysical
3. Scientific/positivist
A much better stadial theory
The much more reasonable position: a dialectical view:
1. Roman Catholicism leads to a Protestant reaction and then a synthetic
combination.
2. Negative views of HN lead to more Positive views and then to a synthetic
combination. (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)
3. “Conservatism” leads to “Liberalism” and then to a synthetic combination.
JOHN LOCKE’S IMPORTANCE
Read [or reread] Lopston’s introduction carefully
He is clearly a transitional and foundational figure
“Empiricist ..epistemology” see next PP
“Liberal in political theory” see final sentence of para 2, 77
Was a devout Christian [see later slides]
Lopston neglects to say Locke is one of the godfathers of individualism, a term he
associates with conservatism
Critics calls this either
possessive
individualism or “rugged” individualism
JOHN LOCKE’S EPISTEMOLOGY
Or “cognitive psychology” as Lopston calls it [par 1]
However this misses the point that modern day cognitive psychology is [or claims to
be] purely descriptive and explanatory whereas Locke intended his theory to be
normative
as well as descriptive and explanatory
These distinctions are crucial to understanding why Locke can be labelled empiricist
and why his epistemology is crucial to defining his theory of human nature
LOCKE’S HUMAN NATURE THEORY
We are born without any ideas with a blank slate [tabula rasa] mind
How then do we get our ideas [conscious experiences hence our knowledge as well
as opinions, feelings, desires, passions, imagination[?
He describes and explains this via a supremely complex and sophisticated theory of
how our 5 senses aided and abetted by what he calls reflection explain all of our
ideas including those that we cannot possibly experience directly [God, infinity,
chimera and so on]
LOCKE’S EPISTEMOLOGY
However Locke’s normative epistemology is not radically empiricist but puts more
emphasis on reason which gives us much more reliable knowledge than sense
experience does. It [sense experience] gives us neither a correct picture of the
world around us nor reliable general knowledge such as is sought for in both
mathematics and natural philosophy now called natural science**
** Sir Isaac Newton’s great revolutionary book of 1687 was called
The
Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
JOHN LOCKE
Three major themes and human nature:
Religion: Christianity is reasonable but
Government: Divine right of kings is BS and we have 3 (or 4) natural rights: Life,
Liberty, Property (and Healthbut in a purely negative sense)
Toleration: we should not persecute people for their religious beliefs
John Locke and Lost
Three themes in Locke:
(1) Reason and Religion
(2) The Social Contract
(3) Tolerance, Diversity and modern Multi-Culturalism
His major contributions come at the juncture of 2 great revolutions in Western [and
world] History: The scientific revolutions culmination in 1687 and The Glorious
Revolution of 1688-89
Reason and Religion
Locke was raised as a Puritan
He wrote
The Reasonableness of Christianity
in 1695
I will cite 3 principles most relevant to his view of human nature [all on p . 78]
1. Like Butler later, he believed God “by the light of reason, revealed to all mankind”
{not just Jews or Christians} his divine nature
2. We possess “a spark of the divine nature and knowledge”
3. Humans can “make use of this candle of the Lord,…to find out his duty”.
The Social Contract
PTA approach to Locke: he has 2 problems to solve in his political theory: [1] What
justification or legitimacy does a government have to rule over people? [2] What
justification or legitimacy does any human being have to own and control private
property (and therefore to exclude others from using it without his permission)?
Locke’s Two Theories
Locke uses his own version of (1) Social Contract Theory to solve the first problem
(as an alternative to divine right and other theories)
(2) He uses what is called The Labor Theory of Value to justify private property
Locke’s Main Arguments
God [or Mother Nature if you prefer] has obviously given us the entire earth for our
benefit and use
God (or Mother Nature) has given us reason to make use of this earth
Even property owned in common must be used by private persons: the most
obvious example is…?
We have property in our own person
So we are entitled to the “fruits of our labour”
We have inalienable rights to life, liberty, and property.
A Letter Concerning Toleration
The problem here is that for centuries the Church frequently persecuted “heretics”
During the Reformation [1517-1648, at least] this intensified but there were also
numerous efforts to avoid both wars of religion and intolerance of deviant sects [as
well as deviant SEX!!]
1555: The Peace of Augsburg
1598 France passed the Edict of Nantes granting toleration to Huguenots (= )
1685 it was revoked by Louis XIV
The same year James II became the last RC king of England
Locke’s Solution
Tolerance for dissenters
The state has no business punishing people for their religious views
The church has no business punishing people for their religious views
The basic principle is the separate spheres of civil interests and spiritual interests
The civic interests are life, liberty, health, possession of external goods: land,
houses, etc.
Locke’s Argument
1. [81LS] the “care of souls” is not the province of the civil magistrate or any other
men. There is no evidence of God doing this
2. [81RS] The power of civil magistrate is only in outward force but “true… religion
consists in the inward persuasion of the mind”
3. He adds a later argument [same page] “it is one thing to persuade, another to
command; one thing to press with arguments, another with penalties. only the civil
power can do the latter.
Nature of church and state
The church is a purely voluntary association [82 RS]
The state is not however a purely voluntary association even though its legitimacy
rests on the “consent of the governed
Every person has “supreme and absolute authority of judging for themselves” about
religious matters [83 LS]
We need government to ensure by force of law if necessary that others respect our
rights to our material this-worldly good but not our alleged good in the after-life.
See final sentence, 83 RS
LIBERALISM
Kant emphasizes the enlightenment aspect especially as it implies freedom of
expression
Condorcet emphasize the idea of progress the main contentious idea in modern
ideological debates.
Von Humboldt emphasizes freedom in terms of limiting the GF!@#$%^&***
government from restraining our freedom or liberty as long as we are not harming
other persons. THIS USED TO BE THE MAIN tenet of Liberalism but no longer is.
There is no main tenet of what passes for Liberalism today.
CONSERVATISM
Machiavelli: usually interpreted as “the ends justify the means’ but that is far too
superficial
After all what are the ends that justify the means and what the hell justifies those
ends as opposed to man other ends??
Machiavelli actually may have an answer: a republican government [in the pre-
modern sense].
IMMANUEL KANT 1724-1804
3 key ideas in Lopston’s Introduction: [99]
1. Human Nature as both intrinsically evil, even wicked, but also [potenitally] good.
2.
Scientific Modernism
= the universe is governed by universal laws expressible as
“the uniformity of nature” or, instead, “the invariance of natural laws”
3. The Lutheran idea of the “inner moral life”
Kant said that he was awestruck by “the starry skies above” and “the moral law
within” or “the laws of nature” [= natural law] in 2 distinct senses
KANT AS PHILOSOPHER
One of the top 10 philosophers who ever lived and maybe even
numero uno
. In fact
this course gives you the privilege of reading 6 or 7 of the 10 greatest philosophers
in history [OK Western history but…………] and you may not think it a privilege BUT
But while he is outstanding he is also often opaque rather than translucent **
**it is my job to be translucent
THE CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON
One of the most difficult and important books ever written.
It is a brilliant synthesis of empiricism and rationalism that is still intensely debated
The following 3 theses suffice for our interest in Human Nature
1. There is such a thing a synthetic
a priori
knowledge
2. The human mind is furnished with categories that we use to understand an
interpret experience.
3. Metaphysics: We cannot either prove or disprove metaphysical ideas including the
3 basic ones.
THE 3 BASIC METAPHYSICAL PROBLEMS
1. God. Kant criticizes the 3 major theistic “proofs” of his day. They will reappear
when we examine UQ, 7.
2. Freedom. (= freedom of the will) we know we are free by
a priori
knowledge
however.
3. Immortality. We cannot be sure that the “I” we use of ourselves means we have
a soul that will survive death.
THE CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE(S)
UNIVERSALIZABILITY
Always act on the maxim you can will as a universal law without self-contradiction.
Provides a rationale for opposing the so-called “double standard”. In fact it provides
the only rationale I think is valid.
RESPECT FOR PERSONS
Always act in such a way that you treat other persons as ends in themselves, not as
means to an end.
In layman*’s terms “Don’t use people as if they are tools, or machines or things”.
*
KANT AS CHRISTIAN
Kant was brought up as a Pietist a sect of Lutherans in Germany parallel to Puritans
in the Anglican church: the relevance and meaning of the term will appear under
topic # 5. Here are the 5 topics:
1. Preface: morality and religion.
2. Human nature: predisposition to good.
3. Human nature: propensity to evil.
4. Human nature: We are evil by nature.
5. Human nature: origin of evil. Kant finishes with “Godliness” and virtue.
How do all of these interconnect? Are they internally consistent?
PREFACE, 99-102
Don’t worry about the overall flow of this preface. The key ideas for this course are:
1. Independence of morality and religion [100, very long paragraph LS]
2. “Morality requires… no material determining ground of free choice,” with a long,
long footnote connected to it.
DO NOT WORRY ABOUT EITHER OF THESE UNTIL WE DO CHAPTER 8 OF UQ [W
2012]
KANT ON HUMAN NATURE
A. Note the interesting sub-title: the Original Predisposition to Good in Human
Nature”. Notice that this is a positive view of HN
B. Another tripartite division but perhaps more in tune with “
scientific modernism
Why? Because it fits in with some modern theories of the brain linking it to animal
brains.
KANT’S TRIPARTITE THEORY
C. Three predispositions in HN:
(1) The predisposition to
animality
in humans as a
living
being
(2) The predisposition to
humanity
in humans as a
living
being and as a
rational
being
(3) The predisposition to
personality
in humans as a rational and
accountable
being
THE PROPENSITY TO EVIL
This is the negative view of Human Nature
There are 3 weaknesses of human nature:
1. The frailty of HN
2. The impurity of HN
3. The outright wickedness of HN
IS MAN EVIL BY NATURE?
Vitiis nemo sine nascitur
Horace*
Notice that he quotes a Roman author not the Bible
The key to this hyper-complex argument is actually very simple
It concerns the conflict of 2 principles and which we choose to take as precedent: p.
107 final para “
which of the two incentives he makes the condition of the other
* No one is born free from vices
THE CONFLICT OF INCENTIVES
This is an updated version of self-interest versus the moral law i.e. the interests of
others
Do we follow the moral law as long as [if and only if] it coincides with self-interest?
OR
Do we follow self-interest as long as [if and only if] it coincides with self-interest?
This is where free will enters in. Kant believes in free will on
a priori
not empirical
grounds
THE ORIGIN OF EVIL IN HUMAN NATURE
Kant rejects the idea of original sin as understood by the Christian church [RC & PR]
based on a misreading of the Adam and Eve story in Genesis
He does however like the idea of a fall from innocence into evil but this applies to all
of our acts
It is ironically [perhaps] parallel to the later idea of the French existentialist atheist
J.P. Sartre that we always have the freedom to choose even under the most dire
circumstances
PIETY, VIRTUE AND DIVINITY
The final 3 pages [111-113] warn against:
1. Anthropomorphism regarding the Deity
2. Identifying godliness [= Piety] with virtue
3. The belief that humans have a “complete incapacity for goodness” [112]
KANT AS LIBERAL
The article “What is Enlightenment”? epitomizes the essence of Kant’s liberalism, the
good old-fashioned liberalism that prevailed as an ideology until the disaster of
WW1.
It is written in a manner that is hard but not impossible to misunderstand unlike his
classic
The Critique of Pure Reason
which is extremely opaque but not always. And
it is possible to miss the point of his crucial point “
argue
as much as you want….
but
obey
I will try to
enlighten
you about what Kant meant by “
enlightenment”
.
WHAT WAS “THE
ENLIGHTENMENT
”?
Actually there was no such thing: there were several enlightenments: the first began
in Great Britain and spread to Scotland as well as France where it was totally
misconstrued [almost totally] and it spread to Germany, not then a nation and the
rest of Europe including the most backward part: Russia.
Kant’s definition is a good as anyone’s if not the best insofar as there is an essence
of
enlightenment.
Paragraph 1 [121] is one of the greatest opening paragraphs in all of humanity’s
intellectual history. Read it over and over and ponder it carefully.
DEFINITION OF
FREEDOM
Thesis 1: the only condition necessary to make enlightenment inevitable is
freedom
for the people but what kind of freedom?
Thesis 2: the least harmful of all “the freedom to reason
publicly
on all matters”
[Kant’s emphasis]
But all he hears on all sides is “
Do not argue
Thesis 3: “Argue as much as you want and about what you want but obey” [my
emphasis]
PROGRESS AND HUMAN NATURE
Thesis 4: while public debate should be free there can be restriction on private
debate
Thesis 5: the key link to Human Nature: one age cannot bind itself or bind a future
age. “that would be a crime against human nature, whose essential destiny is such
progress[my emphasis]
Thesis 6: the idea of progress is perhaps the key idea in the enlightenment.
THE STATE AND ENLIGHTENMENT
What role is there then for government?
Thesis 7: it should not concern itself with any person’s pursuit of his spiritual well-
being. [// Locke]
Well what about a person’s pursuit of his material well-being? That is the state’s
concern but it must also protect everyone’s rights and no-one can interfere with
such a pursuit.
So do we live in an
enlightened
age?
Thesis 8: “No, we live in an age of
enlightenment
.”
WAS KANT TOO OPTIMISTIC?
What about culture and education promoting arts and science?
Thesis 9: No they [our political rulers] are not be our guardians [contra Plato]
The final sentence is a fantastically great finale*
Thesis 10: “Thus, once nature has removed…free
thinking
…..
act freely
….the
principles of
government
…men
are now more than machines”
No longer to be treated as “means to an end”
* or as my grandchildren would say “awesome”
WAS THE ENLIGHTENMENT TOO OPTIMISTIC?
Kant’s ideas about both The League of Nations and Perpetual Peace
Condorcet and van Humboldt
LIBERALISM IN THE 18TH CENTURY
What is Liberalism?
What is Conservatism?
What is Individualism?
THE PROTESTANT ETHIC, CAPITALISM AND EGOISM
How we got the perverse terminologies of:
1. Left vs. Right
2. Liberalism vs. Conservatism
3. Capitalism vs. Socialism
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18/04/2012
2
PHIL 191 HUMAN NATURE
FROM THE MEDIEVAL WORLD TO MODERNITY
A lot happens between Aquinas [1224-74] and Butler [1692-1752]
The Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation(s), the Scientific Revolution(s), the
great discoveries (including circumnavigating the globe), the Gutenberg printing
press and the start of The age of Reason and the Enlightenment
Sometime in this period Modernity begins
But what is “Modernity”? Dam good question
My answer is…………
MODERNITY AND HUMAN NATURE
The Bacon Descartes theory of science and technology: We must learn to
understand Nature correctly by using
The Proper METHOD
If we can only learn the truth about nature and its laws, causes, forces etc. then we
can apply this knowledge to benefit humanity.
THE VIRTUOUS CIRCLE
Agriculture, disease control, transportation and communication More and better
food, longer lives, fewer deaths in infancy, quicker movement of persons and
information
THE ENLIGHTENMENT PROJECT
Western philosophy and science inherited conflicting views of SCIENTIFIC METHOD
[Bacon‘s so-called induction versus Descartes’ deduction] this lead to many other
views later.
It also led to conflicting views of what were then called the “MORAL SCIENCES”.
The amazing success of Newtonian science gave great hope that the same method
could be applied to produce “A Newton of the Moral Sciences or, as they later
became, the “Social Sciences”.
THE PROBLEM(S) OF EGOISM
PSYCHOLOGICAL EGOISM
Theory of HN that: All humans everywhere are [almost] always motivated by self-
interest even when it seems that they act altruistically’
Altruism” = “to act in the interests of others at a cost to one’s self”
2 types of ALTRUISM
Kin Altruism
Reciprocal Altruism
P-T-A APPROACH TO HUMAN NATURE
[P] Problem: is HN entirely or at least mostly egoistic?
[T] Theory 1: Egoism: we are entirely or at least 98% egoistic so who cares about
the other 3%?” *
Theory 2: Altruism: many humans act unselfishly more than 3% of the time and do
so for non-egoistic reasons.
[A] Argument: lots of evidence to support egoism but also a significant amount to
support altruism.
* A shirt my wife gave me says: “I am right 98% of the time who cares about the
other 3%?”
BISHOP BUTLER’S PROBLEM
To defend the Christian view of human nature against critics especially those of
egoistic bent
Why does egoism undermine Christian ethics?
It seems to conflict with the fundamental principle: “Love thy neighbor as thyself”
If we are naturally selfish we cannot love our neighbor as we love ourselves and
therefore cannot have a duty to do so. [Why does this follow or does it???] Sigmund
Freud will later use exactly this same argument!!!
BISHOP BUTLER’S THEORY
Well stated on page 85 [4.] based on comparison of “the nature of man as
respecting self and tending to private good*…and the nature of man as having
respect to society and tending to promote pubic good,* the happiness of that
society” RS
Then he derives a very contentious conclusion: the two goods are not “inconsistent
… [but] mutually promote each other”. [ibid.]
OK but how does he argue this?
* my emphasis
BISHOP BUTLER’S ARGUMENT
Premise 1: “there is a natural principle of benevolence in man85, [6.] which he
uses to make an analogy: benevolence is to society what self-love is the individual
So my self-love wants what is good for me and so therefore my benevolence makes
me want what is good for society.
Well on Friday Nov. 4, a day for random acts of kindness, I performed 3 such acts.
But did I do this so everyone would think: “What a wonderful great person Prof.
Hayes is!!!?
BUTLER’S ARGUMENT PREMISE 2
[Observation of] Human nature reveals “several passions and affections”* that are
“distinct from both benevolence and self-love” 86 [7.] and which contribute both to
public good and private good. 87 [7]
Then he clearly anticipates Adam Smith’s most famous idea the Invisible Hand” 87
[7 RS]
* what we call emotions and desires today although we still distinguish “cognitive”
and “affective” as in neurological studies [and in Spinoza]
BUTLER’S ARGUMENT PREMISE 3
3. “there is a principle of reflection in men” 87 [8.] that distinguishes between
approval and disapproval of “their own actions” not just those of others.
This refection he calls “conscience” = “con” plus “science” (= knowledge) and so
means knowledge of right and wrong.
BISHOP BUTLER’S CONCLUSION
89 [10.] this leads to a different view of HN where he presents a reductio ad
absurdum of egoism:
It assumes we are atomistic individuals i.e. “the speculative absurdity of considering
ourselves as single and independent, as having nothing in our nature which has
respect to our fellow creatures.
However he admits that there are still problems!!
BUTLER’S COUNTER-ARGUMENTS
89 [11.] but don’t humans have dispositions to do evil and inflict harm on others as
well as do good?
Yes but they also have ungoverned passions and desires that lead to injure
themselves!!
There is no real love of injustice or injury there is “only eager desires after such and
such external goods” 89[12RS]
COOL SELF-LOVE & HUMAN NATURE
89-90 [13-14. ]
The gist of this argument is: yes there are people totally indifferent to the well-being
of others or just fanatics [e.g. Carlos the Jakal] but there are also people equally
perverse in pursuing their own self-interest who lead dissolute lives that end sooner
then they need to
SERMON II: UPON HUMAN NATURE
The main point here is to refute counter-arguments
He starts with a huge epistemological analogy
Later it becomes the idea of a “Moral Sense”
We have our 5 external senses and we have a heart and conscience that is just as
reliable as those 5 senses.
OK but what about the perverse elements in our human “inner person”?
WHY DOES INTEREST AND PASSION OFTEN PREVAIL?
Butler is willing to concede a number of points to the opponent
First Interest and Passion often prevail over Reflection and Conscience
In addition some people pursue honour, other riches and other pleasure
Why should the “virtuous” blame the ambitious, the covetous or the dissolute? Since
they all equally follow theIr nature
In addition the word “Nature” is ambiguous
NATURE LEADS IN CONTRARY AND CONTRADICTORY DIRECTIONS
Sometimes nature leads us to follow the law and other times it leads us to the
contrary
94 [12] very very very NB: Human nature is a mixture of “appetites, passions,
affections, and… the principles of reflection or conscience”
Is following nature following the strongest of these or
something else
?
2 IMPORTANT DISTINCTIONS
The distinction between “
power
” and “
authority
[94, 14]
The latter is
de jure
while the former is
de facto
No man seeks misery for himself” and no man seeks misery for other UNLESS 95,
[17] IS he correct here? what about sadists and others who inflict pain and suffering
on others without any obvious gain to themselves except……………..?????
SERMON III: UPON HUMAN NATURE
Also starts with quotation from St. Paul relevant to Natural Law theory
For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in
the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves
Rom. 2:14
THIS SLIDE HAS NO TITLE
97 [6] the ultimate problem of egoism
Why should I give a dam about anyone other than me, myself and I??
“There is seldom any inconsistency between our duty and what is called interest” 98
[8]
These conflicts are “fewer than are commonly thought’ maybe but…….
THE SUMMARY OF THE ARGUMENT
98 [9] The nature of man: Three key theses:
1. Reasonable self-love and conscience are the chief or superior principles in the
nature of humans.
2. Conscience and self-love, if we truly understand our true happiness always lead
us in the same way
3. Duty and interest are coincident, for the most part, in this world *
*And definitely in the next
PREVIEW OF THE FINAL 3 WEEKS
Two final Christian theorists of Human Nature: John Locke, the Godfather of modern
empiricism and Immanuel Kant
Two proto-liberal theorists of Human Nature: John Locke and Immanuel Kant the
Godfather of modern cosmopolitanism and of the League of Nations [and so of the
UN]
KANT APPEARS TWICE
Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone
Intriguing title but: what does it mean and how is it relevant to HN?
And what does
Limits of Reason Alone
” mean?
Was is das Aufklarung
? = What is Enlightenment?
Kant’s answer is possibly the best ever given
A lot of what you will hear about “The Enlightenment” is pure BS so……
CHRONOLOGY AND LOGIC
Proto-Liberals:
Locke: 1632-1704
Kant: 1724-1804
Condorcet: 1743-1794
Van Humboldt: 1767-1835
Proto-conservatives:
Machiavelli: 1469-1527
Hobbes: 1588-1679
Samuel Johnson: 1709-1784
Modernity and Human Nature
The stadial theory of human history
Comptean positivism
Humans goes through 3 stages:
1. Theological/religious
2. Philosophical/metaphysical
3. Scientific/positivist
A much better stadial theory
The much more reasonable position: a dialectical view:
1. Roman Catholicism leads to a Protestant reaction and then a synthetic
combination.
2. Negative views of HN lead to more Positive views and then to a synthetic
combination. (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)
3. “Conservatism” leads to “Liberalism” and then to a synthetic combination.
JOHN LOCKE’S IMPORTANCE
Read [or reread] Lopston’s introduction carefully
He is clearly a transitional and foundational figure
“Empiricist ..epistemology” see next PP
“Liberal in political theory” see final sentence of para 2, 77
Was a devout Christian [see later slides]
Lopston neglects to say Locke is one of the godfathers of individualism, a term he
associates with conservatism
Critics calls this either
possessive
individualism or “rugged” individualism
JOHN LOCKE’S EPISTEMOLOGY
Or “cognitive psychology” as Lopston calls it [par 1]
However this misses the point that modern day cognitive psychology is [or claims to
be] purely descriptive and explanatory whereas Locke intended his theory to be
normative
as well as descriptive and explanatory
These distinctions are crucial to understanding why Locke can be labelled empiricist
and why his epistemology is crucial to defining his theory of human nature
LOCKE’S HUMAN NATURE THEORY
We are born without any ideas with a blank slate [tabula rasa] mind
How then do we get our ideas [conscious experiences hence our knowledge as well
as opinions, feelings, desires, passions, imagination[?
He describes and explains this via a supremely complex and sophisticated theory of
how our 5 senses aided and abetted by what he calls reflection explain all of our
ideas including those that we cannot possibly experience directly [God, infinity,
chimera and so on]
LOCKE’S EPISTEMOLOGY
However Locke’s normative epistemology is not radically empiricist but puts more
emphasis on reason which gives us much more reliable knowledge than sense
experience does. It [sense experience] gives us neither a correct picture of the
world around us nor reliable general knowledge such as is sought for in both
mathematics and natural philosophy now called natural science**
** Sir Isaac Newton’s great revolutionary book of 1687 was called
The
Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
JOHN LOCKE
Three major themes and human nature:
Religion: Christianity is reasonable but
Government: Divine right of kings is BS and we have 3 (or 4) natural rights: Life,
Liberty, Property (and Healthbut in a purely negative sense)
Toleration: we should not persecute people for their religious beliefs
John Locke and Lost
Three themes in Locke:
(1) Reason and Religion
(2) The Social Contract
(3) Tolerance, Diversity and modern Multi-Culturalism
His major contributions come at the juncture of 2 great revolutions in Western [and
world] History: The scientific revolutions culmination in 1687 and The Glorious
Revolution of 1688-89
Reason and Religion
Locke was raised as a Puritan
He wrote
The Reasonableness of Christianity
in 1695
I will cite 3 principles most relevant to his view of human nature [all on p . 78]
1. Like Butler later, he believed God “by the light of reason, revealed to all mankind”
{not just Jews or Christians} his divine nature
2. We possess “a spark of the divine nature and knowledge”
3. Humans can “make use of this candle of the Lord,…to find out his duty”.
The Social Contract
PTA approach to Locke: he has 2 problems to solve in his political theory: [1] What
justification or legitimacy does a government have to rule over people? [2] What
justification or legitimacy does any human being have to own and control private
property (and therefore to exclude others from using it without his permission)?
Locke’s Two Theories
Locke uses his own version of (1) Social Contract Theory to solve the first problem
(as an alternative to divine right and other theories)
(2) He uses what is called The Labor Theory of Value to justify private property
Locke’s Main Arguments
God [or Mother Nature if you prefer] has obviously given us the entire earth for our
benefit and use
God (or Mother Nature) has given us reason to make use of this earth
Even property owned in common must be used by private persons: the most
obvious example is…?
We have property in our own person
So we are entitled to the “fruits of our labour”
We have inalienable rights to life, liberty, and property.
A Letter Concerning Toleration
The problem here is that for centuries the Church frequently persecuted “heretics”
During the Reformation [1517-1648, at least] this intensified but there were also
numerous efforts to avoid both wars of religion and intolerance of deviant sects [as
well as deviant SEX!!]
1555: The Peace of Augsburg
1598 France passed the Edict of Nantes granting toleration to Huguenots (= )
1685 it was revoked by Louis XIV
The same year James II became the last RC king of England
Locke’s Solution
Tolerance for dissenters
The state has no business punishing people for their religious views
The church has no business punishing people for their religious views
The basic principle is the separate spheres of civil interests and spiritual interests
The civic interests are life, liberty, health, possession of external goods: land,
houses, etc.
Locke’s Argument
1. [81LS] the “care of souls” is not the province of the civil magistrate or any other
men. There is no evidence of God doing this
2. [81RS] The power of civil magistrate is only in outward force but “true… religion
consists in the inward persuasion of the mind”
3. He adds a later argument [same page] “it is one thing to persuade, another to
command; one thing to press with arguments, another with penalties. only the civil
power can do the latter.
Nature of church and state
The church is a purely voluntary association [82 RS]
The state is not however a purely voluntary association even though its legitimacy
rests on the “consent of the governed
Every person has “supreme and absolute authority of judging for themselves” about
religious matters [83 LS]
We need government to ensure by force of law if necessary that others respect our
rights to our material this-worldly good but not our alleged good in the after-life.
See final sentence, 83 RS
LIBERALISM
Kant emphasizes the enlightenment aspect especially as it implies freedom of
expression
Condorcet emphasize the idea of progress the main contentious idea in modern
ideological debates.
Von Humboldt emphasizes freedom in terms of limiting the GF!@#$%^&***
government from restraining our freedom or liberty as long as we are not harming
other persons. THIS USED TO BE THE MAIN tenet of Liberalism but no longer is.
There is no main tenet of what passes for Liberalism today.
CONSERVATISM
Machiavelli: usually interpreted as “the ends justify the means’ but that is far too
superficial
After all what are the ends that justify the means and what the hell justifies those
ends as opposed to man other ends??
Machiavelli actually may have an answer: a republican government [in the pre-
modern sense].
IMMANUEL KANT 1724-1804
3 key ideas in Lopston’s Introduction: [99]
1. Human Nature as both intrinsically evil, even wicked, but also [potenitally] good.
2.
Scientific Modernism
= the universe is governed by universal laws expressible as
“the uniformity of nature” or, instead, “the invariance of natural laws”
3. The Lutheran idea of the “inner moral life”
Kant said that he was awestruck by “the starry skies above” and “the moral law
within” or “the laws of nature” [= natural law] in 2 distinct senses
KANT AS PHILOSOPHER
One of the top 10 philosophers who ever lived and maybe even
numero uno
. In fact
this course gives you the privilege of reading 6 or 7 of the 10 greatest philosophers
in history [OK Western history but…………] and you may not think it a privilege BUT
But while he is outstanding he is also often opaque rather than translucent **
**it is my job to be translucent
THE CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON
One of the most difficult and important books ever written.
It is a brilliant synthesis of empiricism and rationalism that is still intensely debated
The following 3 theses suffice for our interest in Human Nature
1. There is such a thing a synthetic
a priori
knowledge
2. The human mind is furnished with categories that we use to understand an
interpret experience.
3. Metaphysics: We cannot either prove or disprove metaphysical ideas including the
3 basic ones.
THE 3 BASIC METAPHYSICAL PROBLEMS
1. God. Kant criticizes the 3 major theistic “proofs” of his day. They will reappear
when we examine UQ, 7.
2. Freedom. (= freedom of the will) we know we are free by
a priori
knowledge
however.
3. Immortality. We cannot be sure that the “I” we use of ourselves means we have
a soul that will survive death.
THE CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE(S)
UNIVERSALIZABILITY
Always act on the maxim you can will as a universal law without self-contradiction.
Provides a rationale for opposing the so-called “double standard”. In fact it provides
the only rationale I think is valid.
RESPECT FOR PERSONS
Always act in such a way that you treat other persons as ends in themselves, not as
means to an end.
In layman*’s terms “Don’t use people as if they are tools, or machines or things”.
*
KANT AS CHRISTIAN
Kant was brought up as a Pietist a sect of Lutherans in Germany parallel to Puritans
in the Anglican church: the relevance and meaning of the term will appear under
topic # 5. Here are the 5 topics:
1. Preface: morality and religion.
2. Human nature: predisposition to good.
3. Human nature: propensity to evil.
4. Human nature: We are evil by nature.
5. Human nature: origin of evil. Kant finishes with “Godliness” and virtue.
How do all of these interconnect? Are they internally consistent?
PREFACE, 99-102
Don’t worry about the overall flow of this preface. The key ideas for this course are:
1. Independence of morality and religion [100, very long paragraph LS]
2. “Morality requires… no material determining ground of free choice,” with a long,
long footnote connected to it.
DO NOT WORRY ABOUT EITHER OF THESE UNTIL WE DO CHAPTER 8 OF UQ [W
2012]
KANT ON HUMAN NATURE
A. Note the interesting sub-title: “the Original Predisposition to Good in Human
Nature”. Notice that this is a positive view of HN
B. Another tripartite division but perhaps more in tune with “
scientific modernism
Why? Because it fits in with some modern theories of the brain linking it to animal
brains.
KANT’S TRIPARTITE THEORY
C. Three predispositions in HN:
(1) The predisposition to
animality
in humans as a
living
being
(2) The predisposition to
humanity
in humans as a
living
being and as a
rational
being
(3) The predisposition to
personality
in humans as a rational and
accountable
being
THE PROPENSITY TO EVIL
This is the negative view of Human Nature
There are 3 weaknesses of human nature:
1. The frailty of HN
2. The impurity of HN
3. The outright wickedness of HN
IS MAN EVIL BY NATURE?
Vitiis nemo sine nascitur
Horace*
Notice that he quotes a Roman author not the Bible
The key to this hyper-complex argument is actually very simple
It concerns the conflict of 2 principles and which we choose to take as precedent: p.
107 final para “
which of the two incentives he makes the condition of the other
* No one is born free from vices
THE CONFLICT OF INCENTIVES
This is an updated version of self-interest versus the moral law i.e. the interests of
others
Do we follow the moral law as long as [if and only if] it coincides with self-interest?
OR
Do we follow self-interest as long as [if and only if] it coincides with self-interest?
This is where free will enters in. Kant believes in free will on
a priori
not empirical
grounds
THE ORIGIN OF EVIL IN HUMAN NATURE
Kant rejects the idea of original sin as understood by the Christian church [RC & PR]
based on a misreading of the Adam and Eve story in Genesis
He does however like the idea of a fall from innocence into evil but this applies to all
of our acts
It is ironically [perhaps] parallel to the later idea of the French existentialist atheist
J.P. Sartre that we always have the freedom to choose even under the most dire
circumstances
PIETY, VIRTUE AND DIVINITY
The final 3 pages [111-113] warn against:
1. Anthropomorphism regarding the Deity
2. Identifying godliness [= Piety] with virtue
3. The belief that humans have a “complete incapacity for goodness” [112]
KANT AS LIBERAL
The article “What is Enlightenment”? epitomizes the essence of Kant’s liberalism, the
good old-fashioned liberalism that prevailed as an ideology until the disaster of
WW1.
It is written in a manner that is hard but not impossible to misunderstand unlike his
classic
The Critique of Pure Reason
which is extremely opaque but not always. And
it is possible to miss the point of his crucial point “
argue
as much as you want….
but
obey
” I will try to
enlighten
you about what Kant meant by “
enlightenment”
.
WHAT WAS “THE
ENLIGHTENMENT
”?
Actually there was no such thing: there were several enlightenments: the first began
in Great Britain and spread to Scotland as well as France where it was totally
misconstrued [almost totally] and it spread to Germany, not then a nation and the
rest of Europe including the most backward part: Russia.
Kant’s definition is a good as anyone’s if not the best insofar as there is an essence
of
enlightenment.
Paragraph 1 [121] is one of the greatest opening paragraphs in all of humanity’s
intellectual history. Read it over and over and ponder it carefully.
DEFINITION OF
FREEDOM
Thesis 1: the only condition necessary to make enlightenment inevitable is
freedom
for the people but what kind of freedom?
Thesis 2: the least harmful of all “the freedom to reason
publicly
on all matters”
[Kant’s emphasis]
But all he hears on all sides is “
Do not argue
Thesis 3: “Argue as much as you want and about what you want but obey” [my
emphasis]
PROGRESS AND HUMAN NATURE
Thesis 4: while public debate should be free there can be restriction on private
debate
Thesis 5: the key link to Human Nature: one age cannot bind itself or bind a future
age. “that would be a crime against human nature, whose essential destiny is such
progress[my emphasis]
Thesis 6: the idea of progress is perhaps the key idea in the enlightenment.
THE STATE AND ENLIGHTENMENT
What role is there then for government?
Thesis 7: it should not concern itself with any person’s pursuit of his spiritual well-
being. [// Locke]
Well what about a person’s pursuit of his material well-being? That is the state’s
concern but it must also protect everyone’s rights and no-one can interfere with
such a pursuit.
So do we live in an
enlightened
age?
Thesis 8: “No, we live in an age of
enlightenment
.”
WAS KANT TOO OPTIMISTIC?
What about culture and education promoting arts and science?
Thesis 9: No they [our political rulers] are not be our guardians [contra Plato]
The final sentence is a fantastically great finale*
Thesis 10: “Thus, once nature has removed…free
thinking
…..
act freely
….the
principles of
government
…men
are now more than machines”
No longer to be treated as “means to an end”
* or as my grandchildren would say “awesome”
WAS THE ENLIGHTENMENT TOO OPTIMISTIC?
Kant’s ideas about both The League of Nations and Perpetual Peace
Condorcet and van Humboldt
LIBERALISM IN THE 18TH CENTURY
What is Liberalism?
What is Conservatism?
What is Individualism?
THE PROTESTANT ETHIC, CAPITALISM AND EGOISM
How we got the perverse terminologies of:
1. Left vs. Right
2. Liberalism vs. Conservatism
3. Capitalism vs. Socialism
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18/04/2012
3
PHIL 191 HUMAN NATURE
FROM THE MEDIEVAL WORLD TO MODERNITY
A lot happens between Aquinas [1224-74] and Butler [1692-1752]
The Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation(s), the Scientific Revolution(s), the
great discoveries (including circumnavigating the globe), the Gutenberg printing
press and the start of The age of Reason and the Enlightenment
Sometime in this period Modernity begins
But what is “Modernity”? Dam good question
My answer is…………
MODERNITY AND HUMAN NATURE
The Bacon Descartes theory of science and technology: We must learn to
understand Nature correctly by using
The Proper METHOD
If we can only learn the truth about nature and its laws, causes, forces etc. then we
can apply this knowledge to benefit humanity.
THE VIRTUOUS CIRCLE
Agriculture, disease control, transportation and communication More and better
food, longer lives, fewer deaths in infancy, quicker movement of persons and
information
THE ENLIGHTENMENT PROJECT
Western philosophy and science inherited conflicting views of SCIENTIFIC METHOD
[Bacon‘s so-called induction versus Descartes’ deduction] this lead to many other
views later.
It also led to conflicting views of what were then called the “MORAL SCIENCES”.
The amazing success of Newtonian science gave great hope that the same method
could be applied to produce “A Newton of the Moral Sciences or, as they later
became, the “Social Sciences”.
THE PROBLEM(S) OF EGOISM
PSYCHOLOGICAL EGOISM
Theory of HN that: All humans everywhere are [almost] always motivated by self-
interest even when it seems that they act altruistically
Altruism” = “to act in the interests of others at a cost to one’s self”
2 types of ALTRUISM
Kin Altruism
Reciprocal Altruism
P-T-A APPROACH TO HUMAN NATURE
[P] Problem: is HN entirely or at least mostly egoistic?
[T] Theory 1: Egoism: we are entirely or at least 98% egoistic so who cares about
the other 3%?” *
Theory 2: Altruism: many humans act unselfishly more than 3% of the time and do
so for non-egoistic reasons.
[A] Argument: lots of evidence to support egoism but also a significant amount to
support altruism.
* A shirt my wife gave me says: “I am right 98% of the time who cares about the
other 3%?”
BISHOP BUTLER’S PROBLEM
To defend the Christian view of human nature against critics especially those of
egoistic bent
Why does egoism undermine Christian ethics?
It seems to conflict with the fundamental principle: “Love thy neighbor as thyself”
If we are naturally selfish we cannot love our neighbor as we love ourselves and
therefore cannot have a duty to do so. [Why does this follow or does it???] Sigmund
Freud will later use exactly this same argument!!!
BISHOP BUTLER’S THEORY
Well stated on page 85 [4.] based on comparison of “the nature of man as
respecting self and tending to private good*…and the nature of man as having
respect to society and tending to promote pubic good,* the happiness of that
society” RS
Then he derives a very contentious conclusion: the two goods are not “inconsistent
… [but] mutually promote each other. [ibid.]
OK but how does he argue this?
* my emphasis
BISHOP BUTLER’S ARGUMENT
Premise 1: “there is a natural principle of benevolence in man85, [6.] which he
uses to make an analogy: benevolence is to society what self-love is the individual
So my self-love wants what is good for me and so therefore my benevolence makes
me want what is good for society.
Well on Friday Nov. 4, a day for random acts of kindness, I performed 3 such acts.
But did I do this so everyone would think: “What a wonderful great person Prof.
Hayes is!!!?
BUTLER’S ARGUMENT PREMISE 2
[Observation of] Human nature reveals “several passions and affections”* that are
“distinct from both benevolence and self-love” 86 [7.] and which contribute both to
public good and private good. 87 [7]
Then he clearly anticipates Adam Smith’s most famous idea the Invisible Hand” 87
[7 RS]
* what we call emotions and desires today although we still distinguish “cognitive”
and “affective” as in neurological studies [and in Spinoza]
BUTLER’S ARGUMENT PREMISE 3
3. “there is a principle of reflection in men” 87 [8.] that distinguishes between
approval and disapproval of “their own actions” not just those of others.
This refection he calls “conscience” = “con” plus “science” (= knowledge) and so
means knowledge of right and wrong.
BISHOP BUTLER’S CONCLUSION
89 [10.] this leads to a different view of HN where he presents a reductio ad
absurdum of egoism:
It assumes we are atomistic individuals i.e. “the speculative absurdity of considering
ourselves as single and independent, as having nothing in our nature which has
respect to our fellow creatures.
However he admits that there are still problems!!
BUTLER’S COUNTER-ARGUMENTS
89 [11.] but don’t humans have dispositions to do evil and inflict harm on others as
well as do good?
Yes but they also have ungoverned passions and desires that lead to injure
themselves!!
There is no real love of injustice or injury there is “only eager desires after such and
such external goods” 89[12RS]
COOL SELF-LOVE & HUMAN NATURE
89-90 [13-14. ]
The gist of this argument is: yes there are people totally indifferent to the well-being
of others or just fanatics [e.g. Carlos the Jakal] but there are also people equally
perverse in pursuing their own self-interest who lead dissolute lives that end sooner
then they need to
SERMON II: UPON HUMAN NATURE
The main point here is to refute counter-arguments
He starts with a huge epistemological analogy
Later it becomes the idea of a “Moral Sense”
We have our 5 external senses and we have a heart and conscience that is just as
reliable as those 5 senses.
OK but what about the perverse elements in our human “inner person”?
WHY DOES INTEREST AND PASSION OFTEN PREVAIL?
Butler is willing to concede a number of points to the opponent
First Interest and Passion often prevail over Reflection and Conscience
In addition some people pursue honour, other riches and other pleasure
Why should the “virtuous” blame the ambitious, the covetous or the dissolute? Since
they all equally follow theIr nature
In addition the word “Nature” is ambiguous
NATURE LEADS IN CONTRARY AND CONTRADICTORY DIRECTIONS
Sometimes nature leads us to follow the law and other times it leads us to the
contrary
94 [12] very very very NB: Human nature is a mixture of “appetites, passions,
affections, and… the principles of reflection or conscience”
Is following nature following the strongest of these or
something else
?
2 IMPORTANT DISTINCTIONS
The distinction between “
power
” and “
authority
[94, 14]
The latter is
de jure
while the former is
de facto
No man seeks misery for himself” and no man seeks misery for other UNLESS 95,
[17] IS he correct here? what about sadists and others who inflict pain and suffering
on others without any obvious gain to themselves except……………..?????
SERMON III: UPON HUMAN NATURE
Also starts with quotation from St. Paul relevant to Natural Law theory
For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in
the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves
Rom. 2:14
THIS SLIDE HAS NO TITLE
97 [6] the ultimate problem of egoism
Why should I give a dam about anyone other than me, myself and I??
“There is seldom any inconsistency between our duty and what is called interest” 98
[8]
These conflicts are “fewer than are commonly thought’ maybe but…….
THE SUMMARY OF THE ARGUMENT
98 [9] The nature of man: Three key theses:
1. Reasonable self-love and conscience are the chief or superior principles in the
nature of humans.
2. Conscience and self-love, if we truly understand our true happiness always lead
us in the same way
3. Duty and interest are coincident, for the most part, in this world *
*And definitely in the next
PREVIEW OF THE FINAL 3 WEEKS
Two final Christian theorists of Human Nature: John Locke, the Godfather of modern
empiricism and Immanuel Kant
Two proto-liberal theorists of Human Nature: John Locke and Immanuel Kant the
Godfather of modern cosmopolitanism and of the League of Nations [and so of the
UN]
KANT APPEARS TWICE
Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone
Intriguing title but: what does it mean and how is it relevant to HN?
And what does
Limits of Reason Alone
” mean?
Was is das Aufklarung
? = What is Enlightenment?
Kant’s answer is possibly the best ever given
A lot of what you will hear about “The Enlightenment” is pure BS so……
CHRONOLOGY AND LOGIC
Proto-Liberals:
Locke: 1632-1704
Kant: 1724-1804
Condorcet: 1743-1794
Van Humboldt: 1767-1835
Proto-conservatives:
Machiavelli: 1469-1527
Hobbes: 1588-1679
Samuel Johnson: 1709-1784
Modernity and Human Nature
The stadial theory of human history
Comptean positivism
Humans goes through 3 stages:
1. Theological/religious
2. Philosophical/metaphysical
3. Scientific/positivist
A much better stadial theory
The much more reasonable position: a dialectical view:
1. Roman Catholicism leads to a Protestant reaction and then a synthetic
combination.
2. Negative views of HN lead to more Positive views and then to a synthetic
combination. (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)
3. “Conservatism” leads to “Liberalism” and then to a synthetic combination.
JOHN LOCKE’S IMPORTANCE
Read [or reread] Lopston’s introduction carefully
He is clearly a transitional and foundational figure
“Empiricist ..epistemology” see next PP
“Liberal in political theory” see final sentence of para 2, 77
Was a devout Christian [see later slides]
Lopston neglects to say Locke is one of the godfathers of individualism, a term he
associates with conservatism
Critics calls this either
possessive
individualism or “rugged” individualism
JOHN LOCKE’S EPISTEMOLOGY
Or “cognitive psychology” as Lopston calls it [par 1]
However this misses the point that modern day cognitive psychology is [or claims to
be] purely descriptive and explanatory whereas Locke intended his theory to be
normative
as well as descriptive and explanatory
These distinctions are crucial to understanding why Locke can be labelled empiricist
and why his epistemology is crucial to defining his theory of human nature
LOCKE’S HUMAN NATURE THEORY
We are born without any ideas with a blank slate [tabula rasa] mind
How then do we get our ideas [conscious experiences hence our knowledge as well
as opinions, feelings, desires, passions, imagination[?
He describes and explains this via a supremely complex and sophisticated theory of
how our 5 senses aided and abetted by what he calls reflection explain all of our
ideas including those that we cannot possibly experience directly [God, infinity,
chimera and so on]
LOCKE’S EPISTEMOLOGY
However Locke’s normative epistemology is not radically empiricist but puts more
emphasis on reason which gives us much more reliable knowledge than sense
experience does. It [sense experience] gives us neither a correct picture of the
world around us nor reliable general knowledge such as is sought for in both
mathematics and natural philosophy now called natural science**
** Sir Isaac Newton’s great revolutionary book of 1687 was called
The
Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
JOHN LOCKE
Three major themes and human nature:
Religion: Christianity is reasonable but
Government: Divine right of kings is BS and we have 3 (or 4) natural rights: Life,
Liberty, Property (and Healthbut in a purely negative sense)
Toleration: we should not persecute people for their religious beliefs
John Locke and Lost
Three themes in Locke:
(1) Reason and Religion
(2) The Social Contract
(3) Tolerance, Diversity and modern Multi-Culturalism
His major contributions come at the juncture of 2 great revolutions in Western [and
world] History: The scientific revolutions culmination in 1687 and The Glorious
Revolution of 1688-89
Reason and Religion
Locke was raised as a Puritan
He wrote
The Reasonableness of Christianity
in 1695
I will cite 3 principles most relevant to his view of human nature [all on p . 78]
1. Like Butler later, he believed God “by the light of reason, revealed to all mankind”
{not just Jews or Christians} his divine nature
2. We possess “a spark of the divine nature and knowledge”
3. Humans can “make use of this candle of the Lord,…to find out his duty”.
The Social Contract
PTA approach to Locke: he has 2 problems to solve in his political theory: [1] What
justification or legitimacy does a government have to rule over people? [2] What
justification or legitimacy does any human being have to own and control private
property (and therefore to exclude others from using it without his permission)?
Locke’s Two Theories
Locke uses his own version of (1) Social Contract Theory to solve the first problem
(as an alternative to divine right and other theories)
(2) He uses what is called The Labor Theory of Value to justify private property
Locke’s Main Arguments
God [or Mother Nature if you prefer] has obviously given us the entire earth for our
benefit and use
God (or Mother Nature) has given us reason to make use of this earth
Even property owned in common must be used by private persons: the most
obvious example is…?
We have property in our own person
So we are entitled to the “fruits of our labour”
We have inalienable rights to life, liberty, and property.
A Letter Concerning Toleration
The problem here is that for centuries the Church frequently persecuted “heretics”
During the Reformation [1517-1648, at least] this intensified but there were also
numerous efforts to avoid both wars of religion and intolerance of deviant sects [as
well as deviant SEX!!]
1555: The Peace of Augsburg
1598 France passed the Edict of Nantes granting toleration to Huguenots (= )
1685 it was revoked by Louis XIV
The same year James II became the last RC king of England
Locke’s Solution
Tolerance for dissenters
The state has no business punishing people for their religious views
The church has no business punishing people for their religious views
The basic principle is the separate spheres of civil interests and spiritual interests
The civic interests are life, liberty, health, possession of external goods: land,
houses, etc.
Locke’s Argument
1. [81LS] the “care of souls” is not the province of the civil magistrate or any other
men. There is no evidence of God doing this
2. [81RS] The power of civil magistrate is only in outward force but “true… religion
consists in the inward persuasion of the mind”
3. He adds a later argument [same page] “it is one thing to persuade, another to
command; one thing to press with arguments, another with penalties. only the civil
power can do the latter.
Nature of church and state
The church is a purely voluntary association [82 RS]
The state is not however a purely voluntary association even though its legitimacy
rests on the “consent of the governed
Every person has “supreme and absolute authority of judging for themselves” about
religious matters [83 LS]
We need government to ensure by force of law if necessary that others respect our
rights to our material this-worldly good but not our alleged good in the after-life.
See final sentence, 83 RS
LIBERALISM
Kant emphasizes the enlightenment aspect especially as it implies freedom of
expression
Condorcet emphasize the idea of progress the main contentious idea in modern
ideological debates.
Von Humboldt emphasizes freedom in terms of limiting the GF!@#$%^&***
government from restraining our freedom or liberty as long as we are not harming
other persons. THIS USED TO BE THE MAIN tenet of Liberalism but no longer is.
There is no main tenet of what passes for Liberalism today.
CONSERVATISM
Machiavelli: usually interpreted as “the ends justify the means’ but that is far too
superficial
After all what are the ends that justify the means and what the hell justifies those
ends as opposed to man other ends??
Machiavelli actually may have an answer: a republican government [in the pre-
modern sense].
IMMANUEL KANT 1724-1804
3 key ideas in Lopston’s Introduction: [99]
1. Human Nature as both intrinsically evil, even wicked, but also [potenitally] good.
2.
Scientific Modernism
= the universe is governed by universal laws expressible as
“the uniformity of nature” or, instead, “the invariance of natural laws”
3. The Lutheran idea of the “inner moral life”
Kant said that he was awestruck by “the starry skies above” and “the moral law
within” or “the laws of nature” [= natural law] in 2 distinct senses
KANT AS PHILOSOPHER
One of the top 10 philosophers who ever lived and maybe even
numero uno
. In fact
this course gives you the privilege of reading 6 or 7 of the 10 greatest philosophers
in history [OK Western history but…………] and you may not think it a privilege BUT
But while he is outstanding he is also often opaque rather than translucent **
**it is my job to be translucent
THE CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON
One of the most difficult and important books ever written.
It is a brilliant synthesis of empiricism and rationalism that is still intensely debated
The following 3 theses suffice for our interest in Human Nature
1. There is such a thing a synthetic
a priori
knowledge
2. The human mind is furnished with categories that we use to understand an
interpret experience.
3. Metaphysics: We cannot either prove or disprove metaphysical ideas including the
3 basic ones.
THE 3 BASIC METAPHYSICAL PROBLEMS
1. God. Kant criticizes the 3 major theistic “proofs” of his day. They will reappear
when we examine UQ, 7.
2. Freedom. (= freedom of the will) we know we are free by
a priori
knowledge
however.
3. Immortality. We cannot be sure that the “I” we use of ourselves means we have
a soul that will survive death.
THE CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE(S)
UNIVERSALIZABILITY
Always act on the maxim you can will as a universal law without self-contradiction.
Provides a rationale for opposing the so-called “double standard”. In fact it provides
the only rationale I think is valid.
RESPECT FOR PERSONS
Always act in such a way that you treat other persons as ends in themselves, not as
means to an end.
In layman*’s terms “Don’t use people as if they are tools, or machines or things”.
*
KANT AS CHRISTIAN
Kant was brought up as a Pietist a sect of Lutherans in Germany parallel to Puritans
in the Anglican church: the relevance and meaning of the term will appear under
topic # 5. Here are the 5 topics:
1. Preface: morality and religion.
2. Human nature: predisposition to good.
3. Human nature: propensity to evil.
4. Human nature: We are evil by nature.
5. Human nature: origin of evil. Kant finishes with “Godliness” and virtue.
How do all of these interconnect? Are they internally consistent?
PREFACE, 99-102
Don’t worry about the overall flow of this preface. The key ideas for this course are:
1. Independence of morality and religion [100, very long paragraph LS]
2. “Morality requires… no material determining ground of free choice,” with a long,
long footnote connected to it.
DO NOT WORRY ABOUT EITHER OF THESE UNTIL WE DO CHAPTER 8 OF UQ [W
2012]
KANT ON HUMAN NATURE
A. Note the interesting sub-title: the Original Predisposition to Good in Human
Nature”. Notice that this is a positive view of HN
B. Another tripartite division but perhaps more in tune with “
scientific modernism
Why? Because it fits in with some modern theories of the brain linking it to animal
brains.
KANT’S TRIPARTITE THEORY
C. Three predispositions in HN:
(1) The predisposition to
animality
in humans as a
living
being
(2) The predisposition to
humanity
in humans as a
living
being and as a
rational
being
(3) The predisposition to
personality
in humans as a rational and
accountable
being
THE PROPENSITY TO EVIL
This is the negative view of Human Nature
There are 3 weaknesses of human nature:
1. The frailty of HN
2. The impurity of HN
3. The outright wickedness of HN
IS MAN EVIL BY NATURE?
Vitiis nemo sine nascitur
Horace*
Notice that he quotes a Roman author not the Bible
The key to this hyper-complex argument is actually very simple
It concerns the conflict of 2 principles and which we choose to take as precedent: p.
107 final para “
which of the two incentives he makes the condition of the other
* No one is born free from vices
THE CONFLICT OF INCENTIVES
This is an updated version of self-interest versus the moral law i.e. the interests of
others
Do we follow the moral law as long as [if and only if] it coincides with self-interest?
OR
Do we follow self-interest as long as [if and only if] it coincides with self-interest?
This is where free will enters in. Kant believes in free will on
a priori
not empirical
grounds
THE ORIGIN OF EVIL IN HUMAN NATURE
Kant rejects the idea of original sin as understood by the Christian church [RC & PR]
based on a misreading of the Adam and Eve story in Genesis
He does however like the idea of a fall from innocence into evil but this applies to all
of our acts
It is ironically [perhaps] parallel to the later idea of the French existentialist atheist
J.P. Sartre that we always have the freedom to choose even under the most dire
circumstances
PIETY, VIRTUE AND DIVINITY
The final 3 pages [111-113] warn against:
1. Anthropomorphism regarding the Deity
2. Identifying godliness [= Piety] with virtue
3. The belief that humans have a “complete incapacity for goodness” [112]
KANT AS LIBERAL
The article “What is Enlightenment”? epitomizes the essence of Kant’s liberalism, the
good old-fashioned liberalism that prevailed as an ideology until the disaster of
WW1.
It is written in a manner that is hard but not impossible to misunderstand unlike his
classic
The Critique of Pure Reason
which is extremely opaque but not always. And
it is possible to miss the point of his crucial point “
argue
as much as you want….
but
obey
” I will try to
enlighten
you about what Kant meant by “
enlightenment”
.
WHAT WAS “THE
ENLIGHTENMENT
”?
Actually there was no such thing: there were several enlightenments: the first began
in Great Britain and spread to Scotland as well as France where it was totally
misconstrued [almost totally] and it spread to Germany, not then a nation and the
rest of Europe including the most backward part: Russia.
Kant’s definition is a good as anyone’s if not the best insofar as there is an essence
of
enlightenment.
Paragraph 1 [121] is one of the greatest opening paragraphs in all of humanity’s
intellectual history. Read it over and over and ponder it carefully.
DEFINITION OF
FREEDOM
Thesis 1: the only condition necessary to make enlightenment inevitable is
freedom
for the people but what kind of freedom?
Thesis 2: the least harmful of all “the freedom to reason
publicly
on all matters”
[Kant’s emphasis]
But all he hears on all sides is “
Do not argue
Thesis 3: “Argue as much as you want and about what you want but obey” [my
emphasis]
PROGRESS AND HUMAN NATURE
Thesis 4: while public debate should be free there can be restriction on private
debate
Thesis 5: the key link to Human Nature: one age cannot bind itself or bind a future
age. “that would be a crime against human nature, whose essential destiny is such
progress[my emphasis]
Thesis 6: the idea of progress is perhaps the key idea in the enlightenment.
THE STATE AND ENLIGHTENMENT
What role is there then for government?
Thesis 7: it should not concern itself with any person’s pursuit of his spiritual well-
being. [// Locke]
Well what about a person’s pursuit of his material well-being? That is the state’s
concern but it must also protect everyone’s rights and no-one can interfere with
such a pursuit.
So do we live in an
enlightened
age?
Thesis 8: “No, we live in an age of
enlightenment
.”
WAS KANT TOO OPTIMISTIC?
What about culture and education promoting arts and science?
Thesis 9: No they [our political rulers] are not be our guardians [contra Plato]
The final sentence is a fantastically great finale*
Thesis 10: “Thus, once nature has removed…free
thinking
…..
act freely
….the
principles of
government
…men
are now more than machines”
No longer to be treated as “means to an end”
* or as my grandchildren would say “awesome”
WAS THE ENLIGHTENMENT TOO OPTIMISTIC?
Kant’s ideas about both The League of Nations and Perpetual Peace
Condorcet and van Humboldt
LIBERALISM IN THE 18TH CENTURY
What is Liberalism?
What is Conservatism?
What is Individualism?
THE PROTESTANT ETHIC, CAPITALISM AND EGOISM
How we got the perverse terminologies of:
1. Left vs. Right
2. Liberalism vs. Conservatism
3. Capitalism vs. Socialism
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