Class Notes (837,484)
Canada (510,274)
Brock University (12,132)
Philosophy (259)
PHIL 1F91 (53)
Lecture

Simone Weil vs Ayn Rand

16 Pages
160 Views
Unlock Document

Department
Philosophy
Course
PHIL 1F91
Professor
David Hayes
Semester
Winter

Description
19/04/2012 1 Human Nature, Morality and Ideology In the past two or three centuries debates about Human Nature have become entangled with debates about morality and ideology 2 Simone Weils logic The Need for Roots Para 1 re: the relation of a right to the obligation to which it corresponds. Suppose I say: I have the right to life and You have no duty NOT to kill me or You have the right to life and I have no duty NOT to kill you? THIS IS A NEGATIVE RIGHT [claim]. Suppose I say: I have the right to life and You have no duty to feed me if I am hungry or You have the right to life and I have no duty to feed you if I am hungry [and I am able to do so] ? THIS IS A POSITIVE RIGHT [claim]. 3 Individuals and collectives Two major theses: 1. Only individuals have rights; 2. Only individuals have duties so as a corollary C There are no obligations FOR collectives; and C2 There are no obligations TO collectives What is the difference? The rest of her essay about the needs of the soul. 4 Order Two crucial points re: Order (1) There is a natural order of things due to human nature having a moral sense that makes us conscious of a universal, unique natural law binding on all humans [184R, penultimate para] (2) Needs should not be confused with desires, fancies, or vices [183L] because needs are limited [my emphasis] 5 Rules and Liberty 3 crucial points (1) Liberty consists in the ability to choose (2) Rules should be stable, general and limited in number [my emphasis] (3) penultimate para., 185, 1 sentence re: good will and immaturity [= remain adolescent] 6 Obedience Obedience is a vital need of the human soul Key idea is two types of obedience equivalent to difference between rules and orders. RULES: Do not cross on a red light. 1 (2) Rules should be stable, general and limited in number [my emphasis] 19/04/2012 (3) penultimate para., 185, 1 sentence re: good will and immaturity [= remain adolescent] 6 Obedience Obedience is a vital need of the human soul Key idea is two types of obedience equivalent to difference between rules and orders. RULES: Do not cross on a red light. Pay the taxes you owe by April. 30. ORDERS: Bring me the file for Ms. Smith Take this document to room 357. 7 Initiative and Responsibility to feel one is useful and even indispensable, are vital needs of the human soul but are they universal characteristics of all humans? Both unemployment and certain types of jobs undermine such a vital need [186] 8 Egalit Equality is a vital need of the human soul The most contentious issue in: modern political ideological disputes, theories of human nature, issues in gender, race, ethnicity, IQ etc. etc. etc. In the one and only Political Science course I ever did [The Nature and Role of Political Ideologies] I recall reading a respected political scientist who wrote that The conservative belief about equality is that, except in an ultimate moral sense, it is not true that all humans are equal. 9 Hierarchy and Honour as Needs? Hierarchism is a vital need of the human soul Notice how this contradicts egalitarian sentiments BUT 1. Is it True? 2. Is it incompatible with a reasonable view of equality? Honour is a vital need of the human soul 10 2 types of Punishment Punishment is a vital need of the human soul This may seem to be a very strange claim [except for sadists and masochists]. How can punishment be an honour? We humans do use punishment? Four for possible reasons: 1. Deterrence 2. Reform 3. Retribution [societal] 4. Revenge [personal] 2 This may seem to be a very strange claim [except for sadists and masochists]. How can punishment be an honour? 19/04/2012 We humans do use punishment? Four for possible reasons: 1. Deterrence 2. Reform 3. Retribution [societal] 4. Revenge [personal] 11 Freedom of Opinion States a principle just as strong as that of J.S. MilI Intelligence in humans used in 3 different ways: (1) Technical (2) Ethical (3) Theoretical [190R para 2] qualifies absolute claims for freedom by interesting twist on Mills harm principle 12 Two types of Associations Interests trade unions, professional unions, political parties Ideas Religious, eleemosynary, and intellectual associations and at least some political parties Has interesting criticism of role of political parties which she claims undermine democracy!! [191R final 2 para.] She might be correct!!!!!!!!!!! 13 The Arrow Paradox and voting What is our countrys favourite sport?: (A) Hockey; (B)aseball (C) Feetball Favorite drinks for Super Bowl Party? (X) Wine (Y) Beer (Z) Soft drinks. What is Canadas Favorite political party? (A) NDP; (B) Liberals; (C)onservatives Suppose the results are: 33.3% A > B > C, 33.3% B > C > A, 33.3% C > A > B, 33.3% X > Y > Z, 33.3% Y > Z > X, 33.3% Z > X > Y, 33.3% A > B > C, 33.3% B > C > A, 33.3% C > A > B, Note the similarity to ROCK , SCISSORS and PAPER 14 Security and Risk Security is a vital need of the human soul Risk is a vital need of the human soul Do you see a paradox* in these two statements? 3 19/04/2012 14 Security and Risk Security is a vital need of the human soul Risk is a vital need of the human soul Do you see a paradox* in these two statements? Do you see a contradiction in these two statements? * paradox = a seeming or apparent contradiction 15 2 types of Property Private property is a vital need of the human soul Individual: my shirts, shoes and car*, your clothes, books, pens, computers [?], ipods, ipads, and so on. Collective: books in Brock library, the commons at Brock in fact all of Brock U is collectively not privately owned Notice Simone Weil is neither a pure laissez-faire capitalist defender as Ayn Rand is but also not a socialist who wants individual property transferred to the state. The main problem, not surprisingly, is MONEY: St. Paul [allegedly] said Love of $$$$$$ is the root of all evil. *actually I dont own my car, I lease it but.. 16 Truth: the greatest need? First 2 statements interesting but highly dubious. First is merely stated, the second is empirically false the definition and attainability of truth have been furiously debated in 20th century thought. Now the rest makes many good points but it seems to assume that there are no laws against slander and libel. Perhaps there were not in France in her lifetime; too bad if that was true. 17 Summary: most important ideas 1. Individuals are more important than collectives. 2. Obligations are universal and based on needs. 3. Human nature is endowed with knowledge [consciousness] of natural law = our obligations. 4. Freedom of opinion and freedom of association are two very different things. 5. Truth is the most sacred need. 18 Ayn Rand Atheist: not that crucial to understanding her. Egoist: absolutely crucial to understanding her. Individualist: also crucial to understanding her. Objectivism: chosen by her to describe her epistemology which is surprisingly good. 4
More Less

Related notes for PHIL 1F91

Log In


OR

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


OR

By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.


Submit