Philosophy 1010 01/23/2012
Contemporary political philosophy asks these questions:
Who gets what? (distribution of goods) (cultural goods, social good, material goods such as
money) how do we distribute goods in a society?
Says who? (who is in charge, who distributes political power)
We might ask:
Is there any good reason why one person should have more property than another?
Equality (Liberals) Free Market
Kymlicka believes that there problems within this picture: foundation value helps build the base
of an idea. The ultimate value there is no value that lies underneath it is the foundation. It gives
us values that are incommensurable (not commensurable under any common measure)
Alternative view: “every plausible theory has the same ultimate value, which is equality” In a
more abstract way of treating everyone as equals, imagine each theory as we look at it treating
everyone as equals.
Equality: Treating people as ‘equals’
Hence, whatever the value in question (property) each citizen is entitled to equal concern and
Logic and Critical Reasoning An argument consists of a set of sentences consisting on one or more premises, which contain
the evidence and conclusion, which is supposed to follow from the premises. (informal context)
(argument consists of a set of sentences)
e.g. (1 premise) Socrates is a man. (2 premise) All men are mortal. (Conclusion) Therefore,
Socrates is mortal
Bad argument vs. good arguments: if the premises imply the conclusion, then the argument in
question is a good one.
E.g. Socrates is a Fish. All fish are green. Socrates is a green.
If (Premise) money grows on trees, then Bill Clinton is the Prime Minister of Canada. (Premise)
Money grows on trees. (conclusion)Thus Bill Clinton is the PM of Canada. P>Q = P/Q
An argument is deductively valid so long as the argument is such that the conclusion must be
true if the premises are true. (reason through premises to a conclusion)
E.g. (premises) Socrates is blond. (premises) All woman are blond. (conclusion) Socrates is a
E.g. (premise) If it is raining then there are clouds in the sky. (premise) There are clouds in the
sky. (conclusion) Therefore it is raining. *This is not true because if there are clouds in the sky it
does not always rain.*
E.g. (Premise) If I won the lottery. (Q) I bought a lottery ticket. (C) I won the lottery.
An invalid argument, by contrast , is one in which it is possible for the premises all to be true but
the conclusion is false.
Remember: to say that an argument is valid is to say that if the premises are true, then the
conclusion must be true. This means that arguments with false premises may be valid, and
arguments with true conclusions may be invalid.
E.g. All US presidents have been male. J.F.K was a US president. Thus, J.F.K was male. (This is
a sound argument)
A sound argument is an argument which (i) is valid and (ii) whose premises are all true.
*** Conclusions can NEVER be valid!!!!!*** What this means is that when were evaluating an argument, there are two questions to ask:
1. Are its premises true are worthy of our belief?
2. Does it conclusion really follow form the premises?
These are completely independent issues.
Just remember: there are 2 kinds of bad arguments. Philosophy 1010 01/23/2012
Class Three: Utilitarianism
Morally right act policy = greatest happiness for greatest number
as a political theory, 2 major advantages
It doesn’t depend on God
Its consequentialist. What matter sis that our actions or morals or laws must be tested by their
Utilitarian’s: maximize what ever makes a good life good
Defining utility: the first stage of utilitarianism is to give an account of human welfare r utility.
1. Welfare hedonism: simple pleasures are the greatest good (oldest view – least plausible) is
everything reducible to happiness.
Problem: Nozick and his experience machine
2. NonHedonistic mentalstate utility: maximize the pleasures of your mental state, what ever
that mental state is – be it achieved form reading poetry or pulling grass.
3. Preference satisfaction: utility is maximized by satisfying preferences
Does in let too much in?
4. Informed Preferences: Welfare equals informed or rational preferences
Avoids problems of adaptive preferences and mistaken preferences.
Vague Philosophy 1010 01/23/2012
Recalcitrant experience – how do we know when we are informed?
rational by whose standards?
Solution: maximize the overall amount of allpurpose goods (e.g. freedom) available to people to
satisfy their preferences
Maximizing Utility: Second issue. Once we’ve defined utility, we need to figure out how to
Question: we do have limited resources, so whose (informed) preferences count?
Answer: Bring about consequences which satisfy the great number of (informed) preferences
amongst people in the society.
For utilitarian’s, everyone’s preferences matter equally.
1 Biggest problem: Special relationships doesn’t matter
Descriptive: How things in fact are. (not that concerned with descriptive things)
Normative: How thing are supposed to be. (slavery era: things are that slavery is morally
acceptable but it isn’t supposed to be acceptable.)
Duties or commitments
Employee/employer vs. Husband/wife
Answer: think of all the consequences Philosophy 1010 01/23/2012
But isn’t this an inadequate account of promisekeeping
Moreover, its alienating
How do we measure these problems with utilitarianism against our everyday morality
Go from Act to Rule
Two arguments for utility maximization
Recall that as Kymlicka sees it, all viable political philosophers have at bottom the value of
egalitarianism or “treating people as equals”
1 argument: equal consideration of interests:
People matter, and matter equally therefore
Each person interests should be given equal weight; therefore
Morally right acts will maximize utility. Philosophy 1010 01/23/2012
We need to protect people but which right and liberties should we protect?
First principle: each person is to have an equal right the most extensive total system of equal
basic liberties (e.g. right to vote, run for office, free speech, due process) compatible with a
similar system of liberty for all.
Second Principle of justice: (the difference principle): Social and economic inequalities are to be
arranged so that they are both to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged, and attached to
offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity.
What makes sense about equality of opportunity?
People only get more if they earn it – and if they are not precluded from earning it because or
morally arbitrary factors: race, ethnicity, gender, class
Rawls point: social inequality is unfair sure, but so is inequality in natural talents – both are cases
Solution: Don’t erase the talents, but set up our social system so that no one gains or loses form
her arbitrary place in the distribution of talents.
1 argument for the difference principle: the intuitive equality of opportunity.
Prevailing justification for economic distribution: equality of opportunity – so long as we all
have a fair go at earning one million, its ok that someone earns that.
Rawl’s view: this is not ok, he requires equality of opportunity, but denies that the people who
fill the positions are thus entitled to a greater share of societies resources. Philosophy 1010 01/23/2012
Class Seven: Philosophy 1010 01/23/2012
Libertarianism: The free market is inherently just and redistributive taxation is inherently wrong,
a violation of peoples rights.
People have a right to dispose freely of their goods and services, and they have this right whether
or not it is the best way to ensure productivity.
Can utilitarianism favour a free market economy?
Robert Nozick’s Entitlement theory
If we assume that each person is entitled to the goods they currently posses (their holdings) then
a just distribution is simply whatever distribution results from people free exchanges.
1. A principle of Transfer: whatever is justify acquired can be freely transferred.
2. A principle of just initial acquisition: an account of how people come initially to own the
things which can be transferred in accordance with I.
3. A principle of rectification of Injustice: How to deal with holdings if they were unjustly
acquired or transferred.
1 Argument (Wilt Chamberlain)
If a distribution scheme is legitimate, and we all freely adopt another, who can complain?
D1: Distribution scheme 1 is legitimate.
D2: We all have control over our holdings, and some of us decide to give Wilt 25 cents.
Thus, D2 is also just because it was freely chosen from D1
Class Eight: Philosophy 1010 01/23/2012
Intuitive Appeal: we should be allowed to do what we want with what we’ve got
The real issue here: Do people have absolute control over their holdings
An individual is an endinherself
2 argument: Self ownership Argument
1. Treating people as equals means treating them as ends in themselves
2. If people are ends in themselves, then they may not be used without their consent.
3. if they may not be used without their consent, then they own themselves
4. if people own themselves, then they own their talents and abilities.
5. if they own their talents and abilities, then they own the products of their talents and abilities.
6. Patterned redistribution allows some people to won the products of others talents and abilities.
7. Therefore, patterned redistribution allows some people to own other people, and so does not
treat then as ends in themselves.
Question: how could acquisition have arisen legitimately?
Summary of the lockean proviso:
1. people own themselves
2. the world is initially unowned.
3. you can acquire absolute rights over a disproportionate share of the world, if you do not
worsen the condition of others.
4. it is relatively easy to acquire absolute rights over a disproportionate share of the world.
5. this, once people have appropriated private property, a free market in capital and labor is morally
required. Philosophy 1010 01/23/2012
Class Nine: Philosophy 1010 01/23/2012
Utilitarianism, Libertarianism, Today and Wednesday (all chapters and pages)
Definitions, short answer, long answer, multiple choice, T/F
Standard leftwing critique of liberal justice is that it endorses formal equality (rights) but not
Classic Marx theory Historical materialism, the idea that the development of human societies
is determined by class struggle, which is itself determined by development of the means of
economic production, and the inevitable result of this development, is the revolutionary
overthrow of capitalism by proletariat
** T/F is historical materialism is descriptive theory?** TRUE
Historical materialism is a historical theory T/F (not true)
1. Communism as beyond Justice: Marx himself attacked the ideas of ‘equal right’ and ‘fair
distribution’ as ‘obsolete verbal rubbish’ The problems with justice are:
2 Problem: Theories of just distribution concentrate too much on distribution, rather than on
We should concentrate on transferring ownership of the means of production then redistributing
on would become obsolete.
2. Communist Justice: If Marxist don’t reject justice then how do they characterize it different
than the liberal.
There is no right to the private ownership of and control of productive resources
We get equal access to the public resources, rather than equal distribution of private resources. Philosophy 1010 01/23/2012
What is wrong with private ownership?***
It is either exploitive or alienating , and hence doesn’t allow us to treat people with equal concern
Exploitation: when we take more from the workers labor (in the form of produced goods) than is
paid back to the worker in the form of wages.
Capitalists only hire workers when they can extract this surplus value and so this exploitive
transfer of surplus value is found in all wage relationships
1. Laborer is the only person who creates the product, that which has value.
2. The capitalist receives some of the value of the product.
3. Thus, the laborer receives less value than the value of what he creates
4. The capitalist receives some of the value the laborer creates
5. Thus the laborer is exploited by the capitalist
Alienation: the one aspect of Marxism that is truly distinct form liberal egalitarianism. Philosophy 1010
The New Ideal of Community: The community already exits in the form of common
social practices, cultural traditions and shared social understandings.
One important Issue: Individual rights vs. the common good (good of the community)
Self-determination: The right to choose the ‘good life’
The right to ask:
• How to best pursue my goals?
• What goal is best worth pursuing?
Value Pluralism: The idea that we value a plurality of conceptions of ‘the good life’
(Self-determination vs.) Paternalism: The interference of the state in our best
• Schools praye