Phusis versus Nomos
• Phusis means nature and Nomos translates to convention/ law.
• That the Greeks beleived that nature is the higher power and that convention was just a human
agreement that lacked universiality. (Talked about in the lecture onAristotle).
• According to Hobbes humans form a state of nature becasue they agree and consent to it (meaning
"society of the state"). Hobbes beleived in an agreement.Artistole differed by stating that humans do not
form a state because of nature.
• In the Ring of Gyges example discussed in class Glaucon makes a point that the invisibility ring will
cause you to act immoral therefore making justice a matter of human convention. whereas Socrates
would differ and say that justice is something of nature.
• Created through Machiavelli’s interpretation of how one should rule
• Meaning self-assertion, veracity, ruthlessness, the calculated use of cruelty to achieve ones ends
• Uses the example of Chezere Borgia – sends another person to Romana to clean it up. That person kills
to clean it up and is now hated. Because of this Chezere goes and frames this dudes death. This shows
true virtu because he got the job done and at the same time the blame was not casted onto him.
• The prince needs to have virtu – you have to get your hands dirty to succeed in politics.
Ring of Gyges
Principle of Harm
• That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized
community, against his will is to prevent harm to others.
• Principle of Harm is created by John Stuart Mill in his book, On Liberty
• This principle comprises:
1. Inward domain of consciousness (freedom of conscience, thought, religion)
2. An outward aspect of action (freedom of choice, pursuit of ones own place) which involves
3. Freedom of association
• The individual’s own good either physical or moral is not enough reason to exercise any power over
• He discusses freedom of press as an indispensable liberty in a free society and argues that it is necessary
of the truth or fallacy of what is published.
• Securing individual liberty, then, will allow for the development and advancement of the individual in
the course of pursuing their happiness. Mill argues that fostering this capacity is essential to the
• He sets two limits on this freedom:
1. The conduct of the individual is constrained by the condition of not harming others and
2. It includes the individuals’share of equal contribution to defend the society.
• He argues that in the cases where the individual’s action causes harm to others society’s interference is
not always justified since the source of the conflict is not the individual’s action but bad institutions Species-being
• Species-being is like what human life should be, ideally. It is humanity itself. Human potential.
• "Since alienated labour: (1) alienates nature from man; and (2) alienates man from himself, from his
own active function, his life activity; so it alienates him from the species. ... For labour, life activity,
productive life, now appear to man only as means for the satisfaction of a need, the need to maintain
physical existence. ... In the type of life activity resides the whole character of a species, its species-
character; and free, conscious activity is the species-character of human beings. ... Conscious life
activity distinguishes man from the life activity of animals."
• So humans, unlike animals, have a con