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Lec #6. Rousseau Conclusion&Kant

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Simone Chambers

Oct. 17/13 Rousseau Conclusion/Review Reason  complicated, ambivalent attitude towards reason. He stands with the enlightenment and against it. In the discourse of inequality, reason is part of the problem; the application of reason leads us astray. In the social contract reason seems to be a better picture, the application of reason to our political world gives us some answers. He is conflicted Religion  Civil religion, religion as it is related to politics, how does it support politics? Public Sphere  He was a figure in the margining public sphere, he did public sphere philosophy. In his political writings, his view of the public sphere is not vey enlightened. In the social contract he does not think that by debating amongst individuals will lead to anything good. The public sphere does not play very well (as a place for discussion) Progress  Modernity brings with it all sort of bad things; he thinks that the modern world brings with it…. He does not say that the world is better; he sees a lot of downsides to modernity Rights  Played a little role Liberty  On the social contract begins with freedom, we are free but with chains. How can we live with gov’t but still remain free. Equality  We are all in some fundamental way equal, inequality is the creation of convention. A certain level of social or economic inequality is unacceptable and disastrous for the state. There can be some unequal distribution and there can be private property but we have to keep an eye on it because radical inequality can be disastrous Fraternity  (Building bridges and bonds)- Rousseau worries that modern society has destroyed our abilities to be social Authenticity  The real problem is that we live outside of ourselves and worry about what others wonder about us and this is inauthentic. Autonomy  As an individual you should be your own person and think for yourself and make your own choices etc., do not let tradition, church, background make decisions for you. It is independence and self-governance. For Rousseau traditions are quite important. But he also thinks that the pasts that most people inherited are bad. He had nothing good to say about the church etc., he stands in the middle because we need to make new traditions. KANT  Why moral philosophy and not political philosophy? o Father of human rights. How we understand rights really comes from Kant. Notions of equality and respect come from Kant’s moral philosophy. o ‘The Doctrine of Right,’ legal philosophy and political philosophy as well. Radically egalitarian philosophy. Does not believe in revolutions or overthrowing a sovereign, women cannot be citizens. o The categorical imperative  A warm and fuzzy Kant o Not about conformity but freedom  When you ask yourself what is the right thing to do, the traditional source was God, and Kant realized you cannot really rely on God b/c many did not believe and hard to prove, based on fear and lack of freedom. There is a normative ‘ought,’ blame and praise implies that people are responsible for their actions. For us to make sense
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