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Martin Luther King Jr.docx

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Philosophy 1020
John Thorp

Martin Luther King Jr. 0. Introductory matters: a) biography • clergyman • civil rights leader • orator • some dubious personal moral matters • assassinated in 1968 b) significance • Not just black liberation, he changed it for all minorities • The black liberation movement in the US was really gave birth to liberation movements altogether • It raised consciousness about oppression, about minorities of all sorts 1. Just vs. unjust laws (non-sense to Hobbes) a) natural law theory -legal vs. illegal -just vs. unjust • What is legal may be unjust • Ajust law is derivable from natural law (God’s law); an unjust law is inconsistent with natural law -“A just law is a law that squares with a moral law…” -Positive law is law that is created by human beings (monarchs, legislative assemblies etc.) -Natural law is, so to speak, just there – part of the nature of the universe -You can discover the moral law, the natural law, just by looking into your conscience -This first answer is rejected: • “I don’t believe in these abstract things called moral laws and I’m not too religious so I don’t believe in the law of God” -The second answer: • An unjust law is one that the minority inflicts on the minority, where the minority has no part in devising the law • But of course this isn’t strong enough; a law could perfectly well be unjust even if the minority had suffrage (the vote), and indeed even if the minority voted for the law -King’s third answer: • An unjust law is one that the majority inflicts on the minority, where that law does not bind or constrain the majority • The tyranny of the majority • Ex. blacks have to sit at the back of the bus, blacks only have a certain fountain they can use, but the whites can use any -But this is too strong: • Alaw that says that all convicted murderers are to be imprisoned is a law that constrains a minority (convicted murderers) but not the majority.And yet we do not think it is an unjust law b) tyranny of the majority, where the minority has no part in devising the law? -More
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