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general Philosophy Topics.docx

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McMaster University
Stefan Rodde

1. Tyranny of the majority is when the majority forces its views on the minority. In this situation, the majority’s opinion rules, but this could be a problem in the political realm (democracy) or the social realm (public opinion). The significance of this is that Mill believes that if the minority views are true, we will never know if these views are not expressed. He believes that everyone should have the freedom to express their opinion (liberty). Society itself can become the tyrant by seeking to inflict its will and values on others. People with power exercise it over those without power and majority may consciously try to oppress without power. Mill argues that society can tyrannize without using political means, and that, power of public opinion can be more stifling to individuality and dissent than any law can ever be. Therefore, there must be protection for people against prevailing public’s opinion and tendency of society to impose its values on others, and to not be silent because of the majority’s force. 2. Justin Rawl’s original position is a fair, impartial, and hypothetical point of view based on justice as fairness. The main feature of the original position is “the veil of ignorance” where one is ignorant of another’s gender, class, age, wealth and etc. The significance of this is to see the justice system operating under a veil of ignorance, where no one knows anything about the people they are representing, therefore trying to get the best out of the judgement. In order to be just, we have to imagine ourselves the position of free and equal persons who jointly agree upon and commit themselves to principles of social and political justice. The most rational choice for the parties in the original position are the two principles of justice which are guaranteed equal basic rights and liberties of free and equal citizens, and fair equality of education and employment opportunities for all citizens. 3. Principle of Fidelity states that one should abide by agreements without deceit or compulsion. Although this is a good argument by Socrates, it may not be fair. Socrates believed that law and justice are a priority and that laws are made to benefit everybody. Although Socrates may have not done anything wrong, he chose to stay in the city and follow the rules because if he were to escape, he would be breaking the law, which is wrong. The significance of the principle is to show that if you live in a city you must abide by the laws and agreements, whether you did right or wrong, for you made an agreement and you must not deceive or constrain against. Basically, if you made an agreement with a certain city to abide by the rules, you must abide by it without causing trouble, for the law is very important. 4. Having rights vs. doing what is right: whether an individual has a right or not it depends on whether they do right or wrong with those rights. For example doing what is right would be an individual who ahs the freedom of speech speak up against animal cruelty. Even individuals who don’t have a right can protest against animal cruelty, although they don’t have a right, but they are still doing what is right. Having a right and not doing what is right would be people posting racist and rude comments on social networking sites, and not having a right and not doing what’s right would be a murder or kidnap. The significance is that knowing the difference between having a right and doing what is right, helps us lean forward to a more just society. If more people understand and know the difference between them, they can make many changes, and lead the society into a more positive route. And even if one has those rights, they still need to know how to do what’s right. Just because one has rights the society won’t be a better place. People need to know how to do what’s right instead of committing deviance acts, and taking advantage of their rights. 5. Civil disobedience is when there is a breach in a person’s right, there is the right to commit civil disobedience and it is justified. An act of civil disobedience has to be Conscientiousness and not kept in silence or involves violence. Furthermore it must be labelled as civil disobedience and not a crime. The significance is that it provides protection against ones rights against the government, to bring upon a point within a society and allows an individual to protest their rights against the government, in a civil manner. It is used to engage communication and express disapproval of a certain unjust law. There are two models that Dworkin used to handle Cases of civil disobedience which are the balance model and special cost model. The balance mode defends that Individuals need to be balanced against social consequences. The special costs model states that once a right has been clearly defined, the only way to restrict this right if there is a special cost to not restricting it. Dworkin favours the special cost model more, because it’s more justifiable. 6. Cumulative harm is an action that may not be harmful on its own, but may be when many people do it. It can be more harmful as many people can be a part of it, and it can build up. The significance is that it can damage and harm anyone’s self esteem and could lead to violence/ discrimination, and there would be no justification to that f it leads to violence. For example, if one initiates a hate speech, it could undermine self respect and self-esteem, and when others join in on it and add on to the comments, it would then lead into violence and discrimination. Either hate speech can cause violence or individuals that cause violence use hate speech, so it should be banned. 7. Crimes of the flesh include homosexuality, bestiality and masturbation which go against Kant’s natural function argument, which shows why these 3 things are immoral before marriage. He believe sits our duty to treat ourselves as mere means to an end, and these are the crimes of the flesh because he thinks were abusing the bodily functions. He strongly believes that we should only be committing sexual acts for reproduction not for pleasure. The significance of this theory is that if one rejects Kant’s natural function argument, then crimes of the flesh are immoral, but they can be moral if the couple is engaged in matrimony. Anything outside of contextual sex is unethical. Masturbation is of the sexual faculty without any object, the exercise of the faculty in the
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