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Queen's University
PHIL 153
Jim Molos

Part One: Anarchy and Government According to Thomas Hobbes, why are individuals mutually vulnerable in the state of nature, and what are the implications of mutual vulnerability for the social contract? - State of nature: natural state o No preposed conditions o No legal/political institutions o Social but apolitical: people live together but we are not mandated by legal/political power o Under the state of nature, we are all equal, unabated, unhindered by institutions that would otherwise give some power over others o This is premise one: natural equality  Some men are smarter/faster/stronger than others  But we are all able to hurt one another despite the small range of differences  The weaker man can plot and kill the strongest man despite possessing less strength  Therefore, under the state of nature, we are all mutually vulnerable  Even if you are the strongest, smartest person, you don‟t know if your neighbor will turn on you  Therefore, we are mutually vulnerable. o in addition to natural equality, state of nature involves:  similar interests, abilities, desires  scarcity of needs/wants  the possibility of conflict  just the possibility of conflict alone makes the state of nature a state of war o in the state of nature, we have jus natural, natural liberty  able to do what we need to in order to ensure survival o therefore, in a state of nature, we may do whatever is necessary to ensure survival even it is at the expense of our neighbors (note that Hobbes makes exceptions for the laws of nature; things that are destructive to life) o we are constantly living in fear that others will do things that will harm our well-being/sustenance o therefore, reason dictates that we should look to end the state of war o via a social contract  establishment of a commonwealth and a sovereign within the social contract is necessary due to our mutual vulnerabilities  commonwealth is necessary:  we are vulnerable (mutually) in small groups (family or even a village)  therefore, we need larger communities  sovereign is necessary:  protections from those within the group/commonwealth What are key differences between the account of the state of nature offered by Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, and how do these differences impact their views of morally legitimate government? - Both natural law and social contract theorists but the similarities for the most part ends there Locke Hobbes - Men usually kept their promises/obligations - Life of continual danger - Usually peaceful  believed in natural law - Morality was purely external we only act morally because of fear o We give up our right to exact of repurcussions retribution for crimes in return for - “no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and impartial justice backed by danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, overwhelming force poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” o Role of the state is to ensure that o Since men by nature are so shitty, it makes sense justice has been done to transfer all power to a soverign- we are clearly o Men have rights by nature too dangerous, narrow minded, and stupid to o Because men as a whole are not wield these rights ourselves nasty as Hobbes would make you - state of nature = state of war believe, rulers should have limited o Because you are vulnerable, a rational person will seek to rights and individuals have more protect themselves (and do arguably bad things) limits as to what they may consent  Thus, a state of war to o No matter what the sovereign does, it is not a  Ultimately, this indicates a violation of the contract democratic government o Do what you are told and you have the right to since men are capable of not be killed governing themselves (and o No right to rebel by extension, each other) o What the state does is just by definition because  We can seek retribution via a they are there to provide the security and lessen third party (we can not be our the mutual vulnerability people would have own judges because we are otherwise emotionally attached to our own  Therefore, authoritarianism is the best cause form of government  Conflicting opinions threatens the stability of the state - - Part Two: Tyranny of the Majority On Will Kymlicka’s view, how is the unchosen inequality of circumstances faced by members of national minority communities a form of tyranny of the majority? - Even in a democratic institution, a national minority may find themselves being consistently outvoted, outbidded, over legitimate grievances o When other minorities (i.e. an environmentalist) are outbid, this is a fair part of the system (even if unfortunate to the environmentalist) - Individual choice and fairness necessitates stable and consistent cultural context o Minorities are consistently outbid/outvoted on matters crucial to survival/stability of communities o Difference between choice and context in which the choice is mad  We are responsible for the choice, but not the context in which they are made - There is a risk that democratic institutions will become a tyrant of the majority against minorities without safeguards - Everyone wants to lead the good life but this involves a cultural precondition o The majority could impose their own rules on this What is John Stuart Mill’s harm principle, and how does it protect against tyranny of the majority? - Before talking about the harm principle, Mill extensively outlines the history of tyranny against the majority o From this, he makes one important conclusions: “There is a limit to how far collective opinion can legitimately interfere with individual independence.” And finding that limit is of utmost importance - John Stuart Mill‟s harm principle states that we should all be allowed to act in the way we wish as long as that action does not harm others. No one should be forcibly prevented from acting in the way they choose provided his act is not harming the security of others o Parentalism: not suitable grounds for interference  People should be able to pursue happiness the way they see fit even if it isn‟t in line with their own idea of happiness - Distinction between public and private spheres o the individual is sovereign within the private sphere we only owe answers to things that concern other people  3 domains:  Freedom of conscience/thought/opinion  Autonomy- freedom to form, rationalize, pursue one‟s own idea of the good life  Freedom of association & disassociation. - Why does the harm principle protect against the tyranny of the majority? o Minorities should be allowed to pursue the life they want even if it is in the face of the majority o The majority may not dictate what you, a minority believe, your way of life, or who you associate yourself with o The private sphere is crucial for minorities to be able to be free  Freedom is a moral concept; we are all entitled to it and as such, our freedom should be rarely limited. Part Three: Property and Justice What is John Locke’s argument for private property, and how does money complicate his proposal? - Common stock: land/resources that are at the beginning, collectively owned, - Ability to own property is akin to freedom - John Locke identifies problem in private property: o If common owner ship is the starting point and we are all in need to extract things from the commons to ensure survival, then how is private property possible? - Labour theory of value: o Self-ownership of property in one‟s self (you own yourself)  The labour of your body/hands is strictly your own.  If you take something from the commons and mix your own labour with it, then it becomes your own  Metaphorically, you‟ve put yourself into it  Principle of justice in acquisition  it explains how we get things from the common and make it ours (aka private property)  the common stock is useless without appreciation - Limits: o Enough and as good as left- enough left behind for everyone else o Spoilage: use this property before it goes bad; the stuff that goes bad before you use it should be someone else‟s - Same rules applies for land o land will run out but you will allow people to use the land/hire them o Exception for land under the commonwealth:  Territory has been appropriated already  Has already been consented that this i
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