soc 203 TOCQUVILE.pdf

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC101Y1
Professor
J.Veugelers
Semester
Winter

Description
Authority and Public opinion: 1. Enlightment : • a time • a process 2. what is enlightenment? By Immanuel Kant 1784 3. Public Opinion: • definition • institutional locations 4. the authority of public opinion 5. Hegel’s antagonism 6. Tocqueville’s skepticism 7. Marx: the problem disappears - authority has many stands towards it but today’s lecture will be authority and public opinion on achieving reason. 1. enlightenment is a time in 1700s a period in western Europe with center of enlightenment being associated with Paris, a time of skepticism on receiving ideas like religious ideas, nobility preceding others, protestants reformation (moving away from catholic church) - the protestant reformation can be seen as an individualism leading into the enlightenment. Another strand that was leading to the enlightenment was the scientific revolution that included the formulation of scientific ideas, the gathering of ideas rather than using the indicative ideas. - enlightenment is a movement consisting of thinkers believing in reason and that it should be protected and that it will free us. - it’s a process – today many are skeptical about the enlightenment project and people say that we have applied reason into the world like industrialism but look at the environmental destruction. The reason was overused making environment suffer. Another example is the rational working of work, organization, government, and overall forms a form of alienation. For some beaurocratization is seen as rationality that is taken too far. 2. in 1784 newspaper conference held a competition and the question was what is enlightenment in which Kant won. Kant will argue that if a child is not enlightenment they are subject to the priest and ruler and therefore is not grown up. Than he goes onto say how will people to do this? he says it is hard to grow up intellectually and smart but he says if people are in groups doing interaction they will highly think for themselves. H says that people who think for themselves they cant go that far because it requires a lot more when you are on your own. Kant uses a religious language which is ‘’calling’’-refers back to our reading for next week - if people are allowed to gather together and express their opinions freely than reason is bound to be expressed - he also thinks about his critics – do not argue believe, do not argue pay your taxes, etc. 3. Public opinion – it is kind of information that is used for politicians or public voting. Public opinion emerges when the public is open to debate freely and when these phone calls are made for surveys for politicians it does not occur because it is a private conversation. Kant on the other hand was thinking about debates, making arguments that don’t make sense, and eventually an agreement to emerge from different ideas. So Kant was thinking of interactions between people on matters that are important to society, - institutional locations- the newspaper can be part of this - the country that is divided into 2 parts one being the state (like the legislatures, courts, public beauracrizies, the military, the police and the other part being the civil society that includes family, religious organization, voluntary organization, economic organizations, and the state also includes the public realm while the civil society has the private realm. When the professor talks about the town hall meeting he is talking about something happening in civil society as well as newspaper columns - what intersects between the civil society and the state is the parliament that brings individuals from both parts and settle ideas. In the end the idea that is won over is the consensus idea and so parliament is a vital institutions for the public debates as it advances ideas, criticizes, and it is also a place where laws are passed. Laws are there to limit the interactions between individuals that inappropriate. - Kant was attacking authority, like the priest and the military and urging people to think for themselves. When he was writing it was a time when monarchy prevailed and the problem for him that monarchial rule can go over reason that is not the interest for the public. Kant is making a substitution for the ruler to have reason. He is saying we have 2 options which is being ruled by a noble descent and who is to say that rule is not unfair? In a civil society we need to be ruled by reason which is why parliament is central to his argument. The need for people to talk in public and the reason is tried in law and the parliament governs itself through reason. The representatives of civil society talk, and translate their opinions into law which regulates civil society. - parliament is an important institution because it allows civil society to argue itself through reason - for Kant the beauty of parliament it is giving the parliament political authority by connecting civil society to the state- so it is like a mediator. - what bugs Kant is that when a king rules the king is the one that passes the law and than its agent than passes that law which Kant has a problem- it excluded the will of civil society, and also it is a problem of reason because how do we know that the monarch’s rule is the product of reason rather than a rule that is prejudice without any knowledge. - so far Kant a parliament makes a la legitimate where it is incorporated with reason and includes the civil society. - the dual function of parliament because it is institution of the state as they make the law and includes the civil society as their opinions are heard in public debates 5. Hegel – Hegel differed by Marx as Marx was a reaction to Hegel - Marx and Hegel resembled each other as Hegel was skeptical of Kant’s enlightenment- first let’s say a parliament is arguing whether a country should go to war. Kant is saying that a parliament would have the pros and cons of going to war and the best would prevail. so according to Kant the most reasonable is the one that will prevail and get consent over others. But Hegel says that suppose that society is divided into different classes with different interests which makes it foolish to think that a consensus would ever prevail. So the beugoise would be for it and proletariat would be against it since they would think that the working class on the other countries would see them as friend and the real enemy the bearogosie. Hegel says that the fundamental of different interest will prevent them from getting together to have a consensual agreement. Hegel does not believe that society is a smart one and that civil society i
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