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Philosophy 2730F/G
Ryan Robb

Michael Buckley 3/19/2013 6:32:00 PM Lecture 6 Michael Buckley  Trying to provide us with a method of choosing principles that we should use o How we should make decisions for who gets to have their own radio or TV stations o Solution – we should use John’s social contract argument, where there is a veil of ignorance – thought experiment where we pretend we don’t know where we stand in society but are fully aware of the different areas (taking the interests of both sides into consideration) o Make sure they can run their own station, they are interested in having their own station and that they represent one view that is already there  The Point o It is possible to use a political constructivist method to specify which principles should be used to guide our decisions about distributing the broadcast media spectrum o Principles that regulate a free-market distribution that is sensitive to democracy are preferable to those that don’t  I. Political Constructivism (pages 821 – first column of 823) o The need to present principles to guide decisions about the distribution of the broadcast spectrum is because of the vague nature of the language used to make those decisions o Through the creation of a hypothetical bargaining scenario, the principles can be presented and defended and can help us to see why principles that structure a free-market are preferable to those that do not o In A Theory of Justice, John Rawls presents and defends two principles that are intended to regulate an ideal liberal, democratic society  Original position - the mechanism Rawls uses to defend his two principles involving the creation of a hypothetical bargaining scenario  Rawls’ says in the original position, any rational being would choose these as principles that should be used to regulate the basic institutions of society  In this position, everyone is behind the veil of ignorance – they are rationally self-interested and possess knowledge of the basic structure of our existent society, but none know where they fit in society  Rawls believes that in this situation, any rational agent would choose principles that ensure a like liberty for all, and that any introduction of inequalities into society benefit the least well-off  Buckley doesn’t want to use Rawls’ principles because those principles are designed to regulate basic social institutions, and his interest is the media  For Buckley, Rawls’ hypothetical bargaining scenario won’t do because it is directed at choosing principles for society so instead, Buckley wants to borrow Rawls’ idea of trying to choose principles in a hypothetical bargaining scenario, but tailor the scenario to meet his demands – to present principles that will help us make decisions about how we grant access to the broadcast spectrum  II. The Hypothetical Scenario and Competing Principles (second column of 823 – 824) o The Bargainers:  Each of the bargainers for these principles is a representative or lobbyist for each of the groups that can be affected by the distribution of the broadcast spectrum  There are two groups that have relevant interests – those who produce/deliver media content and those who consume it  Producers – most will be interested in access to the spectrum for profit, some will be more interested in delivering specific content  Consumers – interested in entertainment and leisure, but more importantly will be interested in receiving information that helps them exercise their two political powers:  Their capacity to make voting decisions  Their capacities to justify those decisions to others  The bargainers are all striving to promote the interests of the group they represent but:  1) No bargainer knows which group they represent – so bargainers are sympathetic to the interests of all the parties  2) All groups are w
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