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Political Science
Political Science 1020E
Charles Jones

Elements of politics  Social process/ activity in which individuals in groups with conflicting views reach binding decisions that are enforced against those who disobey What is the state  Nation: community of belief extended thru mists of history (character tied to particular area, everyone shares common ways)  State: territorial community with borders o Centralized governing authority (only have existed for 5-7 centuries. New thing with specific borders)  Sovereignty, including Monopoly of Legitimate Violence (final decision making authority reserved for an identifiable office holder to make decisions) Aristotle’s Two Questions  Who rules?  In whose interest? o Interest of the Rulers’ or o Interest of the governed What is Power?  Ability to produce results  Influencing others’ behaviour  ‘the currency of politics’  Power can take several forms –threat of force, incentives, sanctions, throffers (threats and offers) o sticks and carrots: hard power – if you don’t stop making nuclear weapons, we’ll bomb u. If you disobey this law, you’ll go to prison o soft power: not forcing or threatening or offering incentive, it is trying to get others to want what you want. Present something appealing so they buy into it, attraction What is Authority?  The right to command  The right to punish those who disobey  Is state authority justified - first moral question o Who has the right to tell me what to do?  Normative questions (moral questions) Thomas Hobbes- natural equals (physical) State of Nature  Why do we need a state? Imagine what life would be like without it  Thought experiment  Imagine life without state and political power  Conclusion: we should want centralized absolute state/ sovereign What Hobbes Claims  Worst scenario: no state protection (any state is better than no state)- opposite of anarchist  Powerful state is needed to avoid disastrous interpersonal conflict (no arts, letters, buildings, life is solitary brutish and short)  Main premises: human nature (not fundamentally violent creatures but still self interested and if we need to protect our interest without centralized authority the consequences would be dire) Three reasons to attack  Competition: gain more (having the means to get what I want- Hobbes says having power is having the power to get what you want)  Lack of Trust: Safety (even if they are not a threat you should attack them just in case they think you are a threat)  Glory: reputation (status conscious, ppl to think we’re powerful, reputation for power = power) Right of nature: we all have the right to do what is necessary to preserve ourselves Laws of Nature  Fundamental law: seek peace, if you can get it  Second law: lay your down natural right (right to do whatever is necessary), if others do too  Third law: perform your covenants (keep your promises) John Locke- morally equally  Thinks state of nature would be state of peace Why we need a state: inconveniences  Problem: administration of justice – no guarantee that right and might will go together.  Conflict about the law of nature- Hobbes has natural rights to life, liberty and property, but we might disagree over a piece of property so how do we decide this? Need a state to help us and protect our rights (impartial administrator of justice)  Some lack power to enforce law of nature- u violated my rights but if you’re bigger and stronger you will win anyways  Becomes sort of a state of war for Locke as well- continuous conflict  Need agreement on rules and impartial administration  Locke has different account of laws of nature and right of nature Locke’s state of nature  State of peace, equality (equal because morally equal/ require same rights)  Law of nature: fundamental law of nature: everyone should be preserved as much as may be (help others when they are in need)  Naturally free  Naturally liberty doesn’t mean you are free to do whatever you want, but naturally liberty is moralized – only free to do what I have a right to do (there are still restrictions but is still compatible with being free) Rousseau On Human Nature  Naturally savages (uncivilized therefore good)  They had a desire for self-preservation  Pity or compassion for the suffering of others  Moral capacity savages contain but not reasoning about morality, developing principles, just reaction to suffering How Change Happens in the State of Nature  Free will and the capacity for self- improvement- society develops, production capacity  Tool-making, cooperation  Settled-societies  Leisure- not necessary for reproduction of species but gives ideas of comparing them to other people, reputation, status, comparison, Hobbes says this is here from the beginning, Rousseau says it was developed (characteristic of corrupt society)  Rousseau is not trying to justify existence of states but looking at history and saying the way modern states developed is unjustifiable  If states are legitimate, states must be created by the general will- we still need governments Anarchism  We would be better off without government  Cooperation is possible without coercion  Hobbes and Locke would say you can’t have a state without coercion, Anarchist says it’s possible Universal Political Obligations  Justifying the state= showing that there are universal political obligations  Should we obey the law because it’s the law? (Problem of political obligation)  Universal= applies to everyone Voluntarism and the Social Contract  Voluntarism: state’s political authority depends on my consent  Social contract: political obligation based on contract or agreement (why we should obey the law and do what state tells you)  Does everyone agree to obey? Consent  Express- yes or no. I consent. (like “I do” at wedding)  Tacit- implicit (haven’t consented but done a moral equivalent: had chance to leave but didn’t)  Hypothetical- you didn’t consent, but hypothetically you would consent if you recognized the rationality of doing so o Objection: hypothetical contract is non-existent Utilitarianism: Three Parts  Theory of the good: happiness  Commitment to equal concern  Requirement of maximization Utilitarianism and Political Obligation  Obey the law if and only if obeying will produce greater happiness than disobeying  Objection: this is a law-breaker’s charter  Response: interpret it in rule-utilitarianism way. If everyone obeys, maximizes happiness for all Objections to Utilitarianism  Too demanding: asks too much (stop world hunger)  Too permissive: allows too much (slavery would maximize happiness) The Princ
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