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Pols 250 fall term readings part 4 Josiah Ober-Natural capacities and Democracy as a good in itself.docx

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Political Studies
POLS 250
Colin Farrelly

Pols 250 fall term readings part 4: (Josiah Ober-Natural capacities and Democracy as a Good in itself)  Democracy is good in itself, as exemplified by Aristotles claim that humans are merely political animals.  Association in decision is necessary for happiness(Eudemonia)  Amarrtya Sen: Democracy as a universal value  Democracy’s value as purely instrumental in its effectiveness? o No: it has fundamental value, and thus oral responsibility attached  Ground clearing o Aristotle classifies democracy as corrupt. Concerned with ensuring conditions that will realize true happiness o This paper reflects the view of someone who  Believes in happiness  Yet it is not concerned to reduce happiness to a single condition  Embraces the Liberal conviction that one can flesh out ones one conception of a good life. o Democracy is a good in and of itself but not sufficient to define happiness o Isaiah berlin- no set of goods can guarantee happiness. Democracy is not a value in and of itself. Modern liberty is non-interference  Attack by Quentin Skinner: Impossible that a dictator sustain liberty  Attack by Phillip Petit: Value of liberty as non-domination  The argument o Rejects the claim that democracy is instrumental for individual liberty and social justice. o “simple weak rule”- actions that don’t cause harm should be allowed. It allows leaders to deny political control to subjects as we are incompetent and can’t know what harms our decisions brink about.  Strengthened by two conditions  1) actor is adult and not acting on external pressure  2) performing the action brings true happiness to the actor o Provides grounds for 4 claims  1) Certain natural capacities are necessary for the happiness of that distinctive being.
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