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Chapter

Notes on Wolff's In Defense of Anarchism Preface to page 25

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Department
Philosophy
Course
PHI2183
Professor
Teva Vidal
Semester
Winter

Description
Notes on In Defense of Anarchism by Robert Paul Wolff Basic Premise: “Each of us has an overriding ability to be morally autonomous” Conclusion: “Amorally legitimate state is a logical impossibility.” XIX argues “all representative government of whatever sort is a compromise with the ideal of autonomous self rule.” • Only direct democracy will preserve autonomy while achieving collective self-rule • “Majority rule of any sort is a compromise with autonomy, and representation, as Rousseau pointed out long ago, is not much better than voluntary self enslavement” • Kant: “anything other than full autonomy is enslavement” • Relativist: “degrees of autonomy…more autonomy is better than less • Anything not direct democracy self-legislation “is a compromise covertly or overtly designed to aid some interests in society and frustrate others.” XXIV good discussion on who we owe allegiance to Part I: The Conflict Between Authority andAutonomy 1. The Concept ofAutonomy 6 what if someone is tricked into doing something they wouldn’t otherwise do? 12: 2. The Concept ofAutonomy Premise: morally philosophy assumes “men are responsible for their actions.” Therefore “men are metaphysically free” and can choose “how they shall act” –Kant Since he can choose, he is responsible for his actions • Choosing not enough to automatically make him take responsibility for his actins • “taking responsibility involves attempting to determine what one ought to do” • This involves “additional burdens of gaining knowledge, reflecting on motives, predicting outcomes, criticizing principles”, etc. Men not obligated to take responsibility from free choice alone, but because they can reason (children madmen exempted) 13 Free will + reason = obligation to take responsibility for actions • Does not guarantee right actions –Kant “Responsible man is not capricious or anarchic, for he acknowledges himself bound by moral constraints” • “he insists that he alone is the judge of those constraints” • Others don’t form his constraints; he chooses to heed their advice • Not like learning from an explorer, accepting his view because you haven’t been there 14 Therefore “he gives laws to himself (self-legislating) from his moral decisions “autonomous man is not subject to the will of another”, therefore he is politically free 14-15 “men can forfeit their autono
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