Political Theory: Comparing Locke, Rousseau and Plato

Locke: What is the purpose of politics – we could live in the state of nature, we don’t need contract or soverign – life, liberty and property State of nature: men live according to reason and governed by reason – man exists in the state of nature in perfect freedom to do as they want, a state of perfect freedom – not necessarily good or bad, bit is calm and peaceful – men give up some of their freedom to secure the advantages of civilized socity men have the right to protect their freedom (killing if necessary) – bound by the laws of nature – contrast with hobbes: everyone has the right over everything, there exist no private property – Liberty to do as he will, but not harm others Purpose of government: – to secure the natural rights of property rights and liberty – we need law enforcers (soverign), we give power to one person and in doing so this creates a government Private Property: – one established once you mix your labor with good most important because we must create a state because of the scarcity of resource (prisoners dilemma) and the innovation of money – mandatory to own property while living in commonwealth, can mix labour with other peoples resource (compensated) Representation: – ensures the government represents the people – safeguard against oppression – disapproval of absolute monarchies; they are arbitary and represent interest of one – governement must always be for the people 1. government must be desgined to protect the people from the gov . natural rights must be secured Rousseau: – mans main drive is self preservation, but thinks that hobbes and locke overestimated the likelihood of the state of war – men are inherintely good State of Nature: – gives life to general will, so all can live well – men are free and equal, seen as nobel savages, only concerned with immediate needs (hunger, sex, fear, death) – savages are motivated by self preservation and pity, men are naturally good and don’t want to hurt each other, doesn’t want the state of war believes civilization is what corrupted him, save man is not concerned with materialistic values Morality: differs from locke – in the state of nature there is no reason for law, right or morality because we tend to avoid harming each other because of our natural aversion to pain and suffereing Social Contract: – must have a group that mediates the people and government – we must force people to be free and force people to follow the sovereign Property rights: must mix labor, cannot have more than others because this is a source of inequality – materialistic thinks are making us morally worse – everything that comes from nature is good, everything from society is bad – a source of inequality; creates dependence and jealousy Purpose of government: – to bring the people in harmony – to unite them under the general will representation: – citizens cannot give away their civil duties, they must participate in politics, because the direct democracy must represent the general will Rousseau-Social Contract • The problems of inequality, amor proper, problem of general discontent • Answer to the problem of natural freedom. • Nature provides no standards for determining who should rule • Man is not a political animal, the general will is the foundation of all legitimate authority • All standards of justice and right have the origin in the unique human property of the will or free agency • Liberation of the will from the usual sources that is the true center of gravity of Roussau’s philosophy. • Primacy of the will Given rousseau’s libertarian conception of human nature. • The fundamental problem is how to find a form of association that defends and protects with all the common force the person and goods of each associate and by means which each individual uniting with all obeys only himself and remains free. • First part says that the aim of the contract is to protect and defend the common goods of each member. Consistent with Locke’s claims that the purpose of society is protect the security of each members. Rousseau adds a second and more disctinctly original claim. The contract must ensure the conditions for mutual protection, but also in uniting with one another each person obeys only himself and remains as free as he was before. • Isn’t the essence of the social contract giving up part of our natural freedom? • How can we remain as free. • Total alienation of each associate together with all of his rights to the entire community • Total alienation, entire community. • To ensure the terms of the agreements, persons must totally give themselves up for the social contract. • When we alienate ourselves, this must be given to the entire community.
This is to ensure that the general will works. • General will is only legitimate sovereign. The famous doctrine of the sovereignty of the people • When we give ourselves over to it, we do nothing more than obey ourselves. Sovereign is not third party, it is simply the people as a whole acting in their collective capacity. • How do we remain as free as we were before? • Formula for freedom or tyranny of the majority? • Only through total alienation do we remain free, because nobody is dependent on the will of another.
The new kind of sovereign is the general will, which is the general interest or rational will of the community. Since we all contribute to the shaping of this general will, we do nothing but obey ourselves when we subscribe to this general will. • Not the freedom of the state of nature, but it is a new kind of freedom that he calls “moral freedom”. • The passage from the state of nature to the civil state produces a remarkable change in man. Gives our actions a moral quality that they previously lacked. What man loses is his natural liberty, but he gains civil liberty. But, to the proceedings acquisitions or civil liberty, we add moral liberty which makes man truly the master of himself. Obedience that one has prescribed for oneself is freedom, moral liberty. • The moral and political implications are massive. • For Hobbes and Locke: liberty is the sphere of human conduct that is unregulated by the law. Where the law is silent, the citizen is free to do whatever it is he chooses to do. • For Rousseau, law is the very beginning of our freedom, but we are free to the extent that we are participants in the laws that we in turn obey.

Freedom means acting in conformity to self-imposed law. • A difference between two very different conceptions of liberty: Liberal vs. Republican • Rousseau makes heroic and unreasonable assumptions about human nature. Why would we like to get together and engage in debate about political matters. • Human nature and our capacity to engage in debate. Unless everyone is engaged in the process of legislation, there is no way to know that the laws are really an expression of my will. You will find yourselves dependent on the will of others.
Freedom from dependence. – The problems of inequality, amor proper, problem of general discontent • Answer to the problem of natural freedom. • Nature provides no standards for determining who should rule • Man is not a political animal, the general will is the foundation of all legitimate authority • All standards of justice and right have the origin in the unique human property of the will or free agency • Liberation of the will from the usual sources that is the true center of gravity of Roussau’s philosophy. • Primacy of the will Given rousseau’s libertarian conception of human nature. • The fundamental problem is how to find a form of association that defends and protects with all the common force the person and goods of each associate and by means which each individual uniting with all obeys only himself and remains free. • First part says that the aim of the contract is to protect and defend the common goods of each member. Consistent with Locke’s claims that the purpose of society is protect the security of each members. Rousseau adds a second and more disctinctly original claim. The contract must ensure the conditions for mutual protection, but also in uniting with one another each person obeys only himself and remains as free as he was before. • Isn’t the essence of the social contract giving up part of our natural freedom? • How can we remain as free. • Total alienation of each associate together with all of his rights to the entire community • Total alienation, entire community. • To ensure the terms of the agreements, persons must totally give themselves up for the social contract. • When we alienate ourselves, this must be given to the entire community.
This is to ensure that the general will works. • General will is only legitimate sovereign. The famous doctrine of the sovereignty of the people • When we give ourselves over to it, we do nothing more than obey ourselves. Sovereign is not third party, it is simply the people as a whole acting in their collective capacity. • How do we remain as free as we were before? • Formula for freedom or tyranny of the majority? • Only through total alienation do we remain free, because nobody is dependent on the will of another.
The new kind of sovereign is the general will, which is the general interest or rational will of the community. Since we all contribute to the shaping of this general will, we do nothing but obey ourselves when we subscribe to this general will. • Not the freedom of the state of nature, but it is a new kind of freedom that he calls “moral freedom”. • The passage from the state of nature to the civil state produces a remarkable change in man. Gives our actions a moral quality that they previously lacked. What man loses is his natural liberty, but he gains civil liberty. But, to the proceedings acquisitions or civil liberty, we add moral liberty which makes man truly the master of himself. Obedience that one has prescribed for oneself is freedom, moral liberty. • The moral and political implications are massive. • For Hobbes and Locke: liberty is the sphere of human conduct that is unregulated by the law. Where the law is silent, the citizen is free to do whatever it is he chooses to do. • For Rousseau, law is the very beginning of our freedom, but we are free to the extent that we are participants in the laws that we in turn obey.
Freedom means acting in conformity to self-imposed law. • A difference between two very different conceptions of liberty: Liberal vs. Republican • Rousseau makes heroic and unreasonable assumptions about human nature. Why would we like to get together and engage in debate about political matters. • Human nature and our capacity to engage in debate. Unless everyone is engaged in the process of legislation, there is no way to know that the laws are really an expression of my will. You will find yourselves dependent on the will of others. Freedom from dependence.
Aristotle: reasoned approach – basic goal of politics was to help society achieve the good life, create a society that allows its citizens to prosper – humans are seen as “political animals” and thus politicas as a force of nature – citizens take place in politics, they are seen as the backbone of the state and have a responsibility to the state, – not all citizens are equal, but all want sovireign – good citizens not posses what it takes to be good man – polity= best form of government; the rich rule over the rest by knowledge and democracy king should not have all the power, he should be the guardian of the law – (has less power than plato and machs ruler) because of the seperation of powers; legislative, executive and juidical – less power and more mobility – CITIZENS; anyone can participate in politics (must participate) – By nature everyone has the capacity of reason and is able to participate in politics – Slaves are legit they are the means of production so that everyone else can participate in politics – Ruled by; virtue, moral and reason – Education: can change conslitation for progess because children are taught from young age to reason, (public learning) – Bartering=natural Aristotle- Politics Human beings are political animals. Problematic relation between economics and politics Role of labour and role of commerce The political community is designed to promote human flourishing Happiness is a life of activity expressing virtue Essence of Political rule: ruling and being ruled The highest community is the political community Without law man is the worst of animals and law depends for its existence on the state.
In order to meet our needs we must interact with nature to get the results we want. Work is a process, not an activity. Work is enslaving, provided by necessity Some people are fit for being slaves, others are fit for ruling. It is only natural that things are that way. Man is a political animal, that needs to live in a community. Trade is necessary, and therefore there is a need for a division of labour. Property is those goods need to develop their ability to develop a virtuous life Surplus has to be exchanged. Profit making is the pursuit of false wealth (capital)
The Unconditionally best regime is the rule of the virtuous. Fundamental value of political community is friendship Aristotle criticizes Plato’s utopia, arguing that it gives too much unity to the state, and would make the state into an individual. A government is good when it aims at the good of the whole community, bad when it cares only for itself. Good Governments Bad Governments Monarchy Tyranny (Worse) Aristocracy Oligarchy Constitutional government (polity) Democracy (Least worse) Citizenship is defined by participation in office and in ruling. Political rule is mastery of free people ublic life is far more virtuous than the private Good citizen vs. good man Aristotle does not have a conception of an absolute good and has a more matrial account of morality. – rights Machiavelli: use deception and illusion for the better purpose of economic ends of the state – prince must be immoral opportunitst, people should never know the “real him”, but this creates a high risk of being seen as bad leader – overall the lead is not a good one because you cannot rule you people with immoral action – ends justify means – goal of politics to maintain power and stability citizen must obey ruler and do as one told, no room for citizen participation in politics – equality does not exist – prince must be loved and feared – progress for the state = improving means of production (capitalism) Virtue: fortune/luck is half our actions – always appear virtuous – one capacity to understand political life and control it for the greater good of the state not for the sake of morality – priority of security over morality – price must be immoral when need be, to ensure the state security – generosity vs compassion – Machiavelli-Power A good ruler is not always good; he is good when he has to be but is cruel when the situation requires it. • Leader or prince must have virtu: a set of qualities necessary to be a politician worthy of praise • Learn to be able to not be good • He attacks secular moralists and the Christian ideals of morality • The prince must have courage to do whatever it takes to get what he needs. • “Small evils to prevent greater evils” • Political stability is a condition for a private moral life • Domestic sphere is the domain of morality. • Role of the state is to ensure security • Prince must be a realist • Acquisition of power is important How is power won, lost and maintained is the main focus of The Prince • No traditional idea of “legitimate power” • To achieve political ends, power is necessary. • Fortuna, it is good to do whatever is required to obtain power. • Appear to be good to the general public • We admire the virtuous leaders • No hard rules in politics, no political formulas • Skill, assertive independence is necessary to have political power. • People want power, mainly self interested • Stability, is important • Glory is not a bad thing, it is actually praiseworthy • The Prince must try to master Fortuna as much as he possibly can Hobbes- Leviathan: The Sovereign is not the direct expression of individual rules but an abstraction of the natural desire to rule • Hobbes wants us to abstain from politics by agreeing to be ruled by this artificial man or sovereign • For by art is created the Great Leviathan, commonwealth • Trade liberty for security • Liberty under Hobbes’ sovereign is whatever is not restricted by law. • Humans in the state of nature are in a constant state of war, everything belongs to • Society and political community is artificial • Human equality : in nature nobody is superior to another • What makes authority possible? What is the source of authority?
What makes legitimate authority possible? • How can individuals who are biologically autonomous, who judge and see matters differently, who can never be sure whether they can trust one another, how can such individuals accept a common authority? • That is the fundamental question of the social contract tradition. • When is authority in question? True in Hobbes’ time of civil war • Hobbes tells a story: he tells the story about something he calls the state of nature. Hobbes will always be associated with the idea of the state of nature. • It is not the biblical account of Eden, nor is it a political condition like maintained by Aristotle. Sovereign’s main function is to make us equal • The state of nature is not a condition of actual fighting, but a known disposition of actual fighting. • His claim that the state of war is a condition that we are naturally in, is to say that nature does not unite us. If nature is a norm, it does not mandate us to peace, friendship and solidarity with others. Only art and human relations can bring about peace. • Authority and relations are the product of contrivance and art. – Plato: moral guidance, not legal obidence – philosopher king rule over all with rationality (rational part of soul rules over honor seeking and appeitive) must make the state a “utopia”; all work together for the common good of the state- seek harmony – children are all raised together and educated together – soverign is essential because it takes the best people in society and puts them in power – ruler acts as moral guider for other social classes – philosopher kings; determine justice and law because of their unique virtue (rationality) – each individual serves as a purpose in society, according to certain qualification (rationality, honor, appetite) that makes them more suited to a particular task (ruler, auxiliary, worker) without the philosopher king men fall pity to their desires and appeitiess(greed) – the state acts as a check for the passions of individuals – humans want what is intrinstically good, while they are capable of commiting wrong, this is because of some appetitie/desire rather than some flaw – there exists no equality, there is a social order in which you are born into – everyone is guided by the philosopher king beacuase they posses the ultimate truth, without them the normal person would not know how to act in socity and would fall prey to passions and selfishness humans want what is best, therefore listen to higher good – justice throught: strength, philosophy and doing good to friends Property: plato fails to identify population increase and other countries boundarys Plato- Republic: • What is justice? Is it appearing just but really being unjust? Is it the rule of the strongest? • Move away from ordinary definitions of justice. Perfect Justice vs. Perfect injustice • The Necessary myths: religion. Myths are not true but they are helpful in a society to keep order. “Noble lie” • Allegory of the cave: The world of appearances is only a reflection of the pure realm of forms. The best life is the one spent contemplating the fundamental laws of the universe. • The Philosophers must be kings, also called guardians. • Their role is to overlook everything in society is working correctly, and in order to do this they must be philosophers. • Rulers must live in commune, share everything in order that their desires are quenched and they can dedicate full attention to the city. • We are born with natural aptitudes and we should become that to which our natural aptitude fits best. • Perfect city: harmony and order • Noble lie: Gold people are the most apt to lead and become guardians.
Silver people are merchants and traders, and bronze people are craftsmen. People can only mate with a person of the same category. • The skill of a guardian/ruler is similar to that of craftsman. The state is the guardian’s craft so he should be prepared to deal with it appropriately. Democracy is cause of conflict because most people are not suited to rule or make political decisions. • Mastery according to nature • Justice: minding your own business. • Women are not naturally inferior to men. • The form of the Good is higher than justice, and requires extensive training to grasp it. Truth exists independent of time and space. • Justice is a relation among individuals, depending on social organization; and that in consequence it can be studied better as part of the structure of a community than as a quality of personal conduct. • Men are acquisitive, ambitious, competitive, and jealous by nature. • Democracy ruins itself by excess of democracy. Its basic principle is the equal right of all to hold office and determine public policy. People are not properly equipped by education to select the best rulers and the wisest courses. • To understand politics, we must understand psychology. Like man, like state” • Human behavior flows from desire, emotion and knowledge. Desire, appetite, impulse instinct, these are one; emotion, spirit, ambition, courage another; finally knowledge, thought, intellect, reason, these are another. • Statesmanship is a science and an art. Only a philosopher king is fitted to guide a nation. • Education should be physical as well as intellectual, and musical. • Justice is about organizing the political community so everyone can live the good life. • Perfect organization of the city so each individual can develop his or her own nature • Every individual is the product of the city People are slaves to their own desires • Good life=contemplation • The perfect ruler has knowledge of the Good, and designs all laws and institutions in according with the Good. • What’s missing is a fundamental knowledge of the structure of the world. • The confine of reality is own human nature. “City” Timocracy Love of honor, desire of treasure. Good=Honor Oligarchy Regime founded on Prosperity. Good=Money Democracy Rule by the multitude. Good=Freedom Tyranny Takes power, wages war, enslaves the people. Good=Desires of tyrant

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