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- From open source to open government: A critique of open politics
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This chapter utilizes theories of social justice and human rights to examine issues of access to clean water and sanitation services, along with competing uses that include agricultural purposes essential for human health.
The English philosopher Thomas Hobbes is best known for his political thought, and deservedly so. His vision of the world is strikingly original and still relevant to contemporary politics. His main concern is the problem of social and political order: how human beings can live together in peace and avoid the danger and fear of civil conflict. He poses stark alternatives: we should give our obedience to an unaccountable sovereign a person or group empowered to decide every social and political issue. Otherwise what awaits us is a state of nature that closely resembles civil war — a situation of universal insecurity, where all have reason to fear violent death and where rewarding human cooperation is all but impossible.
From open source to open government: A critique of open politics
The English philosopher Thomas Hobbes is best known for his political thought, and deservedly so. His vision of the world is strikingly original and still relevant to contemporary politics. His main concern is the problem of social and political order: how human beings can live together in peace and avoid the danger and fear of civil conflict. He poses stark alternatives: we should give our obedience to an unaccountable sovereign a person or group empowered to decide every social and political issue.
Otherwise what awaits us is a state of nature that closely resembles civil war — a situation of universal insecurity, where all have reason to fear violent death and where rewarding human cooperation is all but impossible. One controversy has dominated interpretations of Hobbes. Does he see human beings as purely self-interested or egoistic?
Several passages support such a reading, leading some to think that his political conclusions can be avoided if we adopt a more realistic picture of human nature. However, most scholars now accept that Hobbes himself had a much more complex view of human motivation.
A major theme below will be why the problems he poses cannot be avoided simply by taking a less selfish view of human nature. Hobbes is the founding father of modern political philosophy. Directly or indirectly, he has set the terms of debate about the fundamentals of political life right into our own times.
Few have liked his thesis, that the problems of political life mean that a society should accept an unaccountable sovereign as its sole political authority. Nonetheless, we still live in the world that Hobbes addressed head on: a world where human authority is something that requires justification, and is automatically accepted by few; a world where social and political inequality also appears questionable; and a world where religious authority faces significant dispute.
But what or who determines what those rights are? And who will enforce them? In other words, who will exercise the most important political powers, when the basic assumption is that we all share the same entitlements?
A century before, Nicolo Machiavelli had emphasized the harsh realities of power, as well as recalling ancient Roman experiences of political freedom. Machiavelli appears as the first modern political thinker, because like Hobbes he was no longer prepared to talk about politics in terms set by religious faith indeed, he was still more offensive than Hobbes to many orthodox believers , instead, he looked upon politics as a secular discipline divorced from theology.
But unlike Hobbes, Machiavelli offers us no comprehensive philosophy: we have to reconstruct his views on the importance and nature of freedom; it remains uncertain which, if any, principles Machiavelli draws on in his apparent praise of amoral power politics. How is political authority justified and how far does it extend? In particular, are our political rulers properly as unlimited in their powers as Hobbes had suggested? And if they are not, what system of politics will ensure that they do not overstep the mark, do not trespass on the rights of their subjects?
How was he able to set out a way of thinking about politics and power that remains decisive nearly four centuries afterwards? Born in , the year the Spanish Armada made its ill-fated attempt to invade England, he lived to the exceptional age of 91, dying in He was not born to power or wealth or influence: the son of a disgraced village vicar, he was lucky that his uncle was wealthy enough to provide for his education and that his intellectual talents were soon recognized and developed through thorough training in the classics of Latin and Greek.
And these in turn—together with a good deal of common sense and personal maturity—won him a place tutoring the son of an important noble family, the Cavendishes.
This meant that Hobbes entered circles where the activities of the King, of Members of Parliament, and of other wealthy landowners were known and discussed, and indeed influenced. Thus intellectual and practical ability brought Hobbes to a place close to power—later he would even be math tutor to the future King Charles II.
Although this never made Hobbes powerful, it meant he was acquainted with and indeed vulnerable to those who were.
As the scene was being set for the Civil Wars of and —wars that would lead to the King being executed and a republic being declared—Hobbes felt forced to leave the country for his personal safety, and lived in France from to Thus Hobbes lived in a time of upheaval, sharper than any England has since known.
This turmoil had many aspects and causes, political and religious, military and economic. England stood divided against itself in several ways. Society was divided religiously, economically, and by region.
Inequalities in wealth were huge, and the upheavals of the Civil Wars saw the emergence of astonishingly radical religious and political sects. For instance, the Levellers called for much greater equality in terms of wealth and political rights; the Diggers, more radical still, fought for the abolition of wage labor. Civil war meant that the country became militarily divided. Intensely disputatious, Hobbes repeatedly embroiled himself in prolonged arguments with clerics, mathematicians, scientists and philosophers—sometimes to the cost of his intellectual reputation.
His writing was as undaunted by age and ill health as it was by the events of his times. Hobbes gained a reputation in many fields. He was known as a scientist especially in optics , as a mathematician especially in geometry , as a translator of the classics, as a writer on law, as a disputant in metaphysics and epistemology; not least, he became notorious for his writings and disputes on religious questions. But it is for his writings on morality and politics that he has, rightly, been most remembered.
Without these, scholars might remember Hobbes as an interesting intellectual of the seventeenth century; but few philosophers would even recognize his name. What are the writings that earned Hobbes his philosophical fame?
The second is a deep admiration for and involvement in the emerging scientific method, alongside an admiration for a much older discipline, geometry. Both influences affected how Hobbes expressed his moral and political ideas. In some areas it is also clear that they significantly affected the ideas themselves.
In the first place, he makes very strong claims about the proper relation between religion and politics. He was not as many have charged an atheist, but he was deadly serious in insisting that theological disputes should be kept out of politics. For Hobbes, the sovereign should determine the proper forms of religious worship, and citizens never have duties to God that override their duty to obey political authority.
He insists that terms be clearly defined and relate to actual concrete experiences—part of his empiricism. Many early sections of Leviathan read rather like a dictionary. What is certain, and more important from the point of view of his moral and political thought, is that he tries extremely hard to avoid any metaphysical categories that do not relate to physical realities especially the mechanical realities of matter and motion.
His admiration is not so much for the emerging method of experimental science, but rather for deductive science—science that deduces the workings of things from basic first principles and from true definitions of the basic elements. It looks rather like a dead-end on the way to the modern idea of science based on patient observation, theory-building and experiment.
Once more, it can be disputed whether this method is significant in shaping those ideas, or merely provides Hobbes with a distinctive way of presenting them. On his view, what we ought to do depends greatly on the situation in which we find ourselves. Where political authority exists, our duty seems to be quite straightforward: to obey those in power. For him ethics is concerned with human nature, while political philosophy deals with what happens when human beings interact.
He begins by telling us that the human body is like a machine, and that political organization the commonwealth is like an artificial human being. He ends by saying that the truth of his ideas can be gauged only by self-examination, by looking into our selves to adjudge our characteristic thoughts and passions, which form the basis of all human action. But what is the relationship between these two very different claims?
For obviously when we look into our selves we do not see mechanical pushes and pulls. As to what he will say about successful political organization, the resemblance between the commonwealth and a functioning human being is slim indeed.
Science provides him with a distinctive method and some memorable metaphors and similes. Those ideas may have come, as Hobbes also claims, from self-examination. In all likelihood, they actually derived from his reflection on contemporary events and his reading of classics of political history such as Thucydides. But it does mean we should not be misled by scientific imagery that stems from an in fact non-existent science and also, to some extent, from an unproven and uncertain metaphysics.
But while it is true that Hobbes sometimes says things like this, we should be clear that the ideas fit together only in a metaphorical way.
Likewise, there is no reason why pursuing pleasure and pain should work in our self-interest. What self-interest is depends on the time-scale we adopt, and how effectively we might achieve this goal also depends on our insight into what harms and benefits us.
The other aspect concerns human powers of judgment and reasoning, about which Hobbes tends to be extremely skeptical. Like many philosophers before him, Hobbes wants to present a more solid and certain account of human morality than is contained in everyday beliefs. Plato had contrasted knowledge with opinion. Hobbes has several reasons for thinking that human judgment is unreliable, and needs to be guided by science.
Our judgments tend to be distorted by self-interest or by the pleasures and pains of the moment. We may share the same basic passions, but the various things of the world affect us all very differently; and we are inclined to use our feelings as measures for others. When we use words which lack any real objects of reference, or are unclear about the meaning of the words we use, the danger is not only that our thoughts will be meaningless, but also that we will fall into violent dispute.
Hobbes has scholastic philosophy in mind, but he also makes related points about the dangerous effects of faulty political ideas and ideologies. We form beliefs about supernatural entities, fairies and spirits and so on, and fear follows where belief has gone, further distorting our judgment.
Unfortunately, his picture of science, based on crudely mechanistic premises and developed through deductive demonstrations, is not even plausible in the physical sciences. He is certainly an acute and wise commentator of political affairs; we can praise him for his hard-headedness about the realities of human conduct, and for his determination to create solid chains of logical reasoning. Nonetheless, this does not mean that Hobbes was able to reach a level of scientific certainty in his judgments that had been lacking in all previous reflection on morals and politics.
Many interpreters have presented the Hobbesian agent as a self-interested, rationally calculating actor those ideas have been important in modern political philosophy and economic thought, especially in terms of rational choice theories. It is true that some of the problems that face people like this—rational egoists, as philosophers call them—are similar to the problems Hobbes wants to solve in his political philosophy.
And it is also very common for first-time readers of Hobbes to get the impression that he believes we are all basically selfish. There are good reasons why earlier interpreters and new readers tend to think the Hobbesian agent is ultimately self-interested. Hobbes likes to make bold and even shocking claims to get his point across. What could be clearer? First, quite simply, it represents a false view of human nature.
People do all sorts of altruistic things that go against their interests. They also do all sorts of needlessly cruel things that go against self-interest think of the self-defeating lengths that revenge can run to. So it would be uncharitable to interpret Hobbes this way, if we can find a more plausible account in his work.
Second, in any case Hobbes often relies on a more sophisticated view of human nature. He describes or even relies on motives that go beyond or against self-interest, such as pity, a sense of honor or courage, and so on. And he frequently emphasizes that we find it difficult to judge or appreciate just what our interests are anyhow.
The upshot is that Hobbes does not think that we are basically or reliably selfish; and he does not think we are fundamentally or reliably rational in our ideas about what is in our interests. He is rarely surprised to find human beings doing things that go against self-interest: we will cut off our noses to spite our faces, we will torture others for their eternal salvation, we will charge to our deaths for love of country.
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To convert for web: rpall. Save copy of rpolphil and close other documents first. For general key to reading lists: macro RKI. Reading lists. The nature of political philosophy, its relation to ethics. Baier, K.
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My academic interests are in ethics and feminist philosophy. My research focuses on self-respect, seeking to understand what it is, why it matters morally whether and how we respect ourselves, and what the connections are between self-respect and respect for and from other people. I am currently working on a book on arrogance and self-respect, having published several papers and encyclopedia articles on the subject. I work in the intersection of virtue ethics, moral psychology, political philosophy, and feminist ethics, and look to Kant and Aristotle for insight and inspiration. I regularly teach a first-year seminar on self-respect, as well as various courses in ethics ethical theory, contemporary ethics, global ethics and in social and political philosophy.
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Она знала, что цепная мутация представляет собой последовательность программирования, которая сложнейшим образом искажает данные. Это обычное явление для компьютерных вирусов, особенно таких, которые поражают крупные блоки информации. Из почты Танкадо Сьюзан знала также, что цепные мутации, обнаруженные Чатрукьяном, безвредны: они являются элементом Цифровой крепости.
Мы можем обслужить вас по особому тарифу. - Ну… вообще-то никто не давал мне ваш номер специально. - В голосе мужчины чувствовалось какая-то озабоченность. - Я нашел его в паспорте и хочу разыскать владельца. Сердце Ролдана упало.
Но, директор, - возразила Сьюзан, - это не имеет смысла. Если Танкадо не понял, что стал жертвой убийства, зачем ему было отдавать ключ. - Согласен, - сказал Джабба.