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PS 231 Introduction to Political Theory

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Politics and Political Philosophy. Began study of four great sub-disciplines: Herodotus: domestic politics and policy studies. Plato: political philosophy. Aristotle: ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: PS 231 Introduction to Political Theory


1
PS 231 Introduction to Political Theory
  • FORCE VS. FREEDOM
  • Dr. Clifford E. Griffin

2
FORCE VS. FREEDOM
3
Politics and Political Philosophy
  • Politics is one of the oldest academic
    disciplines.
  • In ancient Greece political philosophers studied
    the uses of power.
  • Concern
  • creating a good society
  • balancing the pursuit of power with justice and
    order.

4
Politics and Political Philosophy
  • Began study of four great sub-disciplines
  • Herodotus
  • domestic politics and policy studies
  • Plato
  • political philosophy
  • Aristotle
  • Comparative politics
  • Thucydides
  • international politics

5
Politics and Political Philosophy
  • Politics is the operation of power in society
  • physical power
  • economic power
  • legal power
  • power over opinion.
  • Power is used to pursue the interests of human
    beings.
  • These interests are often aggregated into
    factional alliances.
  • Political Studies, often also called Political
    Science, is the academic discipline that tries to
    establish how this happens.

6
Political Philosophy
  • The branch of philosophy that discusses freedom,
    justice, rights, democracy and other political
    issues.
  • Central questions include
  • Is democracy the best form of government?
  • How can we balance rights and responsibilities?

7
Political Philosophy
  • Law
  • A body of enforceable rules governing
    relationships among individuals and between
    individuals and their society.

8
Political Philosophy
  • Natural Law
  • A system of universal moral and ethical
    principles inherent inhuman nature, which people
    can discover by using their natural intelligence
    (e.g., murder is wrong parents are responsible
    for the acts of their minor children)

9
Political Philosophy
  • Positive Law
  • The written law of
  • particular society at a
  • particular point in time
  • (e.g., the US Constitution,
  • the Texas Securities Act,
  • The Internal Revenue
  • Code, and published
  • Judicial decisions).

10
Political Philosophy
  • Natural Law adherents presuppose
  • that positive law derives its
  • legitimacy from natural law and hold that, to
    the extent that natural law
  • and positive law differ, natural law must
    prevail.

11
Political Philosophy
  • Legal Positivists
  • hold that there is no
  • higher law than that
  • created by legitimate
  • governments and that
  • such laws must be
  • obeyed, even if they
  • appear unjust or
  • otherwise at odds with
  • natural law.

12
Some Perennial Questions
  • Are human beings estranged by their very nature?

  • What causes conflicts among human beings?
  • Can we reason ourselves through estrangement?
  • Can religion counter estrangement?
  • Can a global society ever be achieved?
  • What is the purpose of class distinctions?

13
Some Perennial Questions
  • Are human beings unequal by nature?
  • In what ways can elites be identified?
  • In what ways do liberty and equality conflict?
  • Why is liberty important?
  • How have we attempted to reconcile liberty and
    equality in the US?
  • What are the problems associated with this
    solution?

14
Some Perennial Questions
  • What questions does feminism cause us to
    reexamine? Why?
  • What questions does gay marriage cause us to
    reexamine? Why?
  • How do you think such questions should be
    addressed?

15
Some Perennial Questions
  • How important is power?
  • What makes power legitimate?
  • What is the relationship of power to order?
  • Are there other means of achieving power?
  • How does human nature relate to power?

16
Some Perennial Questions
  • Who should rule and why?
  • What is
  • divine right?
  • consent?
  • general will?
  • What are the strengths of
  • representative democracy?
  • direct democracy?

17
Some Perennial Questions
  • What are the proper limits to govt power?
  • How is the use of power affected by moral
    relativism vs. moral absolutism?
  • What is constitutionalism?
  • To whom does the earth belong? Why?
  • How does private property evolve?
  • How does the free enterprise system benefit all?

  • What is socialism?
  • Can/should the wisest rule?

18
Some Perennial Questions
  • Can human behavior be fully understood?
  • Can all knowledge/development be good for us?
  • What is the purpose of government?
  • To secure liberty?
  • To avoid war?
  • To preserve individuality?
  • To provide happiness?
  • To secure justice?
  • To provide for tradition?

19
Some Perennial Questions
  • What is economic determinism?
  • Can we control history?
  • Must we use violence? Why?
  • according to liberals?
  • according to radicals?
  • Nonviolence vs. nonresistance.
  • Purpose of nonviolence?
  • Weaknesses of nonviolence?

20
Some Perennial Questions
  • Does the individual define everything?
  • Do humans have a fixed nature, or essence, as
    other animals and plants do or does each human
    being make choices that create his or her own
    nature?
  • Existentialism
  • emphasizing individual existence, freedom, and
    choice
  • Is the highest good for the individual is to find
    his or her own unique vocation?

21
Importance and Role of Morality
  • Moral of the Day

22
Why Be Moral?
  • For a long time, the answer to why? was
  • For parents and for societybecause I say so!"

  • For an even longer time that question rarely
    arose, which greatly simplified matters.

23
Why Be Moral?
  • From the moral standpoint,
  • modernity may be defined as the unwillingness of
    the many (no longer only a privileged or heroic
    few) to accept "Because I (we) say so" for an
    answer.
  • Why get my daily bread in this way rather than
    some other?"

24
Are Americans Moral?
25
Are Americans Moral?
  • As one author puts it,
  • Americans moral philosophy defined by the
    principle of moral freedom
  • See connection between individual freedom and
    economic and moral life

26
Are Americans Moral?
  • "Moral freedom means that individuals should
    determine for themselves what it means to lead a
    good and virtuous life.

27
Are Americans Moral?
  • If Americans have a moral meta-principle, it is
    flexibility.
  • "No absolutes" is the watchword.
  • Accordingly,
  • Extremism in the pursuit of virtue is no virtue

  • moderation in the practice of virtue is no vice.

  • One owes loyalty to an employer or a spouse, but
    also to one's career and even one's own
    happiness.
  • Honesty is the best policy, as long as it's
    reciprocated and
  • honesty in dealing with big institutions
    (especially the IRS) doesn't really count.

28
Are Americans Moral?
  • Self-discipline is essential to success, though
    pleasure is no less essential to emotional
    health.
  • And so on, the rule being Adapt every rule to
    the circumstances.
  • Americans, therefore, are consequentialists.

29
Are Americans Moral?
  • Many contemporary Americans find answers to the
    perennial questions asked by theologians and
    moral philosophers, not by conforming to
    strictures handed down by God or nature, but
  • by considering who they are,
  • what others require, and
  • what consequences follow from acting in one way
    rather than another."

30
Are Americans Free?Do We Possess Freedom?
31
FORCE vs. FREEDOM
  • To be free is control ones own life
  • TWO SIDES TO FREEDOM
  • NEGATIVE FREEDOM
  • POSITIVE FREEDOM

32
FORCE vs. FREEDOM
  • Negative Freedom
  • Freedom from restraint
  • Enjoyed when not subject to anothers compulsion
  • Cannot have positive freedom without negative
    freedom

33
FORCE vs. FREEDOM
  • Positive Freedom
  • Freedom to act
  • Enjoyed only if enjoy negative freedom
  • Allows one to choose between alternatives and to
    act on ones choice
  • Allows us to develop potentialities and
    individuality

34
FORCE vs. FREEDOM
  • Wisdom is the most important means to positive
    freedom
  • FEELINGS (fear or courage) and strength or
    weakness of character enter into our decisions
  • MOTIVATIONS are the driving force in our actions

35
FORCE vs. FREEDOM
  • Wisdom is the most important means to positive
    freedom
  • FEELINGS (fear or courage) and strength or
    weakness of character enter into our decisions
  • MOTIVATIONS are the driving force in our actions

36
FORCE vs. FREEDOM
  • UNDERSTANDING is different
  • It is an intellectual process
  • It involves choice (the route to take)
  • Good or Bad
  • GOOD
  • Must form some idea of what that is

37
FORCE vs. FREEDOM
  • Freedom presupposes humanity
  • Life based on choice rather than
    predetermination
  • Having freedom of choice is good
  • The freer we are, the better we are

38
FORCE vs. FREEDOM
  • Another View
  • FREEDOM IS AN ILLUSION
  • FREEDOM IS SPURIOUS
  • Freedom may be possible but its value is dubious
    at best or bogus at worst.
  • How freedom is used is what matters
  • If you are ignorant, foolish, or malicious, your
    freedom to act can harm others besides yourself

39
FORCE vs. FREEDOM
  • Many people are
  • Morally immature
  • Intellectually immature
  • Should submit to those who know better to guide
    them in the right direction

40
What is so good about moral freedom?Wes
Morriston, U of Colorado
  • Argues that many Christian philosophers believe
  • that it is a great good that human beings are
    free to choose between good and evil
  • so good that God is justified in putting up with
    a great many evil choices
  • Many also believe
  • that God is essentially good in every possible
    world.
  • That unlike his sinful human creatures, God
    cannot choose between good and evil.
  • That, therefore, God is not morally free.

41
What is so good about moral freedom?Wes
Morriston, U of Colorado
  • If moral freedom is such a great good in human
    beings,
  • why isnt it a grave defect in God that he lacks
    it?
  • And if the lack of moral freedom does not detract
    in any way from Gods greatness,
  • would it not have been better for us not to have
    it?

42
What is so good about moral freedom?Wes
Morriston, U of Colorado
  • According to one thinker,
  • it is impossible for God to do evil because he is
    omniscient and perfectly free.
  • Because he is omniscient, God always knows what
    he ought to do.
  • And because he is perfectly free, God is never
    subject, as we are, to irrational desires and
    inclinations of the sort that might tempt him not
    to do what he ought.
  • Therefore, God is not free to choose between good
    and evil.
  • God may be perfectly free, but he is not
    morally free.
  • Presumably, this makes God better, not worse

43
What is so good about moral freedom?Wes
Morriston, U of Colorado
  • According to this thinker,
  • the freedom to choose between good and evil is a
    very great good.
  • God gives us moral freedom because he wants us to
    share in his creative activity
  • because he wants us
  • to be able to make a real difference in the
    world and
  • to have a deep responsibility for the welfare of
    other creatures

44
What is so good about moral freedom?Wes
Morriston, U of Colorado
  • If God has perfect freedom, rather than moral
    freedom,
  • wouldnt we be more like God, and therefore
    better than we are, if he had made us perfectly
    free too?
  • Why, then, has he given us a nature that subjects
    us to the irrational desires and inclinations
    that make it so easy for us to do evil?
  • If God had made us perfectly free instead of
    morally free,
  • he would have guaranteed that our presence would
    always make the right sort of difference to the
    world.
  • Surely the world would then have been a much
    better place?

45
What is so good about moral freedom?Wes
Morriston, U of Colorado
  • According to another thinker,
  • God made us free in order to make us morally
    responsible for our choices and thus
  • to make it possible for us to achieve a measure
    of moral goodness.
  • God puts up with moral evil because
  • he cannot prevent it without also eliminating all
    the distinctively moral goodness in the world.
  • He chose to actualize this possible world
    because, thanks to his middle knowledge of what
    each possible free creatures would do with its
    freedom in any possible situation,
  • he knew that it would contain a better overall
    balance of moral good and moral evil than any of
    other alternatives available to him

46
What is so good about moral freedom?Wes
Morriston, U of Colorado
  • This suggests that God is morally free to do evil
    even if he never actually chooses to do any.
  • But these thinkers claim that God is essentially
    good
  • that there is no possible world in which God is
    not morally good.
  • Why?
  • Because God is the Greatest Possible Being, and
  • because God would be greater if he possessed
    all his great-making characteristics in every
    possible world.
  • Since essential moral goodness is thought to be
    greater than merely contingent goodness, the
    Greatest Possible Being must possess essential
    moral good

47
What is so good about moral freedom?Wes
Morriston, U of Colorado
  • If significant freedom is required for moral
    responsibility and moral goodness in human
    creatures, why isnt it required for moral
    responsibility and moral goodness in God?
  • Are we saying
  • that God is essentially good (and thus lacks
    moral freedom), and
  • that moral freedom is a very great good for human
    beings?

48
What is so good about moral freedom?Wes
Morriston, U of Colorado
  • Is it the case
  • that moral freedom is required for moral goodness
    in human beings, but not for moral goodness in
    their Creator?

49
What is so good about moral freedom?Wes
Morriston, U of Colorado
  • Human beings
  • are both morally responsible and morally free.
  • Have moral responsibility, which presupposes
    moral freedom.
  • God, on the other hand,
  • is not morally free
  • his nature is such that he cannot choose between
    good and evil.
  • Nevertheless,
  • God is morally responsible for his actions, and
  • is perfectly good in the distinctively moral sense

50
What is so good about moral freedom?Wes
Morriston, U of Colorado
  • What kind of freedom is required for moral
    responsibility?
  • Is the freedom to choose between good and evil
    really necessary?

51
WHY ENGAGE IN POLITICAL THINKING?
  • DOES GOVERNMENT HAVE ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR TRUTH
    AND MORALITY?
  • Does government have any spiritual
    responsibilities?

52
WHY ENGAGE IN POLITICAL THINKING?
  • Is The Government Concerned Merely With
    Maintaining Order And Protecting Personal
    Freedom, Or Is It Concerned With The True And The
    Good?
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