Saint Francis's desire to follow the life of Jesus made him go to great lengths to dissociate himself from power, property and legal rights of any kind. The witness to Christian humility that his small group gave was so attractive to his contemporaries that soon his fellowship became a large organisation entrusted by the Church with a preaching mission throughout Europe and beyond. By 1300 there were Franciscans in Beijing.
In Democracy in Australia I argued that the Australian system is a mixture of features, some democratic and some oligarchical. In this lecture I want to outline the thinking behind this mixture. It is not an inconsistency or an accident, as if the drafters of our constitution meant to make a democracy but did not quite succeed. Rather, the Australian constitution is an intelligent and successful solution to certain problems which worried educated people in the 19th century but are now (...) largely forgotten. Perhaps their problems have turned out to be unreal; or perhaps the problems are forgotten because their solution was so successful. The drafters of the Australian Constitution set out to balance Democracy and certain other values, in a tradition of the mixed or balanced constitution coming down from Aristotle. (shrink)
Much has been written about Locke's Second Treatise,[Note 1] but still, I believe, the book's main line of argument has been left unclear . Some concepts need more prominence---the duty to preserve mankind, the right of war, and private judgment; others need less---consent, majority rule, and property. Locke's aim was not to show that political obligation rests upon consent: that is assumed without argument.[Note 2] What he set out to prove is that there are certain limits to political (...) obligation which not even consent could set aside.[Note 3]. (shrink)
Every intellectual discipline constructs and reconstructs its own history, as writings not previously regarded as important get into reading lists and others fall out. Until recently students of political theory were urged to read Plato and Aristotle, and then Hobbes and Locke, but nothing, or very little, between the Greeks and the early moderns. Those who have ventured into this gap have found that, at least from the thirteenth century, there was a good deal of political theory, with clear links (...) with the theories of the seventeenth century. The seventeenth-century writers are better understood if we are also familiar with the work of their predecessors, who are in any case as much worth reading as they are. An interesting task for historians of political theory, and for political theorists, is to integrate the study of medieval thought into the discipline. (shrink)
In medieval texts the term ius naturale can mean either natural law or natural right; for the latter sense see the article Natural Rights ”. Ius naturale in the former sense, and also lex naturalis, mean the universal and immutable law to which the laws of human legislators, the customs of particular communities and the actions of individuals ought to conform. It is equivalent to morality thought of as a system of law. It is called “natural” either (a) because it (...) is taught by natural instinct, i.e. some capacity innate in human beings, or (b) because it is accessible to “natural reason”, i.e. to personal reflection independent of any special revelation from God (such as the Christian faith claims to be) and independent of the moral authority of other human beings; or for both reasons. (shrink)
From the 12 th century onwards, medieval canon lawyers and, from the early 14 th century, theologians and philosophers began to use ius to mean a right, and developed a theory of natural rights, the predecessor of modern theories of human rights. The main applications of this theory were in respect of property and government.
I suggest that each political party could (if it chose) nominate two (or more) candidates to the same seat, and that the ballot papers should be printed in batches rotating the order among candidates of the same party. Suppose two parties nominate one candidate each and another party nominates two.
(There are occasional changes to the text. "F" refers to A. Friedberg, Corpus iuris canonici, Leipzig, 1879. "S" refers to Seraphicae legislationis textus originales iussu Rmi Patris Ministri Generalis totius Ordinis Fratrum Minorum in lucem editi (Ad Claras Aquas, 1897).).
Max Weber (1864-1920) was a German academic, a liberal, but a liberal of the Kaiser's Germany: a nationalist, an anti-Socialist (i.e. an anti-Marxist), a Prussian reserve officer. In an autobiographical passage he says, "The usual training for haughty aggression in the duelling fraternity [at university] and as an officer had undoubtedly had a strong influence upon me", GM, p.7. According to the editor's introduction in GM, "The concept of the nation and of national interest... is the limit of (...) class='Hi'>Weber's political outlook and... constitutes his ultimate value", ibid. p.48--i.e. the survival needs of Germany would over-ride any moral restriction. Weber was active in politics as a National Liberal, in opposition to both conservatives and socialists. He was contemptuous of the Kaiser, but supported certain annexationist war aims in World War I. (shrink)
The point of the suggestions made below is not to design a perfectly representative voting system there is no such thing, given the multiplicity of functions elections perform Ã¢â¬â but to encourage a deeper public discussion of the issues facing Australia, and at the same time reduce the bitterness of partisan and factional conflict.
We all follow the news and we all think about the Israel/Palestine conflict, I believe, but it is not much discussed in this country. Our politicians leave it to the Americans. General Petraeus, in a statement to the US Senate Armed Services Committee, last year, listed this issue as one of the “major drivers of instability, inter-state tensions, and conflict” in the Middle East. “The conflict foments anti- American sentiment,” he said, “due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel”. (...) Because Australia closely follows the US in foreign affairs, our relations with the Muslim world are affected also. There are many Muslims living in Australia. The country with the largest Muslim population in the world is our neighbour, Indonesia. (shrink)
Medieval theologians took their concept of heresy mainly from the texts of Jerome and Augustine quoted in Gratian’s Decretum. Thomas Aquinas held that anyone w ho pertinaciously denies even a minor item of Church or Bible teaching falls into heresy. Ockham developed criteria for pertinacity and argued that a Christian, even if his or her opinions are actually in error, cannot be regarded as pertinacious simply for refusing to defer to the teaching of a pope.
The US invasion of Afghanistan, with backing from NATO and from Australia, took place in October 2001, in response to the 9/11 attacks. As of July 2010 many US and European commentators are saying that the US action in Afghanistan has failed and that US forces should withdraw. Similarly, Australian commentators are saying that Australian troops should withdraw. I haven't made up my mind and don't even see clearly what the issues are. But here are some reflections and some references (...) to commentators. (shrink)
My talk tonight comes under the heading of history of theology. It may take you away somewhat from the study of early Christianity, but perhaps it can come under the head of the history of the history of early Christianity—my topic is a dispute involving Marsilius and Ockham over Peter’s role in the early Church and the use Ockham made of early Christian documents, or what he thought were such.
One of the chief arguments against a constitutional Bill of Rights is that it gives judges too much power. The courts interpret the constitution, and from the highest court there is no appeal (though the Constitution can be amended -- a difficult process). As Americans sometimes say, "The US Constitution is whatever the Supreme Court says it is". In many cases the Supreme Court has interpreted the Bill of Rights by means of wire drawn reasoning, reflecting the judges' political and (...) social views. For a survey of Supreme Court Cases on the Bill of Rights see M. Konvitz, Fundamental Liberties of a Free People . The Supreme Court's power to interpret the constitution has made the appointment of judges a political issue, and in 1937 President Roosevelt sought to appoint additional judges (to "pack" the Court) so as to change the court's attitude (the US Constitution does not fix the number of judges). A President is expected to nominate judges ideologically acceptable to his supporters, and the Congress scrutinises these nominations in a partisan way. See article on George W. Bush's nominations. Since judges hold office for life, a President's nominations may make a long term difference to the interpretation of the constitution. (shrink)
According to Arnauld, if we cannot help acting in some way, that is either (1) because external forces or obstacles leave no alternative, or (2) because we cannot help wanting to act that way; and that may be (2a) because we have absolutely no power to want anything else, or (2b) because the power we have is quite insufficient to overcome the inclination to act that way. This gives three kinds of necessity, corresponding to (1), (2a) and (2b).[.
Like the American system ours is federal: i.e., there are two levels of government, neither of which can change the powers of the other or make laws within certain fields assigned to the other. The British system is 'unitary': the British parliament can make laws on any matter, local government has whatever powers the national government delegates to it. Like the British, ours is a system of responsible government . The Government (the Prime Minister and cabinet) is 'responsible' to parliament. (...) This means that at any time, simply by vote of no confidence, carried on whatever grounds, the parliament can remove the Government from office or force it to call an election. In the American system the head of the executive Government, the President, cannot be removed by the Congress (except by impeachment, which requires a kind of trial). As in the British system, a general election can be called at any time (by the Governor General, on the advice of the Prime Minister). There is a maximum term by which an election must be called, but an election can be held short of term. This makes the parliament responsible to the electorate -- for example, if Government policy that has general community support is blocked by the opposition or minor parties, the Government can appeal to the electorate. In the American system the terms of office of the House of Representatives, Senate, and President are all 'fixed', so that an early election cannot be held. If a President dies or resigns, the Vice President serves out the remaining part of his term. There are no circumstances in which the American President can dissolve Congress and call an early election. The U.S. constitution has separation of powers , i.e., the members of the Executive (in our terms, the Government) do not have seats in Congress or participate in its sessions, and they are not removable by Congress and cannot dissolve Congress. The Judiciary is also separate from both Executive and Congress (though judges are appointed by the Senate on the nomination of the President, and can in exceptional cases be removed).. (shrink)
I Virtue 1. Moral Virtue 2. Continence, Endurance, and Virtue 3. Desert 4. The Intellectual Virtues II The Good Life 5. The Good for Man 6. Happiness 7. Production and Action 8. Action and Contemplation 9. Teleology III Friendship 10. What friendship is 11. Kinds of friendship 12. The friend as another self 13. The need for friends IV Political science V Some reflections..
One large exception to this generalisation is John Scottus Eriugena, who wrote original philosophical works, and also produced some translations of philosophical works. "Eriugena" is his rendering into Greek of "Scottus", which at that time meant Irish: John the Irishman. He was born in Ireland about AD 810, lived and wrote in France from about 840; he was one of the Irish and English clergy attracted to France by the Carolingian renaissance. He mastered Greek; knowledge of Greek was rare in (...) western Europe before the Renaissance of the fourteenth century, but at most times during the middle ages there were some Latin-speaking Europeans who also knew Greek. He translated from Greek into Latin the works of Dionysios the Areopagite: the Mystical Theology , the Divine Names and the Celestial Hierarchy. Dionysios the Areopagite is mentioned in the bible, in Acts 17:34; he was one of the few converts Paul made when he visited Athens. In France it was believed that this Dionysios had travelled to Gaul to preach Christianity, and that he had founded the Abbey of St. Denys in Paris. His writings were held in great respect. Unfortunately they are not authentic. Modern scholars refer to their author as pseudo-Dionysios ("pseudo" meaning "false"), or as Dionysios the pseudo-Areopagite: perhaps his name was Dionysios, but he was not the "Areopagite" mentioned in the bible. His writings are a Christianised version of Proclus and are therefore yet another channel of neo-Platonic influence on medieval Latin thought. John's own philosophical writings, which are also in the neo-Platonic style, did not have much influence on later medieval thinkers. For an account of them see E. Gilson, History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages. (shrink)
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Adam Smith was born in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, in 1723 (Source on Smith's life: E G West, Adam Smith ). He entered Glasgow University in 1737, aged 14. This university still followed some practices of the medieval universities, for example in admitting students at age 14. Its professors still took fees directly from students: that had been the original practice in medieval universities, but in more famous universities rich people had endowed colleges within the university, which paid lecturers' salaries. The Glasgow (...) timetable was still medieval. The main lecture took place at 7.30 am in the cold and dark, at 11 the students were quizzed on the mornings lecture, at 12 there was a lecture on an optional topic. This was the typical student's day in the thirteenth century. But the curriculum was modern: besides philosophy (the main medieval subject) students took Greek and Mathematics. The philosophy was modern. At Glasgow Adam Smith studied under Francis Hutcheson (see extracts from his works in Raphael British Moralists vol.1, p.261ff.)). Hutchison taught in English (not Latin) and was a vivid lecturer. Moral philosophy, or ethics, was a flourishing subject at the time. The main division was between two schools of 'intuitionists' (as they would now be called). To remind you: Ethics is concerned with what is good and bad, better and worse, in human conduct - in the ends we seek, in the actions in which we seek our ends. Intuitionism is the doctrine that in the last analysis we simply 'see' that some way of acting is good or right, or the opposite: that basic ethical assessments cannot be justified by argument, and do not need to be. 'See' of course is a metaphor. Many 18C moral philosophers held that it is reason that 'sees' what is good and right. Hutchison said that it is a moral sense: not reason, and not the bodily senses of vision, hearing etc., but something more like a bodily sense than like reason. On Hutchison's analysis, ethical judgement is a specific kind of emotional reaction to a comtemplated act.. (shrink)
In the POL167 course materials there is an essay 'Free enterprise and its critics' , which I suggest you read. It is not about Adam Smith particularly, but about the theory which he proposed and others developed.
Christianity has had, still has, an important influence in politics and in political thought; and in the part of this course from Augustine to Locke we need to talk about it. In this course I do not assume that you all know about Christianity; some of you are Jews or Muslims, or non-religious. So when I talk about it I will try to explain from scratch. I believe I present Christianity sympathetically, but let me say that I am an atheist, (...) and I reject some of the essential Christian beliefs as false. (shrink)
The case for toleration as Bayle presents it seems closely tied to the proposition that if we do what we sincerely think right then we do a morally good act, even if that act is actually wrong. The prominence of this proposition in his book would have made it seem unpersuasive to some of the people most important to convince, namely those who followed "the principles of St Augustine". Arnauld, for example, rejects the Jesuits' thesis that an act cannot be (...) morally bad unless we do it in the belief that it is wrong, for reasons that imply rejection of Bayle's thesis that an act must be morally good if we do it in the belief that it is right. In fact, neither proposition is needed as a premiss in Bayle's main argument for toleration, but the difference over this matter is a suitable starting-point for reflection on some of the features of Bayle's moral theory. (shrink)
The Australian political system is in some ways democratic, and in some ways not. The relationship between Prime Minister, Parliament and electorate seems to me the most democratic part of the system. The undemocratic features include bicameralism, federalism, monarchy, and some others. In calling certain features undemocratic I don't necessarily mean they're bad. For the views of 19th century liberals on whether democracy is a good thing, and if so subject to what limitations (if any), and several similar questions, see (...) Liberal Democracy . My own view is that democracy (in the sense of deciding by majority vote) is not an absolute or basic political value. There is no guarantee that democratic decision making will produce justice for racial, linguistic, religious and other minorities, or that it will produce just and wise decisions about relations with other nations (e.g. on war, trading policies), or about environmental questions and other matters affecting the interests of future generations . Democracy needs to be tempered by culture or by institutions, e.g. by a liberal legal tradition, by education, by a Bill of Rights (perhaps), by special representation ("over"-representation by democratic standards) of minorities, etc. These things are connected with the "liberal" tradition, rather than with democracy. There is no reason why individuals or minorities should not press for such balances to democracy, undeterred by any opposition from the majority -- there is no political obligation " to conform to majority views. Having got that off my chest, I will look at Australia's political institutions from a democratic point of view: How democratic are they? (shrink)
The point of the suggestions made below is not to design a perfectly representative voting system—there is no such thing, given the multiplicity of functions elections perform—but to encourage a deeper public discussion of the issues facing Australia, and at the same time reduce the bitterness of partisan and factional conflict.
The reader may wish to know something of Antoine Arnauld and his times. His life was full of conflict, with the Jesuits, with the king of France and, though he was a zealous Catholic, with the pope.[ Note ] The son of a wealthy lawyer, he never had to work for his living at anything he did not choose to do. As a priest he never seems to have had any pastoral or teaching responsibilities except those he chose to assume. (...) By choice he was an almost full-time controversialist, whose extant writings fill some forty large volumes. Day by day he went into his study, sharpened his pen and attacked someone---or defended someone, or refuted an answer, or answered a pretended refutation, or wrote a Premier Écrit pour la defense de la seconde lettre. His writings are mostly in the style of some of the less well-known works of Hobbes and Locke, or of certain writings Marx and Engels left to the criticism of the mice. (shrink)
From now on I intend to put aside history and exegesis of texts to take up as philosophical questions some matters which arise from Bayle's argument for toleration . In fact I believe that the main conclusions I argue for in the remaining essays are substantially Bayle's, but I am not concerned to show that they are, and have not adopted them out of any loyalty to him. This third essay is an analysis of the reciprocity argument as a type. (...) I have already discussed Bayle's version, but other versions are possible, and it seems worthwhile to analyse their common structure and consider their limitations. The fourth essay is a discussion of the ethics of belief and inquiry. This topic was touched on in connection with Fr Terrill's views on invincible ignorance (see above, Essay I, sect. 3), and again in connection with Bayle's views on culpable error, prepossession, opinionatedness and temerity (see above, Essay II, sect. 4.2). In the Philosophical Commentary see Supplement, ch. 17, "What judgement should be made of those who will not enter into disputes". But since Bayle's time a good deal has been written on the subject, and a discussion independent of his seems worthwhile. I will therefore put the texts aside and enter upon a consideration of some of the questions they have raised. (shrink)
One of the arguments used by the Academic sceptics of ancient times, to force general suspension of judgment upon the Stoics, ran as follows: (1) Any proposition, however certain it may seem, may in fact be false; (2) the wise man (according to the Stoics) will not assert dogmatically anything that may be false;[Note ] therefore (3) we should not affirm anything. Premiss 1 is fallibilism, which to me seems true, and 2 is a proposition of ethics which to me (...) seems false but harmless, if I understand it correctly. If "assert dogmatically" means assert in a way that implicitly denies the possibility of being mistaken then perhaps 2 is true. But if it means something like "say is true, and ask others to believe", then it seems false, since there seems nothing wrong with asserting, in that sense, something that seems true even if there is some possibility of mistake. Still, in that sense 2 is harmless, since it would allow us to say that something seems true, or seems probable, and would allow us to act on such probabilities. (shrink)
The best way to understand a demand for freedom is to consider what it is directed against. The free enterprise movement began in the 18th century as a protest against various restrictions on business enterprise imposed by governments and by corporations sanctioned by government. Corporations (guilds, colleges, companies, universities) had existed since Roman times, ostensibly to guarantee their member's good behaviour, and especially good service to the public. But they served their members' interests also at the expense of the public (...) by restricting competition. Non-members were excluded from the trade; to become a member one had to serve a long and low-paid apprenticeship to an established member, and to pay various sums of money (for entry fee, graduation fee, compulsory gifts and banquets, etc.). Government sanctioned these practices, and imposed restrictions of its own, ostensibly in the public interest, but also to raise revenue and to provide fees and bribes for officials: the guild had to pay for its monopoly. Viewed cynically, government was an ancient and successful branch of organised crime, a respectable protection racket. (shrink)
(1) The basis of factionalism (in the ALP and also in the Liberal and other parties) is not ideology but PATRONAGE, i.e. the ability of factional leaders to confer jobs, honours and other good things on themselves and their favoured supporters. If you want a political career, join a faction and make yourself useful.
Marx was born in 1818, Engels in 1820, both in Germany. Marx's father was a lawyer, and he went to Bonn and Berlin universities, at first to study law, then philosophy (a flourishing subject in German universities at the time). Engels was not a university man. He went into business. From 1850 to 1870 he managed his family's firm's cotton mill in Manchester. Engels had first-hand knowledge of the English capitalists: he was one. After retiring from the cotton industry he (...) lived on in England. From 1849 Marx lived in England, supported by Engels. His political activities had got him into trouble in Germany and in other parts of Europe, and in the 19th century England received many political refugees. Marx worked in the British Museum studying the English economists and writing Capital. He corresponded constantly with Engels, and after Marx's death Engels edited volumes 2 and 3 of.. (shrink)
One of the unhealthy features of politics in this country is the contempt in which the public hold politicians, especially political parties. I think that this is because of the childish partisanship often shown in Parliamentary debate, which I think is due to the presence of the media and the absence of ordinary people--politicians have to say sensational things to get through to the public. I would like to see a sort of "parliamenary jury"--a randomly selected panel of ordinary people (...) paid to go to Canberra for so-many weeks to take part in parliamentary debate, without right to vote, meeting as a group from time to time to send out a communique to the public. (Perhaps there could also be other groups locally who follow debates in Parliament and pass on their reactions to the "jury" meeting in Canberra.) This arrangment would give the professional politicians some ordinary people to convince, and their behaviour could be expected to become less unattractive to ordinary people. This does not need any constitutional change (since the proposal is not to give the "jury" any power, only to pay them to be present and make their views available to the media). It would amount to Parliamentary sponsorship of "deliberative polling" (see.. (shrink)
Wealth of Nations was published in 1776. Among the people who took up its ideas were Jeremy Bentham (b. 1748). Bentham and James Mill were friendly also with David Ricardo and Thomas Malthus. Ricardo's Principles of Political Economy & Taxation (1817) was written at James Mill's suggestion; 'it is almost certain that he would not have finished it without Mill's continuous encouragement' (R.M. Hartwell, 'Introduction' to Ricardo's Principles (Penguin), p.13). James Mill published his own Elements of Political Economy in 1821. (...) James Mill's son was John Stuart Mill (b. 1806). The younger Mill began to make an impact as a writer of newspaper articles in the 1820s. His Logic was published in 1843, Principles of Political Economy in 1848. He died in 1873, almost a century after the publication of the Wealth of Nations. (shrink)
In his analysis of the logic of history and social sciences Mill was much influenced by French writers of the Saint Simonian school and especially Auguste Comte. This school divided history into 'organic' and 'transitional' periods. In organic periods human personalities and institutions are coherently organized in a stable system, the workings of each part complementing and reinforcing the workings of the others. But this cannot last forever, stability is never absolute: the system starts to come apart, there follows a (...) period of more or less disorder and confusion, in which the parts of society pull against or collide with one another, personalities and institutions do not suit one another, people are dissatisfied and disappointed and change becomes rapid - until out of the struggle another stable organization develops, another 'organic' period. So on this view it is possible to draw non-arbitrary lines across history, to recognise distinct 'periods', though some of these will be periods of transition or revolutionary periods without any high degree of coherence. (shrink)
('Freedom' and 'liberty' mean the same.) In 20th century political philosophy some have favoured a 'negative' concept of liberty (freedom from constraint) and criticised 'positive' notions of liberty ('freedom to') as incipiently authoritarian. According to Rawls every liberty is both negative and positive. That there is a certain liberty means that a certain person (or persons, or all persons) is (are) not under certain constraints, so that they can do a certain sort of thing (see p.
A society is capitalist if most production is carried on by employees working with means of production (equipment and materials) belonging to their employer, producing commodities which belong to the employer. (Employees: those whose services are treated as commodities. 'Labour is a commodity like any other', 'an article of trade' - Edmund Burke, Thoughts on Scarcity , 1795.).
I have been surveying the spelling across a range of the manuscripts; my findings are given under “Profiles” at the end. The method I have used is to find the word by electronic search in my computer files, then find corresponding places in the MSS. If abbreviation conceals the spelling I search further. This method does not guarantee that the spelling I find at some place in a MS is used throughout the MS; indeed in some cases I have noticed (...) variations. All I claim is that at least sometimes the word is spelled that way in that MS. Because photocopy of some MSS is not available to me at present or is illegible, my survey of the MSS is not complete. (shrink)
First, something about the word. 'Bureau' (French, borrowed into German) is a desk, or by extension an office (as in 'I will be at the office tomorrow'; 'I work at the Bureau of Statistics'). 'Bureaucracy' is rule conducted from a desk or office, i.e. by the preparation and dispatch of written documents - or, these days, their electronic equivalent. In the office are kept records of communications sent and received, the files or archives, consulted in preparing new ones. This kind (...) of rule is of course not found in the ancient classifications of kinds of government: monarchy, aristocracy, democracy - and bureaucracy? In fact it does not belong in such a classification. It is a servant of government, a means by which a monarchy, aristocracy, democracy, or other form of government, rules. Those who invented the word wanted to suggest that the servant was trying to become the master. Weber is of course aware of this tendency; in fact he attacked the pretensions of the Prussian bureaucracy to be an objective and neutral servant of society, above politics, and emphasized that every bureaucracy has interests of its own, and connections with other social strata (especially among the upper classes); see Beetham, chapter 3. But formally and in theory the bureaucracy is merely a means, and this is largely true also in practice: someone must provide policy direction and back the bureaucrat up (if necessary) with force. 'At the top of a bureaucratic organization, there is necessarily an element which is at least not purely bureaucratic', SEO, p. 335, to give policy direction. (shrink)
Weber's most famous book is The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904-5). It is generally taken as a counter to the Marxist thesis of the primacy of base over superstructure: Weber is supposed to have argued in this book that capitalism in fact developed historically as a result of a..
The best way of becoming acquainted with William of Ockham and his Dialogue would be to read A.S. McGrade's "Introduction", "Principal Dates in Ockham's Life", and "Suggestions for Further Reading" in..
The long war between Israel and the Palestinians is not the root cause of all conflicts between Islam and the West, but it exacerbates every such conflict. From Northern Europe through North Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, and down to Australia, there are violent opponents of “the West” motivated, in part, by indignation at the..
The term “philosophy” can be used in various senses. Here I mean by "philosophy" the practice of reflecting seriously on what I believe about the questions I regard as the most fundamental , to make sure as far as possible that what I believe is actually true. There is a second sense of the word, in which a philosophy” is a set of beliefs or opinions or conclusions about certain important questions, but philosophy in the sense I am concerned with (...) is the practice or habit of reflecting on beliefs, and not a particular set of beliefs. (shrink)
People taking part in politics will of course be guided partly by their philosophical beliefs (philosophy in the second sense of the word), including their religious beliefs, if they are religious. There is nothing objectionable about that, no violation of any (reasonable) idea of..
In the last lecture I talked first about the difference principle, and then about the original position and the intuitions that seem to have guided Rawls in constructing it. At the end I was saying that his intuitions about religion and morality are those of the small-l liberal, who wants a 'fair go' for diverse and conflicting philosophies of life. This leads to my next topic (still under the general heading of the Original Position), -.
The reading for this week is rather long. I suggest you do as much of it as you can, write the tutorial paper, and then finish off the reading before you do next week's reading. My commentary on Capital may overrun this cassette on to the beginning of the next.
Open the Readings on p.217 and look through the table of contents. Part I is an appreciation and critique of Marx. Schumpeter argues that Marx's argument to show that Capitalism will eventually destroy itself is unsound. Nevertheless, Schumpeter himself thinks that Capitalism contains the seeds of its one destruction. Hence Part II: Can Capitalism Survive? The answer he gives is No. But at first, Chapters 5-8, he explains the strengths and virtues of Capitalism. Then he explains why it will eventually (...) be transformed into socialism. Notice Chapter XIII, which is the first of the extracts we will read. (shrink)
Darwin's work in biology raises the possibility that ethics may be given an evolutionary explanation: perhaps morality serves not the happiness of mankind, as in the utilitarian theory, but the survival of the human species.