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Quiz 2: PHIL 146

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What is the main argument of Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan?
In the Leviathan, Hobbes discusses how reason and the human condition induce us to leave a state of nature and agree to be ruled by a common power strong enough to ensure peace and enforce contracts. Without a sovereign that imposes the threat of harm and an agreement, morality and justice are not possible.
What is an inevitable problem in the human condition?
The human condition consists of mechanic appetites and aversions, mediated by power struggles. Because appetites are mechanical and resources are limited, two humans can share an appetite for the same resource and the natural result is war.
Describe the natural condition of mankind according to Hobbes.
Without society, government and the invention of law, the natural condition, free of artificial interference, is one of continuous war and violence, of death and fear. The state of nature is there fore solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.
How are people naturally equal, according to Hobbes?
Hobbes says that we are naturally equal because even the weakest man is still capable of killing the strongest man, thus battle is inevitable.
How does Hobbes know that the state of nature is a reality?
Hobbes knows that the state of nature is a reality because we see it in the "savage people of America" and in Europe when they are in civil war. Also we have evidence such as mistrust among each other, criminal law and in domination of weak countries by strong countries.
To Hobbes, what causes people to escape the state of nature?
To Hobbes, fear and reason cause people to escape the state of nature. In the state of nature, life is full of terror and there is no security.
What is a law of nature according to Hobbes?
To Hobbes, a law of nature is a general rule that is discovered through reason. Unlike civil law, it does not need to be written out and publicized in order to be known. Rather, a law of nature is natural and inherently known by all because of our innate mental faculties.
What are the first three laws of Hobbes' natural laws?
1. We seek peace because to seek peace is to fulfill our natural right to defend ourselves.
2. The mutual transferring of rights is called a contract and it is the basis of the notion of moral obligation. (social contract theory)
3. We are required to keep the contracts we make. (Justice)
What is the social contract according to Hobbes?
The social contract was an 'occurrence' during which individuals came together and ceded some of their individual rights so that others would cede theirs. This resulted in the establishment of the state, a sovereign entity like the individuals now under its rule used to be, which would create laws to regulate social interactions. Human life was thus no longer "a war of all against all".
Why is the Leviathan necessary?
The natural human hunger for power always threatens the safety of the social contract.
What does Hobbes believe is the best way to ensure common power and to force people to uphold the contract?
Hobbes believes that the best way to force people to uphold the social contract is by creating a sovereign authority. The sovereign would be established by the people as part of the contract, endowed with the individual powers and wills of all and power to punish anyone who breaks the contract.
How does the sovereign ensure the continued operation of the social contract?
The sovereign operates through fear. The threat of punishment reinforces the mandates of the laws of nature.
To Hobbes, what is the purpose of establishing a commonwealth?
To Hobbes, the commonwealth is to escape the state of nature and to provide peace and the common defense of the people; the sovereign is responsible for ensuring this defense.
Describe the power of the sovereign, according to Hobbes.
The power given to the sovereign permits him to do whatever he deems necessary in order to protect the commonwealth (political community founded for the common good). All rights of the individual have been transferred to the sovereign in order for this protection to work and the only right retained is the right of self-preservation, which was the original reason for establishing the Leviathan.
What are the two ways Hobbes mentions of establishing a commonwealth?
1) through acquisition (force) or 2) through institution (agreement)
What are the consequentialist arguments for capital punishment in Gregg v. Georgia?
General deterrence is a popular premise used in the argument for capital punishment. Because this view implies that punishment is justified when its consequences are likely to be of higher value than any other alternative, it is essentially consequentialist. By applying the rational choice theory in this paradigm, one can assume that the execution of one offender can affect the behavior of millions.
What are the deontological arguments for capital punishment in Gregg v. Georgia?
Because we, as a collective of citizens, have an inherent allegiance to a social contract that requires obligation to rules in order to form the society we live in, a murderer whom violates the established order shows that he does not belong in our society. Thus, he forfeits his right to live among others. Since the view of retribution sees execution as the only worthy punishment for murder, it is deontological in nature.
What are the deontological arguments against capital punishment in Gregg v. Georgia?
A prevalent contention to the view that retribution justifies capital punishment is the reality that when an execution occurs, the state strips the offender of the universal right to life. Incidentally, the state also victimizes the offender's family and friends. Because this contention focuses on the state prioritization of social order before inalienable rights and human dignity, it is also deontological in nature.
What are the consequentialist arguments against capital punishment in Gregg v. Georgia?
In a consequentialist view, capital punishment is immoral because there are other less excessive alternatives that are sufficient to provide the same results.
What was the holding in Gregg v. Georgia?
The Court held that capital punishment did not violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution.
Why does Scheffler argue that terrorism is morally distinctive?
In relation to Hobbes, natural laws are grounded in the universal motivation of the fear of death. When this fear is no longer universal, we can conclude that terrorism is morally distinctive in that terrorists are inspired by a religious ideology that makes them willing to die for their beliefs.
What does Hobbes say about the chances of a revolution against the Leviathan?
Hobbes says the likelihood of a revolution is slim. All of the overwhelming power that is owned by the Leviathan is borrowed and in principle, can not be revoked.
What does Hobbes say about the Leviathan's limits in maintaining legal jurisdiction?
Hobbes says that the Leviathan does not appear to have any obvious limits to what they can do in order to maintain security and make things just. Just is what the Leviathan says is just and therefore there is no natural limit to what the Leviathan will do in its legal capacity to maintain order.
How does the Leviathan relate to Gregg v. Georgia?
Capital punishment is a testament to the lack of standardization and limits to the Leviathan.
What was the legal question in Gregg v. Georgia?
The legal question is: Does the Georgia statute legalizing capital punishment violate citizen protections under the 8th Amendment of the United States?
How does John Locke explain the state of nature?
Locke explains the state of nature as a state of equality in which no one has power over another, and all are free to do as they please. This liberty does not equal license to abuse others and that natural law exists even in the state of nature.
What does natural law demand according to Locke?
According to Locke, natural law simply demands that the punishment fit the crime.
To Locke, when are people no longer in a state of nature?
People are no longer in a state of nature until a special compact or agreement between them makes them members of a political society.
To Locke, who should be the governing factor in civil society?
The majority.
How does an individual consent to the rules and decisions of a majority?
By entering into civil society, the individual submits to the majority and consents to their rules and decisions.
According to Locke, are we born free?
To Locke, we are born free and although someone may bind himself to a given government, he cannot bind his children. They must make the decision about whether to ally themselves with their parents' government.
Why does Locke think people give up their freedom to enter into society?
Locke says that people do so to assure the protection of their lives, liberties and estates, all of which Locke considers property.
What are the three things Locke believes civil society provides that nature lacks?
1. Established, settled, known law.
2. Known and indifferent judge.
3. Power to back and support the sentence.
According to Locke, how do we gain the three things a civil society provides?
We gain these three things by relinquishing our natural rights including the right to live within the bounds of the law of nature.
How do we form a new government according to Locke?
According to Locke, when the state ceases to function for the people, it is dissolved and may be replaced. This occurs when the legislative is changed by a tyrant, when the legislative or executive breaches its trust or when the executive ignores his own duties and renders the law meaningless, reducing society to chaos.
How does the system of a reformation of government protect against rebellion according to Locke?
This system protects against rebellion because it allows the people to change their legislative and laws rather than resorting to force to overthrow them.
Why does Locke view revolution of a righteous process?
Locke believes that revolution is a righteous process because it is rightful and dignified for people to rebel against unjust oppression.
To Locke, who judges when the leader has abused his power to such an extent that he may be overthrown?
The people.
What issues did Kelo v. City of New London entail?
Kelo v. City of New London involved the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another private owner to further economic development.
What is eminent domain?
Eminent domain refers to the right of a a government to expropriate and use private property for public use.
What is the Takings Clause?
The takings clause from the 5th Amendment, limits the power of eminent domain by requiring that "just compensation" be paid if private property is taken for public use.
How did the Supreme Court find in Kelo v. City of New London?
The USSC held that the use of eminent domain did not violate the public use clauses of the state and federal constitutions.
How would Locke respond to Kelo v. City of New London?
Locke would assert that without the guarantee of the law that private property will remain in the hands of the owner, the Constitution and our nation is bankrupt. Locke believed that the chief purpose of the government was to preserve property. By consenting to this rule of law, a group of property owners vowed to protect each other from the vicissitudes of the world and guarantee the protection of private property from arbitrary seizure, as seen in feudal England.
What is the rational choice theory?
The rational choice theory says that we act in such a way so as to maximize our own benefit.
What are the two principles vested in Rawls' theory of justice?
1. Liberty principle: guarantees the right of each person to have the most extensive basic liberties compatible with the liberty of others.
2. Difference principle: social and economic positions are to be to everyone's advantage and open to all.
What is the original position according to Rawls?
In the original position, the parties select principles that will determine the basic structure of the society they will live in. This choice is made from behind a veil of ignorance, which would deprive participants of information about their particular characteristics: his or her ethnicity, social status, gender and, crucially, Conception of the Good (an individual's idea of how to lead a good life). This forces participants to select principles impartially and rationally.
What does the veil of ignorance ultimately do according to Rawls?
The veil of ignorance ultimately says that we can accept utilitarianism as a public conception of justice only if we are prepared to let someone be subject to conditions we would not be prepared to subject to ourselves.
Why should we accept the liberty and indifference principles as principles of justice?
According to Rawls, these principles promote equality among all. Each individual has the same basic liberties, opportunities and share a moral obligation to accept the existence of every other human being. In doing this, all people become equal in their position and desires.