Describing questions about the philosophy of politics and society which investigate concerns like liberty, justice and equality.

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Mass surveillance and the concealed subject of power

In Spivaks essay, can the Subaltern speak, she states that: [the] contemporary invocations of the libidinal economy and desire as the determining interest, combined with practical politics of the ...
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109 views

What will be the outcome of an open source project without the supervision of an expert group? [on hold]

Edited on 20th April Currently open source projects always have a group of developers who give direction and approve commits to the project. A sort of an expert committee, probably accepted by ...
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53 views

What does Foucault mean by discursive practices or discursive constitutions in definition of discourse?

Foucault uses the concept of discursive practices or discursive constitutions in the definition of discourse. What does he mean by this concept? How are discursive practices different from ...
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49 views

Economics, State and Violence

I think it was the continental sociologist Weber who defined a State as that organ of a nation that has a monopoly of violence. Economics, at least what minute fraction I know, appears to ignore ...
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54 views

The mass surveillance of price and the invisible hand?

In Hayeks Road to Serfdom, he distinguishes between central planning & decentralised planning. And states that decentralised planning makes the most sense, since the available information is too ...
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57 views

Does analytical political philosophy discuss both capitalism and communism as an inheritence of Christianity?

John Gray, discusses in his book, Black Mass, the similarities between both Capitalism and Communism in terms of Christianity in a Post-Christian Europe - he calls them both Political Religion: He ...
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23 views

What authors differentiate between ability and freedom?

On one view, I am free to fly, because no other person renders it physically impossible for me to do so. On another view, I am unfree to fly, because I am not able to. The act of flying is not ...
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25 views

What is the difference between 'hegemony' and 'interpellation' in Marxism?

I thought that hegemony explains how one class exerts influence over another, and interpellation explains how one class allows the other class to exert influence over them. But then the two seem so ...
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32 views

Identifying base/superstructure using Marxist theories in Coriolanus?

How does the base/superstructure and ideology or hegemony work in the play Coriolanus by Shakespeare? I mean what is the base and the superstructure? I know that the superstructure is basically the ...
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61 views

How does Hannah Arendt define “freedom?”

Looking at this: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/arendt/ By freedom Arendt does not mean the ability to choose among a set of possible >alternatives (the freedom of choice so dear to the ...
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31 views

Measuring freedom in republican theories?

The liberal, or pure negative, approach to freedom, which identifies freedom with non-interference, often allows for freedom to be measured, e.g. in the works of Ian Carter and Matthew Kramer. Are ...
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46 views

What is the relation between modern political philosophy and politics? [closed]

I am thinking about authors like Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum, as well as current debates about e.g. negative and positive freedom or liberal and republican notions of freedom. Are there political ...
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135 views

Is “equality” an virtue in itself or a derivative of envy?

There have been a lot of political talk on "disparity" and "equality" lately in US. The underlying assumption often is that equality is necessarily good, and that most people would benefit from the ...
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15 views

What are the political, ephemeral and accidental alternatives?

I am reading “Natural Right and History” by Leo Strauss and I have trouble to understand the following quote (Chapter 2, Paragraph 2): If philosophy in general is possible, political philosophy in ...
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1answer
36 views

The Irony of Rorty's Ethnocentrism and “Lonely Provincialism”

In his philosophy, Rorty “turns” his reorientation in analytic philosophy and epistemology away from knowledge to a new focus on hope. He adopts the stance of fallibilism and the “liberal ironism,” ...
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1answer
64 views

Understanding Rawls' Justice as Fairness?

I take 'Justice as Fairness' to be the name of Rawls' political theory on how we should basically live together. As SEP states in an article on Rawls, his most discussed work is his theory of a ...
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89 views

Is democracy fatally flawed in a “rights” dominated culture?

I've been thinking of late that democracy simply doesn't make as much sense as we think it does, in its present cultural context. Let me explain... Let's assume that for every problem there is a set ...
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1answer
128 views

Was Ayn Rand affected by Italian Futurism?

Italian Futurism was an art movement in early 20th century Italy which celebrated youth, violence & technology: Marinetti expressed a passionate loathing of everything old, especially ...
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62 views

What are the major criticisms of the Labour Theory of Value?

Philosophically speaking it seems that the only & sole determinant of value of goods can only be Labour - through labour of the spirit, mind and hands. This truth is true only when labour is seen ...
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34 views

Does this count as a critique of Marxs Labour theory of value?

Marxs theory of value uses the input of Labour as determinining Production Value. But what if we can do away with Labour? For example, consider a perfectly automated factory producing mugs. This ...
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80 views

Is there a theory with only observable quantities?

In Nitzens & Bichlers Capital as Power, they quote from Weinbergs Dreams of a Final Theory: I pointed out [to Einstein] that we cannot, in fact, observe such a path [of an electron in an ...
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3answers
109 views

The Welfare state and the compromise between liberty and equality

The real question i am concerned with, linking the titular themes is: 1. Can a welfare state be organised that does not impose so many constraints on liberty, in the name of equality, that those ...
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15 views

How is Maoism differentiated from classical Marxism Ideology?

Is this because China hads then a predominantly rural economy so the standar suppositions about the proletariat (and lumpen-proletariat) didn't hold? If this is right how did Mao modify the theory?
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61 views

Is Webers definition of a nation state applicable in other contexts?

Max Weber, in his essay politics as a vocation defined the nation state as that which can 'successfully uphold a claim on the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a specific ...
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44 views

Can literacy + numeracy tests for voters improve democracy?

There have been many examples in History of various types of census for voters. The examples would include land ownership, income, age, gender, race, literacy, etc. Many of those have been detrimental ...
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204 views

Did any specific philosophy contribute to the world wars?

I understand how, for example, nationalism and imperialism can be said to have been causes/contributing factors behind World War 1 and how the Great Depression was a cause behind World War 2. Are ...
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193 views

What underlying principles determine US parties' stands on issues?

IMO the stand US Republican and Democrats take on various social issues is completely illogical from the viewpoint of political philosophy. I cannot decipher the true underlying philosophy behind the ...
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38 views

Montesquieu's political freedom

“(Political) Freedom is the right to do whatever the laws permit.” This is a famous sentence of Montesquieu. Today we tend to describe philosophies of freedom with “positive freedom” and “negative ...
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158 views

Is it moral to lie to the populace for their own good?

There is a discussion in the History arm of StackExchange that got sidetracked into the merit of brainwashing society for their own good, as advocated in Plato's Republic. IMO that side track deserves ...
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113 views

Can Julian Assange be considered a political philosopher?

Here I do not mean philosophy as its original ancient greek meaning, love of the wisdom. What I mean is a person who establishes the central ideas of some movement, cult, etc. If the answer is yes, ...
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56 views

Have there been any studies on how Marxist philosophy interacted with Chinese philosophy in China?

The Chinese Communist Party was founded in Shanghai in 1921, and assumed full control of mainland China by 1949. Marxist philosophy, in short, is the Hegelian anti-thesis of Hegelian philosophy. ...
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135 views

Moral Universalism in US Constitution

I have always been fascinated by the Bill of Rights, but as a self diagnosed cultural relativist, I object to the Constitution's emphasis on Natural law/rights over rights derived from the state. For ...
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2answers
417 views

Can society exist without hierarchy?

If we consider "a society" to be a group of individuals within the same species who cooperate for the benefit of the group as a whole, then it is reasonable to say that all human societies are ...
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314 views

What are the Moral Sentiments of Capitalism according to Adam Smith?

Despite his legacy as the father of capitalism and authority on jurisprudence especially toward the end of his career, Adam Smith is usually known in ethics and philosophy classes by his classic The ...
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65 views

Political Philosophy and Semantic Metaethics

Ethics is very wide subject matter, and there are so may ways to discuss it as it encompasses a number of fields like psychology, political philosophy, and cultural studies. But the most interesting ...
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79 views

Must a self-legislating citizenry guarantee itself freedom of speech?

Specifically I want to know whether a constitution that is authored by its own citizens must contain a guarantee of free expression. And why? The intent is to retain the capacity of self-legislation ...
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104 views

Why do Deleuze and Guattari say the race summoned forth by art or philosophy is bastard & minor one?

What do Deleuze and Guattari mean by the following? For the race summoned forth by art or philosophy is not the one that claims to be pure but rather an oppressed. bastard, lower, anarchical, ...
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275 views

Was Nietzsche influenced by Machiavelli?

I've been reading Machiavelli and I've noticed that his is very critical of Christianity in a way that reminds me of Nietzsche's Master-Slave morality; he does so by comparing the focus on 'heroic ...
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116 views

Is it fair to say that Platos answer to Juvenals question 'who guards the guardians' - is that they themselves do?

'Who guards the guardians' is a phrase lifted from the satirical poet Juvenal Satires, (and not as I thought from Plato). The context here is marital infidelity, but Juvenal being a (satirical) poet ...
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166 views

What does Nozick exactly say in his Demoktesis argument?

I know Wikipedia is not an excellent reference, but I quote from Wikipedia: Demoktesis is a thought-experiment designed to show the incompatibility of democracy with libertarianism in general ...
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90 views

What evidence is there that Arrows Theorem manifests itself in democracies?

Arrows impossibility theorem states: no rank-order voting system can be designed that satisfies these three "fairness" criteria: a. If every voter prefers alternative X over alternative Y, ...
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534 views

What are the major innovations in social contract theory did Rousseau make compared to that of Platos Crito?

In Platos dialogue Crito where Socrates is urged by Crito to flee before he is executed. Socrates refuses and outlines a theory of social contact between a citizen and the city. I had understood ...
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152 views

What are the reasons for human conflict? [closed]

In his "The French Revolution, a History", 3.3.II, Thomas Carlyle writes the following: "for all battle is well said to be misunderstanding" He is speaking in reference to the terrible conflict ...
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72 views

What is the meaning and substance of Imperial?

In post-colonial and marxist theory one often comes across the word Imperial. What is the meaning of this word? How does it differ from say a monarchy? Are there in fact several kinds of Imperialism? ...
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42 views

Should philosophers be concerned about the political implications of the theories of other philosophers (as well as their own)?

Edward Said writes in his book Orientalism Similarly-as Harry Bracken has been tirelessly showing-philosophers will conduct their discussions of Locke, Hume, and empiricism without ever taking ...
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2answers
143 views

Is the perfect competition hypthesis simply the Hobbesian state of nature in the commercial realm?

Hobbes defines the state of nature as war of all against all. Is the perfect competition hypthesis as classically defined presumably by Adam Smith simply this but rather than man against man, ...
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140 views

How has Foucault Philosophy of Surveillance been critiqued?

One of the horrors of the communist police-states of Eastern Europe was the incredible amount of information that the police force kept on the general population. This was often not gathered just by ...
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78 views

How should the fair distribution of some goods depend on other-regarding preferences?

I am a welfare economist, working in the realm of fairness economics, and I would like your opinion on some distributive dilemma for some of my work. Suppose the following situation: A country is ...
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56 views

How do philosophers distinguish between rights that beg legislation vs. those that not?

I have over the years seen podcasts or iTunes lectures from Michael Sandel's justice lectures at Harvard. He asks many profound questions. The problem I have is that most of them seem to be based ...
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118 views

In Platos taxonomy of governments where does the theocratic state come in?

In the Republic, Plato advocates a taxonomy of five regimes which comprehensively describes all (ideal) forms of government. In descending order of virtue they are Aristocracy, Timocracy, Oligarchy, ...