Questions tagged [political-philosophy]

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

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27
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13answers
13k views

Was Robin Hood's point of view ethically sound?

The story of Robin Hood was a favourite of mine as a child. But as an adult, I am beginning to change my mind for a couple of reasons. The first being that if we assume a free market exists, ...
27
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12answers
7k views

I'm being drafted to the military but I have the option to refuse (legally), would it be immoral for me to serve? [closed]

I’m set to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces but I have the option to exempt from the military if I wish to. So I’m in a big moral dilemma on whether I should serve or not, I’m currently leaning ...
26
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10answers
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What are some arguments against violence?

I had repercussions over an argument in class of the inevitability of war, and violence in some instances. I was on the side that was arguing that violence is never necessary. My opponent said ...
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10answers
6k views

When is violence appropriate?

In what situations would violence be appropriate? The way I see it, the only excuse is as a response to violence (self-defense). Am I missing anything?
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5answers
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On what grounds can a democratic state prohibit pornography?

On what grounds can a democratic state interfere to prohibit or limit its citizens from producing, distributing and consuming pornography? Does the state have any right to prohibit pornography or ...
16
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6answers
7k views

Why would Aristotle argue that “a mechanic or a mercantile life” is “ignoble and inimical to virtue”?

All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind. (Aristotle) UPDATE: As Michael notes below, a better translation of the above is in Rackham (reproduced from Michael's citation): But at present we are ...
16
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3answers
6k views

How much ethics did Machiavelli convey in The Prince?

My philosophy teacher and I are having a little disagreement regarding The Prince: He argues that although the book's context is a letter to Lorenzo de' Medici advising him and recommending a course ...
15
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8answers
5k views

If you have won the trust of an illegal immigrant, is it ethical to turn him/her over to the authorities?

My question is NOT about the problems associated with secondary consequences of illegal immigration, such as unemployment of the native workforce. Nor is it about the causes of illegal immigration, ...
15
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3answers
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What are the main points of contention between Marxist and capitalist economic philosophies?

What are the main points of contention between Marxist economic philosophy and the various "pro-capitalist" economic philosophies (Labor Theory of Value, Austrian School, Libertarianism, etc.?)
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1answer
730 views

Is Nozick's Criticism of Rawls correct?

When Nozick says distributive justice 'marks a shift from the classical liberal notion of self ownership to a notion of property rights in others', is this a fair criticism of Rawls and distributive ...
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7answers
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What are prominent attacks of Rawls' “veil of ignorance” argument? Which liberal philosophers have advanced it?

In John Rawls' A Theory of Justice, he argues that morally, society should be constructed politically as if we were all behind a veil of ignorance; that is, the rules and precepts of society should be ...
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9answers
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Should I vote for what is best for me or what is best for others?

I live and vote in a constituency where the policies of Party A are better for the long-term success of my business, which determines the material conditions of my well-being and that of my family. ...
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3answers
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What were Plato's view on slavery, in particular with respect to his proposed Utopia?

In the Dialogues(specifically The Republic), when he is discussing his Utopia, At one point, he does say that children should not be treated differently based on their parent's status in life. However,...
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4answers
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What is the Difference Between Human Rights and Natural Rights?

When people discuss the human rights and natural rights, there seems to be a distinction between the two, where standard interpretations of human rights (such as the Universal Declaration of Human ...
13
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3answers
3k views

Was the Republic a meritocracy?

One direct way of stating the heart of the question might be: is there sufficient textual evidence and support for the assertion that Plato's Republic contains meritocratic elements? A second and ...
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4answers
67k views

Accepted Interpretation of Machiavelli's “the ends justify the means.”?

Prior to reading The Prince, I had heard of the aphorism: The ends justify the means This was Machiavelli's identifying line to many people, and in my conversations with them, I got the impression ...
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14answers
9k views

Why are legal and moral responsibilities said to be different?

It seems in most cases which laws are adopted depends on what ethical views legislators hold. There might be counterexamples when a lawmaker does not adopt laws reflecting own moral views. But I do ...
12
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6answers
3k views

Arguments for/against tolerance against intolerance?

What arguments speak for/against tolerance towards intolerance? Can someone be called fully tolerant, if they don't tolerate intolerance? Hence, does tolerance exist in a pure form? On the other ...
12
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5answers
980 views

If the “right to life” is denied in abortion, isn't it also denied in the use of the death penalty?

Many people who support death penalty are also against abortion, and vice-versa. What is the moral difference between the two? In both cases, isn't the "right to life" of another being violated? ...
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5answers
3k views

Does Plato see tyranny as final?

Plato's Republic famously describes the decay of the regimes, a process by which a society decays from the best regime, that of aristocracy, to the lowest, that of tyranny. However, the purpose of ...
12
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2answers
903 views

What are the most significant contributions Slavoj Žižek has made to the field of philosophy?

What are the most significant contributions Slavoj Žižek has made to the field of philosophy, perhaps in particular to political philosophy?
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4answers
2k views

Why is John Rawls taken more seriously than Ayn Rand?

I just listened to a lecture on ethics and justice, and John Rawls' "a theory of justice" was presented as the most significant work of political philosophy in recent times. The lecturer then went on ...
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2answers
366 views

Was the European Left confined in a false dichotomy between capitalism and communism?

In the 2004 book "Camus and Sartre: The Story of a Friendship and the Quarrel That Ended It" (link to a brief review/synopsis), the author portrays two of the leading members of the literary class' ...
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5answers
581 views

How was the rationale for Nazism built up in the academia (especially the philosophy departments)?

I am deeply suspicious about writing off the Nazis as mere haters/fascists. It seems that a very plausible rationale was set rolling, within the academia, right from the middle of the 19th century, ...
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1answer
1k views

What are the fundamental philosophical questions reflected in the American legal system?

I am interested in the link between philosophy and legal systems, in particular the American legal system (and English heritage) and the underlying ideas in play. At a high-level, it seems to me ...
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7answers
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Are there contemporary arguments against democracy as inherently flawed?

Consider the following idea: In the modern democratic form of government where the person or group in power are chosen through elections, and in a situation where the current elected government is ...
10
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1answer
256 views

Where can I start to learn about the philosophy of penology?

I'm interested in how societies deal with criminals, and I was wondering where to start in understanding the contribution philosophers have made to this question. I'm particularly wanting to ...
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6answers
7k views

Is there any difference between Populism and Democracy ?

I'm from India, the world's largest functional democracy. We often hear of political opponents criticizing each other for being 'populist' and for 'forgoing good governance'. And we also hear the term ...
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2answers
2k 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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4answers
365 views

Does the idea of a welfare state fundamentally conflict with an open immigration policy?

Progressives and liberals in the US (myself included) typically support two ideas: That immigration should be open so that undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay and provided a so-called "...
9
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1answer
369 views

What are reasonable basic obligations of citizens in democratic societies?

Theorists (Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel) have often discussed the state's obligations to its citizens, but nowadays it seems we need a definitive-but-succinctly articulated account of citizens'...
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2answers
5k 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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5answers
25k views

What is the difference between Functionalism and Structural-Functionalism?

I don't know if I should ask this here because the question is more like a sociology one. Anyway, I will give it a try, since most of the sociologists are also philosophers, so maybe I'll be lucky ...
9
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1answer
391 views

Which if any contemporary philosophers have written about the potential negative effects of “reverse” discrimination?

In many cases when I talk about how I think, I find it useful to abstract the messy real sources of inspiration into a pure dialogue with my friend Matt. In this case, Matt and I were talking about ...
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3answers
10k views

How can I start learning about political philosophy?

I'm interested in learning about political philosophy. What are the best ways to start? Are there any websites for beginners? Are there any books such as the "For Dummies" series? Are there any audio ...
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6answers
1k views

Is “Don't blame me; I voted for ___” a bad argument?

Is there a fallacy in the argument, "Don't blame me; I voted for ..."? Or is a voter's entire responsibility for their contribution to whatever current state of political affairs they experience ...
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3answers
1k views

Was Hobbes a natural law theorist?

I would like to hear some opinions on a question I am asking myself due to contradictions in the references of my term paper. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on "The Natural Law ...
8
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2answers
5k views

What did Acton mean by saying “absolute power corrupts absolutely”?

John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton said that "[p]ower tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." What did he mean by this? How might power compel evil or restrict free will?
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5answers
523 views

Is democracy scalable?

In a small tribe, where pretty much everyone knows everyone else (and their ancestors) one could elect one person to rule over all; he is in a simple sense, first amongst equals, for all the members ...
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1answer
2k views

What consequences has Locke's theory of knowledge had on modern political thought?

According to John Locke's notion of tabula rasa, there are no innate ideas in the mind. All human knowledge comes from sensible experience. Assuming this principle, it follows that there is no innate ...
8
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8answers
854 views

Which philosophy forces others to act altruistically?

I see and hear various media/articles and people's view which insist others to commit altruistic acts. Sometimes to the extent that it is no more persuasion but force. Why is that right or wrong and ...
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7answers
4k 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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8answers
3k views

What is to be understood by the phrase “Israel's right to exist”? [closed]

As someone who is interested in the Israeli-Palestinian question one phrase that comes up in the pro-Israeli position is the insistence that the Palestinians recognise '"Israel's right to exist". (In ...
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6answers
739 views

Does philosophy shed any light on how parties can fruitfully debate without an agreed source of truth?

A hallmark of recent political developments is extreme partisanship, where each side has near total distrust of the other. To exacerbate this situation there has been a breakdown in agreement over ...
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3answers
3k views

Should governments have the power to limit the citizen's rights during wartime?

Should the government be allowed to limit their citizens rights during wartime or other hard times that the country is going through? What if it was an apocalyptic event that everyone knew they would ...
7
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2answers
784 views

Is it immoral to pay taxes if your government conducts immoral activities?

Assume your government participates in immoral wars that are unjust according to your personal beliefs and religious doctrine (for example Christian just war theory), is giving support to the ...
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3answers
2k views

Where does Aristotle mention inequality and his solution to this?

In this interview with Noam Chomsky on a book Requiem for an American Dream based upon a documentary that he did, he is asked: Let's go to your next point about 'shaping of ideology'. You talk ...
7
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3answers
413 views

Morality of Interfering in Foreign Elections

What kinds of moral theories, or even just considerations, come into play for state-level action in trying to influence another nation's political election process, in terms of information/propaganda? ...
7
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4answers
386 views

Political Philosophy - who to vote for [closed]

Apologies if this is a bad forum for this question. Given the historic links between politics and philosophy, I thought it might be a worthwhile question. Otherwise, downvote away :) There are ...
7
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1answer
2k views

What is the origin of love, in Hobbesian philosophy?

According to Hobbes, Passions are identified as those interior beginnings of motion, by which the imagination eventually motivates us to action. He then describes various emotions such as glory, ...

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