37

In the most trivial sense, they are obviously distinct because morality does not disappear when I enter an area with no laws. Similarly, my personal morality does not change as I move between countries, nor is it necessary that my morality be aligned with some particular body of law. We can also look at instances which are simply outside of the law. If I ...


23

Some of the answers to these set of questions you raised reside on Mill's principle of harm presented in his influential essay On Liberty (1859). According to this principle, the state can rightfully exercise its power over any citizen in order to prevent harm to others. So, if pornography causes harm to others, it follows, such principle could be justly ...


19

First, arguments from your opponents stated motivation are obviously flawed. He is using an inappropriate notion of cause, and therefore of solution: Follow the argument down to its logical closure: It is likely given the number of minor infraction for which, via this argument, would get you wounded or killed, that basically no one would want to live in ...


17

Well, to begin with, that's a terrible misquotation of Aristotle. What he actually wrote was the following: But at present we are studying the best constitution, and this is the constitution under which the state would be most happy, and it has been stated before that happiness cannot be forthcoming without virtue; it is therefore clear from these ...


16

They must be different! Otherwise, there would be no such thing as an unjust law. I would not want to be there when the person who claims that legal obligation and moral obligation are one and the same tries to explain this to anyone who has engaged in civil disobedience or who has escaped from government-sanctioned oppression. I would not want to be ...


13

The classic answers to Rawls's work come from his fellow Harvard professor, Robert Nozick. In particular, Nozick's seminal work entitled Anarchy, State, and Utopia (1974). It's written as an almost direct critique of Rawls's Theory of Justice, published a few years prior in 1971. In it, Nozick adopts a libertarian approach to justice to challenge Rawls's ...


13

The dominant ideology of the Republican Party is known as American conservatism, and it was developed by William F. Buckley and his magazine National Review starting in the 1950's. The founding mission statement of National Review (see "The Magazine's Credenda" at the end) is a good elucidation of this philosophy. It is formed from two strands: ...


12

Political words tend to change the meaning, but the original meaning of communism meant common ownership of all property. As such it was during all of the 19th century in practice equivalent to socialism and could be used more or less interchangeably. Although the early usage of the word "Capitalism" meant having stock exchanges and investors, since the ...


12

But there's a critical conflict buried here; namely, that the state is actively restricting the freedom/liberty of its citizens (at least temporally) in the name of security and expanded freedom in the future. That's not a conflict; that's the state's raison d'etre. With the exception of a few libertarian anarchists, all philosophers operate from the ...


12

No expert on the subject, waiting for some great answers myself. This is my take: I would sustain your interpretation. The claim that "learning to be able not to be good" is an ethical precept is odd. The Prince is all about cutting off political philosophy from moral precepts, a mix that was customary in virtually all Catholic and scholastic conceptions ...


12

In addition to the conflicting "duties" to friend and law, there is a third duty to yourself, both as a duty to your principles and a duty to those who depend on on you. The case of Antigone correctly raised by John Am and famously discussed by Hegel has a few complexities. She dies, causing other deaths and bereavements as well. Nor does she seem to ...


11

Though user @JordanS has delivered an excellent, well-informed synoptic answer, more can be said. First, the question is appallingly American, by which I mean historically provincial. The state can prohibit pornography or anything else because it is "the state." The "state" is not to be confused as an entity with the government, the people, the nation, the ...


10

There is no special cast called "slaves" in Platos Utopia. Instead all children are given to the state to be brought up and given work as the state sees fit once adult. Hence, almost everybody are slaves. ref Although all people are "citizens" these "citizens" have no rights, only obligations, and no freedom at all except for the absolute upper part that ...


10

Introductions First of all, make you sure you have a good knowledge of general philosophy before you start reading political philosophy. This is not mandatory, but I think you may encounter some problems if you don't know the very basic terms, philosophers and ideas. To get started with political philosophy, I would recommend the following: Yale ...


9

Both the English and American legal systems are based in large part on the writings of Social Contract theorists, like John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Legally and politically speaking, this is one of the most influential notions to arise during the Enlightenment. The United States Constitution and Declaration of Independence draw heavily from the ...


9

There's several ambiguities in your question that an answer needs to address. First, I am going to assume that your uses of "should" refer to moral rather than legal determinations. Otherwise, this isn't going to fit under philosophy. Second, I'm going to answer in terms of applied ethics rather than formal ethical theories. Third, I will following your ...


9

The question is how much well-informed citizens need to be to exercise their democratic rights. The answer depends on theories of democracy. The duty of citizens to be well-informed can be very demanding or not demanding at all. Some theories even require moral duty not to vote. I explain these three views in the following. J.S. Mill's theory can be argued ...


8

Slavoj Zizek makes a number of compelling arguments against the various paradoxes involved with neo-liberal 'tolerance'. But after all, there's a fundamental ambiguity in the term itself, right? It's not "celebrate," it's "tolerate." On the surface it expresses a cosmopolitan openness ("come on in,") but underneath it conceals social injustice, bigotry, ...


8

Your question seems simple, but is very complicated indeed! Instead of giving a complicated answer ;) I want to bring to your attention the problematic nature of an assumption in it, which I will call Principle P. This assumption is important because if Principle P doesn't hold, then your question cannot even get off the ground. Your questions seems to ...


8

NOTE: This answer was given to a previous incarnation of this question. The block quotes I am responding to come from this incarnation. If I have the time I will modify my answer to respond more directly to this version of the question. When a person is placed in a position of absolute power, is it necessarily true that this power will condemn that person ...


8

Aristotle classified states according to two variables: who holds power? And: in whose interest is it exercised? There are three politically possible answers to the first question (one, some and all:the kingship, aristocracy, and politeia), and two politically possible answers to the second (the holder of power, and everyone). Aristotle treats kingship and ...


8

Any chance you're talking about The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek? I haven't read the above book in ages, but I did stumble across the following on an amazon review of a closely related book named Individualism and Economic Order, which is a collection of several essays: After dealing with the absurd notion of full information, Hayek turns to ...


8

To very quickly give you some ideas, you could argue that there are more preferable solutions (preferable for some reason) that even though violence solves problems, it goes against fundamental moral principles and therefore shouldn't be used that his claim is false, by giving a counter example. As a counter example you could use for example a family ...


8

Legal and moral responsibilities are subtly different, even if we presume an entirely just legal system. Legal responsibilities are about the scope of a person's authority. It is illegal for me to murder you because your life is not within the scope of my authority. I cannot trespass on your property because your property is outside the scope of my ...


7

I'd recommend Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Michel Foucault is perhaps the most important modern critic of the prison as a social institution. The work is a rigorous socio-historical analysis of the evolution of the modern prison system. He suggests, among other things, that there may be fundamental relationships between various '...


7

A straight answer is difficult as this is very open ended, I can give examples for one side (that philosophy matters in the 'real' world) and limited argument for the other (it doesn't matter). For the relevance/impact of philosophy: the study of ethics matters quite a bit. One source of jobs for a philosophy PhD grad (as limited as it might be) is direct ...


7

Totalitarianism is widely understood to be a mode of governance in which no individual or collective freedoms are recognised, in the sense of a "freedom" being a mode of behaviour which is explicitly permitted by the government and can be undertaken without punishment by the government. As with nearly all things, totalitarianism should not be viewed as a yes-...


7

Natural rights and human rights originally come from different vocabularies. It's not fair to construe natural rights as "simply a less developed and more concise version of what we now consider human rights." First, I want to start by pointing out an important but crucial ambiguity in the term "natural rights." Viz., the problem is that "nature" can mean ...


6

Any moral theory can be interpreted as 'forcing' you to do altruistic acts as far as it can be said to show you why you should always act with the good in mind, where what is good is determined by that specific theory - and therefore to always put the good above self-interest. So if you are a Kantian idealist, you may say that your rationality 'forces' you ...


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