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Political Philosophy by Jonathan Wolff by Mind Map: Political Philosophy by
Jonathan Wolff
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Political Philosophy by Jonathan Wolff


"Who get's what? Says who?"

Often seen as the central question in political philosophy.

What is the relationship between wealth and the ruling class?

What is the correct balance between automony and authority?


How political relationships should be


Describing what they are

"No Hiding Place"

Unlike other disciplines, you can't hide in political philosophy.

The State of Nature pages 6-33

Lord of the Flies example

What is a stateless society like?  Can we play a mental game and guess?

Rousseau's point

The evolution to a civil society would take too long when looking at the history of humanity.

John Locke

The noble savage theory, Dog Politics


Product of the English Civil War

Believed Human Nature was brutish, Human Nature consisted of:, Self-Knowledge, Materialism and motion, Felicity, Peoples' search for felicity would lead to all out war 24/7, Equality - people started out equal, but needed someone to rule over them to save them from themselves., 3 reasons who people attack in a sate of nature:, Meaning of "Brutish" - Humans were not bad by nature, they were just looking for scarce goods.

2 Problems with Hobbes, Can there be morality? Or does might make right?, Laws are moral, but as the product of humans they could mean anything is moral, even murder.

Fundamental Laws of Nature, Every man should endeavor for peace, Give up the claim to everything provided that others do the same., Do not that to another that you would not like done to you., The paradox, Individual Rationalism - Selfish and dangerous to the collective, Collective Rationality - Logical and in the best interest of both the collective and the individual., Sarte's Tree Example, In practice this Law of Nature may be difficult to follow. If everyone else is breaking the rules, you should be aware of it, but at the same time not allow them to take away your liberty., Under strong leadership, the fundamental laws of nature can be given to the mass of the people.

John Locke 17-23

Student Notes

Mr. Lowman's, Sir Robert Filmer (1588-1653) Proponent of divine right rule., Unlike Hobbes, he believe the state of nature was not the state of war., There were Natural Rights that applied to all humans and no natural hierarchal stucture?, Like Hobbes, he believed truth could be found through reason., Humans are not naturally motivated to follow moral law (Like Hobbes), Pursuit of life liberty and property, Scarcity isn't as much of an issue as Hobbes makes it out to be., The bigger problem comes with the creation of money and of capital. Then there is hording and exploitation., Sounds like a starting point for Karl Marx, The problem isn't with felicity, it's with a good justice system that uses the proper amount of force and coercion., Individuals have the right to exercise coercion and force in order to enforce natural law, Natural law is found through reason and rational thought

Rousseau 24-29

Student Notes

More student notes

Mr. Lowman's Notes, It is in human nature to not like to see other's suffer., People's main desire is self-preservation, He could have said, "People aren't messed up, it's society.", Returning to the primative state of nature would be impossible because of the corruption that has occurred., A problem with Rouseau, There is the drive for self-preservation, There is a drive for compassion - how can these two coexist in man?, One characteristic of the human species is that they are solitary and can survive on their own., Formed opinions from the Caribbean native who would give up his bed in the morning and beg for it in the evening., Implying that natural people are short sighted because they had not been corrupted by greed., Tool making was what awoke mans' pride and intelligence, freewill and capacity for personal improvement is what separates man from beast -, It is also the cause of conflict and problems, Private Property develops this leads to:, Mutual dependence, jealousy, inequality, and the slavery of the poor.

Anarchism and Conclusion

Student Notes

Mr. Lowman's Notes, Goodwin and Wollstonecraft, People can grow more cooperative over time, Perfection did not exist in the past, but is something to look forward to in the future., Conflicts with Darwinistic ideas, New node

Justifying the State

State Defined: Ability to use coercion

Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)

Utilitarian theory, The good of the many outweigh the needs of the few, Happiness for all is most important, not autonomy

Negative Justification

The notion that there is no perfect government, but someone has to do it.

Key to Plato's view on who should govern, Locke. Since there is no Devine Right and this power is invested onto everyone, Some form of artificial government should be formed

Individuals consent, but this is a problem with the obstruction of liberty

Most people are born into a nation state

Social Contract - Assumptions that you have certain duties

Vote, If you vote, even if your candidate lose, you will acknowledge that it is a system that you are buying into.

Serve in the military

Pay Taxes, Henry David Thoreau Civil Disobedience

Tacit consent

Living in happiness is a receipt that shows you agree to the rules of society. This is where the binding happens.

Problem with those that can neither love a country or leave it.

Unreasonable. To suggest people actually have a choice

Hypothetical consent

The notion that life without a government would be much worse.

Even when this is not thought about, the link is still there

Does not address the question of injustice


The police are justified only because they enforce moral law. Just doing the dirty work.

Rawls and property inequality

If law reflects morality, then an individual can determine what is moral or immoral


How do you quantify happiness?, Bhutan

Law breaking may take place because as a member of society, stealing one small thing will make me feel better, but not make much of a difference for others, Problem solved by saying, what fi everyone broke the law?

Indirect utilitarianism

Prisoner's Dilemma., When others suffer because one person's selfish acts