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SYRACUSE / Philosophy / PHI 125 / What is wrong with the so-called “rights of man”?

What is wrong with the so-called “rights of man”?

What is wrong with the so-called “rights of man”?


School: Syracuse University
Department: Philosophy
Course: political theory
Professor: rasmussen
Term: Spring 2020
Tags: philosophy
Cost: 50
Name: Final study guide
Description: I recommend using ALL other study guides in addition to this
Uploaded: 04/21/2020
9 Pages 117 Views 17 Unlocks

PHI/PSC 125 Study Guide: Exam 3

What is wrong with the so-called “rights of man”?

Exam Date: 4/27/2020


- 24 Multiple choice questions 

- Blackboard online exam


Marx, “On the Jewish Question,” Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts, The German Ideology

What is wrong with the so-called “rights of man”? What does it mean to be a “species-being”? 

- Completely rejected by Marx

- Two key arguments:

- Rights are assigned of individualism 

- Help to promote individualism 

- Promotes an “egoistic man”

- When we think in terms of rights, we see others as limits of freedom - RIghts promote alienated politics-- the fact that we need rights means others in society are naturally trying to limit each other's innovations and living 

Why, in the capitalist system, is the worker alienated from the product of his labor?

- Species-being: a social or communal being, one’s consciousness as a member of a society and NOT as an individual 

Why, in the capitalist system, is the worker alienated from the product of his labor? Why is he alienated from himself? From his “species-life”? From other men? 

- Wage laborer is enough to barely keep worker survive

- Competition drives down wages that only hurt laborer by receiving lower payouts - Maximum output by exploitation of wage workers If you want to learn more check out What is the role of inventory on a balance sheet?

- Labor creates divergence in 4 ways:

- Laborer is alienated from product of labor

- Labor produces things that are soon taken away/sold-- can never see finished products that promote pride in labor 

What has been the purpose of revolutions throughout history?

- Laborer is alienated from self

- Working for wages means people are wasting their time working and is a painful burden-- life begins when labor ends

- Laborer is alienated from species life

- “Productive life is species life”-- to be a free, conscious producer

- Freedom to choose labor is life’s chief joy

- When labor is not imposed on you, labor can be satisfying

- Forced labor inhibits one’s ability to promote conscious labor 

- Laborer is alienated from other men

- Alienation of workers from bosses

- Laborer is not working for himself, but the capitalist who forces them to work and ultimately strengthens them 

Why would raising wages not be enough to solve the problem of wage labor? Don't forget about the age old question of How did andy warhol influence the american pop art?

- Raising wages will only result in better payment for the slave- wouldn’t give them any more happiness or satisfaction-- calls for a need to abolish private property and capitalist incentives

Why are material conditions so crucial in determining the direction of history? 

- Example: transition from feudal to capital system

- Textile manufacturing brought about change in how labor was overseen-- because machinery restricted feudal power over apprentices and serfdom, the mandation of wages and worker’s rights took center stage and promoted a change to a more capital driven society and not one based on class labor and division

- All of these changes stemmed from improvements in technology (in this specific example) and therefore material conditions pave the way for the direction of history

What does Marx mean when he says that “consciousness does not determine life, but life determines consciousness”? We also discuss several other topics like How do sensory neurons detect stimulus?

- It isn't thoughts and ideas who shape the world, but how we produce and physically go about things that dictate our life and the direction humanity takes 

What has been the purpose of revolutions throughout history? Why, in every age, are the ruling ideas the ideas of the ruling class? Don't forget about the age old question of What is required for idea to be facilitated?

- All of history has been a history of class struggle

- The ruling class makes the laws and use the aws to impose their sense of justice on a community

- Ruling class uses these laws to justify their position overlooking and mandating life in a society 

- Loyalty served as a way to judge others and themselves

- When manufacturing and capitalism arose-- the core value eroded away and was replaced with free-market values and liberty/freedom

- This causes oppressed classes a long time to see that they are oppressed and eventually leads to revolts once the working class realizes the struggle they bear We also discuss several other topics like Why is it important to study the religions of the primitive cultures?

Marx, Communist Manifesto, “Critique of the Gotha Program” What makes the era of the bourgeoisie distinctive? 

- In early eras, there was a hierarchy

- Class was simplified between bourgeoisie and proletariat during this era

- This era was also crass and materialistic as described by Marx

What features of this era make Marx optimistic that its problems will soon be solved? Why will the revolution of the proletariat be different from all previous revolutions? Why don’t the bourgeoisie deserve the fruits of their labor? We also discuss several other topics like What causes hemineglect?

- Factors that promote optimism:

- Constant agitation/overturning in bourgeois society 

- “All that's solid melts into air”

- The world has become much more homogenous and interconnected - Ideas spread like wildfire during this time and globalization undermines cultural differences-- revolutions will soon sweep the world

- The crises of capitalism are crises of overproduction 

- More goods are produced than can be sold for profit- overabundance will cripple capitalist societies

- In this era, for the first time, the revolutionary class has no property to defend - No selfish class interests

- Once communism has swept the globe, there will be no more war 

- No economic/social motive since all will be seen as equals and national pride will be diminished to nothing-- chance of international peace

- This revolution will be different than other revolutions because ruling class will ultimately join forces as one proletariat and will lead to violence among those who don’t succumb to majority rule

- Ruling class deserves nothing because the gifts they received were stolen from the working class

Why won’t the abolition of private property lead to universal laziness? 

- Marx argues if this were the case, ruling class would have collapsed from idleness because the hardest workers get nothing and the lazy owners and overseers received all the glory 

- When all causes of alienation are removed as discussed prior, people will develop a natural desire to work for their own pride and conscious joy

Why do communists want to abolish the bourgeois family and nationalism? 

- The present family is based solely on economic gain and rely on exploitation of anyone below them 

- Seeing the family as an economic institution has no place in a comunist society - Promoting an end to the establishment of countries can lead to a decrease in antagonizing war and class discrepancies for the working class

What will happen during the dictatorship of the proletariat? 

- Measures generally applicable during dictatorship:

- Free education

- Abolition of child labor

- Graduated income tax

- “Death” tax

- Abolition of private property and land

- Forcing all to work

- Confiscation of contraband and devices that go against the dictatorship

How do Lassalle and the Gotha Program suggest a “fair” distribution would work? What does Marx find problematic about this solution? 

- Under a fair distribution of wealth, people would get out of society exactly what they put into society

- “From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs” - Why Marx disagrees with merit system:

- The merit system ignores people’s needs and situation and allows inequalities to exist for reasons that are morally irrelevant 

Why is the “free state” demanded by Lassalle and the Gotha Program not enough? 

- People can never truly be free so long as there is a state of some sorts - The state will inevitably wither away once the government follows through with the desires of a society because, ultimately, a government is simply a body whose sole job is to oppress and control a living body 

Nietzsche, Gay Science #125, On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life

Why is the protagonist of Gay Science #125 a “madman”? 

- Makes an allusion to a greek Diogenes the Cynic-- doing whatever he pleased regardless of conventional thought (lived homelessly, practicing obscene gestures) - God used to be the source of light or truth, but God is now lost and requires a lantern in the day

- Why he’s a madman:

- When someone tries to tell another person something they aren’t ready to hear, that person is disregarded as mad 

- When one’s teachings make no clear sense, they are disregarded as mad - Madness can stem from new commercial world or due to readings of older philosophers

- Attempts to communicate with atheists and mock him for holding his beliefs so truly

- The madman believes humanity has killed God

What does the death of God mean? 

- The belief in God was once powerful but that belief is now dying or dead

- Not that God is dead himself, but the belief in all Gods (not just Christian) held by society is dead due to science and doubt in faith 

- Death of God means the death of the highest values that were once held very truly and absolute

What does it mean to live “unhistorically”? 

- To live in a time where we can’t look back in history because the times we live in are unorthodox and never occurred before-- can’t look back to history for solace or reason - The death of God is something that occurs overtime-- a process according to Nietzsche - Perspective is only valuable in a certain time and place in history

Why is there a tension between history and “life”? 

- Each era and time period will have its own set of values and what is considered good or bad-- it is a matter of perspective and you will have a hard time applying historical views with current views due to an ideal society being an ever changing process - There is no objective truth, only a variety of perspectives

- Goal of life is finding a balance between living in the moment and dwelling on the past and future that promotes a healthy, productive life 

- Living entirely in the present will reduce us to brutes

Why does everything need a horizon to be strong and healthy? 

- Too much of any one characteristic or idea can be overwhelming and that without establishing limits, it is easy to become overwhelmed and life a life of stress and constant worry 

What are monumental, antiquarian, and critical history, and what are their uses and dangers? What effect has the modern historical sense had on modern culture? 

- Monumental

- History in the service of activity and striving (ie: the great heroes of our past) - Provides role models

- Remind us that greatness is possible

- Inspire courage and hope to change the world

- However:

- Conditions in the past aren’t the same as conditions in the present

- Makes people look at the effects rather than the causes and obstructs the broader perspective

- Should be weary of those who try and use monumental history tactics to prevent progress/promote malevolent agenda

- When monumental history is the most prominent form of history, it becomes distorted

- Antiquarian

- History that preserves and admires

- Respect for tradition for traditions sake

- Remember conditions from which we grew up

- Believed to mummify the past and only preserves and never generates - Critical

- Opposite of antiquarian history, judges and condemns the past 

- Example: holding Founding Fathers who were once seen as great

accountable for their actions due to slave-owning, brutal treatment of

natives, etc.

- Expressed dominantly by Marx to condemn actions of the past

How well do we understand the great individuals of the past? 

- We understand great individual of the past fairly well, however as ideas change and there is a sense of progress, we learn more about their actions and can cause a shift in popularity and reverence for these individuals

- We can never truly understand great individuals of the past because weren’t devoted to such principles that they lived by 

Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, “Prologue”, Beyond Good and Evil, The Genealogy of Morals

What are the last men like? 

- The last men eat and drink and seek warmth and comfort/entertainment - Similar to herd of sheep

- Men who seek comfortable peace and preservation

- An unconscious ideal

Are the last men happy? 

- Yes, the last men seem happy but there is an emptiness in their lives - Can turn to drugs

- Need constant entertainment to keep themselves from feeling empty and distract them

How do the last men view previous eras? 

- Last men feel they are incapable of producing anything awe inspiring and look back at previous eras as chaos

- In order to achieve greatness, you must have chaos and great deeds that come about from these times

- Last men revere previous eras but know they could never achieve such greatness so long as there is constant peace and comfort in living 

Why is inequality necessary for developing the highest in humanity?

- Inequality is important to have a social distance, the power of looking down on others in order to have souls that can be raised up

- Having an enlightened soul that can look down on others is what promotes greatness and advancements

- Advancements cannot occur in an egalitarian society 

What is the “will to power”? 

- Will to power is the fundamental principle of the universe

- Everything in the universe strives to display and increase its strength, leave an impact on the world 

- Less about joy and satisfaction, but more about power and domination - Innate part of life

- Overpowering over other entities and, possibly, exploitation

What are master and slave morality like, and what is the relationship between them? How did slave morality arise? Has it played any useful functions? 

- Master morality: morality of rulers and aristocrats, those with elevated souls - Vikings, Romans, Greeks

- Slave morality: morality of the weak, distinguished between good and evil - Masters never blamed slaves for being weak, no reason to punish, however slaves blame masters for exploitation and paint them in an evil light

- Nietzsche’s view: No need to punish people for being strong, just as there is no need to punish people for being weak

- Slave morality turns conventional morality on its head

- How did it arise?

- Arose through spirit of resentment for masters and desired revenge 

- Reinterpreted failure as a success and saw pride/strength as evil\ - Examples: useful to make sense of people like Jesus, a suffering god

Is Nietzsche simply an advocate of master morality? 

- He does seem to lean more towards master morality because master morality can stand alone, slave morality is only a result of master morality 

- He does also see that slave morality is dominant in the world and the sentiment of the majority of people

Is master morality or slave morality predominant in the modern world? 

- Master morality is predominant in the world because slave morality is simply a reaction to master morality 

- The only reason slave morality is mostly dominant later on is because those in lower classes can develop a sense of cleverness and wit that is greater than the master morality/ruling class

Nietzsche, Gay Science #343, 283, 341, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, “The Convalescent,” Ecce Homo

Why might it be good news that the old god is dead? 

- He reacts to the very few people who are “free-spirits” and philosophers who will renounce the dead God

- Horizon of thought/being creative is now free for all and not restrained to a God-like being 

- “New dawn/open sea” paves the way for the overmen who seek truth to historicism and perspectivism

What is the role of “preparatory human beings,” and how do they play this role? Why would it be so hard to say yes to the demon’s proposal Gay Science #341? 

- Preparatory human beings are courageous people-- vision of what is needed to pave the way for the overmen

- Someone who can combine the wisdom of Socrates with the spirit of a lively human being “a dancing Socrates”

- It is hard to say yes because if it felt like a repeat, you knew nothing would change and there is no meaning to your own life-- all meaning comes from within 

- Another reason why he feels its hard is because our lives are far from perfect and to go through/relive these instances would be a nightmare 

- Eternal return gives our actions and choices seriousness and meaning once again

- Example: imagine reliving through Coronavirus

- By saying yes, you have accomplished true happiness and peace in life

Why did Zarathustra become nauseated and pass out? What was it that choked him? How does Zarathustra overcome his nausea and redeem himself? 

- Zarathurstra: Nietzsche’s magnum opus: “greatest work”

- Very difficult to understand

- Passed out from disgustingness and wretched life of man 

- Overcame problem through creativity, passion and cheerfulness-- reason undermines belief in God and anything creative will fill this void and this is what brought him back and redeem himself 

What are Nietzsche’s political intentions (if any)? 

- Thought of as father of postmodernism (leftism)

- Values are perspectival

- Boasts tolerance of views (perspectivism)

- However, he argues that if no values correspond to true life, why should we tolerate any values that are different from each other 

- Can’t be placed either left nor right on the political spectrum-- anti/transpolitical

- Founder of great politics:

- Abstraction of politics-- remaining impartial

- Doesn’t want any believers because he wants people to THINK FOR THEMSELVES


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