PSCI 2014 Human Nature I & II
PSCI 2014 Human Nature I & II PSCI 2014
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by windwalkerr on Thursday February 25, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSCI 2014 at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University taught by Rohan Kalyan in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 39 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Political Theory in Political Science at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
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Date Created: 02/25/16
Human Nature 2.23.16 Human Nature II 2.25.16 Human Nature 2.23.16 Are human inherently equal & if so, in what ways & on what basis? In what ways are human unequal? What are/should be basic human goals/motivations? Are humans rational & autonomous in choosing conceptions of a good life? Are their ideas about human nature that most people can accept as minimal basis for political agreement? St. Augustine Believed that human nature couldn’t be perfected Societies aren’t just Concept of “original sin” descended from Adam & Eve o Our lives aren’t awry by coincidence Idea of 2 cities: city of man & city of God o Man could never build the latter. o Too dependent on money & greed Lived 354430 AD o He lived and wrote during the steady decline of Roman Empire Linear history of humanity o Nothing lasts forever Creation Fall of man (Adam & Eve) Redemption o Augustine wasn’t that hopeful for human nature. He believed that most people will succumb to greed. Original sin: concept that we can’t achieve perfection because of our origins o Using free will to turn away from God’s will Herbert Deane on St. Augustine Evil is absence of good, not the positive creation of God, therefore God is not responsible for evil Human nature: egoistic, prideful, selfinterested, disobedient, insatiable desires Bifurcated world o City of god: eternal, peaceful, harmony o City of earth: corrupt, selfish, materialistic **Humans need gov’t to contain sinful ways Predetermination of the saved & damned, wealthy not necessarily righteous & vice versa Hobbes (15881679) Divine right of kings: kings chosen by God o Hobbes said that this was nonsense o Similar to Augustine, but w/o religion Leviathan: strong authoritarian rule o like Augustine, but replaces God w/gov’t men are by nature equal in strength & intelligence Human Nature 2.23.16 Human Nature II 2.25.16 o no one has major advantage over anyone else from equality proceeds diffidence/insecurity/fear from diffidence proceeds war o first for security, then glory & recognition outside of gov’t; war of all against all (state of nature) social contract: o fear of death, desire for commodious living, hope to work hard to attain material goods pushes men to agreement o submission to rule of Leviathan is better than being out in state of nature o **Locke modifies Hobbes’ argument while retaining premise of cruelty of state of nature Not as negative o Locke writes after Glorious Revolution (1688) & Hobbes during exile/English civil war (16421651) Locke is slightly more liberal, whereas Hobbes will take any form of gov’t Locke willing to overthrow gov’t if it isn’t doing what ppl want. Hobbes = more reluctant MacPherson “Early Liberal Model of Man” th th Classical liberalism (18 & 19 century) inherits state of nature assumptions of Hobbes & Locke & shares some negative views regarding human nature from Hobbes & St. Augustine **instead of condemning human nature, liberalism values selfishness, egotism, & competitive Utilitarian conception of human nature arises w/ industrial capitalism & maturation of liberal democracy Preliberal democracy (Rousseau & Thomas Jefferson) o New conception of man Liberal democracy o Man as utility maximizer, possessive individualism Money = happiness/utility Possessive individualism: whatever I’ve acquired is mine & mine alone, & I should want more Utility always trying to be increased Happiness/pleasure measured by $$ o Pain = lack of $$ o Minimalist role for gov’t; gov’t shouldn’t interfere w/ your ability to make money bc it causes pain Freedom is absence of intrusion Deal w/ inequality by expanding vote to satisfy working class Marx “Estranged Labor” Centers on idea of worker alienation Industrial capitalism coincides w/ liberal democracy o Under liberal democracy, people are politically free but socially unfree o Liberalism protects liberal private property, but only the wealthy have it Human Nature 2.23.16 Human Nature II 2.25.16 Poor people have only labor power, which they own & sell for a wage Only the capitalist class is both politically/socially free Rely on unfree labor to get richer Voting is therefore only there to placate the masses, who must choose between rich representatives to be their voice Alienation: workers alienated from means of production as well as final product of their labor o turns workers into commodities o must sell themselves to live species being of humans is free; people live in inorganic nature Human Nature II 2.25.16 Marx on Human nature Marx uses the term species being (essence of species) instead of “human nature” Work is the essence of humans o He said that humans are always shaped by their social relations & that, to some extent, humans shape their own nature o Bourgeois ideology (liberalism) theorizes human nature as abstract, ahistorical, & individualistic Against “human nature” bc term makes it seem like we never change o Human nature isn’t static; it changes slowly over time Humans are social animals before they are individuals He makes the distinction btw humans & animals o Animals produce w/o planning or preparation o Human produce after thinking & planning Humans “humanize” nature o They recreate & reconstruct nature w/ human characteristics For their own ends (surplus production; more than we need) Likely started w/ agricultural production o Humans are rewarded for hard work ( get out what they put in) o Humans find their meaning/happiness in their life activity (i.e. artisans, bakers, butchers, shop owners Product is theirs; unalienated labor, essence of our beings. They get to see the final product after they make it Under capitalism, labor becomes estranged/alienated o Worker detached from means of production (cog in a machine) o Worker also detached from ends of production (final product) Capitalism is most efficient system o Increases surplus accumulation through efficiency & exploitation of labor w/ rising efficiency/technology comes more alienation look at 1848 Europe as an example humans constantly do things that they resist shifting discussion from workers to consumers o Are we all just consumers? Human Nature 2.23.16 Human Nature II 2.25.16 Kropotkin “Mutual Aid” human evolution driven by 2 dialectical forces: o individual selfassertion (**Western thought) o mutual aid (mostly ignored in Western society) mutual aid: reduces struggle for existence in both animal/human society poor people tend to celebrate mutual aid & interdependence much more than the rich, who tend to forget who helped them get to the top believed people should help each other w/o gov’t telling them to Chang “assume the worst…” an unorthodox economist free market economists assume that humans are in it for their selfinterest o defines economic rationality; universal while selfinterest is primary driver of economic & political activity, it’s not only (or most important) influence ideologies of selfinterest can selfperpetuate how people think about morality of “small town” versus that of big city Is this human nature or socialized behavior? If we assume the worst out of people, is that what you get? Rawls “Rationality & motivation of Parties in Original position” humans aren’t irredeemably selfcentered, dogmatic, prideful, etc o they have at least capacity for genuine toleration & mutual respect (given correctliberal institutions) humans neither good/bad on others make their own life plans by acquiring social goods (income, wealth, power, status, education) Original position: abstract space/time when individuals rationally agree to sense of justice that can contain negative consequences of individual pursuits. **main point: humans are rational Humans have rational sense of justice o Most want to live in at least partially equal world o Incentives for those who work harder, but to a limited extent Sandel “Procedural Republic & Unencumbered Self” Argued in “America’s Search for New Public Philosophy” that democracy requires strong sense of community & civic engagement Argues that liberals like Rawls & Kant use abstract individualism (unencumbered subjects guided by rationality) as basis for moral law/justice Humans aren’t abstract, unencumbered subjects o They are shaped by family, community, history, etc These shape sense of justice Liberalism fantasizes freedom & unencumberence, denies entanglement Parekh “Conceptual Human beings” Human Nature 2.23.16 Human Nature II 2.25.16 Humans have universal traits, instincts, processes o Survival, nurturing, birth/death o These aren’t “human nature” o Humans are deeply socialized; no access to “natural human” So diverse & complex, impossible to know what a natural human is since we are deeply affected by nurture Politics of human nature o Philosophers often think about certain conceptions of human nature to justify particular social/political arrangement Male/female gender roles justify inequality/oppression 3 levels of thinking of human nature as universal: Common species Cultural/social communities Individual consciousness Possible responses: o cultural relativism → ignores what is shared lots of similarities o strong universalism → ignores what is distinct (monism) o weak universalism (minimalist) → ignores cultural meaning of universal pluralist universalism: o different cultures/societies define universal human instincts/traits/processes in distinct ways o universal morality is not an abstract form (like in Plato) or rationality (like Rawls/Kant) that comes from transcendent realm (heavens, abstract, theory) o pluralist universalism emerges from crossculture dialogue
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