Social contract theorists say that morality consists of a set of rules governing how people should treat one another that rational beings will agree to accept for their mutual benefit, on the condition that others agree to follow these rules as well.
Hobbes runs the logic like this in the form of a logical syllogism:
We are all self-interested.
Each of us needs to have a peaceful and cooperative social order to pursue our interests.
We need moral rules in order to establish and maintain a cooperative social order.
Therefore, self-interest motivates us to establish moral rules.
Hobbes looked to the past to observe a primitive “State of Nature” in which there is no such thing as morality, and that this self-interested human nature was “nasty, brutish, and short” – a kind of perpetual state of warfare.
Locke disagreed, and set forth the view that the state exists to preserve the natural rights of its citizens. When governments fail in that task, citizens have the right – and sometimes the duty – to withdraw their support and even to rebel. Locke addressed Hobbes’s claim that the state of nature was the state of war, though he attribute this claim to “some men” not to Hobbes. He refuted it by pointing to existing and real historical examples of people in a state of nature. For this purpose he regarded any people who are not subject to a common judge to resolve disputes, people who may legitimately take action themselves to punish wrong doers, as in a state of nature.
Initial Post Instructions
For the initial post, address the following:
1.Which philosophy do you espouse?
2. How much authority should be granted to governments (e.g., the right to kill (death penalty/capital punishment/use of deadly force)? How much would you give up in return for safety?
3. If you side with Hobbes, do you support at any point recourse if the government violates its own contract (if so, you probably have a bit of Locke in your thinking)
Ruggiero, V. R. (2012). Thinking critically about ethical issues (8th ed.). New York, NY: Mc-Graw Hill.
Along with your textbook reading for the week, here are some additional readings to consider about state of nature.
Article 1: Understanding of Sovereignty in the Establishment of Social Order and Freedom of the Individual According to Thomas Hobbes
Article 2: Bargaining and the impartiality of the social
Article 3: The Light of Nature: John Locke, Natural Rights, and the Origins of American Religious Liberty:
Minimum of 5 scholarly sources (This includes the sources from the annotated bibliography. Additional sources may be included as appropriate.)
This week you will submit your final paper.
The paper should include the following:
Create your own 4-6 paragraph “dilemma” based on the controversial topic you chose in Week 3.
Summarize the dilemma.
Identify the key points of the dilemma.
Define the key terms associated with the dilemma.
Analyze the conflicts or controversies involved in the dilemma.
Provide an original point of view relative to the dilemma and the issue it signals.
Apply Kant’s Categorical Imperative to the dilemma.
Apply one other method you have encountered in lecture material and the readings.
State which of the two methods you selected you prefer and why.
Use the 5 articles from your annotated bibliography. (Additional academic scholarly research from the past 5 years can be included as well.)
Include a reference page at the end of your paper in APA format that includes your bibliography with the annotations removed and any other sources used in your final paper.
Paragraphs are composed around topics, which naturally and organically emerge from a complex, focused, and sophisticated thesis.
Each paragraph explores one topic and one topic only.
Topics directly relate to the thesis and are not theses in and of themselves.
The paragraph completely and fully develops and explains the topic and provides details, examples, illustrations, and quotations from research as well as from the primary texts.
Topics and paragraphs rise above commonplace thinking and summary.
Quoted material is used powerfully to support analytical points (and not as padding).
There is a graceful transition to the next paragraph.
The ideas explored are significant, substantive, and instructive.
Ideas/topics support the overarching thesis so that the paper is a unified whole, and not a concatenation of appended mini-essays.
In this case, I espouse Hobbes’s theory as it is in line with the concept of psychological egoism. To a big extent, human behavior is usually motivated by self-interest. When people do things, there is always a belief (even if its unconscious)that doing that particular thing will result to benefits in [cmppp_restricted] one way or another even for something that is presumed to be selfless (LaFollette & Persson, 2013). This is why Hobbes postulates that self-interest drives people in establishing moral rules since the existence of morality will enable them to go on with their activities in peace.
I think the government should not be granted the authority that goes to the extent of taking people’s lives. I do not think there is anyone worthy of taking another person’s life. However, I would be willing to give up liberty like privacy for the sake of safety. In times of national security, the government ought to have the ability of breaching the right to privacy of someone who is being suspected. In case there was an attack, people would get killed, and they would not even have the opportunity of exercising this liberty (Kuznicki, 2017). The safety created ensures that people have the ability to carry on with their activities without living in fear.
Even though I support Hobbes argument, to some point I do agree to recourse in case the government violates its own contract. This is because if the government cannot protect the citizen’s natural rights, it does not have any business being there. Furthermore, this makes it difficult for the citizens to fulfil their desired self-interest.
Kuznicki, J. (2017). Technology and the End of Authority. Springer,.
LaFollette, H., & Persson, I. (2013). The Blackwell guide to ethical theory. Hoboken: Wiley Blackwell.
Ruggiero, V. R. (2012). Thinking critically about ethical issues (8th ed.). New York, NY: Mc-Graw Hill. [/cmppp_restricted]