short reading followed by 5 short answers. 4-5sentances
John Locke was an English philosopher and physician. He lived from 1632 to 1704. He is considered to be the Father of liberalism. He believed human nature is characterized by reason and tolerance. He also believed human nature allowed people to be selfish.
He was aware of another philosopher Thomas Hobbs(1588-1697) who argues that men are essentially machines with even their thoughts and emotions operating according to physical laws in chains of cause and effect. He felt humans always pursue their own self interests and are essentially greedy. He saw society as a larger version of this human reality operating according to the same laws. He sees geometry as the branch of knowledge that best can be used to form the basis of philosophy. He believed that in mans natural state moral ideas do not exist. Good is what people desire and evil is what they avoid. In order to avoid conflict that leads to civil war he argues for a monarchy or a structure of obedience to one central authority.
John Locke believed there were fundamental natural human rights. These are life, liberty and property. ( you will note hat these words are in our Declaration of Independence ) He believed people form government by mutual agreement. When a king loses the consent of the governed, a society may remove him. Government is formed to protect natural human rights.
Our Founding Fathers were philosophers. They were aware of the writings of the philosophers we have discussed. One of the outstanding aspects of the government they created was the ability within the structure to accommodate change. They created three bodies that monitor each other so that there was no absolute monarchy. Change could occur through a process that allowed for new ideas and growth There were founding principles and a dialogue that would allow for agreed upon laws to be followed.
1. Thomas Hobbs argues that humans are naturally greedy. Do you agree/disagree/why? It is built into us.
2. Greed is seen as a vice, wanting too much of something. Aristotle argued that we should aim for the “golden mean” which is in between wanting too much (greed) and being too generous. ( giving it all away) Is Aristotle’s concept the way we have been taught to think and act?
3. Our Founding Fathers incorporated Locke into the fabric of our country. Hobbs believes we need a central authority that can create laws for societies good, for societies benefit and mandate that citizens follow the law. He favored a framework such as a monarchy with a Philosopher as a mentor. What are the benefits and drawbacks of each approach
4. If we go back to Plato and Aristotle, government should help form us as virtuous people. Taking the pandemic as an example, take two virtues ( i previously gave you a list) and explain how these virtues if they were embraced by our society as a whole would impact the way we deal with the pandemic. Is it possible to mandate these two virtues?
5. James Madison, one of our early Presidents wrote that ” if men were angels no government would be necessary.” As soon as we start living in community, government naturally forms. Men are born free but they are also imperfect. That imperfection results in a need for laws. Yet, laws by their nature restrict out freedom. There is a tension between freedom of the individual and the imperfections in humanity that create a need for laws. Issues we face today are women’s rights, LBGTQ rights, and our history in the western world of slavery. At the time of many of these philosophers rights were thought of in terms of the male gender. Women were subject to men. LBGTQ was not acknowledged or outlawed, and slavery was accepted. Our system, in the United States, because of built in mechanisms for change, has worked to address these issues. Laws have been created that both restrict freedom and create freedom because we live in community and are not angels. How would you asses our balance between protecting the rights of the individual and the need to address societies imperfections?