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Poltical Philosophy

User Thread
 37yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that wittgensteins is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Poltical Philosophy
In the 1950s Peter Laslett announced that \"political philosophy, at least for the moment, is dead\"; and whatever the protetastions to the contrary, and the fact the discipline experienced something of a a revival in the \'70s, I want to inquire whether political philosophy is in fact possible.

Why would anyone question its workability? Surely if we can discourse, whether through cloud or clarity, in agreement or bitter dissension, on such matters as equality, freedom, justice, the relation of the individual to the state, and so forth, then we are entitled to say that poltiical philosophy is a legitimate, and perhaps a paramount, domain of enquiry?

Not so according to the Logical Positivists, who insisted, in somewhat curmudgeonly fashion, that the meaning of a statement is determined by its method of verification. Such a procedure has long since been exploded; but there is a relevant insight to be gleaned here. Since political philosophy is neither emprically grounded like the natural sciences, nor conversant with purely a priori concepts like maths or logic, it is hard to see what sort of knowledge it could consist of. I personally think the rigid distinction on which the argument is founded is wrong-headed. But that is extraneous to our current concerns.

Political philosophy stands outside of, and yet encompasses, ethics. It goes all the way down to the roots of human existence. Ethics is created, not discovered. It is instantiated by the human intellect. I used to think that it was possible to disoldge a system of ethics from its political and social moorings, that it floated free from all local encumbrances - more particularly, that the good was identical, at least in the the last resort with the the beautiful. Such a time-honoued view I know disavow. I think that all JUSTIFICATIONS for good acts must admit of a poltical context: namely, a social contract. The substance of it is this: we all admit that, in the long term partaking of a social existence, participating in a community that is anterior to the inidvidual, makes possible a better life than we could if we lived solely by our own efforts. This entails not only the Hobbesian notion that the state protects us from our fellow men. ( ie law and order). Social life also answers to the needs of our irreducuibly social natures (or as Aristotle called it - Politikon Zoon). But we know that we are not entitled to the fruits of society if we do not bear responsibility for some of the burdens of society. So we agree to sacrifice some short term goals (not doing some things which we\'d like to do because they\'re illegal) for the more fundmantal, long term goals (like the civic life). In other words, ethics is only possible amongst individuals who are rationally self interested. The social contract, on the other hand, is a an arrangement whereby we bargain with other contracting, equal and autonmous indidivduals, in order to determine the Pareto optimal social arrangement. It takes the form of a qui pro quo, and whether hypothetical or actual, it is central to any workable political philosophy.

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 40yrs • F •
A CTL of 1 means that pupa ria is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
you are absolutely right, i always thought that philosophers should be in control of thinking a way through the social, but i think politics has always been about economical, territorial power strategies, i think no one cares about the righteousness or the ethics (and beyond of it). there are billions of billions and dollars spent on warheads, oil expeditions, scientific researches etc etc...the question is do we need it, how will these investments help the individual in society?...i think a political philosophy is idealistic and will always be revolutionary and hence standing no chance because the status co of ethics and social codes got people comfortable (even tho ignorant), it is just a minority who cares and tries to understand whats going on, cause it isn't just a matter of a single nation, it's a whole network....perhaps there should be an economical philosophy. I wish could been more insightful on this but this is as far as i could think right now.

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"I'm the mirror that will make you invisible"
 41yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Squarepants is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Most people I come across have a love for money more than a love for wisdom.
Philosophy is to me a thinking out side of language and to notice the 'is'.
If people started to see the 'is' of things their actions would be alot more helpfull to themselves and by doing so would be more helpfull to others.
Its almost like the world of words has divided are reality up into parts and this is the reality people see, especially people living in high populations.

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Poltical Philosophy
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