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Political Theory: The School of Natural law

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1 Political Theory: The School of Natural law
Section 7.35

2 Political theory is not scientific
Science deals with what does exist Political theory deals with what “ought” to exist Yet science was applied to political theory Machiavelli Government ought to be republican Citizens ought to have attachment to the state Rulers ought to behave in such way as to sustain their rule Machiavelli disregarded the ought and separated politics from theology and moral philosophy Described how gov and ruler really behaved Told truth or lied, etc. , whatever seemed to be the best means of advancing their political interests Was he advocating immorality?

3 Natural Right and Natural Law
What is right? According to 18th Century philosophers, a law that distinguishes right from wrong exists and is not a mere human invention Right is not determined by heritage, tradition, nor by The law that exists is a natural law actual (positive) law may or may not be just (man made) natural law exists as the reference point for the justness of all positive law cannibalism is bad forced labor is bad Natural law supercedes all people and is universal (exists for all people, Cosmopolitan) Cannot make a bad law a just law

4 How do we discover natural law?
Reason will guide the ability to recognize natural law The intellect will have to be cultivated Such cultivation will bring all to the same understanding independent of cultural background This concept is challenged by Freud human mind is not rational, it is motivated by drives, urges, instincts

5 Reason applied to Nations
Hugo Grotius (Law of War and Peace, 1625) and Samuel Pufendorf (Law of Nature and of Nation, 1672) Both said that sovereign states should work together for the common good A community of nations in the absence of a higher authority must subordinate self interests to natural reason and justice they recommended freedom of the seas, immunity of ambassadors

6 Hobbes and Locke philosophy of natural law justified both constitutional and absolutist governments state had to be justified Absolutism (justified by Hobbes) constitutionalism (justified by Locke) Neither satisfactorily answered the question of legitimacy

7 Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) Absolutism
had a materialistic and atheistic philosophical system violence and disorder of the English Revolution he favored the king over the parliament (1640s) Humans have no capacity for self government Life in the state of nature was “solitary, nasty, brutish, and short” out of fear from each other, people surrendered freedoms and formed a contract with a ruler

8 Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) Leviathan (1651)
People contract with the government to prevent disorder Ruler has unrestricted or absolute power Ruled must have stability and effective institutions Government is a device created by man not from God’s dispensation (secular view) Absolute power was to be used to promote individual welfare Hobbes did not support totalitarianism

9 John Locke ( ) Good government is an expedient of human purpose, not provided by God or even national tradition (secular) Government is based on a contract: Two Treatises of Government(1680) People could learn from experience and be educated and enlightened In a state of nature were reasonable and moral independent of government People had the natural (outside of gov.) right to life, liberty and property Property is a natural right that he emphasizes government is set up to protect property

10 John Locke (1632-1704) Mutual obligations
Government must protect rights Governed must support the government Right of Rebellion Says that if natural rights are violated governed had the right to rebel Politically Locke is arguing that the Parliament had done right to eject James II and placed the whole revolution on a level of reason, natural right He gave prestige to constitutionalism and individual liberty freedom to act without compulsion by another education is the key to rational and responsible behavior draws his conclusions not from the Bible but from observed, experienced events

11 John Locke (1632-1704) Locke’s influence is widespread and varied
Slavery Using Locke it was argued that certain races lacked the capacity to benefit from education Later Locke was used to effectively challenge slavery Limiting the power of a monarch was deemed modern and forward looking Checked the power of absolutists Constitutional government is not the will of God rested on the natural law of individual rights Locke launches into the modern world the tradition of constitutional government

12 By 1700 Europe has: Faith in science Faith in human reason Faith in the existence of natural human rights Faith in progress

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