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Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

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Georgeanna
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by Georgeanna » August 10th, 2018, 5:26 am

chewybrian wrote:
August 10th, 2018, 5:17 am
Georgeanna wrote:
August 9th, 2018, 9:58 am
I do remember Hobbes and the social contract - his catchy phrase that in the state of nature, without political order and law, our lives would be ' solitary, poor, nasty and short'.
You forgot 'brutish':

Image

Rousseau was denying Hobbes' claim. He points out that such claims make the mistake of anachronism. You can't assume that life for primitive man was unbearable for him because it would be so for you. He says something like: "when speaking of savages, they talk of citizens".

You are right. Actually, my own memory was that of 'nasty, brutish and short' - I should trust it more and not go look things up and then mess up the copying !

Love Popeye the Sailorman - I yam what I yam.
Also the Who - I forgot to get back to you on that link.
Brings up interesting question about the role of music in politics.

Rousseau will be a challenge for me later in the course. It will be interesting to see what Prof Smith says.
Will you be taking a peek?

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chewybrian
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by chewybrian » August 10th, 2018, 5:49 am

Georgeanna wrote:
August 10th, 2018, 5:26 am
It will be interesting to see what Prof Smith says.
Will you be taking a peek?
I bookmarked the videos and I will (probably) check then out later when (if) I find time.

Georgeanna
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by Georgeanna » August 10th, 2018, 6:13 am

Lack of time is no excuse at all, if you really want to do something.
If you will it, do it. If you don't, don't.

However, I hope you do - reading the transcripts will take less time.
You will know it already - so your comments would be appreciated.

Rousseau - should be a breeze :D

https://oyc.yale.edu/political-science/ ... lecture-18
1.Who is Rousseau ?
2. Rousseau's State of Nature
3. Civilization and Nature - how man transitioned from nature to society

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin and the Foundations of Inequality Among Men, translated by Ian Johnston
© Ian Johnston

43 mins vid or quicker to read transcript.
-----

https://oyc.yale.edu/political-science/ ... lecture-19

This lecture focuses on amour-propre, a faculty or a disposition that is related to a range of psychological characteristics such as pride, vanity, and conceit. The Social Contract is subsequently discussed with an emphasis on the concept of freedom and how one’s desire to preserve one’s freedom is often in conflict with that of others to protect and defend their own. General will becomes Rousseau’s solution to the problem of securing individual liberty.

Resources:
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin and the Foundations of Inequality Among Men, translated by Ian Johnston
© Ian Johnston
http://www.mala.bc.ca/~Johnstoi/roussea ... course.htm


Lecture Chapters
"Amour-Propre": The Most Durable Cause of Inequality [00:00:00]
Civilization and Its Discontents [00:20:15]
"The Social Contract" [00:32:06]

------
https://oyc.yale.edu/political-science/ ... lecture-20


Resources:
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract
Courtesy of the University of Adelaide Library Electronic Texts Collection
http://etext.library.adelaide.edu.au/r/ ... ues/r864s/

Lecture Chapters
Introduction: Social Contract and the General Will [00:00:00]
Applications of the General Will [00:25:04]
The Legacies of Rousseau [00:30:54]

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chewybrian
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by chewybrian » August 10th, 2018, 8:10 am

Georgeanna wrote:
August 10th, 2018, 6:13 am
Lack of time is no excuse at all, if you really want to do something.
If you will it, do it. If you don't, don't.

However, I hope you do - reading the transcripts will take less time.
You will know it already - so your comments would be appreciated.
OK, so you shamed me into watching the intro, and it was worth it. I promise nothing more, but I hope you will encourage others to watch or read and comment. This is a great use of the forum.

My first question is, of course, don't they have bathrooms at Yale? His dancing and swaying back and forth is rather distracting, as is his habit of looking down at the paper every 2.3 seconds. But, I still prefer the feel of being in the class, and he had some good things to say.

He establishes quickly that political philosophy is philosophy, and more art than science. Thus, the great questions are seldom definitively answered (at least by those wise enough to see there are no easy answers to such questions). And, this means that great works of the past are seldom superseded by better knowledge, because it is all about wisdom, not simply knowledge of objective facts. Plato is still relevant to political philosophy, as Epictetus is still relevant to ethics, even as a few of their particular notions might have become outdated.

I did not expect to hear about God (Are they even allowed to bring up the subject in a modern university?).
Image
I think it is in fact an important point of political philosophy and all philosophy. It doesn't mean you should ascribe to any particular God or religion, but consider the abstract idea of perfection to which we aspire through philosophy. If we were all perfectly virtuous, then political philosophy or all philosophy might become superfluous. But, most of us are much too anxious to rush off to science while virtue is unresolved. Much like God, even defining the ideal regime is difficult to impossible, but we are unlikely to make progress without searching for these ideals.

The search for the ideal regime is also the search for love? Man, have we missed the mark on that one! But, I think he has a point. The search for an ideal society is a search for God, in a way, in a general way, without the particulars of any religion, or even the need to define God as anything but perfect. The ideal regime is the one God would design, or at least endorse.

I also appreciated his idea of a good person vs. good citizen. A good person wants to do the right thing for humanity, but a good citizen only wants to do what best serves his country. I would have extended that idea to party as well as country. Actually, I see more fierce loyalty to party than to country in many cases; forget about being a cosmopolitan citizen of the world if you can't even extend the hand of friendship, respect, or common courtesy to your own countrymen (and many of us can not!). I do also see examples of good people, thankfully. Even these might be quicker to go against their country than their party, though, at least here in the states.

I give him two thumbs up for an interesting intro, and I'll probably check out some more of the course. You should keep us updated on your progress, and hopefully others will watch or read and join in the discussion.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 10th, 2018, 8:17 am

"Nasty Brutish and Short"
verses
"The Noble Savage"

It turns out that they were both right. Anthropology can furnish examples in so-called 'primitive' man of very brutish ways of living, but by far the most common amongst hunter/gatherers is a noble respect they share for their fellows and for nature.
Hobbes was offering a view of a human condition without society - no such state exists - at least not for long, as purely individuated humans tend to tear each other apart or join up with others - but the moment THAT happens you have a society.
Societies that survive tend to be noble and co-operative.
That is until they start to reach critical masses.
The larger the polity the more remote tend to be the top tier of the hierarchy, and that is when the Leviathan needs to rule with wisdom and generosity.
Despite what you might think of old Hobbes, his idea Leviathan would supply all the needs of the people, being, in effect a collection of their needs and wishes.

Hobbes mandated the welfare state.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 10th, 2018, 8:37 am

There seems to be a paradox at the heart of Hobbes' contract though.
Whilst he suggests that the contract would mean individuals would agree to extremely authoritarian and conservative political arrangements. Yet he could not hope that such an arrangement would result in the sort of provision that he suggests for the people.
Living in difficult times I wonder what game Hobbes was playing?
Hobbes' achieved along life at a time when being asked whether you were Protestant of Catholic, a Royalist or a Parliamentarian meant not always nailing all your colours to the political mast.
And whilst Hobbes' contractarainism could be used to great effect by either Charles or Cromwell, I wonder if Hobbes dared to dream of something better. The evidence is there in the pages of his work.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 10th, 2018, 8:39 am

EDIT:
"along life" = " a long life"

Georgeanna
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by Georgeanna » August 10th, 2018, 4:14 pm

Fooloso4 : thanks for comments above related to Lecture 1.
I am finding this more difficult to follow than I imagined. So, right now can only respond to Ch2 - What is a regime ?

Smith states that the political world is structured and ordered into a few basic regime types; he sees this as one of the most important propositions and insights of Political Science. The corollary to this is that the Regime is always something particular which stands in relation of opposition to the other Regime Types. There is a necessary partisanship with loyalties and passions - the character of Regime Politics - even within the Regime itself.

The Question raised: is it possible to transform Politics; to replace enmity and factional conflict with friendship and harmony ?

Smith acknowledges that there is a hope we might overcome the basic structures of Regime Politics. The world organized around global norms of justice and international law. He says it can't be ruled out. So, I disagree with you here. I don't think he argues against the notion of a world government. He continues - 'but it would no longer be a political world...politics only takes place within the particular, within the structure of the Regime itself'.

I don't agree with Smith here. Even if such a happy, clappy world existed, there would still be politics.
You ask - what is the particular - a way of life, another name for nationalism, 'us' and 'them' ?
My interpretation of Smith's 'particular' is that of a single Regime.

Smith continues - the study of a Regime is also a study of 'distinctive national character types that constitute a citizen body. According to Smith, you can't understand a Regime unless you understand ' what is stands for; what a people stand for; what they look up to as well as its structures of institutions, rights and privileges'.

I'm not sure I agree with this. I don't think you can equate a Regime with a whole cohort of people, given that there is seldom agreement as to what they stand for.

Your thoughts ?

Georgeanna
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by Georgeanna » August 10th, 2018, 4:17 pm

ThomasHobbes wrote:
August 10th, 2018, 8:37 am
There seems to be a paradox at the heart of Hobbes' contract though.
Whilst he suggests that the contract would mean individuals would agree to extremely authoritarian and conservative political arrangements. Yet he could not hope that such an arrangement would result in the sort of provision that he suggests for the people.
Living in difficult times I wonder what game Hobbes was playing?
Hobbes' achieved along life at a time when being asked whether you were Protestant of Catholic, a Royalist or a Parliamentarian meant not always nailing all your colours to the political mast.
And whilst Hobbes' contractarainism could be used to great effect by either Charles or Cromwell, I wonder if Hobbes dared to dream of something better. The evidence is there in the pages of his work.
When Hobbes meets Hobbes.

This kind of contribution makes political study come alive - and I now look forward to reading the Leviathan when I reach it - if I reach it !!

Georgeanna
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Joined: October 29th, 2017, 1:17 pm

Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by Georgeanna » August 10th, 2018, 4:26 pm

chewybrian wrote:
August 10th, 2018, 8:10 am
Georgeanna wrote:
August 10th, 2018, 6:13 am
Lack of time is no excuse at all, if you really want to do something.
If you will it, do it. If you don't, don't.

However, I hope you do - reading the transcripts will take less time.
You will know it already - so your comments would be appreciated.
OK, so you shamed me into watching the intro, and it was worth it. I promise nothing more, but I hope you will encourage others to watch or read and comment. This is a great use of the forum.

My first question is, of course, don't they have bathrooms at Yale? His dancing and swaying back and forth is rather distracting, as is his habit of looking down at the paper every 2.3 seconds. But, I still prefer the feel of being in the class, and he had some good things to say.

He establishes quickly that political philosophy is philosophy, and more art than science. Thus, the great questions are seldom definitively answered (at least by those wise enough to see there are no easy answers to such questions). And, this means that great works of the past are seldom superseded by better knowledge, because it is all about wisdom, not simply knowledge of objective facts. Plato is still relevant to political philosophy, as Epictetus is still relevant to ethics, even as a few of their particular notions might have become outdated.

I did not expect to hear about God (Are they even allowed to bring up the subject in a modern university?).
Image
I think it is in fact an important point of political philosophy and all philosophy. It doesn't mean you should ascribe to any particular God or religion, but consider the abstract idea of perfection to which we aspire through philosophy. If we were all perfectly virtuous, then political philosophy or all philosophy might become superfluous. But, most of us are much too anxious to rush off to science while virtue is unresolved. Much like God, even defining the ideal regime is difficult to impossible, but we are unlikely to make progress without searching for these ideals.

The search for the ideal regime is also the search for love? Man, have we missed the mark on that one! But, I think he has a point. The search for an ideal society is a search for God, in a way, in a general way, without the particulars of any religion, or even the need to define God as anything but perfect. The ideal regime is the one God would design, or at least endorse.

I also appreciated his idea of a good person vs. good citizen. A good person wants to do the right thing for humanity, but a good citizen only wants to do what best serves his country. I would have extended that idea to party as well as country. Actually, I see more fierce loyalty to party than to country in many cases; forget about being a cosmopolitan citizen of the world if you can't even extend the hand of friendship, respect, or common courtesy to your own countrymen (and many of us can not!). I do also see examples of good people, thankfully. Even these might be quicker to go against their country than their party, though, at least here in the states.

I give him two thumbs up for an interesting intro, and I'll probably check out some more of the course. You should keep us updated on your progress, and hopefully others will watch or read and join in the discussion.
Aw, come on - I did not shame you, you were asking for it :P
There is no need to promise anything more. I can't do that myself. Whether others want to join in - of course, this discussion is open to all and I have given plenty of links - and made encouraging noises throughout.

Everyone's time, energy and effort is appreciated. Thanks for yours.
I'm really not at all sure about where Smith fits God into all of this. And I can't recall what I said about this and Eros in my original comment on Lecture 1. Too tired to look back...

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 10th, 2018, 5:57 pm

Georgeanna wrote:
August 10th, 2018, 4:17 pm
ThomasHobbes wrote:
August 10th, 2018, 8:37 am
There seems to be a paradox at the heart of Hobbes' contract though.
Whilst he suggests that the contract would mean individuals would agree to extremely authoritarian and conservative political arrangements. Yet he could not hope that such an arrangement would result in the sort of provision that he suggests for the people.
Living in difficult times I wonder what game Hobbes was playing?
Hobbes' achieved along life at a time when being asked whether you were Protestant of Catholic, a Royalist or a Parliamentarian meant not always nailing all your colours to the political mast.
And whilst Hobbes' contractarainism could be used to great effect by either Charles or Cromwell, I wonder if Hobbes dared to dream of something better. The evidence is there in the pages of his work.
When Hobbes meets Hobbes.

This kind of contribution makes political study come alive - and I now look forward to reading the Leviathan when I reach it - if I reach it !!
Thanks.
It's big an written in 17thC English. Not that easy.

Georgeanna
Posts: 423
Joined: October 29th, 2017, 1:17 pm

Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by Georgeanna » August 11th, 2018, 3:25 am

ThomasHobbes wrote:
August 10th, 2018, 5:57 pm
Georgeanna wrote:
August 10th, 2018, 4:17 pm


When Hobbes meets Hobbes.

This kind of contribution makes political study come alive - and I now look forward to reading the Leviathan when I reach it - if I reach it !!
Thanks.
It's big an written in 17thC English. Not that easy.
You mean it hasn't been turned into Squashed Lowland Scots ?

Never mind, hopefully Smith and the Bright Sparks will help me out.

https://oyc.yale.edu/political-science/ ... lecture-12
https://oyc.yale.edu/political-science/ ... lecture-13
https://oyc.yale.edu/political-science/ ... lecture-14

http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/leviathan/

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 11th, 2018, 3:49 am

Beware you will get a very unimaginative and established view from these sorts of places.

Georgeanna
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by Georgeanna » August 11th, 2018, 3:58 am

ThomasHobbes wrote:
August 11th, 2018, 3:49 am
Beware you will get a very unimaginative and established view from these sorts of places.
Good morning, Hobbsy.

So can I rely on you in your creative, disestablishmentarianism to help me out ?

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Politics, history of... or philosophy of... ?

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 11th, 2018, 4:03 am

Georgeanna wrote:
August 11th, 2018, 3:58 am
ThomasHobbes wrote:
August 11th, 2018, 3:49 am


Beware you will get a very unimaginative and established view from these sorts of places.
Good morning, Hobbsy.

So can I rely on you in your creative, disestablishmentarianism to help me out ?
I don't think Hobbes was a disestablishmentarian, and I would relish more churches being turned into trendy coffee bars, so yes.

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