Philosophy 210

Philosophy 210

Select and answer TWO questions

1.  Present and critically evaluate Plato’s (Socrates’) five reasons for why he is obliged to obey the laws of the state even if they are unjust.  Do you think he is correct?  Defend your answer.

2.  According to Aristotle: “…it is evident that the state is a creation of nature, and that man is by nature a political animal.”   This is because “Nature, as we often say, makes nothing in vain…and it is a characteristic of man that he alone has any sense of good and evil, of just and unjust, and the association of living beings who have this sense makes a family and a state.”  What does Aristotle mean when he says that the state is a creation of nature?  Why does he claim that human beings are, by their nature, social beings?  Is he correct?  Defend your answer.

3.    What is Hobbes’ account of voluntary motion?  Why do many claim that it implies a psychological egoism (the idea that all voluntary actions are motivated by self-interest).  What does Hobbes mean when he speaks of the right of nature?  What does he mean when he speaks of the laws of nature?  Why does Hobbes claim that his first (fundamental) and second laws of nature lead to the formation of a civil society? Why does he claim that the civil society requires an absolute sovereign?  Is he correct?  Defend your answer.

4.  What is Locke’s justification for legitimate political authority?  Be sure you address his understanding of the state of nature and the right of nature?  How does his account of these notions differ from those of Hobbes’?  Why is Locke concerned with the notion of consent of the majority?  Do you find his arguments convincing?  Why or why not?

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