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POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY REVISION

THE STATE

MARXISM

Sees the state as an oppressor
Human nature is malleable
The state is based on the power relations in society, the bourgeoisie (owners of the means
of production) who exploit the proletariat (the workers)
The power of the dominant class is supported by the…

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Conservatives justify the state ruling as long as it has developed as an organic entity; this
does not allow for dictators because that is forced sovereignty.
Law & order are the main interests of the state to create stability for citizens
Society is like a human body; each part makes…

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NO ­ THE STATE IS NOT AN OPPRESSOR

Human nature is naturally egoistic and without a state we would descend into a state of
nature.
Anarchy would give freedom for individuals to exploit each other ­ a neutral umpire is
needed.
States are legitimate if they protect natural rights to…

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LOCKE

People own their own bodies thus have a right to the fruit of their labour
Violates the right to property

NOZICK

Equality is in conflict with liberty
An attempt to impose a patterned notion of justice is inconsistent with rights.
Any policy to redistribute will interfere with the liberty…

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Welfare for the poor encourages idleness whereas tax for the rich discourages
entrepreneurship and trade.

LIBERTY

Negative Liberty

Freedom from external restraints
HOBBES: "absence of impediments to action"
MILL: "pursuing our own good in our own way"
ARISTOTLE: "live as you like"
BERLIN: "the absence of obstacles to possible choices…

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MILL: man on an unsafe bridge example, if you stop them from going on the bridge you are
not impeding their liberty, but guiding them to their higher desire not to fall into the river.
However, if they are aware that the bridge is unsafe then it is their choice.…

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`equal playing field' in meritocracy

Conservatism

Humans are self-interested
Positive freedom
Hobbes: freedom requires strong law & authority

Socialism

Lack of freedom in economic systems
Human nature a product of economic systems ­ institutions should be structured to create
freedom

HART-DEVLIN DEBATE

Devlin

If moral behaviour is allowed to lax…

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Kant: man has been given reason to allow the ability of us to realise moral values
Equal: we are all born equal and bound my moral law ­ "equal in the sight of God"
Social: to say there are no such things as natural rights means they are socially constructed,…

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Rights are only theory ­ they can never be fully accessed by the poor because of the lack of
economic freedom
E.G. the right to justice cannot be exercised if you cannot afford the court fees or a lawyer
Rights to not solve the cause of the problems ­ E.G.…

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