AQA Political Philosophy A2 Notes

Political Philosophy notes covering Liberty, Rights, Justice

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Hannah
  • Created on: 12-06-13 18:55
Preview of AQA Political Philosophy A2 Notes

First 483 words of the document:

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 state and thus the state supports the
exploitation/oppression of the workers
Marx believes workers are alienated from the product of their labour; their work is
repetitive and dull and they are not paid appropriately for the products of their labour.
Capitalism alienates us from each other as we create products for profit and not for mutual
State founded on a social contract (Locke)
Humans are naturally born free and any restraint on freedom needs to be justified
Locke: state should be limited and should protect "life, liberty and property"
LOCKE: to discover the purpose of the state, Locke imagines what life would be like without
a state; `the state of nature'. This would essentially be a land with no law, police or
government and Hobbes deemed it the `war of all vs all', and that life would be `nasty,
brutish & short'. Locke believed that there was a Law of Nature we would all abide by, but
when others do not we need a form of punishment. However, we may get punishment
confused with revenge, and thus the state is needed to become a neutral umpire. We enter
a social contract with the neutral umpire in return for protection. If they fail we are free to
withdraw consent.
MILL: Mill believed the only reason for the state to intervene was to prevent citizens from
harm, aka `the harm principle'. Mill argues freedom is "pursuing our own good in our own
way" ­ to do this we need to be free from fear of coercion or mistreatment. Mill argues this
is why we need the state as a neutral umpire.
Mill remains concerned about tyranny of the majority and that the state must be neutral in its
conception of the `good life'; "the state is oppressive when it legislates in the private
See the state as an organic entity
For the state to be justified it has to be an organic entity; this theory is developed by BURKE
aka the `father of Conservatism'.
For Burke, gradual organic change is the best way to achieve a strong government. Change
must not occur quicker then people's ability to adapt to it; stability is key.
The role of the state is thus to uphold and protect the organic process of change from large
scale reform.

Other pages in this set

Page 2

Preview of page 2

Here's a taster:

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 up the whole
Disruption to the harmonious body can lead to destruction of society, thus society needs to
be protected.…read more

Page 3

Preview of page 3

Here's a taster:

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

Page 4

Preview of page 4

Here's a taster:

People own their own bodies thus have a right to the fruit of their labour
Violates the right to property
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 of those who have wealth
Wilt Chamberlain: a skilled basket-baller who asks for an extra 25 cents to watch him play. If
fans agree Wilt gains profit legally with voluntary agreement from his fans.…read more

Page 5

Preview of page 5

Here's a taster:

Welfare for the poor encourages idleness whereas tax for the rich discourages
entrepreneurship and trade.
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 and activities"
Strengths of Negative Liberty
Laissez-faire: a laissez-faire style economy has been argued by Adam Smith to have a
natural equilibrium; arguably this would apply to negative liberty style state.…read more

Page 6

Preview of page 6

Here's a taster:

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.…read more

Page 7

Preview of page 7

Here's a taster:

Humans are self-interested
Positive freedom
Hobbes: freedom requires strong law & authority
Lack of freedom in economic systems
Human nature a product of economic systems ­ institutions should be structured to create
If moral behaviour is allowed to lax it threatens the fabric of society ­ our private lives can
affect others. People need to be protected from themselves. If sexual relationships cause
revulsion, the moral health of the nation should be protected.…read more

Page 8

Preview of page 8

Here's a taster:

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,
which means they are subject to change which means we cannot be certain of anything
Societies: the fact that some societies do not recognise natural rights, does not mean they
do not exist, as to…read more

Page 9

Preview of page 9

Here's a taster:

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.…read more


No comments have yet been made

Similar Philosophy resources:

See all Philosophy resources »See all resources »