AQA AS Introduction to Philosophy - Unit 1: Why Should We Be Governed? - Revision Notes

Why Should We Be Governed

  • Covers all the main philosophers!
  • Covers the main sections:
  • The State of Nature
  • Political Obligation and Consent
  • Political Dissent
  • Key knowledge for passing the AQA AS Introduction to Philosophy Unit 1: Why Should We Be Governed?!

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Why Should We Be Governed?
The State of Nature
Hobbes 'Leviathan' Locke ­ 'Second Treatise on
"A war of all against all in which life is nasty, "A state in which men live according to reason,
brutish, poor, solitary, and short" respect, and freedom and equality
Scarcity of goods Abundance of goods
Social Contract ­ Just happened + Work together Government = Created to uphold morality and to
to forward their self interests (life) offer security from minority of immoral people
All arms (power) to Leviathan ­ Gives security
People are Egoistical ­ Not Moral People are Moral ­ Made so by God Altruistic
All humans are physically equal (gangup) Humans made equal by God
Human society + Creation stagnates in S/N
What about reproduction + Children? Assumption that God exists?
Self interest ­ Conflicts with children
We still exist ­ Scarcity of goods?
Hume: 'Treatise on Human Nature' 2 Stage Argument
Stage 1 ­ Humans naturally cooperate Cooperation is beneficial (makes sense)
Stage 2 ­ The is a selfinterested minority Need to be challenged Govt. punishes them
2 Groups of People:
1). People who can think longterm (majority) 2). People who can think shortterm (minority)
Prefers Dictatorships (accepts oligarchy) Democracy is the only moral legitimate government
No such thing as unjust law ­ Law comes from the
Function of law is to protect private property, laws
Leviathan ­ Leviathan decides what is just can be unjust if they are based on immoral views, or
government is not legitimate
Natural Rights Life (personally targeted by the Government ­ Created to uphold morality and
Leviathan) rights of the people as well as offer security from
the minority of immoral people
Rights Life, Property, Choice of Religion
Religion should be separate from politics Religion is part of Government ­ Uphold morality
Used to support Leviathan if no other choice
Legitimacy is gained through power Legitimacy comes through authority (public
Created by Nicholas R. Welbrock

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Other Thinkers
Thinker View
Goldman Anarchism ­ Should never have left the S/N
because Government brings no benefits
Plato Theoretical Authority ­ Experts and those who can
see the forms should run government ­ Know what
is in the best interest of the country + Acts on it
Ship + Beast + Cave Analogy
Aristotle There was no social contract, there was only
Feminists Hobbes only speaks of men, he does not speak of
women. Women would not be violent and
egotistical.…read more

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Benefits: 1). Many people in society do not accept such
Hume ­ The State provides benefits to the citizens,
therefore we have an obligation to show give it our
2). Many benefits provided are not by choice
loyalty 3). Anarchists argue that the state provides no
4). Nozick The benefits given to us are our rights
Morality: 1).…read more

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Type of Explanation Examples Verdict of Strengths Weaknesses
Dissent Philosophers
Conscientious Refusing to Mohammed Goldman Highlights It is their duty
Objection participate in a Ali ­ Blacks possible Cowards
government fighting white Mill ­ Harms injustice of They let
policy due to war our chances of some conflicts others die for
moral winning Sets a moral them
disapproval Bertrand stand for
Russell WW1 society
Civil Rawls ­ Public Gandhi Rawls ­ Yes Peaceful Peaceful
Disobedience nonviolent, Martin Luther Hobbes ­ If state protest can
contentious,…read more

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Plato Governments should be led by Undemocratic and Elitist
experts (Cave + Ship Analogy) Most people in modern society
are educated and can have an
opinion without being an expert.…read more


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