Paper onThomas Hobbes
By Fomba V. Sannoh
This paper is basically referring to Thomas Hobbes, the philosopher who talks about natural law, the nature of man and how human beings are supposed to commit to one another to enable them become one people in the society. In short, I would start to talk about his early life, later life and writing. With conclusion to his life history, there are other achievements that he did on nature as how human being live in the society and what are the right ways human beings suppose to live in terms of nature. Hobbess political science focused on the logical steps of moving from the premises of the state of nature to the construction of an artificial society. He also focuses on the government of monarchy as a good one. Hobbes saw matters in motion as the only reality; even consciousness and thought where but the out workings of the motion of atoms in the brain. Hobbes describes the state as an organism analogous to a large person. He concludes that the natural condition of humans is a state of perpetual war of all against all, where no morality exists, and everyone lives in constant fear. Traditionally, Hobbess theory of human nature has been identified with Psychological Egoism, all human action is selfishly motivated.
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)
Thomas Hobbes was born at Westport, adjoining Malmesbury in Wiltshire, on April 5, 1588. His father, the vicar of the parish (so John Aubrey tells us), "was one of the ignorant Sir Johns of Queen Elizabeth's time, could only read the prayers of the church and the homilies, and valued not learning, as not knowing the sweetness of it" (Letters written by eminent persons and Lives of eminent men, 1813). Hobbes led a sheltered and leisured life. An uncle, a solid tradesman and alderman of Malmesbury provided for his education. He was already a good Latin and Greek scholar when, not yet fifteen, he was sent to Magdalena Hall, Oxford. On leaving Oxford, in 1608, he became companion to the eldest son of Lord Cavendish of Hardwick (afterwards created Earl of Devon shire), and his connection with the Cavendish family lasted (although not without interruptions) till his death. Three times in his life, Hobbes traveled on the continent with a pupil. His first journey was begun in 1610, and in it he visited France, Germany, and Italy, learning the French and Italian languages, and gaining experience, but not yet conscious of his life's work. On his return (the date is uncertain), he settled down with his young lord at Hardwick a din London. His secretarial duties were light, and he set himself to become a scholar. To this period, belongs his acquaintance with Bacon, Herbert of Cherbourg, Ben Johnson, and other leading men of the time. Hobbes's pupil and friend died in 1628, two years after the death of the first earl; his son and successor was a boy of eleven; his widow did not need the services of a secretary; and, for a time, there was no place in the household for Hobbes. In 1629, he left for the continent again with a new pupil, returning from this second journey in 1631 to take charge of the young earl's education. "He was forty years old before he looked on geometry, which happened accidentally; being in a gentleman's library in Euclid's Elements lay open. About this time also, or soon afterwards, his philosophical views began to take shape. Among his manuscripts there is a Short Tract on First Principles that has been conjectured to belong to the year 1630. It shows the author so much impressed by his reading of Euclid as to adopt the geometrical form (soon afterwards used by Descartes) for the expression of his argument. When Hobbes made his third visit to the continent, which lasted from 1634 to 1637 and on which he was accompanied by the young Earl of Devon shire, he is found taking his place among philosophers. At Paris, he was an intimate of Mersenne, who was the center of a scientific circle that included Descartes and Gassendi; and at Florence he held discourse with Galileo. After his return to England he wrote, with a view to publication, a sketch of his new theory, to which he gave the title Elements of Law natural and politic. The treatise was never published by Hobbes, nor did it appear as a connected whole until 1889, although in 1650, probably with his consent, its first thirteen chapters were issued with the title Human Nature, and the remainder of the volume as a separate work De Corpora Politico. In November 1640, when the Long Parliament began to show signs of activity threatening civil war, Hobbes was "the first of all that fled" to France; he thus describes himself as a "man of feminine courage". He remained in France for the next 11 years. By his influence, Hobbes was appointed to teach mathematics to Charles, Prince of Wales, who arrived in Paris in 1646. Mersenne was then collecting the opinions of scholars on the forthcoming treatise by Descartes, Meditations de prima philosopher, and in January 1641, Hobbes's objections were ready and forwarded to his great contemporary in Holland. These, with the replies of Descartes, afterwards appeared as the third set of Objections when the treatise was published. Further communications followed on the Dioptrique, which had appeared along with the famous Discourse de la method in 1637. Descartes did not discover the identity of his two critics; but he did not approve of either. To Descartes, mend was the primal certainty and independent of material reality. Hobbes, on the other hand, had already fixed on motion as the fundamental fact, and his originality consisted in his attempt to use it for the explanation not of nature only, but also of mind and society. Two or three years after his correspondence with Descartes, Hobbes contributed a summary of his views on physics and a Tractates Optic us to works published by Mersenne.
LATER LIFE AND WRITINGS.
At least by the beginning of his residence in Paris in 1640, Hobbes had matured the plan for his own philosophical work. It was to consist of three treatises, dealing respectively with matter or body, with human nature, and with society. It was his intention, he says, to have dealt with these subjects in this order, but his country "was boiling hot with questions concerning the rights of dominion, and the obedience due from subjects, the true forerunners of an approaching war," and this cause, as he said, "ripened and plucked from me this third part" of the system the book De Civet, published at Paris in 1642. When stable government seemed to have been re-established by the Commonwealth, he had it published in London, in an English version from his own hand, as Philosophical Rudiments concerning Government and Society. The same year, 1651, saw the publication, also in London, of his greatest work, Leviathan, and his own return to England, which now promised a shelter to the philosopher than France, where he feared the clergy and was no longer in favor with the remnant of the exiled English court. The last twenty-eight years of Hobbes's long life were spent in England; and there he soon returned to the house of his old pupil the Earl of Devon shire, who had preceded him in submitting to the Commonwealth and like him welcomed the king on his return. For a year or two after his home-coming, Hobbes resided in London, busied with the completion of his philosophical system, the long-delayed first part of which, De Corpora, appeared in 1655, and the second part, De Hominy, in 1656. The latter work contains little or nothing of importance that Hobbes had not said already; but the former deals with the logical, mathematical, and physical principles that were to serve as foundation for the imposing structure he had built. In 1654, the tract Of Liberty and Necessity, which he had written eight years before in reply to the bishop Bramhall's arguments, was published by some person unnamed into whose hands it had fallen. Not suspecting Hobbes's innocence in the matter of the publication, Bramhall replied with some heat on the personal question and much fullness on the matter in hand in the following year; and this led to Hobbes's elaborate defense is The Questions concerning Liberty, Necessity, and Chance, published in 1656. A bill aimed at blasphemous literature passed the Commons in January 1667, and Leviathan was one of two books mentioned in it. The bill never passed both houses; but Hobbes was seriously frightened. He is said to have become more regular at church and communion. He also studied the law of heresy, and wrote a short treatise on the subject, proving that there was no court by which he could be judged. But he was not permitted to excite the public conscience by further publications on matters of religion. A Latin translation of Leviathan (containing a new appendix bringing its theology into line with the Nicene creed) was issued at Amsterdam in 1668. Other works, however, dating from the same year, were kept back--the tract on Heresy, the answer to Bramhall's attack on Leviathan, and Behemoth: the History of the Causes of the Civil Wars of England. About the same time was written his Dialogue between a Philosopher and a Student of the Common Laws of England. His Historian Ecclesiastical, in elegiac verse, dates from about his eightieth year. When he was eighty-four, he wrote his autobiography in Latin verse. In 1673, he published a translation in rhymed quatrains of four books of the Odyssey; and he had completed both Iliad and Odyssey when, in 1675, he left London for the last time. Thereafter he lived with the Cavendish family at one of their seats in Derbyshire. He died at Hardwick on December 4, 1679.
MEANING OF NATURAL LAW
Natural Law: body of law supposed to be innate, discoverable by natural human reason, and common to all people. Under this philosophy, human or positive law, through changeable and culturally dependent, must-if truly just-be derived from the principles of natural law. Particularly in the Christian philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, natural law- the sense of right and wrong implanted in humans body by God- is contrasted with revealed law.
THE GENERAL DIVISION OF MAN'S NATURAL FACULTIES
1. The true and perspicuous explication of the Elements of Laws, Natural and Politic, which is my present scope, dependents upon the knowledge of what is human nature, what is a body politic, and what it is we call a law. Concerning which points, as the writings of men from antiquity downward have still increased, so also have the doubts and controversies concerning the same, and seeing that true knowledge baguettes not doubt, nor controversy, but knowledge; it is manifest from the present controversies, that they which have heretofore written thereof, have not well understood their own subject.
2. Harm I can do none though I earn no less than they. For I shall leave men but as they are in doubt and dispute. But intending not to take any principle upon trust, but only to put men in mind what they know already, or may know by their own experience, I hope to err the less; and when I do, it must proceed from too hasty concluding, which I will endeavor as much as I can to avoid.
3. On the other side, if reasoning aright I win not consent (which may very easily happen) from them that being confident of their own knowledge weigh not what is said, the fault is not mine but theirs. For as it is my part to show my reasons, so it is theirs to bring attention.
4. Man's nature is the sum of his natural faculties and powers, as the faculties of nutrition, motion, generation, sense, and reason. For these powers we do unanimously call natural, and are contained in the definition of man, under these words, animal and rational.
5. According to the two principal parts of man, I divide his faculties into two sorts, faculties of the body, and faculties of the mind.
6. Since the minute and distinct anatomy of the powers of the body is nothing necessary to the present purpose, I will only sum them up into these three heads, power nutritive, power motive, and power generative.
7. Of the powers of the mind there are two sorts, cognitive or imaginative or conceptive; and motive. And first of the cognitive.
8. For the understanding of what I mean by the power cognitive, we must remember and acknowledge that there be in our minds continually certain images or conceptions of the things without us, insomuch that if a man could be alive, and all the rest of the world annihilated, he should nevertheless retain the image thereof, and of all those things which he had before seen and perceived in it; every man by his own experience knowing that the absence or destruction of things once imagined, doth not cause the absence or destruction of the imagination itself. This imagery and representations of the qualities of things without us is that we call our cognition, imagination, ideas, notice, conception, or knowledge of them. And the faculty, or power, by which we are capable of such knowledge, is that I here call power cognitive, or conceptive, the power of knowing or conceiving.
THE STATE OF NATURE.
In his brief introduction to the Leviathan, Hobbes describes the state as an organism analogous to a large person. He shows how each part of the state parallels the function of the parts of the human body. He notes that the first part of his project is to describe human nature, insofar as humans are the creators of the state. To this end, he advises that we look into ourselves to see the nature of humanity in general. Hobbes argues that, in the absence of social condition, every action we perform, no matter how charitable or benevolent, is done for reasons that are ultimately self-serving. For example, when I donate to charity, I am actually taking delight in demonstrating my powers. In its most extreme form, this view of human nature has since been termed psychological egoism. Hobbes believes that any account of human action, including morality, must be consistent with the fact that we are all self-serving.
Hobbes speculates how selfish people would behave in a state of nature, prior to the formation of any government He begins noting that humans are essentially equal, both mentally and physically, insofar as even the weakest person has the strength to kill the strongest. Given our equal standing, Hobbes continues noting how we are situations in nature make us naturally prone to quarrel. There are three natural causes of quarrel among people: competition for limited supplies of material possessions, distrust of one another, and glory insofar as people remain hostile to preserve their powerful reputation. Given the natural causes of quarrel,
Hobbes concludes that the natural condition of humans is a state of perpetual war of all against all, where no morality exists, and everyone lives in constant fear: In such condition, there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no culture of the earth, no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building, no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth, no account of time, no arts, no letters, no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of people, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. Hobbes continues offering proofs that the state of nature would be as brutal as he describes. We see signs of this in the mistrust we show of others in our daily lives. In countries that have yet to be civilized people treat are barbaric to each other. Finally, in the absence of international law, strong countries pray on the weakness of weak countries. Humans have three motivations for ending this state of war: the fear of death, the desire to have an adequate living, and the hope to attain this through one's labor. Nevertheless, until the state of war ends, each person has a right to everything, including another person's life.
LAWS OF NATURE.
In articulating the peace-securing process, Hobbes draws on the language of the natural law tradition of morality, which was then championed by Dutch politician Hugo Grotius (1583-1645). According to Grotius, all particular moral principles derive from immutable principles of reason. Since these moral mandates are fixed in nature, they are thus called "laws of nature." By using the jargon of natural law theory, Hobbes is suggesting that, from human self-interest and social agreement alone, one can derive the same kinds of laws that Grotius believes are immutably fixed in nature. Throughout his discussion of morality, Hobbes continually re-defines traditional moral terms (such as right, liberty, contract, and justice) in ways which reflects his account of self-interest and social agreement. For Grotius and other natural law theorists, a law of nature is an unchangeable truth that establishes proper conduct. Hobbes defines a law of nature as follows:
A Law of Nature (lex naturalism) is a precept, or general rule, found out by reason, by which a person is forbidden to do that which is destructive of his life, or takes away the means of preserving the same; and to omit that by which he thinks it may be best preserved. Hobbes continues by listing specific laws of nature all of which aim at preserving a person's life. Hobbes's first three Laws of Nature are the most important since they establish the overall framework for putting an end to the state of nature. Given our desire to get out of the state of nature, and thereby preserve our lives, Hobbes concludes that we should seek peace. This becomes his first law of nature:
"That every person ought to endeavor peace as far as he has hope of obtaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek and use all helps and advantages of war; the first branch of which rule contains the first and fundamental Law of Nature, which is, To seek peace and follow it; the second, the sum of the right of nature, which is, By all means we can, to defend ourselves.
The reasonableness of seeking peace, indicated by the first law, immediately suggests a second law of nature, which is that we mutually divest ourselves of certain rights (such as the right to take another person's life) so to achieve peace:
That a person be willing, when others are so too (as far-forth as for peace and defense of himself he shall think it necessary), to lay down this right to all things; and be contented with so much liberty against other people, as he would allow other people against himself.
The mutual transferring of these rights is called a contract and is the basis of the notion of moral obligation and duty. For example, I agree to give up my right to steal from you, if you give up your right to steal from me. We have then transferred these rights to each other and thereby become obligated to not steal from each other. From selfish reasons alone, we are both motivated to mutually transfer these and other rights, since this will end the dreaded state of war between us. Hobbes continues by discussing the validity of certain contracts. For example, contracts made in the state of nature are not generally binding, for, if I fear that you will violate your part of the bargain, then no true agreement can be reached. No contracts can be made with animals since animals cannot understand an agreement. Most significantly, I cannot contract to give up my right to self-defense since self-defense (or self-preservation) is my sole motive for entering into any contract.
OTHER LAWS OF NATURE.
Hobbes derives his laws of nature deductively, modeled after the type reasoning used in geometry. That is, from a set of general principles, more specific principles are logically derived. Hobbes's general principles are (1) that people pursue only their own self-interest, (2) the equality of people, (3) the causes of quarrel, (4) the natural condition of war, and (5) the motivations for peace.
From these he derives the above two laws, along with at least 13 others. Simply making contracts will not in and of itself secure peace. We also need to keep the contracts we make, and this is Hobbes's third law of nature. Hobbes notes a fundamental problem underlying all contracts: as selfish people, each of us will have an incentive to violate a contract when it serves our best interests. For example, it is in the mutual best interests of Jones and myself to agree to not steal from each other.
However, it is also in my best interests to break this contract and steal from Jones if I can get away with it. And, what complicates matters more; Jones is also aware of this fact. Thus, it seems that no contract can ever get off the ground. This is accomplished by giving unlimited power to a political sovereign who will punish us if we violate our contracts. Again, it is for purely selfish reasons (i.e. ending the state of nature) that I agree to set up a policing power that will punish me. As noted, Hobbes's first three Laws of Nature establish the overall framework for putting an end to the state of nature. The remaining laws give content to the earlier ones by describing more precisely the kinds of contracts that will preserve peace. For example, the fourth law is to show Gratitude toward those who comply with contracts. Otherwise people will regret that they complied when someone is ungrateful. Similarly, the fifth law is that we should be accommodating to the interests of society.
For, if we quarrel over every minor issue, then this will interrupt the peace process. Briefly, here are the remaining laws: (6) cautious pardoning of those who commit past offenses; (7) the purpose of punishment is to correct the offender, not "an eye for an eye" retribution; (8) avoid direct or indirect signs of hatred or contempt of another; (9) avoid pride; (10) retain only those rights which you would acknowledge in others; (11) be equitable (impartial); (12) share in common that which cannot be divided, such as rivers; (13) items which cannot be divided or enjoyed in common should be assigned by lot; (14) mediators of peace should have safe conduct; (15) Resolve disputes through an arbitrator. Hobbes explains that there are other possible laws that are less important, such as those against drunkenness, which tends to the destruction of particular people. At the close of Chapter 15 Hobbes states that morality consists entirely of these Laws of Nature that are arrived at though social contract. Contrary to Aristotle's account of virtue ethics, Hobbes adds that moral virtues are relevant to ethical theory only insofar as they promote peace. Outside of this function, virtues have no moral significance.
Hobbes continues that to ensure contracts (and peace) power must be given to one person, or one assembly. We do this by saying, implicitly or explicitly, "I authorize and give up my right of governing myself, to this person, or to this assembly of people, on this condition, that thou give up thy right to him, and authorize all his actions in like manner." His definition of a commonwealth, then, is this: "One person, of whose acts a great multitude, by mutual covenants on with another, have mad themselves every on the author, to the end he may use the strength and means of them all, as he shall think expedient, for their peace and common defense" This person is called a "sovereign." He continues that there are two ways of establishing a commonwealth: through acquisition (force), or through institution (agreement).
Hobbes lists the rights of rights of sovereigns. They are, (1) Subjects owe him sole loyalty; (2) Subjects cannot be freed from their obligation; (3) Dissenters must consent with the majority in declaring a sovereign; (4) Sovereign cannot be unjust or injure any subject; (5) The sovereign cannot be put to death; (6) The right to censor doctrines repugnant to peace; (7) Legislative power of prescribing rules; (8) Judicial power of deciding all controversies; (9) Make war and peace with other nations; (10) Choose counselors; (11) Power of reward and punishment; (12) Power of all civil appointments, including the militia. He discusses the kinds of governments that can be instituted. The three main forms are monarchy, aristocracy and democracy. He argues that monarchy is best for several reasons. Monarch's interests are the same as the people. He will receive better counsel since he can select experts and get advice in private. His policies will be more consistent. Finally, there is less chance of a civil war since the monarch cannot disagree with himself.
Scholars that emphasized Hobbess political absolutism and extremism put him in the ANTIDEMOCRATIC tradition; they see him as a precursor of modern totalitarianism and the new Leviathan state of the 20th century. Other scholar argue that Hobbess undemocratic political views can be a betrayer because they are not logically required by his scientific doctrine, which is not only enlightened but essentially democratic. They contained that Hobbess science promotes a critical attitude toward traditional authorities, even among the common people; that it establishes the state of nature and the social contract as the foundations of government, this thus implying popular sovereignty; that it treats the state as a secular institution whose purpose is limited to preserving civil peace and protecting the natural right of self-preservation; and that it opens a private sphere of limited freedom for economic activity and the pursuit of material comfreys. In this view Hobbes is the philosophical fonder of bourgeois Liberalism.
Scholars that see Hobbes as a fonder of liberalism can also point out his influence on John Lock and Rousseau. Both philosophers adopted the radical teaching of Hobbess stste-of-niture doctrine: government is not natural or divinely ordained and must be created artificially by a social contract or the consent of the people. Lockes modification was in softening Hobbess teaching about the dangers of anarchy and in making government accountable to the people for the protection of property right. Rousseau further softened Hobbess state-of-nature teaching and developed a more democratic but no less absolute version of the social contract. Hobbes thus may be seen as the philosopher who first stated the bold and sometime harsh premises of liberalism, the leading democratic theory of the modern age.
The Elements of Law Natural and Politics
From the two principal parts of our nature, Reason and Passion, have proceeded two kinds of learning, mathematical and dogmatically. The former is free from controversies and dispute, because it consisted in comparing figures and motion only; in which things truth and the interest of men, oppose not each other. But in the later there is nothing disputable, because it compared men, and meddled with their right and profit; in which as oft as reason is against a man, so oft will a man be against reason. And from hence it comes, that they who have written of justice and policy in general do all invade each other, and themselves, with contradiction. To reduce this doctrine to the rules and infallibility of reason, there is no way, but first, to put such principles down for a foundation, as passion not mistrusting may not seek to displace: And afterward to build thereon the truth of cases in the law of nature (which hitherto have been built in the air) by degrees, till the whole be inexpugnable. Now (my Lord) the principles fit for such a foundation, are those, which I have heretofore acquainted your Lordship withal in private discourse; and which, by your command I have here put into method. To examine cases thereby, between sovereign and sovereign, or between sovereign and subject, I leave to them, which shall find leisure, and encouragement thereto. For my part, I present this to your Lordship, for the true, and only foundation of such science. For the style, it is therefore the worse, because whilst I was writing I consulted more with logic, than with rhetoric. But for the doctrine, it is not slightly proved; and the conclusions thereof, are of such nature, as for want of them, government and peace have been nothing else, to this day, but mutual fear. And it would be an incomparable benefit to commonwealth that every man held the opinions concerning law and policy, here delivered. The ambition therefore of this book, in seeking by your Lordship's countenance, to insinuate itself with those whom the matter it contained most nearly concerned, is to be excused. For myself, I desire no greater honor, than I enjoy already in your Lordship's known favor; unless it be, that you would be pleased in continuance thereof, to give me more exercise in your commands; which, as I am bound by your many great favors, I shall obey, being
My most honored Lord Your Lordship's most humble and obliged Servant Thomas Hobbes.
Thomas Hobbes as a good scientific philosopher, he moved to learned and fully understand the biological aspect of human being in term of nature. Also in his view, human are materialistic and pessimistic, their actions motivated solely by self-interest, thus a states stability can only be guaranteed by a sovereign authority, to which citizens give up their right. It is very clear that in all society, human want to control him selves, but needs security that will guarantee his/her life. This is indeed natural to all mankind. So, in this light, Hobbes is telling us that there must be a LAW that will protect all, hence we must give up our right to other for rule and regulation. We should not lave in the society like animals, there should be no jingo life in human society.
Thomas Hobbes is a good philosopher because he deeply studies on human characters. He followed it through biological means, and also natural observation both state and human being, the way they live among themselves. Going through this research, he could understand the way human being behave to one another and how these human can live together with out conflict? Hence he recommended the system of Monarchy government for the people to give up their right to other as to enable them live together as one people.
John Kenneth Galbraith provides some seminal thinking on the good society in his book having that title. He focuses clearly on the malaise of our time. What he says is important and must be included in any significant discussion of ideas about the good society. However, his approach is basically concerned with economics. He shares the belief of most other modern thinkers that if economic problems are solved, all relevant human problems are solved. But nothing that he said swayed me from my conviction that in reality all relevant human problems are religious in nature (even economic problems). There is an economic component, but those problems must still be approached and handled within a religious context based on true human needs and the social organization to deal with those needs. Nevertheless, Galbraith raises numerous points to help focus thinking toward the development of a Wise Community made up of Wise Persons. "It is the achievable, not the perfect, that is here identified and described. To envision a perfect society...[is] alas, a formula for dismissal.... In the modern economy, a slightly bizarre fact, production is now more necessary for the employment it provides than for the goods and services it supplies".
I is central to our very notion of a good society that it is an open quest, actively involving all its members. As Dennis McCann has put it, the common good is the pursuit of the good in common. As we understand it, Puralism does not contradict the idea od a good society, for the latter would be one that would allow a wide scope for diversity and would draw on resources from its pluralistic communities in discening those things that are necessarily matters of good of all. Freedom, for most American, is an essential ingredient ia a definition of good society. Freedom must exist within and be guaranteed by institutions, and must include the right to participate in the economic and political decisions that affect our lives.
Nevertheless, Galbraith raises numerous points to help focus thinking toward the development of a Wise Community made up of Wise Persons. "It is the achievable, not the perfect, that is here identified and described. To envision a perfect society...[is] alas, a formula for dismissal.... In the modern economy, a slightly bizarre fact, production is now more necessary for the employment it provides than for the goods and services it supplies."
"Any useful identification of the good society must...take into consideration structure and the human characteristics that are fixed, immutable. They make the difference between the utopian and the achievable, between the agreeably irrelevant and the ultimately possible".
It is very likely that Galbraith is absolutely correct on his point about discussing a perfect society. One is considered impractical if they examine the problems we must overcome if we are to become our best self. To promote the idea that there might be ways to generate and focus social energy to make a true difference in human development is considered equivalent to exploring how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Science of Religion and a Religion of Wisdom can be categorized as an effort to build a perfect society. However, to me it seems the only approach to focus the achievable so it is on what is worthy of achieving. However, it may well be that Galbraith's arguments do not in fact apply to a Science of Religion. He says that it is structure and fixed human characteristics that separate the irrelevant and the ultimately possible. Since the thrust of a Science of Religion is to develop falsifiable hypotheses and the empirical evidence to support or refute them, it then focuses entirely on the ultimately possible.
"In the good society all of its citizens must have personal liberty"
Likewise with a Wise Community except that in a Wise Community the citizens must have sufficient knowledge and support to provide personal liberty rather than only the appearance of personal liberty. "It is the nature of privileged position that it develops its own political justification and often the economic and social doctrine that serves it best."
This would be a primary challenge of a Science of Religion and a Religion of Wisdom -- to find positions of such clarity, scope, fairness, and necessity that no individual or group will be able to adopt conflicting views that have nothing to support them except their apparent self-serving features. The empirical data of a Science of Religion must also make clear how self-serving positions ultimately defeat the individual and leave them morally and psychologically devastated. "Within the larger historical framework, what is the nature of the good society? How can the future be made safer and better for all?"
And this is the true challenge. I still believe my Science of Religion is the most satisfactory response possible to this question. "An evident purpose of the good economy is to produce goods and render services effectively and to dispense the revenues therefrom in a socially acceptable and economically functional manner".
However, the issue of allowing all persons to participate in the economy in such a way that they are not prevented from achieving a SFLIHM (Sustainable Feeling that one's Life Has Meaning) must also be dealt with. In the final analysis it is the quality of life of each individual person that is of paramount importance. "If socialism can no longer be considered the controlling framework of the good or even plausible society, neither can capitalism in its classical form."
But finding clear guidance for what this means is a primary challenge of a Science of Religion. "In the good society there is in these matters one dominant rule: decision must be made on the social and economic merits of the particular case. This is not the age of doctrine; it is the age of practical judgment."
And hopefully a Science of Religion will provide the motivation and direction to gather the kind of data that will guide these kinds of decisions. "Here is the lesson. In the good and intelligent society policy and action are not subordinate to ideology, to doctrine. Action must be based on the ruling facts of the specific case." And any ideology or doctrine of merit must help focus thinking and the making of choices on the best way to gather and use facts in specific situations. "If put in sufficiently general terms, the essence of the good society can be easily stated. It is that every member, regardless of gender, race or ethnic origins, should have access to a rewarding life".
And "rewarding life" must be defined in relevant and supportable terms such as a SFLIHM. "The role of economics in the good society is basic; economic determinism is a relentless force." In a Wise Community more basic than economics is a SFLIHM. How the economy promotes this is a religious question. "A strong and stable economy and the opportunity it provides are...central to the good society....In the good society no one can be left outside without income -- be assigned to starvation, hopelessness, untreated illness or like deprivation."
Likewise in a Wise Community. However, helping each person achieve a SFLIHM would be the mechanism to ensure these things. "The good society does not seek equality of economic return; that is neither a realizable nor a socially desirable goal. There are those for whom income and wealth and their public manifestation or private contemplation are the ultimate goal and satisfaction; there are others for whom they are not. The Wall Street operative measures the quality of life by his or her income; the poet, actual or aspiring, does not. It is the expense of liberty that these differences in motivation and reward be accepted."
But in a Wise Community there would be more focus on helping citizens find the best path for them, possibly even one leading to a SFLIHM. In such cases different answers can be seen as better or worse. "The good society must distinguish between enrichment that is socially permissible and benign and that which is a social cost." This would also seem important for a Science of Religion and a Religion of Wisdom to clarify and provide guidance on. "The good society...must honor the expectation of reasonable price stability." "Finally, the good society must have a strong international dimension."
Sounds good. As indicated above this must also include public employment as necessary. "The good society does not seek equality in the distribution of income.... Some of the energy and initiative on which the modern economy depends comes not only from the desire for money but also from the urge to excel in its acquisition." But a Wise Community's goal would be to help as many persons as possible achieve a SFLIHM. Such persons would see money in a more healthy way. Hopefully, this healthy way would not cut off energy and initiative essential to the maintenance and development of the modern economy which is necessary to sustain a Wise Community.
The good society must accept men and women as they are.
Probably, this is one of the points of greatest difference between Galbraith and me. It is a core assumption of a Science of Religion and a Religion of Wisdom that individuals do not develop into their best self "naturally," or within existing societies. Each person needs a great deal of support and guidance to achieve a SFLIHM. This transcends any discussion of economics and the role of economics in improving the quality of life of individuals in general. But at a deeper level the question is always, What does any word or phrase really mean? What does it mean to "accept men and women as they are"? In a basic sense obviously a Science of Religion "accepts" anyone as they are. What is not accepted is that they are as wise as they can be. It does not believe that they are OK the way they are. Etc.
A Wise Community holds that each person has unlimited, untapped potential. That every part of them would benefit from farther development. But of course this does not involve changing people "for their own good," but working with those who desire to change to do so in the ways that are congruent with who they want to become and who they "should" become. The good society must accept men and women as they are. However, this does not lessen the need for a clear view of the forces controlling the distribution of income and of the factors forming attitudes thereon. And of how, in a wholly practical way, policy on income distribution should be framed."
"There is, first, the inescapable fact that the modern market economy...accords wealth and distributes income in a highly unequal, socially adverse and also functionally damaging fashion This the good society cannot accept."
"What, then, is the right course as regards the distribution of income? There can be no fixed rule, no acceptable multiple as between what is received by the rich and what goes to the poor....What is necessary are strong ameliorating actions that reflect and address the inherent and damaging inequality."
"There is, first, the support system for the poor."
"There is, second, as also discussed, the need to deal with the dominant tendencies of the financial world. "There is, third, the need for stockholder and informed public criticism to address the personal income maximization of corporate management."
"There remain two lines of affirmative public action looking toward a more equitable income distribution, one of which is of decisive importance."
"The first is for the government to remove the present tax and expenditure concessions to the affluent."
"However, the most effective instrument for achieving a greater measure of income equality remains the progressive income tax."
The Decisive Role of Education
"That education does serve economic purpose is not in doubt. This has been long recognized. In the last century in the United States education and transportation, along with good government, were the first and often the only subject of any speech outlining the basic requisites of economic progress."
"The good society cannot accept that education in the modern economy is primarily in the service of economics; it has a larger political and social role, a yet deeper justification in itself."
"For one thing education has a vital bearing on social peace and tranquility; it is education that provides the hope and the reality of escape from the lower, less-favored social and economic strata to those above."
Galbraith and I are on the same wavelength when it comes to education, "Education in a Wise Community," education lies at the core of a Science of Religion and a Religion of Wisdom. However, this is an education that actually incorporates what today is thought of as therapy. One cannot have a Wise Community without Wise Persons. And Wise Persons cannot exist except through well-grounded, in-depth education about all the things a Science of Religion requires. Without such education/therapy the whole thing falls apart. "A measure of social and economic stratification is inevitable in the good society; the complete elimination of a class system is almost certainly impossible." In the good society there are two further and vital services of education. One is to allow people to govern themselves intelligently, and the other is to allow them to enjoy life itself to the fullest.
And this goes double for a Wise Community.
"Education not only makes democracy possible; it also makes it essential." In the same vein neither a Wise Person nor a Wise Community can exist in the absence of adequate education. And this must be a primary concern to a Science of Religion and a Religion of Wisdom. "There is no test of the good society so clear, so decisive, as its willingness to tax -- to forego private income, expenditure and the expensively cultivated superfluities of private consumption -- in order to develop and sustain a strong educational system for all its citizens. The economic rewards of so doing are not in doubt. Nor the political gains. But the true reward is in the larger, deeper, better life for everyone that only education provides."
"The good society has three closely related economic requirements, each of which is of independent force. There is the need to supply the requisite consumer goods and services. There is the need to ensure that this production and its use and consumption do not have an adverse effect on the current well being of the public at large. And there is the need to ensure that they do not adversely effect the lives and well-being of generations yet to come."
"A liberal immigration policy in the good society serves those who seek to come, and it serves no less substantively those who are already there." And this would be a primary concern to a Science of Religion for it impacts all aspects of society. "The good society does not concede authority to the military power".
"The objective of the good society is in the field of foreign policy.
Lasting peace among all nations is critical to a Science of Religion and a Religion of Wisdom, but this must be based on a well-grounded understanding of human needs and behavior. What does economic progress demand? "Good government, good education and possibly good transportation." And I would add, what is of even greater importance is good religion. "Given an educated population, economic advance becomes, in some measure, inevitable. Only then comes the truly effective use of more general development aid."
The essence of a Science of Religion and a Religion of Wisdom is education. But it is an education of such depth and such breadth that the results must be truly transcendent. "The central flaw of the good society is not democracy but that democracy is imperfect."
Let there be a coalition of the concerned and the compassionate and those now outside the political system and for the good society there would be a bright and wholly practical prospect. The affluent would still be affluent, the comfortable still comfortable, but the poor would be part of the political system. Their needs would be heard, as would the other goals of the good society. Aspirants for public office would listen. The votes would be there and would be pursued. As now with the safety net, health care, the environment and especially the military power, the good society fails when democracy fails. With true democracy, the good society would succeed, would even have an aspect of inevitability."
Introduction (the Right Society)
The General Will, Cosmopolitanism, and the Psychological Foundations of Politics.
A cursory examination of the biographies of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) and Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) would reveal few similarities. Rousseau was an itinerant intellectual who railed against cosmopolitanism while living a decidedly cosmopolitan existence. Though an Enlightenment thinker, he defined himself in opposition to the Philosophies (most notably Voltaire) and for political inspiration looked to classical antiquityespecially to Sparta and the Roman Republic. A full-fledged Enlightenment cosmopolitan, he was also a harsh critic of militarism and colonialism. The consistent universalize of his moral outlook stands in sharp contrast to the sometimes-insular thinking of the ancient Greek poles. As the great Kant scholar Ernst Cassirer (1963) has argued, however, these differences between Rousseau and Kant tend to obscure important continuities in their thinking. I am myself by inclination a seeker after truth. I feel a consuming thirst for knowledge and a restless passion to advance in it, as well as satisfaction in every forward step. There was a time when I thought that this alone could constitute the honor of mankind, and I despised the common man who knows nothing. Rousseau set me right.
This blind prejudice vanished; I learned to respect human nature, and I should consider myself far more useless than the ordinary workingman if I did not believe that this view could give worth to all others to establish the rights of man. With evident admiration, Kant also compared Rousseau to Newton, because he had discovered "beneath the varying forms human nature assumes, the deeply concealed essence of man and the hidden law in accordance with which Providence is justified by his observations".
In the Social Contract, Rousseau asserts that the articles of political association for his ideal state "are reducible to a single one, namely the total alienation by each associate of himself and all his rights to the whole community". Though ominous sounding, this alienation of rights is actually designed to enhance individual security (relative to the state of nature) by placing all individuals on an equal political footing:
Since each man gives himself to all, he gives himself to no one; and since there is no associate over whom he does not gain the same rights as others gain over him, each man recovers the equivalent of everything he loses, and in the bargain he acquires more power to preserve what he has. In the paragraph that follows this one, Rousseau introduces the concept of the "general will," which serves as a kind of animating spirit for his hypothetical political community:
If, then, we eliminate from the social pact everything that is not essential to it, we find it comes down to this: "Each one of us puts into the community his person and all his powers under the supreme direction of the general will; and as a body, we incorporate every member as an indivisible part of the whole." Rousseau never explicitly defines it, but rather constructs its meaning over the course of the Social Contractthat is, he indirectly defines it by contrasting it with other concepts and by describing its characteristics in a piecemeal fashion.
general wills understands the various ways in which it is general. First, the general will is general with respect to its possessor, which is the entire body politic, or political sovereign, rather than a mere party or faction. Rousseau says that "either the will is general or it is not; either it is the will of the body of the people, or merely that of a part". He later states that "the constant will of all the members of the state is the general will; it is through it that they are citizens and free". Second, the general wills is general with respect to its aim, which is the common interest. To quote Rousseau: "the general will is always rightful and always tends to the public good" Finally, the general will is general with respect to its form, i.e., it is universalistic in character, applying to all citizens equally and impartially.
The general will is an institution in, which each necessarily submits himself to the same conditions which he imposes on others. All pledge themselves under the same conditions and must all enjoy the same rights. Hence by the nature of the compact, every act of sovereignty, that is, every authentic act of the general will, binds or favors all the citizens equally, so that the sovereign recognizes only the whole body of the nation and makes no distinction between any of the members who compose it. This quality of the general will motivates the separation of the sovereign from the government (discussed in greater detail below): the general will would lose its generality if it focused upon a single individual or group of individuals for purposes of enforcement, because these individuals, who are themselves members of the sovereign body, would regard this opposed will as both "alien" and "partial". Rousseau contrasts the general will with the "will of all," which he says "studies private interests, and is indeed no more than the sum of individual desires". In the political sphere, this will of all is expressed through a vote tally, indicating the summed separate wishes of members of the sovereign body. Rousseau argues that the will of all may coincide with the general will given certain institutional arrangements.
This universalizing character of the general wills finds its deepest expression in Kants moral theory, which is arguably the foundation of his political theory. The 1st Formulation of the Categorical Imperative reads: "act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law". This universalization requirement for our maxims of action reflects our equal status as moral agentswhat is right for one rational being is right for all. As Kant notes, this requirement lays bare the nature of our wrongs: "Any action is right if it can coexist with everyones freedom in accordance with a universal law, or if on its maxim the freedom of choice of each can coexist with everyones freedom in accordance with a universal law". But this is simply a version of the third mode of generality (i.e., form) applied politicallyas Rousseau says of citizens in just political association, "all enjoy the same rights".
Finally, just as Rousseau argues that "each man recovers the equivalent of everything he loses" in moving from the state of nature to political society, so Kant argues that freedom is not lost, but rather transformed, when man becomes citizen:
In accordance with the original contract, everyone within a people gives up his external freedom in order to take it up again immediately as a member of a commonwealth, that is, of a people considered as a state. And one cannot say: the human being in a state has sacrificed a part of his innate outer freedom for the sake of an end, but rather, he has relinquished entirely his wild, lawless freedom in order to find his freedom as such undiminished, in a dependence upon laws, that is, in a rightful condition, since this dependence arises from his own law giving will. At the end of this quotation, Kant touches on a theme of great importance to both writers, a theme that will be explored in the next subsection: obedience to a self-chosen law as a means of realizing freedom from both "wild, lawless" desire and personal dependence.
Self-Legislation and Positive Freedom
Self-legislation, or obedience to a law one gives to oneself, is a concept, which plays a major role in Rousseaus writings, especially the Social Contract and Émile. The self-legislator "obeys no one but himself", an obedience that is connected to a particular kind of freedomnamely, positive freedom. As noted above, positive freedom is freedom from two things: lawless desire and personal dependence. In a passage from Émile, Rousseau explicitly links these two impediments to freedom together:
In The Republic, for instance, Plato asserts that the human soul has a natural tripartite division, being composed of "reasoning," "spirited," and "desiring" parts, and that the well-ordered soul, like the well-ordered society, is hierarchical, with reason (and its auxiliary, spirit) in command over desire. Rousseau was a great admirer of Platos Republic, which no doubt influenced his views on self-mastery. For Rousseau, as for Plato, desire always threatens to consume the rest of the soul, and must therefore be rigidly disciplined by reason; subjection of the passions (the Ascetic Ideal) is a prerequisite for freedom of the person.
Another important aspect of positive freedom for Rousseau is the elimination of personal dependence, such as that between slave owner and slave, master and servant, and lord and serf. This concern motivates Rousseaus insistence that "whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be constrained to do so by the whole body, which means nothing other than that he shall be forced to be free; for this is the necessary condition which, by giving each citizen to the nation, secures him against all personal dependence". It also explains Rousseaus otherwise puzzling desire that "each citizen shall be at the same time perfectly independent of all his fellow citizens and excessively dependent on the republic".
There are two sorts of dependence: dependence on things, which is from nature; dependence on men, which is from society. Dependence on things, since it has no morality, is in no way detrimental to freedom and engenders no vices. Dependence on men, since it is without order, engenders all vices, and by it, master and slave are mutually corrupted. If there is any means of remedying this ill in society, it is to substitute law for man and to arm the general will with a real strength superior to the action of every particular will. If the laws of nations could, like those of nature, have an inflexibility that no human force could ever conquer, dependence on men would then become dependence on things again; in the republic all of the advantages of the natural state would be united with those of the civil state, and freedom which keeps man exempt from vices would be joined to morality which raises him to virtue.
We can also see that freedom can never be located in a rational subjects being able to choose in opposition to his (law giving) reason, even though experience proves often enough that this happens (though we still cannot comprehend how this is possible). For it is one thing to accept a proposition (on the basis of experience) and another thing to make it the expository principle (of the concept of free choice) and the universal feature for distinguishing it (from animal or enslaved power of choice).
So act that you use humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means. (2nd Formulation of the Categorical Imperative)
As noted above, Rousseaus idiosyncratic militarism is merely an instrumental good, designed to promote patriotism and fellow feeling among the citizenry. Rousseau considers an exclusionary love of ones country and countrymen to be the true cement of political life, as evidenced by many of his writings, especially The Government of Poland. In it, he writes:
The newly born infant, upon first opening its eyes, must gaze upon the fatherland, and until his dying day should behold nothing else. Your true republican is a man who imbibed love of the fatherland, which is to say love of the laws and of liberty, with his mothers milk. That love makes up his entire existence: he has eyes only for the fatherland, lives only for his fatherland; the moment he is alone, he is a mere cipher; the moment he has no fatherland, he is no more; if not dead, he is worse-off than if he were dead.
A second aspect is Rousseaus insistence that the fatherland should come to monopolize (or at least dominate) the affections of citizens and that this monopolization could be best achieved through an all-consuming public life. Although this idea is expressed time and again throughout his writings, it receives its fullest treatment in The Government of Poland, during Rousseaus rapturous praise of Lycurgus and his shaping of the Spartan people:
Cultural and Political Isolationism
An essential buttress for Rousseaus patriotism is isolationism, or the desire to insulate the nation from outside influences and contacts. This isolationism is motivated by contempt for the ways of foreigners, by a parochial confidence that "our ways are best." Rousseau first speaks of this isolationism in his discussion of civic religion in the Social Contract. He says of this "religion of the citizen" that "to the one nation which practices this religion, everything outside is infidel, alien, barbarous; and it extends the rights and duties of man only so far as it extends its altars. [This kind] of religion is good in that it joins divine worship to a love of the law, and that in making the homeland the object of the citizens adoration, it teaches them that the service of the state is the service of the tutelary God". He encourages rulers to cultivate in their peoples "an instinctive distaste for mingling with the peoples of other countries", and he holds up Moses as an example of a ruler who succeeded in doing so.
Needless to say, Kant presents a very different vision of human community in his writings, most notably "Perpetual Peace," where he speaks of "cosmopolitan or world law" as protecting a "right of hospitality, the right, that is, of foreign gueststo the conditions which enable them to attempt the developing of intercourse with the old inhabitants". This right of hospitality is intended to facilitate commerce, so that "remote parts of the world can enter into relationships that eventually become public and legal and thereby bring mankind ever nearer to an eventual world constitution". This idea of world law is, for Kant, key to the establishment of perpetual peace, which he calls "the highest political good.
Economic Autarky and Anti-Commercialism
Part and parcel of Rousseaus overall isolationism is his economic isolationism, or his support for economic autarky. Rousseau argues against the division of labor, both domestically and internationally: "what local magistrates and heads of families should do in each region, parish, and household to make themselves independent of the rest, the central government of the island should do to make itself independent of neighboring peoples".
It cannot be denied that it is advantageous to have each sort of land produce things for which it is best suited; by this arrangement you get more out of a country, and with less effort, than in any other way. But this consideration, for all its importance, is only secondary. It is better for the land to produce a little less and for the inhabitants to lead better-regulated lives. With any movement of trade and commerce it is impossible to prevent destructive vices from creeping into a nation.
Rousseau here conceives of individual happiness as a zero-sum game, where every increment in happiness brought about by wealth and enhanced consumption merely displaces the happiness derived from public life (even if that public life happens to be in the form of corvée labor). In the spirit of Lycurgus, Rousseau wants the state to be "filling up every moment" of its citizens lives; private pursuits of any kind, but especially the intoxicating pursuit of wealth, will hamper the achievement of larger public purposes, and must therefore be discouraged.
Rousseau Psychological Foundations of Politics
Even when Rousseau focuses on issues of fundamental institutional design, a concern for the impact of these institutions on the affections of the citizenry is often evident. He said "people has less affection for governors whom it never sees, for a homeland that seems as vast as the world, and for fellow-citizens who are mostly strangers". For this reason, among others, Rousseau consistently supports small republics, ones where "citizens know each other and keep an eye on each other". The image of "bands of peasants regulating the affairs of state under an oak tree" is not chosen by accident: the groups to which he refers are small enough so that their members can know each other and observe each other in public deliberations, increasing the likelihood of long-lasting emotional attachments.
Kant: "Duty or Interest"
Kants moral and political theories, in contrast to Rousseaus, seems to lack any kind of "emotional infrastructure." For each one of them will always misuse his freedom if he does not have anyone above him to apply force to him as the laws should require it. "To organize a group of rational beings who demand general laws for their survival, but of whom each inclines toward exempting himself, and to establish their constitution in such a way that, in spite of the fact that their private attitudes are opposed, these private attitudes mutually impede each other in such a manner that the public behavior [of the rational beings] is the same as if they did not have such evil attitudes."