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The Role of the State. Why should I care?. Most debates involve the state taking some new action In many of these debates, people may claim any of the following: The state is morally obliged to take this action This action is morally illegitimate

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Presentation Transcript
why should i care
Why should I care?
  • Most debates involve the state taking some new action
  • In many of these debates, people may claim any of the following:
    • The state is morally obliged to take this action
    • This action is morally illegitimate
    • Someone should take this action, but not the state
    • Or even all three of them
  • These claims obviously clash
  • You can win or lose debates by winning this argument – even if a policy has some benefits, you can win by showing that it is an unjust action
moral duties
Moral Duties
  • These are things that we morally have to do
    • Most people would agree you have a moral duty to not go around murdering children
    • Donating all your money to charity would be a good thing to do but it is not necessarily something you have to do
    • Moral duties might come from philosophical arguments like
      • Utilitarianism
      • The ‘Veil of Ignorance’ argument
      • Intrinsic human rights
      • Etc.
the state s moral duties
The State’s moral duties
  • Does the state have different moral duties that individuals do not have?
    • Perhaps
      • It is more powerful than individuals (with great power, comes great responsibility)
      • We give up some rights to the state, in exchange it takes care of certain moral duties & looks after us
      • It is a way of avoiding the ‘collective action problem
    • Perhaps not –
      • The state is just a group of individuals, so how can it have duties that they don’t?
    • Do states have moral duties outside of their own borders?
what kind of things are we talking about
What kind of things are we talking about?
  • Public vs. Private sector
    • Does the government have a special duty to provide free healthcare?
    • Does the government have the right to control access to certain services?
  • Crime & Punishment
    • Do individuals have the right to cause harm to themselves?
    • When does the government have the right to punish people?
  • Human Rights
    • Can the government restrict the rights of some people to make other people better off, or safer?
who is best at doing it
Who is best at doing it?
  • What kind of stuff is the state good at doing?
    • Police?
    • Justice?
  • What kind of stuff is it bad at doing?
  • Does the state have a special duty to do something just because it can do it the most efficiently?
    • Nationalise banks? Or transport?
  • Should the state force people to use/pay for its services?
    • BBC? State schools?
    • Wars you don’t agree with?
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