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Inter-relationship of Fundamental Values The quest for the Good Society Rights Liberty Equality Leadership Efficiency Community Democracy Plant closings Layoffs Minority hiring policies Inner city investment Paternity leave Executive bonus systems Environmentalism…

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inter relationship of fundamental values

Inter-relationship of Fundamental Values

The quest for the Good Society

great ideas in 2002







Plant closings


Minority hiring policies

Inner city investment

Paternity leave

Executive bonus systems


Great Ideas …in 2002
whose values

Whose values?

“The great conversation across the centuries.”

-Mortimer Adler


“Conflict between civilizations will be the latest phase in the evolution of conflict in the modern world. …the conflicts of the Western world were largely among princes—emperors, absolute monarchs, and constitutional monarchs attempting to expand their bureaucracies, their armies, their mercantilist economic strength and most important, the territory they ruled.” …


“In the politics of civilizations, the peoples and governments of non-Western civilizations no longer remain the objects of history as targets of Western colonialism but join the West as movers and shapers of history.”Samuel P. Huntington(1993)

the good society
The Good Society
  • Defined in terms of ‘justice’
  • Good Society is a Just Society because the essential rights of every citizen are secured
  • But…
  • What, if anything, is every citizen entitled to receive from society?
Purpose of government:The task of every legitimate government is to secure the good society for its citizens.
in the good or just society
In the Good or Just Society
  • Aristotle: permits some members to live the good life
  • Hobbes: provides sufficient order to allow material progress
  • Locke: guarantees life, liberty and property
  • Rousseau: preserves as much as possible the conditions of liberty and equality that humankind enjoyed in the ‘state of nature’
  • Adam Smith: nearly absolute economic freedom
  • Marx: nearly absolute economic equality
  • Max Weber: governed by law, so that no citizen is treated arbitrarily
  • Martin Luther King: guarantees the ‘natural rights’ of all its members, without regard to their race, sex, religion, or class
  • Why do such brilliant philosophers disagree?
  • With such diverse perspectives, how can government be said to provide the good society at all?
  • How are contemporary philosophers addressing the Big Question, if at all?
  • In a world increasingly defined by a clash of civilizations, how can we hope to agree on the value dimensions that underlie the Big Question? What prevails?
Are you a Liberal?
  • ‘l’iberal?
  • Classical liberal?
  • ‘c’onservative?
  • Neo-conservative?
  • Conservative?
  • Eco-feminist?
  • Deep ecologist?
  • Values
  • Ideals
  • Objectives
  • Desires…
the u s declaration of independence 1776

The U.S. Declaration of Independence (1776)

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

politics by aristotle

Politics, by Aristotle

For that some should rule and others be ruled is a thing not only necessary, but expedient; from the hour of their birth, some are marked out for subjection, others for rule. …

…Again the male is by nature superior, and the female inferior; and the one rules, and the other is ruled; this principle, of necessity, extends to all mankind. …

…It is clear, then, that some men are by nature free, and others slaves, and that for these latter slavery is both expedient and right.

natural law by cicero
Natural Law, by Cicero

“True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting…

…And there will not be different laws at Rome or Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times, and there will be one master and ruler, that is, God, over us all, for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge. Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature, and by reason of this very fact he will suffer the worst penalties, even if he escapes wha tis commonly considered punishment.” from The Republic III, XXII

leviathan by thomas hobbes

Leviathan, by Thomas Hobbes

“To this war of every man against every man … nothing can be unjust. The notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice, have there no place. Where there is no common power, there is no law…

…The passions that incline men to peace are: fear of death; desire of such things as are necessary to commodious living; and a hope by their industry to obtain them.”

Chapter XIII


“The right of nature, which writers commonly call jus naturale, is the liberty each man hath to use his own power as he will himself for the preservation of his own nature; that is to say, of his own life…

By liberty is understood…the absence of external impediments…

A law of nature, lex naturalis, is a precept, or general rule, found out by reason, by which man is forbidden to do that which is destructive of his life…

…right consists in liberty to do, or to forebear; whereas law determinith and bindith to one of them: so that law and right differ

as much as obligation and liberty…

that great leviathan

“that great Leviathan”

“I authorize and give up my right to governing myself to this man, or to this assembly of man, on this condition; that thou give up thy right to him, and authorize all his actions in like manner. This done, the multitude so united in one person is called a Commonwealth; in Latin, Civitas.”


“…one person, of whose acts a great multitude, by mutual covenants one with another, have made themselves every one 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 defence.

And he that carryeth this position is called sovereign, and said to have sovereign power; and every one besides, his subject.”

the science of right by immanuel kant
The Science of Right, by Immanuel Kant
  • Natural right rests upon pure rational principles a priori
  • Positive or statutory right is what proceeds from the will of a legislator
  • Innate right is that right which belongs to every one by nature, independent of all juridical acts of experience.
  • Acquired right is that right which is founded upon such juridical acts.
there is only one innate right the birthright of freedom

There is only one Innate Right, the Birthright of Freedom.

Freedom is independence of the compulsory will of another.

kant cont d

Social state

Natural right

Private right

Civil society

Civil state

Civil rights

Public rights

Kant cont’d

In a state of nature, there may be a society, but not a ‘civil society’.


conversations over timeAntigoneconflict between individual conscience & laws of the state5th C: tradedy @ ruler made bad decision; couldn’t admit mistake


Hobbes: really free in state of nature& voluntarily enters social contract to live under rule of law-liberty for guaranteed security under all-powerful monarch- a bitter bargain


Lockefree in [benign] state of nature“consent of the governed”civil peace, not by a despotic Hobbesian sovereignRather, laws freely agreed to by those laws’ subjectsWhere law ends, tyranny beings[Jefferson &Declaration of Independence]


Freedom:a liberty to follow my own will in all things where [the law] prescribes notLockeUnjust laws…?


RousseauHow can people retain their Natural Right to freedom if they have contracted to live under the laws of the state?No idiot would voluntarily sell himself into slavery.When obey a law that’s in your own self-interest, haven’t given up fdm., & everyone has done so too.


“…each man, in giving himself to all, gives himself to nobody…”issue is not freedom from government, but freedom under government

give up freedom
Give up freedom

so that

we can obey ourselves

substituting justice for instinct in his conduct

Substituting justice for instinct in his conduct.

“Although, in this state, he deprives himself of some advantages which he got from nature, he gains in return others so great, his faculties are so stimulated and developed, his ideas so extended, his feelings so ennobled, and his whole soul so uplifted …. Instead of a stupid and unimaginative animal, made him an intelligent being and a man.”


“Even if each man could alienate himself, he could not alienate his children: they are born men and free; their liberty belongs to them, and no one but they has the right to dispose of it.”

john stuart mill
John Stuart Mill
  • Approved Locke, Rousseau’s efforts to ensure liberty of many from the despotism of kings & oligarchies
  • However, concerned about

rights of minorities

  • Context: height of Victorian social repression that occurred with the flowering of laissez faire economics in England
  • Mill concerned about protection of individuality
freedom of
Freedom of

“The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it.”

  • Thought
  • Expression
  • Tastes
  • Conscience
  • Pursuits
  • Association
  • Idea of INEQUALITY is ancient
  • Aristotle’s views: natural hierarchy
  • Men by nature superior to women
  • Freemen by nature superior to slaves
  • Some born to rule, others to obey
  • 2000+ years, this idea ruled/rules
  • Caste, gender, ethnicity, class
  • No friend of liberty and equality, in the way that a modern democrat uses the terms
  • Democracy creates a city “full of freedom and frankness, in which may do & say what he likes… the individual is clearly able to order for himself his own life as he pleases”
  • Not a good thing
  • Liberty dispenses a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike
  • Democracy was the second worst form of government, one rung above tyranny
  • Well-ordered state
  • A government characterized by rule of the few, but not aristocracy
  • By men of gold: knowledge; wisdom; talent; ability
  • A meritocracy: The Guardians
  • Science of government
  • Rule for good of society: greatest happiness of the whole
  • Hierarchy; anti-egalitarian; anti-democratic
Plato did maintain that the sexes were equal
  • In The Republic: if the difference consists only in women bearing and begetting children, this does not amount to proof that a woman differs from a man in respect to the sort of education she should receive.
  • “the gifts of nature alike are diffused in both”
modern egalitarianism
Modern egalitarianism
  • 1700s
  • Observed differences: nurture
  • How people ‘treated’ rather than Aristotle’s ideas of nature
  • Aristotelians prevailed
  • Until 20th C, only J.S. Mill – equality of women
  • Virginia Wolf, a half century later...
who is a full equal member of the human race
Who is a full & equal member of the human race?
  • Complete male suffrage in Britain in 1863
  • Black-Am enfranchised in U.S. in 1870
  • Female suffrage in Britain in 1914
  • In U.S., six years later
seneca falls convention

Seneca Falls Convention


Declaration of Sentiments

are we more ardently attached to equality than to freedom as de tocqueville stated
Are we more ardently attached to equality than to freedom, as de Tocqueville stated?
  • “Men cling to equality not only because it is dear to them; they also adhere to it because they think it will last forever.”
  • Charms of equality: instantly felt; within reach of all; nothing is required but to live
  • “They will endure poverty, servitude, barbarism; but they will not endure aristocracy.”
  • “…advantages which freedom brings are only shown by the lapse of time…”
  • “…political liberty is more easily lost; to neglect to hold it fast is to allow it to escape.”
  • Plato’s Republic: necessity of putting the organization ahead of interests of individual
  • Leviathan: its function is to foster safety for economic progress. In the state of nature:

…there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation…no knowledge on the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters…

j s mill
J. S. Mill
  • Greatest of liberals
  • “So believed in the value of an intellectual aristocracy that he advocated proportional voting weighted by the amount of schooling each individual had received.” James O’Toole
  • de Tocqueville: “An aristocracy is infinitely more skilful in the science of legislation than democracy can ever be.”
  • Fear of mobocracy
“The will of the people, moreover, practically means the will of the most numerous or the most active part of the people—the majority, or those who succeed in making themselves accepted as the majority; the people, consequently, may desire to oppress a part of their umber, and precautions are as much needed against this as against any other abuse of power. …’the tyranny of the majority’ is now generally included among the evils against which society requires to be on its guard.” J.S. Mill
“…there needs protection also against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling, against the tendency of society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them.”
  • The practical question: “how to make the fitting adjustment between individual independence and social control”
  • Mill
  • Feared disorder too
  • Like Hobbes, led to advocate a meritocratic oligarchy b’c of this fear
  • Across history & cultures:

“The only realist alternative to anarchy on the one hand, and to tyranny on the other, is benevolent despotism.”


individualism in democratic countries
Individualism in Democratic Countries
  • Individualism is of democratic origin
  • Not selfishness
  • Democracy “throws him back forever upon himself alone and threatens in the end to confine him entirely within the solitude of his own heart…”
  • “owe nothing to any man, [and] they expect nothing from any man…apt to imagine that their whole destiny is in their own hands.”
  • de Tocqueville, On Democracy in America
In democratic countries, the science of association is the mother of the science…
  • “If men are to remain civilized, or to become more so, the art of associating together must grow and improve in the same ratio in which the equality of conditions is increased.”
de tocqueville
de Tocqueville
  • The art advances, the artisan recedes
  • Workman becomes more weak, more narrow-minded, and more dependent
  • Workman concentrates his faculties more and more upon the study of a single detail, the master surveys an extensive whole…
  • Emergence of a manufacturing aristocracy that ‘impoverishes and debases the men who serve it and then abandons them to be supported by the charity of the public.
  • …the manufacturing aristocracy which is growing up under our eyes is one of the harshest which ever existed in the world…
donella meadows

Donella Meadows

The Limits of Growth (1972)

“Grow or die,” goes the old economic maxim. But in 1972 a team of systems scientists and computer modelers challenged conventional wisdom with a ground-breaking study that warned that there were limits—especially environmental limits—to how ‘big’ human civilization and its appetite for resources could get. Beyond a certain point, they said, in effect, the maxim could very well be

‘grow and die ’.”