WALZER%20EXAM

WALZER%20EXAM - SPHERES OF JUSTICE EXAMzTYPE [. General...

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Unformatted text preview: SPHERES OF JUSTICE EXAMzTYPE [. General Remarks: Your basic mission is to show that you have mastered Walzer’s argument---both his particular arguments and the larger overall argument--- in Spheres of Justice. You can only do this if you read the text carefully. Lecture notes alone will be inadequate. The subtitle of this text is A Defense of Pluralism and Equality, so you might think of yourself as explaining why this title is accurate. Overall, Walzer bases his account on a particular normative perspective, rooted in the shared founding vision of our country, the vision of a society of free, equal citizens (who are equally members of this democratic community). From this point of view, tyranny is the central evil. Now, in virtue of our social and political organization various goods exist that would not exist were we Robinson Crusoe’s on a deserted island. A key debate in social philosophy concerns the role of government in protecting and providing these goods. The libertarian holds that the only role of government is to protect member’s rights or their liberties and that the only legitimate taxation is whatever is necessary to provide for security (police and armed forces). Waller implicitly has a more expansive view of the role of government. His analysis assumes the actual situation in which we find ourselves, with government providing various goods such as security, welfare, regulation of markets (e.g. through anti-trust laws, environmental laws, etc), regulation of business vis a vis the negative good ofhard/dangerous/grueling work (e. g. via health and safety laws, etc.), education, office (i.e. positions in government or licensed by the state—social workers, lawyers, doctors, etc). He then argues for a certain conception about how each good ought to be distributed, based on the significance or meaning ofthe particular good in our particular world and based on the idea of supporting flee, equal citizenship. The final chapter on Tyranny and Just Society gives a brief account of the overall project and reading it should help you quite a bit with this exam. 11. Questions I will select 3 of these for you to write on. This is basically an explication of the text, so be sure to stick close to the text as you explain his line of reasoning. (The words ‘since’ ‘because’ ‘therefore’, etc. should be abundant). 3. Explain the key concepts captured in the title “Spheres of Justice: A Defense of Equality and Pluralism”. Be sure to stress the importance of ‘free, equal citizenship’, and define/explain “injustice” as tyranny or domination/subordination vs injustice as ‘monopoly’ , the idea of spheres, and the notion of complex vs simple equality, why he rejects ‘simple equality’ in favor of ‘complex equality‘. b. Membership is a key social good. Explain the (moral) principles MW develops about our duties to ‘strangers’. Explain why he holds that documented (i.e. guest) workers should be granted citizenship, Briefly explain whether, based on his account, ought we to have admitted Haitian boat people fleeing certain death at home? To grant citizenship to undocumented workers who work hard, pay taxes and obey the law? To admit refugees from Cuba or Hungary (=socialist dictatorships, for our purposes). c. Welfare/Security includes key social goods (police, medical care, legal assistance, clean environment, etc.) Explain MW’s slogan “community for the sake of provision, provision for the sake of community. Set out his argument for the three principles of the distribution of these goods (communal provision; proportional to need; uphold equality of membership. Cf p 84) and how these apply to the US re: medical and legal care. In particular, explain why he holds that medical care should not be market based, that doctors ought to be salaried employees of the community and also why he rejects charity as a way of providing for the poor. Take a few lines to say what you think of his analysis. (1. Money Walzer supports a free market confined to its proper sphere of commodities. What is the extent and limit of the legitimate market? [Be sure discuss commodities (what may be bought and sold) and the various blocked exchanges (what may not be a commodity)] The market (economy) is part of the city (the overall social and political system) but not the whole and must be bounded. Explain now why such ‘bounds’ or redistributions, via taxes, labor laws, environmental regulations, and (after a certain point of growth) of the means of production to the community, and finally of large holding of money via a heavy tax on gifts and inheritance are legitimate and called for according to MW. e. Walzer holds that offices should be distributed on the basis ofqualification. Explain his views (what is office, most crucially, what is “qualification”, why meritocracy is not quite the correct distributive principle, & that the key principle is equal consideration). Now, explain his argument that affirmative action quotas are legitimate but a bad idea and that a massive distribution of the “commonwealth” to the inner cities is better and morally required. Very briefly, do you agree? Why or why not? f. Explain how the key social good of recognition (eg. honors, punishment) ought to be distributed according to MW and develop the idea that self respect and self esteem are key social goods, tied to equal citizenship. g. Explain MW’s account of the purpose of education in a democracy and how, therefore, it ought to be distributed (both primary and specialized). Explain the importance of the autonomy of the educational system ( vs ‘tyranny’ of corporations, non-educators). Explain the reasons he gives for rejecting primary school talent tracks, favoring the Japanese system, rejecting vouchers and supporting strong investment in neighborhood schools rather than busing alone as a way of addressing the problem of education in the inner cities? Very briefly, do you agree with his views? Why or why not? h. Explain W's view of political power, what uses of power are blocked (qua illegitimate or tyrannical), why policy goals/political power should be in the hands of citizens not of “the knowledgeable”, why owning factories (i.e. economic power) should not be basis of political power, why democracy is the preferred political form, and finally why the caucus system is better than touch tone voting. Do you agree? Extra credit: compare MW very briefly to JR, RN and tell me what you think about each View. You may type this up ahead oftime to turn in with the exam, Ijust am interested in what you think ofthese 3 so far. ...
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This note was uploaded on 04/09/2008 for the course EBIO 1050 taught by Professor Basey,john during the Fall '08 term at Colorado.

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WALZER%20EXAM - SPHERES OF JUSTICE EXAMzTYPE [. General...

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