notes (9) - PSCI 1040-004 Jim Battista University of North...

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Unformatted text preview: PSCI 1040-004 Jim Battista University of North Texas Constitution Jim Battista Constitution Social contract theory Notion that government arises from the consent of the governed Social contract: pact that brings a people out of anarchy and into some form of government Change from rule by divine right/inherent hierarchy Thought experiment: state of nature What if people had no government at all? What if people were governed only by own human nature? Doesn’t need to be a historical reality Jim Battista Constitution Hobbes Dim view of human nature Rapacious self-interest Indifference to each other, maybe hostility Therefore state of nature dangerous place Jim Battista Constitution Hobbes, cont. Each of us has natural rights Most important: self-preservation I can do what I think is necessary to keep myself safe Including killing you before you kill me You weren’t going to come after me? Well, tough. Jim Battista Constitution Life in Hobbes’ state of nature “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 man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Leviathan Jim Battista Constitution Hobbes’ solution Collective action problem We all want to be safe from violent death. How? Institute government to protect us all By creating a social contract We each agree to give our self-defence power to the King We each agree to submit to the King Hokey? Real life examples? Jim Battista Constitution The leviathan What can the sovereign do? Whatever he (she?) wants No control over the sovereign Contract isn’t between me and the King Contract is between me and you King has no promises to keep, no contract to abide by Therefore revolution is illegitmate, wrong Revolution is crime against everyone else in the Contract Jim Battista Constitution Locke Starts with different state of nature Arrives at different conclusions People generally okay, but are a few bad apples No unrestricted right of self defense Must give people who wrong you a fair trial, etc State of nature inconvenient, not dangerous bloodbath Jim Battista Constitution Inconveniences Everyone has to protect his/her own rights (property, speech, etc) – difficult No unbiased and fair way to settle disputes (everyone is own judge) Without collective action, we get just rule by the strongest Jim Battista Constitution Locke’s solution Same collective action problem (but less dire) How to avoid inconveniences?...
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This note was uploaded on 04/12/2011 for the course POLI SCI 1040 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '11 term at North Texas.

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notes (9) - PSCI 1040-004 Jim Battista University of North...

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