Sunday, 17 October 2010

Lecture 3 (Raw Notes)

(Lecture summary will be uploaded shortly)

John Locke - Key figure for Journalists. Also a key thinker when it came to the 'social contract'
(1632 - 1704)

* Historical context of his writings
* The Social Contract
* Human understanding

The times he were living in influenced in P.O.V:

* Civil War 1641 - 1651
* Cromwell rules as a dictator
* Restoration of Charles II 1660
* The Exclusion Bill Crisis 1678 - 81
* James II - 1685 - Catholic king
* Glorious Revolution 1688 - William of Orange. (It was around this time Locke came back after fleeing from Europe originally)

On a side note, Locke wrote most his books in Europe.

Social Contract:

Hobbes - Leviathan - State of Nature

* People's dominate passions are aggressive - People acting on their passions will produce a state of war
* A leader is chosen and given huge power
* Power comes from the people but they give up all their power to the ruler "mortal god"

Hobbe's was cynical - Believed dominate passions were aggressive. Everybody was acting on their own selfish needs which would end in war. Hobbe's said we need to create a mortal god. We have to create a Leviathan. (Reference to a beast of enormous size and power)

Once we have chosen a person, they are absolute - They protect us from people outside the country / state, as well as the unpredictable people closer to us. God did not choose a ruler, we did.

[Hobbe's is advocating/recommending a dictatorship]

* Locke's treatise of government
* First treatise - Attacks the concept of the "divine right of Kings"
* Locke also attacked Hobbes (He's saying it's not right to implement dictatorship where all our rights are stripped away. He didn't believe that when we were born there was something already present in our brain - Innate. Descartes thought the opposite)

State of Nature - Everybody enjoys natural freedom and equality but obey natural laws

* The laws of nature were moral laws which every man knew intuitively - A sort of ready made knowledge of right and wrong. "Interwoven in the Constitution of the human mind" - Discovered by reason, which comes from God.
* Locke DID believe in God. He said that we don't know anything but we have senses that suck in content - Our ability to think comes from the senses, from which we can work out natural laws

Locke - There is no idea in your brain that hasn't come from experience. We will discover natural laws. If we use our senses, we will discover and accept.

(You have the right to life, liberty and property)

Manual for Revolution:

Locke proposed a concept of government by consent and limited by law. Its powers mainly used for the protection of property. He insisted that taxes could not be imposed without the people (Parliament) consent. He believed that citizens could rebel if their government ceased to respect the law. Referred to tyranny of James II.

It meant that Locke was suggesting that their right of revolution was one of the natural rights of man.

* Hobbe's said that once a ruler was elected, they can do what they want

whereas

* Locke says if a ruler oversteps the boundaries, they should be removed! (The right of revolution is a natural right - This concept is very dangerous. Politically crucial when it came to the American War of Independence.

Human understanding:

Locke believed that our understand comes from our experience, which is worked on by our powers of reason.

* Against the concept of 'innate ideas'
* He thought that God had given mankind the ability to discover knowledge and morality so that innate ideas weren't needed
* When matters of faith go beyond reason and experience - Individuals should be guided  by private revelation, but these revelations should never be imposed by the church or state.

Locke - Religion should never stray into politics. If there's a conflict, keep your beliefs to yourself.

Innate ideas:
Plato's forms - Soul becomes aware of the forms and so knowledge before birth
Descartes - Ideas imprinted by god

Newton: (Believed they are ways you can understand universal ideas)

Locke saw himself as "humber-under labourer". Clearing the ground for scientists such as Newton.

* Start of englightened science
* Ascent of man

Principia - This book was a mathematical demonstration of the Copernican hypothesis.

Newton - The universe is knowable. There are rules that enable us to understand the universe. Netwon was attacked by the Cartesian school.

* He said that the orbits are controlled by gravity. For the Cartesiens, that sounded like magic! An old-fashioned concept.

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