This does not seem like a familiar sort of definition for justice, but the result, Plato says, is that each interest is satisfied to the proper extent, or, in society, everyone has what is theirs. The philosophers have the knowledge they want; the warriors have the honors they want; and the commoners have the goods and pleasures they want, in the proper moderation maintained by the philosophers and warriors. The root of all trouble, as far as Plato is concerned, is always unlimited desire [ note ]. Acton, or Lord Acton famously said, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
The natural law concept existed long before Locke as a way of expressing the idea that there were certain moral truths that applied to all people, regardless of the particular place where they lived or the agreements they had made. The most important early contrast was between laws that were by nature, and thus generally applicable, and those that were conventional and operated only in those places where the particular convention had been established.
This distinction is sometimes formulated as the difference between natural law and positive law. Natural law is also distinct from divine law in that the latter, in the Christian tradition, normally referred to those laws that God had directly revealed through prophets and other inspired writers.
Thus some seventeenth-century commentators, Locke included, held that not all of the 10 commandments, much less the rest of the Old Testament law, were binding on all people. Thus there is no problem for Locke if the Bible commands a moral code that is stricter than the one that can be derived from natural law, but there is a real problem if the Bible teaches what is contrary to natural law.
In practice, Locke avoided this problem because consistency with natural law was one of the criteria he used when deciding the proper interpretation of Biblical passages.
In the century before Locke, the language of natural rights also gained prominence through the writings of such thinkers as Grotius, Hobbes, and Pufendorf. Whereas natural law emphasized duties, natural rights normally emphasized privileges or claims to which an individual was entitled.
They point out that Locke defended a hedonist theory of human motivation Essay 2. Locke, they claim, recognizes natural law obligations only in A political view of plato situations where our own preservation is not in conflict, further emphasizing that our right to preserve ourselves trumps any duties we may have.
On the other end of the spectrum, more scholars have adopted the view of Dunn, Tully, and Ashcraft that it is natural law, not natural rights, that is primary.
They hold that when Locke emphasized the right to life, liberty, and property he was primarily making a point about the duties we have toward other people: Most scholars also argue that Locke recognized a general duty to assist with the preservation of mankind, including a duty of charity to those who have no other way to procure their subsistence Two Treatises 1.
These scholars regard duties as primary in Locke because rights exist to ensure that we are able to fulfill our duties.
Simmons takes a position similar to the latter group, but claims that rights are not just the flip side of duties in Locke, nor merely a means to performing our duties.
While these choices cannot violate natural law, they are not a mere means to fulfilling natural law either. Brian Tienrey questions whether one needs to prioritize natural law or natural right since both typically function as corollaries.
Social and Political Philosophy: Readings From Plato to Gandhi [John Somerville, Ronald Santoni] on kaja-net.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. An anthology of basic statements by the most influential social and political philosophers of Western civilization. Includes Plato. In the discipline of international relations there are contending general theories or theoretical perspectives. Realism, also known as political realism, is a view of international politics that stresses its competitive and conflictual side. Print PDF. PLATONIC PHILOSOPHY and NATURAL LAW V. Bradley Lewis, The Catholic University of America. Plato (– B.C.) is usually numbered among the most important thinkers in the natural law tradition.
He argues that modern natural rights theories are a development from medieval conceptions of natural law that included permissions to act or not act in certain ways.
There have been some attempts to find a compromise between these positions. Adam Seagrave has gone a step further. God created human beings who are capable of having property rights with respect to one another on the basis of owning their labor.
Another point of contestation has to do with the extent to which Locke thought natural law could, in fact, be known by reason. In the Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Locke defends a theory of moral knowledge that negates the possibility of innate ideas Essay Book 1 and claims that morality is capable of demonstration in the same way that Mathematics is Essay 3.
Yet nowhere in any of his works does Locke make a full deduction of natural law from first premises. More than that, Locke at times seems to appeal to innate ideas in the Second Treatise 2.
Strauss infers from this that the contradictions exist to show the attentive reader that Locke does not really believe in natural law at all. Laslett, more conservatively, simply says that Locke the philosopher and Locke the political writer should be kept very separate.
Many scholars reject this position. That no one has deduced all of natural law from first principles does not mean that none of it has been deduced. The supposedly contradictory passages in the Two Treatises are far from decisive.
While it is true that Locke does not provide a deduction in the Essay, it is not clear that he was trying to. Nonetheless, it must be admitted that Locke did not treat the topic of natural law as systematically as one might like. Attempts to work out his theory in more detail with respect to its ground and its content must try to reconstruct it from scattered passages in many different texts.
Unless these positions are maintained, the voluntarist argues, God becomes superfluous to morality since both the content and the binding force of morality can be explained without reference to God. The intellectualist replies that this understanding makes morality arbitrary and fails to explain why we have an obligation to obey God.
With respect to the grounds and content of natural law, Locke is not completely clear. On the one hand, there are many instances where he makes statements that sound voluntarist to the effect that law requires a law giver with authority Essay 1.
Locke also repeatedly insists in the Essays on the Law of Nature that created beings have an obligation to obey their creator ELN 6. On the other hand there are statements that seem to imply an external moral standard to which God must conform Two Treatises 2.Thomas Hobbes: Moral and Political Philosophy.
The English philosopher Thomas Hobbes () is best known for his political thought, and deservedly so. Aristotle - Political theory: Turning from the Ethics treatises to their sequel, the Politics, the reader is brought down to earth.
“Man is a political animal,” Aristotle observes; human beings are creatures of flesh and blood, rubbing shoulders with each other in cities and communities. Like his work in zoology, Aristotle’s political studies combine observation and theory.
1. Natural Law and Natural Rights. Perhaps the most central concept in Locke’s political philosophy is his theory of natural law and natural rights. The Republic (Greek: Πολιτεία, Politeia; Latin: Res Publica) is a Socratic dialogue, written by Plato around BC, concerning justice (δικαιοσύνη), the order and character of the just city-state, and the just man.
It is Plato's best-known work, and has proven to be one of the world's most influential works of philosophy and political theory, both . Great Political Thinkers: From Plato to the Present Sixth Edition [Alan O.
Ebenstein] on kaja-net.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Celebrating its fiftieth year in publication, GREAT POLITICAL THINKERS is an indispensable text for all students of political philosophy.
This text contains portions of great works in their original form to whet the appetite and to encourage discussion. Apology by Plato, part of the Internet Classics Archive.