Nineteenth Century Political Philosophy

Document Sample
Nineteenth Century Political Philosophy Powered By Docstoc
					Nineteenth Century Political
 The development of Romanticism
      Political Liberalism
• Associated with England and Low Countries
• Protestant
   – Appreciates Work ethic
   – Commerce and Industry
• Tolerant
   – Wars over religion are just silly
• Respect for Rights of Property
• Individualistic
   – Social mobility possible
• Role of education to improve one‟s lot in life
• Based on Reason and Rational thought
• John Locke, George Berkeley, David Hume
                 Passion over Calculation

• Anti-thesis of Rational Liberalism
• Anti-Industrial, Commercial
• Medieval Nostalgia
   – Chivalry and Heroism stressed
• Individualism reinterpreted
   – Passions rather than Intellect
       • Admire all strong passions
           – Even negative violent ones
   – Cult of the Hero
• Nationalism encouraged
   – Rebellions justifiable
• War justifiable in defence of „Liberty‟
• Byron, Rousseau, Kant, Fichte, Nietzsche
• Identified with Germany




           Jean Jacques Rousseau
                           1712 – 1778
     “Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains”

• Father of Romantic Movement
  – Noble Savage
• Opponent of Progress and Industrialisation
  – Makes government powerful
  – Crushes individuals
  – Material benefits no match for human
• Politics and morality cannot be separated
• Learn by experience
• Social Contract
  – Bible of French Revolution
Rousseau’s Social Contract
  – Justifies totalitarianism
     • Democracy best in small states
     • Aristocracy best in medium states
     • Monarchy best in large states
  – Big fan of City States
     • Sparta over Athens
     • The General Will of the people is easily recognisable
  – Equality over liberty
     • Each of us puts his person under the supreme
       direction of the general will
     • The general will is always right
     • Every man governed by self interest
         – Self-interest good for the individual
         – Self-interest is also good for the community
  – Lack of respect for private property
     • The State is master of all their goods
            Immanuel Kant
                    1724 - 1804

• German Idealist
    – Romanticist
    – Building block for Hegel
• Pedantic University Professor
• Believed in Democracy
• Supported French Revolution up to Terror
• Advocated Federation of free states who outlaw
  war – as war is utterly irrational
• Prussian – but not a nationalist
    – Often argued with authorities over some of his more
      liberal ideas
    Immanuel Kant’s Ideas
• Critique of knowledge as a means of reaching
  philosophical conclusions
   – Mind more important than matter
• “There can be nothing more dreadful than that the
  actions of a man should be subject to the will of
   – Rights of Man ideals
   – Moral worth exists only when a man acts from a sense of duty
• Two imperatives driving the will of humans
   – Hypothetical Imperative
      • You must do so and so if you wish to achieve such and such
   – Categorical Imperative
      • Act as if the maxim of your action were to become a general
        natural law
          – Ie – if it were applied by everybody would it work
               » Eg it is wrong to borrow money because if we all did, there
                  would be no money to borrow
               Georg Hegel
                       1770 - 1831
•   Prussian University Professor
•   Protestant
•   1806 Jena
•   Nothing is completely real except the whole (like a
    complex organism)
    – Called „The Absolute‟
    – Mr A is an uncle
        • Uncle means nothing without a Nephew
    – The Universe cannot be spherical
        • Spheres have a boundary
        • A boundary only exists when something lies outside the
• There is no freedom without law
    – In fact, freedom is the right to obey law
• „Spirit‟ is the essential historical force
             Hegel’s Spirit
• Historical development of spirit
   – Oriental (despotism)
      • One is free
   – Greeks & Romans (Aristocracy)
      • Some are free
   – German (Monarchy – NOT Democracy)
      • All are free
          – The monarch embodies the will of all
• „The State is the idea of Spirit in the external
  manifestation of human Will and its freedom‟
• “The German Spirit is the spirit of the new world”
   – Rewrites German History
      • Not barbarians but the true spirit of man fighting the effete
      • Protestant and United Prussia praised over Catholic and
        disunited Austrians
Nations and Individuals in Hegel’s
  • Nations
    – Nations are the principle of historical
    – A particular nation shows the true spirit
       • Germany
  • Individuals
    – A few world historically important
      individuals who embody true spirit
       • Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon
          – War allows for the spirit to be purely represented
    Artur Schopenhauer
                    1788 - 1860

• Danzig, Prussia
• Dark, philosophical pessimist
• Influenced by Plato, Kant, The Vedas, Goethe
  – Ascetic Mystic combined with Hellenism
• The World as Will and Idea 1818
• Emphasizes the role of „Will‟
  – The Primacy of the Will
  – As the creative but irrational force of human nature
     • Ethically evil (Pessimistic)
  – Only Art can withstand the role of Will
• Personally dislikes Hegel despite some
  philosophical similarities
• Influences Nietzche
         Friedrich Nietszche
                       1844 - 1900

•   Saxony
•   Son of Lutheran Pastor
•   University of Basel
•   1870 Franco Prussian War
    – Medical orderly
    – Retires in ill health
• Ill health plagues Nietszche for rest of life
    – Insane 1888 - 1900
Friedrich Nietzsche’s Ideas
• Admires strength of will above all else
    – Spartan ideals
• Life is hard – the difficulties of life allows us to appreciate the
  best parts of life
    – Suffering amplifies the pleasure
• Believes in Heroes (individuals over the State)
    – UberMensch – Superman
        • Masses can suffer to produce a great man
        • Napoleon
• Anti-Democratic & Anti-Liberal
    – All are not equal
    – Democracy leads to mediocrity
    – Believes in the superiority of the Aristocrat
• Not a Nationalist
    – Wants an international super-aristocracy to guide humanity
• Anti-Christian
    – Dislikes submission to a Higher Order
    – Prefers old testament to new testament
    – Not anti-semitic