Monday, March 19, 2007

Political philosophy

Given the readership, I will devote attention on this blog to political philosophy. Let's start with the basic compact, shall we? Any assertion of rights vis-a-vis others requires a submission to obligations vis-a-vis those same others. We can refer to these "others" as society. In these pages, I shall formulate a political philosophy grounded on this fairly basic, pre-government ("state of nature" if you will) premise.

For now, let's just leave it at that.


Collin Brendemuehl said...

Are you approaching from the framework of Natural Law? (Did I read it correctly?)

ohnnyp said...

Thank you for posting. You've shattered all my various previous comments about the utter lack of an audience on this blog. I believe you're the second post since I started last year.

At any rate, to answer your question, no, I am not approaching this as-yet-begun exposition on my political philosophy within the framework of natural law. Indeed, natural law is a concept which I reject (consistent with, but not a function of my atheist beliefs).

Rather, I have begun with a premise which is contingent. I can't recall the exact formula from Logic 101, but the premise is an "if" statement. If one asserts certain rights vis-a-vis society (e.g. the right to be free from bodily harm by others), then one consequently also assumes obligations (e.g. the obligation not to cause bodily harm to others). I am trying to avoid any normative (should or "ought") conclusions. Thus, the initial premise does not include the normative statement that one ought to assert rights, but that IF one does so, it follows that one is also assuming obligations.

It seems that this formulation, as I write it now, however, does fall into a normative conclusion about the obligations. Put another way, if one assumes a right, I appear to be saying, one OUGHT to submit to a reciprocal obligation. That, of course, is little more than a wordy version of the golden rule, and I fully understand your confusion as to whether this derives from natural law.

Back to the drawing board.

Thanks Collin!

I'll make this reply my next post, as it helps in developing a thesis.