Friday, April 06, 2007

On Developing a Political Philosophy

I recieved an excellent question from, I believe, my second poster ever (see comments two posts ago). Hat tip to Collin Brendemuehl at Philsophy For Chistians (; and Evangelical Perspective (

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. 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 trap 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. Back to the drawing board.

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