some of the themes discussed in class this week:
1- the anarchist response to the state, bakunin's idea of perfect logic (the metaphysicians' idea that "thought precedes life", which is a jab at Marx, but also to the idea of intellectualism). click here for an interesting discussion of the antagonism between marx and bakunin.
2- paul wolff's rejection of "command" and defense of "autonomy:" wolff denies the state any possible legitimacy. how does wolff's anarchism justify people to live in society if at all?
3- socrates' apology to crito is an example of rhetoric which i've called "anti-didactic" in that it seems so by figure of:
a) compelling the accusers to accept that he's better of choosing death (because of the very idea of duty they ask of him).
b) that his choosing death proves his attachment to Athens stronger than theirs (since it goes through the ultimate test: self-immolation).
c) a) + b) make socrates' death a political event.
the lesson from socrates --the ex-sophist-- is that philosophy and rhetoric are NOT divorced.
4- thoreau's civil disobedience is an important treatise in that it presents the idea that government is typically more harmful than helpful & that democracy --in itself-- is no the cure (since a majority could be wrong). for thoreau the judgment of an individual's conscience is not necessarily inferior to the decisions of a political body --or majority. this makes laws suspicious:
(...) it is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right... Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice.thoreau's well-known essay influenced gandhi's idea of civil disobedience.
5- martin luther king's compelling letter from birmingham jail.
a) the motto "wait" as a constant deferment of justice. for king it really means "never."
b) king's use of the oppression of blacks (a particular instance) as an example of the need of universal justice.
c) king's use of aquinas' "natural law" over "human law" and agustine's motto: "an unjust law is not a law at all."
d) his comparison of segregation as a form of instrumentalization of humanity (the Buber's I-Thou predicament).
6- john rawls three criteria (really two, since he accepts that the first two make are sufficient for the act of disobedience: a) blatant violations, b) failure of reiterated appeals to a political majority.
go ahead, make your point (let's avoid being casual, make a deliberate intelligent contribution to the discussion).