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Basic Problems of Philosophy Exam II


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What is the question that Rousseau is answering?
Has the restoration of the Sciences and Arts contributed to the purification of Morals, or to their corruption?
What is Rousseau's main answer to this question?
The advances haven’t made us better; they’ve contributed to corruption.
In what ways does Rousseau take this as a broad question?
Rousseau understands the impact of the arts and sciences on moral tastes, dispositions, judgments, conduct, characteristic of a community’s way of life. Rousseau understands arts and sciences broadly as well.
How is Rousseau's challenge controversial?
The widely held view is that these advancements have been enormously beneficial.
How does Hume view the ages of refinement?
Hume thinks the ages of refinement are the happiest and most virtuous, the advancements make people more sociable, and the advancements promote political liberty.
What is Rousseau's general characterization of virtue?
Virtue is strength and vigor.
What are some of the virtues that Rousseau lists?
equity (fairness)
temperance (regulation of appetites)
humanity (benevolence)
What are the martial virtues?
willingness to sacrifice for a greater cause
What two fundamental characteristics does a magnanimous person have?
1. Magnanimous person is not small-minded or petty. Petty person is going to have narrow interests and sympathies. Magnanimous person has more general scope of concern.
2. Magnanimous person is also not servile. He has a sense of dignity and self-worth, which is absent in the abject person.
What are some other virtues?
condemns over-refinement or delicacy
What is a transparent person like?
A transparent person is one whose words and deeds matches underlying feelings.
What are some of the virtues of transparency?
What is civic virtue?
Civic virtue requires that we are willing to put public good ahead of individual/family good. Person also identifies own good as polity good.
What are some vices?
vices of opacity
immoderation or intemperance
vain curiosity
effeminate morals: enervation, cowardliness, softness, over-refinement or delicacy
What are the vices of opacity?
Opaque person’s words and deeds do not truthfully represent underlying feelings.
What are the three types of claims that Rousseau is making?
What is Rousseau's descriptive claim?
Rousseau aims to be offering an accurate description of what society’s advancements are like. He's speaking about Parisian culture in the mid-1700s. By Rousseau’s standards, our present culture would be advanced in arts and sciences.
What is Rousseau's causal claim?
Advancements have caused/brought about features he’s just described. Rousseau is not claiming merely a correlation; there’s a causal relationship. He does believe advancements have at least been major cause of features.
What is Rousseau's evaluative claim?
Features described in causal claim are undesirable.
How do natural tendency and isolated cases relate?
Natural tendency is used to describe causal. Claim cannot be refuted simply by producing isolated cases where this natural tendency did not operate.
What is Rousseau's argument about advancements and rules?
Economic tasks become increasingly coordinated. Increased coordination between people must occur. In order to regulate coordination, emphasis on rules results.
Is this conformity to rules a good or bad thing?
Rousseau says it's a bad thing, but one could argue that conformity to rules is beneficial.
How could one respond to the features that Rousseau attributes to advanced societies?
One might argue some of the features Rousseau attributes to advance societies are inherent to all societies. Rousseau argues there’s lots of opacity in advance societies. One could say there’s opacity in all societies.
How could Rousseau respond to this?
He may claim that even if these things are inherent, advancements make these things worse.
What is a five step causal argument that Rousseau might have linking the advances to opacity?
1. The advances lead to increasingly more goods being available. This seems reasonable as societies advanced in science and technology are able to produce more goods.
2. As more goods become available, more people want them and come to need them. Something that begins as a luxury good becomes a necessity (air conditioners). More goods, more needs.
3. As we have more needs, we become more dependent on others. The more things you need, the more you are dependent on the people who provide them.
4. The more dependent we become on others, the more we need to secure their cooperation if we are to satisfy our new needs.
5. The more we need to secure other’s cooperation, the more emphasis there is going to be on putting the kind of face that will gain their cooperation. This more emphasis on appearance creates a tendency to be more opaque about feelings.
What is a causal argument linking advances to undermining civic virtue?
Civic virtue requires that we are willing to put public above private good and identify private good with public. In advanced societies, people tend not to fulfill civic duties like politics and defense. They tend to pay other people to do it for them, mercenaries and professional politicians. The advances lead people increasingly to pursue private fortunes and interests. As the private becomes more important in people’s lives, they increasingly disengage from civic life.
How does advances undermining civic virtue affect liberty?
For people to be free requires that they have civic virtue. Advancements cause people to pursue private interests. This causes them to disengage from public life, which endangers their freedom.
How far does Rousseau go when he condemns the arts and sciences?
Rousseau isn’t issuing a blanket condemnation of all arts and sciences. They can have some uses and do some good. Sciences have done more harm than good, but they aren’t completely rotten. He’s against a certain use of art, as in art to extol vice. This suggests a use of art to extol virtue. Additionally, Rousseau is against art for art sake. Where this means that art is not to be evaluated independently of its moral and social effects. One finding a piece of art pleasurable is not nearly as important as moral and social effects. Rousseau would condemn use of arts and sciences to stimulate and satisfy want for luxury goods or superfluities. Superfluities soon become need, and we become dependent. Rousseau is also against knowledge for knowledge sake. No use in piling up tidbits of knowledge; it’s bad. Education should be development of moral character rather than learning second languages that one will never use. There’s more important things you can be doing, like civic virtues.
What is Rousseau description of society that is advanced in arts and sciences?
In these advanced societies, people are going to have an increasingly large catalogue of needs and desires, emphasis on comfort and luxury. Tendency to intemperance, indulging one’s appetite. Our life will become softer. People will become less strong and vigorous. We’ll become more enervated. Less fortitude, courage. Decline in martial virtues. Less freedom, more dependency and servitude. Ascendancy of commercial values. Manners will come to replace morals. Forms of inequality.
What is Rousseau's thesis about advances bringing about acendency of commercial values?
Commercialization of relationships. Virtue will be sacrificed to becoming rich. People will be valued on productive and consumptive qualities rather than moral character.
What does Rousseau say about morals in an advanced society?
Manners will come to replace morals. Importance will be placed on manners. Social relations will be increasingly governed by insincerity (opacity). As we have increasing emphasis on conformity, there will be a constraining of people on people.
How will advances promote inequality?
Society will become unequal and hierarchical with competition and conflict of interest. Our motivation will become increasingly self-interested.
How can art be good?
The arts are bad for good societies and good for bad ones. They distract us from acting on our rotten characters (Clinton's evening basketball leauges).
What is Rousseau's thesis about advances and liberty?
Rousseau says advances are harmful to liberty. In order to understand this, we must explore his views on liberty, dependency, and need.
What does the crucial passage at page 159 say?
Increasing levels of dependency lead to increasing restrictions on freedom.
What does Rousseau understand by concept of liberty?
1. Liberty is not license (found in Locke as well).
2. Liberty consists in not being subject to somebody else’s arbitrary will or subjucting someone else to your arbitrary will.
3. Liberty is being subject to self-imposed law.
What is necessary for freedom?
1. No one can be above the law.
2. Something has to be true about substantive content of law.
3. Person must have legally enforceable rights to be protected against law.
Why is it that the rule of law is connected to freedom?
Laws protect people from the arbitrary will of others. It protects people from force and opinion. Laws provide some protection from the powerful to the powerless. Legally sanctioned protection against wills (bigotry).
Why can't anyone be above the law?
His actions have to be subject to legal control and restraint.
How can laws institutionalize injustice?
Rousseau’s not naively thinking that we are protected from power and prejudice when we’re in the scope of law. Laws can be used to institutionalize unfair relationships of power.
What is the phony social contract?
People agree to abide by laws because they think they will get rights.
What are ties of servitude based on?
dependency and needs
What are the two types of dependency in Rousseau?
material and psychological
What is material dependency?
We are heavily dependent on others to provide for food and clothing.
What is psychological dependency?
In this case, we depend on others for a sense of who we are/self-identity, self-worth. Opinion of other people toward us.
What is the causal chain explaining which things promote material dependency and why advances lead to our material dependency?
1. Advances makes available luxury goods. Luxury goods begin as convenience but degenerate into needs. If I need something, and you’re my supplier, I’m dependent on you.
2. With advanced societies, we have increasingly complicated economic tasks. Increasingly complicated economic tasks require the cooperation of many people to complete. Need for cooperation increases dependency on others.
3. Advances result in division of labor. Specialized labor requires need of other people.
What does Rousseau believe about psychological dependency in advanced societies?
He believes with the advances, our sense of self-worth becomes increasingly dependent on others.
How do power and reputation relate to advanced societies?
People pursue power and reputation in advanced societies. Part of the reason, power and reputation enable us to satisfy our needs. They are used as leverage, means to an end.
How do dependency and needs relate to servitude?
Dependency and needs are the soil in which servitude can flourish.
What is Rousseau's second most important claim?
Mankind is plastic and malleable.
How does plasticity of mankind relate to needs?
Objects of our needs change. Advances lead to more luxury goods. Luxury goods become needs. Leads to dependency.
What are the two types of needs?
basic physical needs and artificial needs
What is Rousseau's ideal for needs?
Desires do not exceed physical needs. The only goods are food, a female, and rest. This is the asocial state, pure state of nature.
How does Rousseau catagorize artificial needs?
Ever expanding catalogue of desires.
Luxury goods, superfluities become needs.
What is a first causal argument that Rousseau makes linking advances to decline in liberty?
Needs are chains. The advances make luxury goods available. Luxuries become needs. Needs increase dependency. If we are dependent on another, he has a greater opportunity to impose arbitrary will. It may that people domineer because they enjoy it or because they have needs that can be satisfied if they exercise their power.
What is a second causal argument that Rousseau makes linking advances to decline in liberty?
People are willing to exchange freedom for material goods. With the advances we have new priorities; our values change. We lose an appreciation of liberty. We want some peace and quiet, more than trying to remain free.
What are the three claims in the footnote on page 7?
1. Our needs, desires, and values change.
2. Pettiness of soul fits us to servitude.
3. Needs are chains.
What is pettiness?
Pettiness is small-minded person. A petty person has a confined focus or range of concern. At the most extreme form, the person is completely self-focused and self-absorbed. This also concerns people who put domestic sphere (family) over public good.
What are two examples of people putting public good above personal advancement?
Man losing Spartan election goes home delighted because there are three hundred people better than he was. Sparta woman gives thanks to gods for having sons killed.
How can focus away from public good be harmful to liberty?
General thesis here: political liberty requires civic virtue. Civic virtue should be understood as the willingness to subordinate one’s personal good to the public good or, better yet, identifying one’s personal good as the public good. Anything that tends to undermine this identification harms liberty.
What is the first way in which the subordination of self to public interests or the identification of the two can help promote freedom?
Freedom as subjugation to laws requires that one be actively engaged in law making. If Rousseau is right, that the advances, by focusing us on private interests, lead us to disengage from public life, we could see how one is disengaging from the law making process. Thus, one is not subject to laws one has made oneself, and one is not free.
What is the second way in which the subordination of self to public interests or the identification of the two can help promote freedom?
If I identify strongly with the public good, this will restrain me from using laws to impose my arbitrary will on others. If you identify strongly with the common good, you aren’t going to try to promote your own narrow interests.
What is the third way in which the subordination of self to public interests or the identification of the two can help promote freedom?
Just as I won’t use laws to promote my private good, other people won’t use laws to impose their private good. I won’t be subject to other people’s private will.
What is the fourth way in which the subordination of self to public interests or the identification of the two can help promote freedom?
Divided we fall. If we withdraw from public life, it’s easier for our state to fall to external predators. The thought is fairly simple; the state whose members feel a common interest is less likely to fall to predators. Advanced societies are marked by high degrees of competition and rivalry.
What is a thesis that is parallel to Rousseau's idea that people become increasingly petty with advances in the arts and sciences?
His thesis about people being interested in the welfare of others. The petty person isn’t indifferent to the welfare of others.
Why is it that the petty person can be focused on self and still be concerned about the opinions of others?
The petty person is interested in the welfare of others only as a means to the petty person’s own well-being. The petty person can be concerned with the interests of others because it affects him. This is only a case of enlightened self-interest.
What are Rousseau's thoughts on luxury?
Luxury leads people to attach themselves from their own private interests and turns them away from the public good. (La Rochefoucauld)
How does desire to dominate relate to servitude?
Desire to dominate promotes servitude. People want to lord it over others. They are willing to accept restrictions on their own liberty if they are given the opportunity to command others.
How does technology relate to servitude?
With technology, it becomes increasingly easy for governments to effectively regulate people over larger expanses. It’s easier for the government to gather and share information. The idea is obvious; it’s then easier for the government to act oppressively.
How could one argue that technology acts against servitude?
Today’s technology promotes two things against absolute power. These things are transparency (publicity, inability to keep remarks secret or private) and the ability of like-minded people to network easily. Technology makes it harder for people to exercise absolute power because it makes it harder for people to work in secret and easier for people who are oppressed by such power to work against it.
What are the different ways in which advances relate to social relations?
1. The advances are going to put emphasis on appearances, conformities to rules (manners will come to replace morals).
2. The advances promote deplorable social relations. Social relations are also marked by conflict, rivalry, and competition.
3. Social relations promote narrow self-interests at the expense of public good.
4. Advances promote commodification of people.
Why are social relations marked by deception and coercion?
According to Rousseau, emphasis on appearance is bad because it promotes vices of opacity. Opacity is deceiving people. Advances undercut the possibility of genuine friendship. One of the great things about transparency (reading someone’s character from his actions), is that you can trust someone.
How do cooperation and dependency relate?
If advances make us more dependent, we must increasingly gain cooperation of others.
How does one gain the cooperation of others?
1. One way to gain cooperation is to gain the esteem of others. We are more likely to listen to someone if we esteem him. One way to get esteem is to actually have a certain quality. Another way is to pretend that you have the certain quality.
2. Another way to gain the cooperation of others is through power. There will be competition for sources of power.
3. Another way to gain cooperation is to dupe other people. To get them to think that there’s a coincidence of interests between the two of you.
4. Another way to gain cooperation is to become their lackey or toady. To become a kiss-up type person.
How are conflict and rivalry detrimental?
divided we fall
How do social relations promote narrow self-interests at the expense of public good?
The advances promote self-interested relations. Advances get us to focus increasingly on self. Also, our pity toward others weakens. Pity requires that we identify strongly with other people. You pity another creature who’s suffering the more you are able to identify with that creature.
How do arts and sciences undercut pity?
Because they lead to advances which make societies highly inegalitarian (in wealth, politics, etc.). It makes it harder for people to identify with others.
How do advances promote commodification of people?
People will come to be valued in how much they consume and produce, in their economic value. Rousseau thinks people should be appraised on basis of their moral character. Economic status comes to forefront in advanced societies.
What is "The Town Labourer" arguing?
It’s in the enlightened self-interests of proprietors to help each other out. How are we to rank the relative value of various instruments of agricultural productivity. There are three types of instruments: intrumentum mutum (carts), instrumentum semivocale (cattle), instrumentum vocale (us). The instrumentum mutum and the instrumentum semivocale are very much inferior in utility to intrumentum vocale. Laborer contributes more to utility than the others. Carts, cattle, and laborer are all being evaluated on same scale. Rousseau doesn't think they should be evaluated on same scale. Also, "The Town Labourer" says avarice isn’t a vice. If proprietor is greedy, he’ll treat his laborer better. Rousseau lists avarice as a vice.
Why is there such an emphasis in advanced societies on conformity to rules?
1. One thing rules help us coordinate behavior (driving on the right side of the road). This will make it a lot easier for people who are mutually dependent to work together. If we think of economic tasks becoming increasingly complex, it becomes increasingly important to coordinate the various stages in the complex economic tasks. According to Rousseau, advances promote division of labor. It becomes important for people among whom labor is divided to coordinate their behavior.
2. Our increasing catalogue of needs leads to increasing levels of dependence on others. We need to secure their cooperation. If you have an adverse feeling toward someone, and you want to secure that person’s cooperation, put a sock in it. You have to be willing to hide your adverse feelings toward them and pretend like you have positive feelings.
3. Vanity. The vain person is the person who sets greater store on himself or others. He doesn’t want others to contradict his own self-esteem. If two vain people express their feelings, there’s going to be tension. We establish the rules of good breeding in order to prevent the opposition against pride and to render conversation agreeable (Hume).
What is Rousseau's causal argument linking advances to rivalry?
1. Privatized interests. Common interest unites people, but private interests tend to point them in different directions. Privatized interests introduce different interests, which in certain cases causes conflict of interests.
2. Hierarchical society. In the case of a hierarchical society (which is present in advanced societies), there’s going to be competition for the higher place on the social ladder. The higher your status, the easier it is for you to satisfy material or psychological needs. Status translates into power. Power helps you satisfy needs. Also, the opinions of others become increasingly important in advanced societies. High status helps gain esteem.
3. In a market society, there’s a lot of competition. It’s pretty clear that when Rousseau is thinking about advanced society, he’s thinking about free markets. It’s easy to think of conflict with free markets. There’s a competition between sellers for buyers and between buyers for sellers and between sellers and buyers. There’s built in tensions and conflicts.
4. We encourage competition between people. One reason we encourage competition is because we want to spur industriousness. A spur to try to work harder.
We also want to spur ingenuity. We want people to try to be creative.
5. In advanced societies, we have increasing needs. In the case of finite natural resources (land, oil), the increase in need is going to place a strain on these natural resources. We will be competing with each other to get them.
What is Rousseau's evaluative claim for why conformity to rules is bad?
1. He’s concerned that emphasis on conformity puts a constraint on individuality.
2. World of appearances is one which is marked by uncertainty. We don’t really know when one expresses esteem whether he’s expression genuine esteem or benevolence. We don’t know with whom we’re dealing. Loss of knowledge of sentiments.
3. Relations that are based on trust will be weakened. Trust is eroded if someone is not sure of genuineness. Rousseau places lots of stock on friendship.
4. Vices of opacity are opened up. We have a lot of vices. If we successfully mask these vices, they don’t get exposed. If they don’t get exposed, they aren’t exposed to public pressure of reform. So they can’t be eradicated.
5. Emphasis on appearances can undermine self-knowledge and can even lead to self-deception. In the case of self-deception, one can be taken in by one’s own mask. We are so accustomed to disguising ourselves from others that we end up disguising ourselves from ourselves (La Rochefoucauld). We get a sense of our self-identity by what other people say of us and how they act towards us. The case we’ve just given is one person is deceived by other person’s mask. Another case is that someone might come to believe one has a quality by his own actions (faith and church-going).
What is Rousseau's definition of pity?
Pity is a natural repugnance toward the suffering of a fellow creature.
How does this repugnance affect how we act?
1. Puts restraint on acting in self-interest.
2. Leads us to assist other people.
How do advances affect pity?
Rousseau says advances harm virtues by harming pity on which virtue is based.
What is going to strengthen or weaken pity?
The more one identifies with another person, the more pity one is going to be able to have for them.
How do advances weaken pity by undermining identification?
1. Competition and rivalry. If someone is your competitor and rival for one good, you have a difference in interests. We don’t share difference in interests in common.
2. Inequalities which mark advanced societies. Hierarchies (anything that promotes inequality) introduce differences between people.
3. Commodification of people. People come to be thought of as on the same scale as machines and animals. People become interchangeable with these other things. If we increasingly conceive of people in narrow economic terms, we think of them no different from machine or animals. You don’t identify them as a fellow human being.
What are three thoughts we interject during moments when we should identify with others?
1. How is it with me?
2. Is this so bad from the big perspective?
3. Would this pose any danger to me to become involved?
What's involved in asking, "How is it with me?"
The advances encourage us, instead of immediately identifying with others, to ask how is it with me. Advances cause us to be increasingly petty. Suppose things are okay with me, my identification with others will decrease.
What's involved in asking, "Is this so bad from the big perspective?"
Suppose we see something terrible happening to someone, we ought to become immediately concerned with them. Instead, we take up this cosmopolitan perspective by comparing it to the plight of mankind. This is really just selfishness masquerading as cosmopolitan benevolence and response for not responding. We ought to respond and help these people. Instead, we look at it from the top of the mountain, so we don’t think it’s that bad. We don’t get off our duff and do anything.
What's involved in asking, "Would this pose any danger to me to become involved?"
Advances undermine courage. Instead of responding to the person in need, we wonder if responding will endanger ourselves. We have an inflated sense of our own importance. We are less willing to take risks to help others.
How is globalization defined?
Globalization is the increasing integration of the world into one economic market.
What is the first concern Rousseau might have about globalization?
Rousseau might want to know whether globalization leads to increasing levels of dependency between increasing numbers of people.
What is the second concern Rousseau might have about globalization?
Rousseau might also want to know whether globalization leads to increasing levels of conflict and competition. One could argue that globalization could cause groups who weren’t previously in competition to then become in competition. One example is textile workers in North Carolina with textile workers in Thailand.
What is the third concern Rousseau might have about globalization?
Does globalization lead to homogenization? The regularization of behavior across cultures (increasing regularization of linguistic behavior). Globalization tends to eliminate culture differences. Leads to dominant power culture gaining ascendancy. Why are national differences important for Rousseau? Different customs are appropriate for different people.
What is the fourth concern Rousseau might have about globalization?
Rousseau connects freedom to a sense of patriotism and a sense of identification with one’s country. A decline in national culture will tend to weaken patriotism. A sense of national cultural identification allows citizens to unite against others (Government of Poland).
What is the fifth concern Rousseau might have about globalization?
Rousseau might want to know whether globalization tends to augment or centralize power. One thing people do not like about globalization is they think that it put restrictions on passing laws promoting the working conditions they prefer. For Rousseau, freedom is connected with self-legislation. Globalization might be a threat to sovereignty or national self-legislation.
What is Rousseau's view on advances and happiness?
Advances do not promote happiness. In fact, advances have been harmful to happiness.
What is Rousseau's concept of happiness?
quality of life
What is Rousseau's concept of happiness as quality of life contrasted with?
It is contrasted with a view which identifies happiness with pleasure or happiness with the satisfaction of desires or the absence of unsatisfied desires.
What are some things to keep in mind when look at Rousseau's view on happiness?
1. Rousseau doesn’t think pleasure isn’t of value. Pleasure is good only under certain conditions. Pleasure taken in the appropriate objects, that adds to a good life. Certain pleasures do not add to a good life (sadist).
2. Happiness is the life that contains things with genuine value. Things can be of genuine value, though, and not be valued. There are certain things of value, but we no longer appreciate their value (transparency, freedom).
What is Mill's view on value?
Mill's hedonist theory is something is of value, either if itself is pleasant or if it is means to the production of pleasure. Pleasantness is the sole good-making characteristic.
What is Hume's view on value?
Hume has a hedonist view. One example is he says people are happier because they now have luxury goods which provide pleasure. He also identifies happiness with ease and convenience.
Why does Rousseau think advances are harmful to happiness?
1. People want reputation, honor, advancement, achieve distinction. These are the guiding goals of the person advanced in the arts and sciences.
2. Human nature is plastic; our culture shapes our desires, pleasures, and values. The arts and sciences are making us desire the wrong kinds of things.
Why does Rousseau think that with advances, we have decline in happiness?
1. Rousseau’s description of hurried life in these highly cultivated societies.
2. Deplorable social relations.
3. The loss of virtues.
4. Our loss of knowledge of others.
5. Our loss of knowledge of ourselves.
6. There are new sources of unhappiness introduced.
7. We come to take enjoyment in the wrong things.
8. We no longer have enjoyment in some of these things, but we’re miserable when we don’t have them.
9. We’ve lost things which were genuinely valuable.
10. People are very vulnerable in advanced ages.
1. Rousseau’s description of hurried life in these highly cultivated societies.
We have no rest, no repose.
It’s basically a stressful rat race in pursuit of comforts. We know Rousseau believes we have this ever expanding catalogue of desires. We’re always going to be dissatisfied. There’s always going to be something new that you want. In sum, no rest, repose; built in dissatisfaction.
2. Deplorable social relations.
Relationships are going to be marked by coercion, deception. We’re willing to put on masks to get what we want. There are certain social relations based on trust. Undermining of good relationships. No one would classify this as a good life.
3. The loss of virtues.
The vices of opacity are promoted. We need to put on this social face. All these vices are introduced, they’re not of genuine value. So our life has less value.
4. Our loss of knowledge of others.
This is due to social mask, emphasis on manners.
5. Loss of knowledge of ourselves.
We can be taken in by other people’s social masks. We can even be deceived by our own masks. We’re so busy disguising ourselves from others, we end up disguising ourselves from ourselves.
6. There are new sources of unhappiness introduced.
1. With the advances, we have increasingly dangerous occupations.
2. Various medical disorders have been introduced by our mode of life. Stress-induced, obesity.
3. Environmental degradation.
7. We come to take enjoyment in the wrong things.
Pleasure, when taken in the right objects, can be a component of happiness. Pleasure, when taken in the wrong objects, cannot be a component of happiness.
1. Pleasure taken in bad objects.
2. Pleasures in what other people don’t have.
3. Pleasure people take in dominating others.
More generally, enjoyments you have that involve people in bad positions.
9. We’ve lost things which were genuinely valuable.
We don’t appreciate the loss of things like transparency and freedom. We don’t realize how bad it is.
10. People are very vulnerable in advanced ages.
Increasing material and psychological dependency. We’re very exposed.
What is Hume's thesis?
The advanced ages are the happiest and most virtuous. Advances are advantageous for public and private.
What are Hume's main claims?
1. Advances promote happiness.
2. Advances have moralizing effect.
3. Advances make for better laws, more moderate public life, and more political liberty.
On the moralizing effects, what are some of these good effects on character?
1. He thinks the advances make us more sociable and humane.
2. They make us more benevolent.
3. Advances promote moderation. (Rousseau thinks they promote intemperance.)
4. Advances energize us. (Rousseau thinks they enervate.)
5. Advances encourage sense of honor.
6. They help counteract gluttony, sloth, meanness of spirit. Meanness of spirit means a low sense of self-esteem, abject personality.
What is Hume's claim about luxury?
Pursuit of luxury goods is only bad when it causes someone to act imprudently or when it keeps me from performing my moral duties (goat cheese vs. kids' education).
What are some things we have to keep in mind when looking at both Rousseau and Hume?
1. Both Hume and Rousseau are concerned with the tendencies of the advances. More concerned with generalities than individual cases.
2. When we were discussing Rousseau’s thesis, one overall line of criticism was that Rousseau describes to the advanced societies inherit in all societies. Some of the things that he says advances cause are caused by other things. Hume says that others have thought that advances have caused things that we actually caused by other things.
What is Hume's view about corruption and advanced society?
Hume says corruption is inherit in all societies. So long as men are going to have desires, they are going to be susceptible to bribes. If you’re tastes run toward PBR, you’re just as tempted as the person who is tempted by Guinness.
What is Hume's hedonist theory of value?
He identifies good with pleasure and bad with pain (same as Mill).
What are the three components of happiness for Hume?
activity, pleasure, and indolence
How do these three relate?
Hume doesn’t contrast activity and indolence with happiness. It’s conditional on when. A different mix of these three ingredients is required for different people to make them happy.
What chiefly gives satisfaction?
Activity. In the ages of advancements, people are kept in perpetual occupation. It’s a stressful retrace. The fact that we have all these new desires and new needs due to advances. This keeps us motivated. Imagine a situation in which we didn’t have these luxury goods. We would be slothful or indolent.
What is Hume's view of indolence?
We can’t be active all the time. By itself, indolence is not enjoyable. Too much rest is boring, and you fall into a lethargy or stupor (unemployment). Activity keeps us from growing unnatural appetites.
How does Hume's economic model tie into activity?
In an age where there is no luxury goods, there’s nothing to produce a surplus for. Basically, the people aren’t going to work any harder than they have to. When we have luxury goods, people have incentive to work hard. Hume is assuming excessive sloth is a vice and is not enjoyable. By keeping us busy we’re happy; by avoiding sloth, we’re happy.
What is Rousseau's response to this?
With Rousseau, we know there’re more luxury goods with advances. Rousseau thinks increasing catalogue of luxury goods and needs is a bad thing. Necessity is the great spur to industry. This counteracts sloth and indolence.
According to Hume, how do we enjoy activity?
We enjoy activity for its own sake. We work hard, enjoy activity, produce surplus, exchange for luxury goods, luxury goods give pleasure.
How are new sources of pleasure available through advances?
1. Activity itself is pleasant.
2. Pleasure from luxury goods.
3. We have new rational pleasures available to us.
4. Aesthetic pleasures require one to have developed faculties.
5. Pleasures of the body.
6. Pleasures of company.
7. Pleasure of sharing ideas.
1. Activity itself is pleasant.
Advances promote pleasure through increased industriousness.
2. Pleasure from luxury goods.
In the absence of advances, we wouldn’t have luxury goods, and wouldn’t have the pleasure from them.
3. We have new rational pleasures available to us.
We have to be ingenious to find ways to be more productive. We enlarge our mental capacities by trying to be more productive. Once our mental capacities evolve, we are able to enjoy new pleasures we wouldn’t have been able to. (Pleasures in following an argument, solving a intellectual puzzle, and translating a text.)
4. Aesthetic pleasures require one to have developed faculties.
The advances make works of art readily available (music and massed produced literature).
5. Pleasures of the body.
1. Gourmet food. One of the great things about the advances is that the advances have made available a whole range of cuisines to us.
2. Refrigeration. There’s a whole range of pleasures made available.
6. Pleasures of company.
Solitude is miserable. Pleasures are augmented and pains are decreased when shared. (WFU beating Duke.) Advances lead us to associate more with other people.
7. Pleasure of sharing ideas.
With advances, we gain more knowledge with other people. We enjoy sharing knowledge with other people.
What are the points of happiness on which Rousseau and Hume can be constrasted?
activity, social relations, virtues, knowledge, opening new sources, luxury, freedom, vulnerability, and loss of goods
How do Rousseau and Hume differ when it comes to activity?
One reason Rousseau thinks advances are harmful is that they lead to rat race. Hume says they lead to activity, and activity is pleasurable.
How do Rousseau and Hume differ when it comes to social relations?
Rousseau says advances produce deplorable social relations. Hume says advances make us more sociable and humane.
How do Rousseau and Hume differ when it comes to virtues?
Rousseau says advances lead to loss of virtues. Hume says advances have various moralizing effects, counteract meanness of spirit.
How do Rousseau and Hume differ when it comes to knowledge?
Rousseau believes advances lead to loss of knowledge (self and others). Hume says we’re going to get all sorts of knowledge about all kinds of things.
How do Rousseau and Hume differ when it comes to opening new sources?
Rousseau believes advances lead to new sources of unhappiness, bad working conditions. Hume says advances make all sorts of new pleasures available to us, intellectual, food.
How do Rousseau and Hume differ when it comes to luxury?
Rousseau complains that we take pleasure in the wrong things. Hume says that luxury is not always bad. We can take pleasure in luxury goods as long as we don’t act imprudently.
How do Rousseau and Hume differ when it comes to freedom?
Rousseau says advances lead to loss of freedom. Hume argues that advances promote political liberty.
How do Rousseau and Hume differ when it comes to vulnerability?
Rousseau might think that advances make us more vulnerable. We live in the opinion of other people, psychological well-being. Hume argues that advances help secure our person and property by promoting rule of law.
How do Rousseau and Hume differ when it comes to loss of goods?
Rousseau says we’re often unhappy in the absence of luxury goods. Hume might not speak to this at all.
What are Hume's three main claims about advances and social relations?
1. Advances refine men. They polish away abrasiveness we would otherwise have.
2. We become more sociable. We increasingly seek out company and enjoy companionship of others.
3. We become more humane. We become more compassionate, sympathetic, benevolent.
Where do Rousseau and Hume agree when it comes to advances?
With advances, people become more dependent on each other. Increasing catalogue of needs, increasing complexity of economic relations.
What is Hume's argument about advances leading to urbanization?
Cities have economic efficiency. If we have urbanization, we have people in more contact with each other. People come to associate with each other. As they associate with each other, they tend to rub off on others. As we associate, we become more refined. We take more enjoyment in each others company. As we take more enjoyment, we seek out company more. As we associate, we give each other pleasure. As we take pleasure in each others company, we have stronger sympathy for each other. (Contradicts Rousseau's view about pity.)
What could a qualification for this be?
In the right context, association leads to polishing. It depends a great deal on the company one keeps. Hume is thinking of a refined society.
How do Rousseau and Hume agree on pity?
Just as Rousseau thinks pity requires identification with others, Hume also thinks sympathy requires identification with others.
What are the two ways in which Hume thinks the advances can promote sense of identification?
1. Advances help us become aware of commonalities.
2. Advances actual create new commonalities.
What is the thought behind advances helping us become aware of commonalities?
Advances lead to increased levels of social interaction between people. As we increasingly interact with other people, we feel less distance between ourselves and others. Social exchange enables us to see commonalities, our common humanity. This increased social interaction can lead to mutual understanding, tolerance, and respect (study abroad, desegregation). Additionally, sometimes, we discover commonalities between people, that increases our sympathy, but sometimes, we discover after our association, differences remain. This can still increase sympathy. Even when differences remain, the differences become intelligible. This ties into association increasing toleration.
What is the thought behind advances creating new commonalities?
The classic example is that we take up common projects. The sort of phenomenon of clubs.
How do Rousseau and Hume agree about rules of society?
Rules of society help us prevent uncomfortable social clashes.
Where does Rousseau differ from Hume when it comes to rules of society?
Advances lead to increasing social bonds, but ones of narrow self-interest. The concern is really self-interested.
How could Hume respond to this?
What Hume might be claiming here, even if a relationship begins as one which is based largely on self-interested motivation, it can develop a good relationship. We seek out someone’s company because we enjoy being around them. We don’t really care about their welfare, but over time, we can come to have genuine feelings of concern for the person.
What is one more point about advances and social relations (not in Hume)?
With advances, a certain material prosperity is created. This material prosperity promotes benevolence by making charity affordable.
What's the idea behind the baseline?
A lot depends on what we are comparing the advanced ages to. If you say the advanced ages are better or worse, you have to know they are better or worse than what.
What are Rousseau's different baselines?
1. Rousseau sometimes says baseline is pure state of nature (no ongoing family life, very limited range of needs).
2. Another baseline is a very primitive, early social life. Family units have been formed. Huts have been gathered together.
3. Another baseline is something like Sparta, an ancient republic.
What two things does Hume use to describe his baseline?
1. ignorant and barbarous nations
2. contrast between modern economy and a feudal economy
How do baselines relate to material prosperity?
Suppose in fact the appropriate baseline is one in which people have to spend a great deal of their lives meeting the most elementary physical needs, water, food. In that sort of society, people can’t afford to be benevolent. If that’s the appropriate baseline, material prosperity develops, it’s easier for people to meet needs, people have more time. In advanced societies, we can afford to help people materially and in terms of time.
How do advances and technology relate?
Advances have promoted technology that allow us to become aware of others suffering (tsunami, New Orleans). This increases our interaction with others. In non-advanced ages, we don’t have vivid awareness of suffering of people around the world.
What is Hume's argument about advances and freedom?
Advances help protect us from arbitrary will of another and help promote increased participation in law-making process. What Hume is arguing is that advances promote rule of law. Rule of law protects us from arbitrary will of other people.
What are the five factors that tend to promote subjugation?
1. Lack of wealth.
2. Lack of skills.
3. Desire for peace and order. (Rousseau says the same thing.)
4. Meanness of spirit. Abject or servile character.
5. People are willing to subject themselves to another in exchange to lord over others. (Also in Rousseau.)
How do Rousseau and Hume's concepts of liberty relate?
We can argue that Hume and Rousseau are working from same conceptions of liberty.
1. Lack of wealth.
Rousseau himself talks about the rich dominating the poor and understands wealth as a form of power. Hume says where the riches are in few hands, these must enjoy all the power. In advanced societies you have counterbalancing centers of power.
2. Lack of skills
Rousseau doesn’t say much about that. An unskilled laborer is one who can easily be replaced. As one becomes a skilled laborer, one gains leverage. Skill is a form of power.
3. Desire for peace and order.
Rousseau says people are willing to exchange some of their liberty to get tranquility.
4. Meanness of spirit.
Hume might mean an abject, servile, submissive character. If you are submissive, it’s going to be easy for people to dominate you. Rousseau says pettiness of spirit suites us to servitude, so both of them may agree that here’s a cause.
5. Desire to dominate others.
Rousseau himself acknowledges this. People are willing to accept limitations on own liberty in order to lord it over others.
What is Hume's argument about these five causes of servitude?
The advances help address all of these causes of tyranny.
What two effects do the advances have?
1. promote happiness of people
2. make states greater
What do we have to understand when we look at advances making states greater argument?
To understand this argument, we need to contrast two economies, advanced and unadvanced society economy. Unadvanced economy should be understood as subsistence farming, no sort of luxury goods industry. In case of advanced society, we have a thriving industry in luxury goods.
What is a major feature of an unadvanced society?
“Of Commerce,” in an unadvanced society, farmers lack any incentive to try to produce a surplus. Why produce a surplus when there’s nothing to exchange it for? Farmers aren’t going to be industrious or try to develop their skills more.
How is this contrasted with an advanced society?
In an advanced society, farmers have the prospect of increasing their material standard of living. Farmers have to become more productive. To produce this surplus, they become more industrious, more active (Hume thinks activity promotes happiness), and set out to develop their skills. They produce surplus that they can exchange for luxury goods and raise their standard of living. As farmers become more productive, fewer farmers are needed to meet the food needs of the society. More people are free to go into non-agricultural sector.
Why are people happier in an advanced society?
People are happier because they have these luxury goods. They enjoy luxury goods. Activity itself is a source of pleasure.
Why are states stronger in an advanced society?
The argument is this: in an advanced state, we now have a pool of non-agricultural labor that is not needed to meet the basic food needs of the society. In times of peace and tranquility, the state can allow this labor to devote itself to production of luxury goods. In times of a national emergency, the state can convert some of this labor to military purposes. Since we already have surplus crops, this now military labor can be fed by extra crops. There’s no surplus in a non-advanced society; it would take a while to feed an army. In an advanced society, though, there is a ready conversion of surplus labor.
How does the economy of an advanced society support liberty?
An advanced society favors the rule of law.
An advanced society leads to increased participation in law-making.
What are the features of an unadvanced society?
There are vassals and lords. The vassals are poor, servile, and unskilled. The disparity in power between vassals and lords is very great.
How do advances improve the plight of vassals?
When we begin to have advances, the advances hold out the chance for vassals to improve their standard of living by producing surplus to exchange for luxury of goods. To achieve this surplus, vassals have to work harder and develop skills. As people become more skilled, they are esteemed and valued for their skills.
What effect does this have?
This is going to counteract meanness of spirit. As one develops skills, one will be valued by others, and one will think better of oneself.
What is another effect that this has?
As vassals become more productive, they are creating a form of wealth for themselves. As they become wealthier, they become more esteemed; they become less abject in spirit.
How is skill a form of power?
The unskilled laborer lack leverage. Already, these vassals are gaining forms of power when they become skilled.
What effect does vassals becoming wealthier and more productive have?
Fewer people are required now to be farmers, which means more people can go into manufacture and trade of luxury goods.
What effect does more people going into the manufacture and trade of luxury goods have?
These people are creating luxury goods. We begin to have the rise of a middling rank. We are having breakdown of two-tier hierarchy. We have middling rank, this third class emerging.
What important feature does Hume argue that the middling rank has?
Hume argues that the middling rank has no hope of tyrannizing over others.
Why does the middling rank have no hope of lording it over others?
The middling rank stands in relation to the farmers in a very different relationship than the barons to the vassals.
How are the farmers different from the vassals?
The farmers have become rich, skilled, and independent. They have sources of power not available to vassals. They no longer have meanness of spirit. We’re imagining the vassals to be very easily replaced. The farmers are skilled and not easily replaced.
How does dependency relate to lording?
The middling rank is dependent on the rich and independent and skilled farmers in a way that the barons were not dependent on the vassals. The manufacturers are dependent on farmers for luxury good markets. The economic well-being of the middle rank is dependent on economic well-being of the lower rank. Suppose the middling rank tried to lord it over; they might destroy the markets on which it depends. Suppose middling rank tried to seize property of lower rank; the lower rank would not have incentive to produce surplus.
What is Hume's point about peace and tranquility?
Peace and tranquility is sought out not by giving away one’s freedom through the rule of law. The rule of law protects our person and our property from predation by others. Peace and tranquility is not gained by selling out one’s liberty, but by securing rule of law. Advances help promote rule of law. Rule of law places limit on people’s arbitrary will.
What is Hume's point about liberty as it self-subjugation?
Hume says advances lead to popular government. With advances, there is an increasingly wide participation in law-making. Of course, this means people would be increasingly subject to laws imposed by themselves.
Why would there be increased participation in an advanced society?
People have more at stake in an advanced society than in the case of the vassals. If they have more at stake, they have more motivation to play some role in the formation of laws that govern their possessions. They also have more economic power to demand a place at the table, more leverage. The argument is that the advances promote increasingly wide participation in the government because they have more at stake and they have more economic power to demand the right to participate.
What is Hume's description of a free government?
He describes a free government as one which acts by general and equal laws that are previously known by everyone. A free government is one which respects the rule of law.
What is meant by the rule of law?
1. No one is above the law.
2. Government should rule by general laws.
3. These general laws provide fair warning to people.
4. Legal rules should be reasonably clear in meaning.
5. There shouldn’t be ex post facto laws.
6. Laws should be applied in an impartial manner.
7. It should be possible to comply with laws (mentioned by Locke in "Letter Concerning Toleration").
8. Laws have to offer due process of law.
1. No one is above the law.
The basic idea behind the rule of law is that no one is above the law; this includes not only private parties but the government as well. The government is not free to do whatever it pleases. The same can be said of private parties.
2. Government should rule by general laws.
It doesn’t have individual decrees with specific targets.
3. These general laws provide fair warning to people.
The rules which govern have to be made public.
8. Laws have to offer due process of law.
People have to have fair chance to defend themselves.
What are the three requirements for law to act as a constraint against arbitrary will?
1. No one can be above the law.
2. The substantive legal rights don’t in fact simply institutionalize arbitrary wills.
3. People need to have meaningful opportunity to have access to legal mechanisms.
What factors, according to Rousseau, are harmful to liberty?
1. needs are chains
2. we give priority to peace and quiet
3. we have petty souls that are focused away from public good
4. we have all this conflict of interest
5. we have become softened or enervated by luxury goods
6. we have desire to dominate other folks
7. with technology, states have easier means of policing members
How might Hume respond to needs are chains?
According to Hume, luxury goods motivate people to produce surplus and create wealth. Wealth is a form of power. Increase in needs actually increases wealth. Moreover, the dependency of the middling rank on the lower rank makes it harder for the middling rank to dominate, so dependency can be a good thing.
How might Hume respond to peace and quiet priorities?
We achieve peace through the rule of law, so there’s no real inconsistency between peace and liberty.
How might Hume respond to petty souls?
Hume argues with advances we become more sociable and more humane. We become more concerned with others. Moreover, the advances by improving people’s standard of living, give people a greater stake in society. If you have a greater stake, you have a greater incentive to not withdraw from public life. Not only do they have a greater stake, they have greater power to demand that their interests be heard. Moreover, they don’t have this abject or submissive personality. They aren’t willing to submit. All leads them to be more engaged in public life.
How might Hume respond to conflict of interest?
To some extent for Hume, these groups have overlapping interests. Take case of middling rank. It wants not only to secure its property, but the property of the lower rank as well. It’s in the interest of the middling rank to secure everyone’s property. Also, one of Rousseau’s thoughts seemed to be divided we fall. Hume would argue that in an advanced societies, people would have greater incentive to preserve state. They have higher standard of living. Advanced states provide them with rule of law. Advanced states provide increased access to political power. Advanced states are more tolerant of people.
What does Locke say about tolerant, advanced societies?
Locke said in "Letter Concerning Toleration," in a tolerant society, groups have greater incentive to preserve government because they are protected.
How might Hume respond to softening or enervation by luxury goods?
Hume says advances make us more active.
How might Hume respond to desire to dominate?
The middling rank doesn’t have any hope of dominating others. This is due to its dependency on lower rank.
How might Hume respond to states policing citizens?
Hume might say that technology might help people who are against the government to coordinate their activities.
What does Hume think about dependency?
Dependency in fact, has benefits. One benefit is this: the advances promote dependency. This leads to increased interaction between people. Hume thinks this makes people more sociable and humane. A second benefit of dependency, according to Hume, is that it promotes liberty.
Because middling rank is dependent on the lower rank for markets, it can’t dominate.

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