Download IGNOU BPSC 111 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24

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BPSC 111

CLASSICAL POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

IGNOU BPSC 111 Solved Free Assignment

BPSC 111 Solved Free Assignment July 2023 & January 2024

Assignment i

Q. 1. What is Mythology of Doctrines? Elaborate.

Ans. The most pervasive mythology emerges when the historian expects each classic writer to articulate some doctrine on each of the topics regarded as constitutive of its subject.

It is a perilously short step from being under the influence of such a paradigm (however unconsciously) to ‘finding’ a given author’s doctrines on all of the mandatory themes.

This mythology is known as ‘mythology of doctrines,’ and it takes various forms. The first is the danger of scattered and incidental remarks being transformed into doctrines concerning the subject’s mandatory themes.

Both (a) ‘intellectual biographies,’ in which the emphasis is on the various ideas of individual thinkers, and

(b) ‘histories of ideas,’ in which the emphasis is on the idea itself as stated by many different thinkers, are vulnerable to this type of mythology.

In the case of ‘intellectual biographies,’ a particular viewpoint or doctrine may be attributed to a writer based solely on a chance similarity of terminology, even if s/he did not intend to define it.

For example, Marsilius of Padua is credited with the doctrine of separation of powers due to some remarks on a ruler’s executive role versus a sovereign people’s legislative role.

However, the doctrine’s origins were drawn to the Romans about two centuries after his death and would not be fully developed until the 17th century.

A doctrine may also be extracted or read too freely from simple statements. The author may simply have stated the principle (and even believed in it) without intending to articulate a doctrine from it.

For example, the ‘doctrine’ of ‘the political trust’ is attributed to John Locke based on a few scattered remarks.

In the second case, that of ‘histories of ideas,’ there is a trend to embody an ideal type of a given doctrine as an entity, almost an organism, with its own history.

Such reification results in a form of non-history of the doctrine in which its history and the writer’s history are erased.

For example, in the case of the doctrine of separation of powers, there is erasure of the history of the doctrine’s evolution from Marsilius to Montesquieu.

It is presented as established doctrine. In addition, there are endless debates about the occurrence and emergence of a given idea in certain writers or at certain times.

Following the mythology of doctrine, a historian may provide a theorist with a doctrine appropriate to the subject from its scattered remarks.

Historians may speculate about a writer’s views on a subject that the writer did not even consider seriously. A historian may also criticise a writer for omitting a doctrine that the historian believes is essential to the subject.

Plato’s ‘Republic’, for example, is chastised for ‘omitting’ the ‘influence of public opinion,’ while Locke’s ‘Second Treatise’ is chastised for omitting all references to family and race.’

A historian might criticise a writer for not being thorough or systematic enough. The writer assumed that its writing was meant to be systematic.

For example, Machiavelli’s ‘Prince’ is often attacked as ‘extremely one-sided and unsystematic’.

Q. 2. Write a note on the Allegory of Cave.

Ans. Conversation between Socrates and his pupil Glaucon is depicted in the Allegory of the Cave. Socrates challenges Glaucon to envision inhabitants of a subterranean cave that is only reachable from the outside after a strenuous ascent.

Most of the inhabitants of the cave are prisoners, bound to its rear wall and unable to turn or move. The captives can only make out the shadows on the wall in front of them because a fire is raging behind them.

In the cave, there are others carrying things, but the inmates can only make out their shadows. The other prisoners begin to talk, but the echoes in the cave make it hard for the convicts to distinguish who is saying what.

Socrates goes on to describe the difficulties a prisoner may face after being released. He is perplexed when he notices that there are solid objects in the cave, not just shadows.

Instructors can tell him that what he saw before was an illusion, but he will initially believe that his shadow life was reality.

As he walks away and into the sun, he is painfully dazzled by its brightness and stunned by the beauty of the moon and stars.

Once he’s acclimated to the light, he’ll feel sorry for the people in the cave and long to be above and apart from them.

The newcomer will choose to remain in the light, but Socrates says he must not. Because, in order to achieve true enlightenment, he must return to the darkness of the cave and join the men chained to the wall, where he can share his newly acquired knowledge with them.

Because a variety of symbolic suggestions are used in this writing, the allegory of the cave has deep allegorical meaning.

The dark cave represents the modern world of ignorance, and the chained people represent the ignorant.

The raised wall represents their mental limitations, and the shadow represents the world of sensory perception, which Plato regards as an illusion.

According to him, the appearance is deceptive and reality exists somewhere we cannot see. Plato sees the appearing world as merely an imitation of the real world.

The shadows represent such imitation, and the reality can be known through spiritual knowledge. The chains represent our limitations in this material world, which prevents us from understanding the true reality.

The outer world of light represents the world of spiritual reality, which we achieve by breaking the chains that bind us.

The dazzling of the eyes for the first time represents the difficulty in accepting ignorance after learning the truth.

As a result, Plato’s allegory of the cave criticises humanity’s limited existence in the material world.

Plato also discussed perception in his Allegory of the Cave. He claims that perception is divided into two types: sensory perception and spiritual perception.

Sensory perception is the world of appearance that we perceive using our sensory organs. For this, world is a world of illusion or shadows, and thus a world of deception.

While it is impossible to perceive reality or truth with our senses, it is possible through spiritual perception, which is divine enlightenment.

When we reject the world of sensory perception and break all material chains, spiritual perception becomes possible.

In short, Plato uses the allegory of cave to explain the relationships with the world of forms in his book, ‘Republic.’ He uses the example of people who have spent their entire lives living in caves.

They’ve only seen shadows cast by their campfire on the wall. Real physical objects and events are only shadows in comparison to the reality of the world of forms.

Plato also uses this opportunity to state that only those who can step out into the sunlight and see the true reality (the Forms) should rule.

Plato makes it clear that only exceptional people are fit to rule. The ideal ruler, according to him, is a philosopher king, because only philosophers can discern the forms.

Plato goes on to say that only when such a person comes to power will citizens of the state be able to step out of the cave and see the light.

Assignment ii

Q. 1. Critique Plato’s concept of justice.

Ans. On several fronts, Plato’s concept of justice has been criticised. First, while Plato’s idea appears liberating, it implies excessive regimentation with little regard for privacy and individuality.

Plato abolished the emotional bonding that a family provides to an individual in order to ensure that family life is not ruined by negative effects such as selfishness. Plato regarded order and harmony as more important than emotion and passion.

The wise control the state in the same way that reason controls the soul, but this control is so absolute that it borders on tyranny. Plato’s ideas appear to blur the lines between liberation and repression.

Second, Plato’s proposal to maintain division of labour in the state contains a major inconsistency.

Despite elaborate arrangements for classifying people and extensive education for rulers, Plato is concerned that the rulers will be corrupted and will rule in an unwise manner.

That is why Plato instituted communism as a system for rulers to purge their desires.

But here’s the catch: if virtue is knowledge, how can rulers be tempted to act unjustly? Socrates insisted it couldn’t happen, but Plato questioned the very Socratic premise Socrates set out to prove.

Third, Plato’s political theory is tainted by elitism because political decision-making in his ideal state is in the hands of a few philosophical rulers who are oriented towards the common good.

Plato, on the other hand, was such an elitist that he believed that the vast majority of human beings had no reason to make important decisions for themselves.

He even thought they were incapable of judging the decisions made by their rulers. It can be argued that Plato attacked Athens democratic institutions by classifying human beings based on reason.

Plato was chastised by Karl Popper for using the theory of unchecked sovereignty of the ruling class to undermine the concept of accountable government.

Plato’s notions of dictatorship, the “noble lie,” eugenics, and censorship, according to Popper and other critics, are similar to the modern totalitarian ideologies of Nazism and Stalinism.

Fourth, Plato defined citizenship as obedience to authority rather than participation. The individual existed to serve society and the state, and thus was a means to an end rather than an end in itself.

Plato’s state was extremely powerful, emphasising unity over diversity. Plato’s concept of unity was also criticised by Aristotle.

A state should not strive for strict singleness, as proposed by the ‘Republic’, but should be realised through the harmonious integration of diverse elements.

Fifth, because Plato’s justice is founded on ethical and moral principles, it is unenforceable. It prioritises self-control in the interest of society, making it vulnerable to violation by various individuals.

Finally, German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche criticised Plato for using a lie to establish a just and rightly ordered society (myth of metals).

Plato’s arguments never made clear the reasons for social ordering. The noble lie contradicts Plato’s claim that justice is synonymous with knowledge or truth, whereas a lie represents injustice.

Plato attempted to hold his ideal state together by telling a lie or committing an act of injustice. It demonstrated that even Plato recognised truth’s limited ability to reform politics.

Q. 2. Examine Aristotle’s views on state and the good life.

Ans. According to Aristotle, the state is a community of individuals. Every community has a clear goal, and that goal is good. The state has a goal as a community, and that goal is also good.

Nonetheless, the state is not your average community. It is the leader of all communities, so its goal must be the highest or supreme. As the highest association, the state holds the highest position in the social structure.

As a biologist, Aristotle regarded the state as a natural living being composed of many small parts/units. The state exists by nature, according to Aristotle. According to Aristotle, the state is characterised by natural growth.

However, man-made laws and conventions have intervened at various stages of its development. Aristotle believes that laws and conventions played a positive role in the evolution of the state as a community.

Laws and conventions are fundamentally good, and they were created by man to serve beneficial purposes. These laws and conventions have aided and enhanced the operation of the state.

The state went through several stages during its natural development. According to Aristotle, the household is the first stage of the state. The union of male and female forms the foundation of the family.

Again, the union of male and female is essential for reproduction because neither is powerful without the other. This is not something that can be avoided. It is the result of natural desire, and this desire can be found in all animals.

Other members of the family include a slave, an ox, and a plough. A family cannot exist physically unless these elements are present.

According to Aristotle, the household is “this association of persons, established according to the law of nature and continuing day after day.”

The household is the most basic form of association and provides for the most basic needs. However, man’s needs are diverse, and naturally, the family’s capacity to meet those demands is limited.

Several families band together to form a village in order to meet the greater demands and necessities. It usually manifests itself naturally.

The village, though larger than the family, is unable to meet the increasing demands of its members.

A Polis, or state, is formed when several villages band together. Thus, Aristotle states, “The final association formed of several villages is the city or state.

For all intents and purposes, the process is now finished. Self-sufficiency has been attained, and while it began as a means of securing life itself, it is now in a position to secure the good life”.

Aristotle observes that, in addition to ensuring life, it also serves a larger purpose, namely, ensuring a good life. The ultimate goal of both the individual and the community is to live a good life.

The state is a completely natural form of association, just like the earlier associations from which it evolved. This final stage of association is the end of those before it, and its very nature is an end.

The organic nature of Aristotle’s theory of state means that the state is a compounded whole. He distinguished between “aggregate” and “whole”.

The aggregate denotes the joining of various parts of something to form a whole. The parts work together to form a whole. But the whole thing means something else. The polis or state is an entire entity.

The state is divided into several sections. However, when they are combined, the unity takes on a new meaning.

The state is more than just a collection of people. Its members are not isolated individuals linked only by the fact that they share the same territory.

When individuals come together to form a group, they share a common activity while simultaneously losing their individuality. It is important to note that for Aristotle, separating the parts from the whole is pointless.

This is the organic state theory. According to Aristotle, the polis or state takes precedence over the household and any individual.

For the whole must come before the parts. If you separate a hand or a foot from the rest of the body, they will no longer be hand or foot.

Only state membership makes man self-sufficient and enables him to achieve his goals while remaining moral and virtuous.

Although man is a component of the whole, he will have the same relationship to the whole as the other components. It implies that the individual will be able to maintain his separate identity.

Individuals in the state will perform various functions, but these functions will be complementary.

Aristotle acknowledged the plurality of parts that comprise the state by claiming that membership in the polis does not destroy the separate identity of man and group.

According to Aristotle, the individual can only achieve morality and goodness by becoming a member of and subservient to the state. He cannot have rights and liberties apart from or in opposition to the state.

Although not merged with the state, the individual is completely dependent on the state to pursue his moral and ethical goals.

Aristotle believes that without the membership of the state, individuals’ lofty ideals will remain unfulfilled.

Aristotle, like many other philosophers, saw self-preservation as the primary reason for man agreeing to form higher associations, particularly the state.

In terms of personal safety, there is no room for compromise. However, if the individual’s goal is to assist the polis in achieving the common good, the state’s opinion will always prevail, and the individual must submit to the state.

Apart from self-preservation, man must sacrifice himself for the sake of the common good embodied in the state.

Aristotle is deeply rooted in Greek philosophy, which always considers the community as a whole. Individual viewpoints cannot take precedence over those of the state.

Cultural rules, proper educational training, and state laws all help people develop good character. In such a case, humans understand why they choose what they do in the given circumstances. Aristotle classified the good life into three categories.

They are the lives of pleasure, honor/virtue, and contemplation. The masses seek a life of pleasure. People in positions of power strive for a life of honour and virtue.

Few people choose a life of contemplation because they recognise the inadequacy of life in pleasures and honour. They are more concerned with life.

They try to comprehend life beyond their immediate surroundings. Rationality is a primary requirement for this.

As a result, ideally, a good life for humans is not about nutrition and growth (plants also do it).

It is also not about sentience to live a good life (horses and other animals also do it). The ability to think rationally is essential for living a good life.

According to Aristotle, the soul and body are inseparable. Humans use their soul excellence to think rationally and choose a way to live in a given situation (animals and children cannot do this).

The ability to exercise one’s virtue is more important than simply possessing virtue in this context. As a result, according to Aristotle, the soul and body work together to define a good life.

Q. 3. Elaborate upon Aristotle’s views on citizenship.

Ans. In his work ‘Politics’, Aristotle discusses the nature of a citizen. He begins with a definition of the citizen, because the city-state is by definition a collective entity, a multitude of citizens.

Citizens are distinguished from other inhabitants, such as women, children, and elderly members of city-states on the one hand, and resident aliens and slaves on the other.

After further consideration, he defines a citizen as someone who has the right to participate in deliberative or judicial office.

Citizens in Athens, for example, had the right to attend the assembly, the council, and other bodies, as well as sit on juries.

The Athenian system differed from modern representative democracy in that citizens were more directly involved in governance.

Although full citizenship was restricted in Greek city-states (women, slaves, foreigners, and others were excluded), citizens were more deeply enfranchised than in modern representative democracies because they were more directly involved in governing.

This is reflected in Aristotle’s definition of the citizen (without qualification). Furthermore, he defines the city-state as a population of such citizens sufficient for self-sufficiency.

He excludes certain groups from the ranks of citizenship:
‘made’ citizens (similar to how a university might confer an honorary doctorate). Slaves and resident aliens are not citizens women.

people who, by law, have access to the legal system but do not otherwise qualify as citizens (foreigners covered by commercial treaties, for instance).

boys too young for military service and old men retired from duty may be citizens, but not full citizens: they are a type of semi-citizen.

people who have been exiled or deprived of their rights.

However, Aristotle recognises that citizenship is defined differently in different places depending on the nature of the constitution.

Aristotle emphasises that, while citizenship is often reserved for those born to citizen parents, this hereditary status becomes irrelevant during times of revolution or constitutional change, when the body of citizens changes.

This begs the question: to whom may citizenship be justly granted, and can the city be held accountable for decisions made by governing individuals if these individuals have not been justly granted citizenship? Furthermore, if a city is not identical to its government, what explains a city, and when does a city lose its identity?

According to Aristotle, a city’s constitution defines it, so a change in the constitution indicates a change in the city.

He does not, however, address the question of whether a city must honour debts and obligations incurred under a previous constitution.

Aristotle asks the question of “whether the virtue of the good man and the excellent citizen is to be regarded as the same or as not the same”.

According to Aristotle, a good man is one who pursues his telos, living a life in accordance with virtue and finding happiness in doing so.

Because there are several different types of regimes (six in total, which will be discussed in more detail shortly), there are also several different types of good citizens.

Good citizens must possess the kind of virtue that protects the partnership and the regime. Because there are various regimes, it is clear that the virtue of the excellent citizen cannot be a single or complete virtue.

There is only one situation in which the virtue of the good citizen and excellent man are the same and this is when the citizens are living in a city that is under the ideal regime: “In the case of the best regime, [the citizen] is one who is capable of and intentionally chooses being ruled and ruling with a view to the life in accordance with virtue”.

For those of us who do not live in the ideal regime, the ideal citizen is one who follows the laws and supports the regime’s principles, whatever those may be.

One of the unfortunate tragedies of political life is that this may well require us to act differently than the good man would act and to believe things that the good man knows to be false.

Aristotle’s suggestion that a citizen is someone who shares in the deliberative or judicial offices of a city may seem strange to the modern reader, as very few people in the twentieth century would count as citizens under this definition.

In the polis, on the other hand, involvement in city affairs defined one’s identity to a large extent. Though certain leaders were solely concerned with city government, all citizens were required to contribute in some way.

Citizens’ assemblies made decisions in bodies similar to today’s law courts and city councils and these assemblies rotated membership so that each citizen served a specific term.

The only aspect of this system that has survived into modern times is jury duty.

Assignment iii

Q. 1. Write a note on Machiavelli’s views on morality and politics.

Ans. Machiavelli, a great patriot, had a strong desire for stability, peace, and wealth in his country. He looked to history for the answer because he was adamant that history can assist us understand the world we live in now.

He took a practical stance on history and held that it frequently repeats itself. He claimed that men’s passions and desires have not changed throughout the millennia, and they tend to repeat the same behaviours and use the same methods to solve problems.

Machiavelli examined the history of ancient Rome in order to determine the causes of the emergence of Rome’s imperial strength and its decline because he had a strong desire to ensure the unification of the peninsula.

After reading the works of the Roman historian Titus Livy, he became convinced that Florence might emulate Rome and achieve the same greatness.

He also deduced that governance is an art and has nothing to do with morals from his study of the past. He believed that politics should be used to maintain and grow the political authority of the State.

He was therefore constantly concerned in the strategies that would allow states to grow their strength by resolving their difficulties with statecraft.

Machiavelli is regarded as the founding father of power politics for this reason. This attitude was informed by Machiavelli’s understanding of human nature.

Q. 2. Examine Machiavelli’s conception of civic virtue and liberty.

Ans. In general, the concept of virtu was found in Greek philosophy and Christianity, where it was associated with the virtues of piety and clemency.

However, Machiavelli completely changed the classical meaning of the term while retaining the classical link between public good and private interests.

His conception of civic virtue was a watershed moment in the evolution of modern political thought and practice because it symbolised the end of the old alliance between statecraft and soulcraft.

In general, virtu is regarded as moral integrity or some kind of excellence expected of men, i.e., of martial quality to risk life to preserve the republic.

On the other hand, Roman virtu was all about love for one’s own country and devotion to duty, which were placed above all self or individual pleasures in order to do what was best for the public at large. It served as an example of civic virtue.

Machiavelli also developed a concept of political morality that differed from the classical concept of virtu.

For example, for Machiavelli, virtue was a very masculine quality. Even Machiavelli admired qualities such as vitality, courage, and self-assertiveness, as well as cruelty and cunning, as they can be useful or helpful in preserving the republic.

As a result, in ‘Prince’, he argued that relying on classical virtues would not allow the ruler to retain power for long.

However, in ‘Discourses’, he expressed his admiration for a civic view of Christianity that he associated with the glories of the Roman Republic.

Furthermore, after studying Roman history, Machiavelli concluded that there are two classes in social order: the grandi (elites) and the popolari (the people).

He delved deeper into the underlying causes of these social schisms. He identified that these classes were guided by various types of interests and drives.

For example, elites have always sought to rule over others; people on the other hand prefer to live quietly.

In other words, in the realm of politics, the elites were ambitious and the people were conservative, and these two groups could not be reconciled; only with the right institutional framework could they learn to coexist.

In the History of Florence’, he also analysed and attributed to the city state of Florence’s endemic social conflict and violence. Machiavelli recognised conflict as a permanent and universal phenomenon.

He concluded that the two main causes of social disturbances are a natural class war between the people and the ruling nobility.

The internal cause of state instability caused by the poor’s hatred for the rich and where the rich sought to dominate the poor.

This endemic conflict can be managed if equal participation in governance is provided. As a result, the state’s stability is primarily dependent on the satisfaction of these classes’ dominant interests.

This could be the reason for the rise of civic republicanism: the poor became aware of the need to protect themselves from despotic governments or rulers and took decisive action to secure a better life.

Only the overthrow of the nobility or the sharing of power made this possible.

Q. 3. Discuss Hobbes’s views on state of war and natural rights.

Ans. Hobbes makes predictions about how people who are motivated by their desires and repulsions will behave in a hypothetical state of nature devoid of a centralised power structure.

There are no laws or an independent judiciary in this condition of nature. Hobbes is not attempting to make a philosophical argument about history with this concept of state of nature, but rather a philosophical thought experiment about how people might act in a society without a sovereign.

According to Hobbes, competitiveness, insecurity, and a desire for glory are three factors resulting from the interaction between appetites and aversions that would inevitably lead to conflict in human societies in their natural condition.

Humans compete with one another to fulfil their desires and stay away from their aversions. Everyone is attempting to fulfil their objectives by acquiring objects, which puts them at odds with other people who share those desires.

Even individuals who already possess the things they desire become insecure as a result of this because they fear losing them.

There is no sovereign, hence there are no authorities to uphold the law. As a matter of fact, there are no laws, thus each person is left to fend for themselves.

Moreover, humans have a yearning for pride and glory, which causes them to clash with others.

People so end up battling with one another, either to obtain what they want, to defend themselves, to advance their standing, or to improve their fame.

The state of nature is ultimately characterised by an unending struggle for dominance among individuals, as dominance is necessary to gratify needs, safeguard oneself, and achieve glory.

So, everyone’s ultimate goal becomes to have power. Because Hobbes holds that all people are roughly of similar strength, this causes great instability and violence in the natural world.

This is due to Hobbes’ contention that even the least powerful person can kill the most powerful person through deception or cooperation with others.

As a result, nobody is safe because everyone is in danger of dying, which encourages a natural equality among people.

People always seek authority in the absence of a government, either to further their own interests or just to ensure their own safety.

Consequently, the state of nature is defined by an endless and erratic struggle for dominance among individuals that only comes to a stop with their demise. Hobbes views the state of nature as essentially a state of war.

In the famous passage from the ‘Leviathan’, he describes the miserable state of affairs in nature: “In such a condition there is no place for industry, for the fruit thereof is uncertain, and consequently, no culture of the earth, no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea, no commodious building, no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force, no knowledge of the face of the earth, no account of time, no arts, no letters, no society, and which is worst of all continued fear and dryer of violent derth and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty brutish and short.”

In fact, Hobbes portrays a dismal picture of human nature, one in which people are constantly insecure, self-centered, and in search of glory and power.

This follows naturally from his conception of humans as mechanically propelled by cravings and aversions and devoid of any overarching morality. The nature of good and evil depends on a person’s preferences.

It should be highlighted that a picture of humans that is so individualistic and atomistic would serve as one of the pillars of subsequent liberal political theory.

As there is no common sovereign power to decide what is right or wrong in the Hobbesian state of nature, morality does not exist as a universally accepted sense of right or evil. As a result, laws cannot be made and justice cannot be established.

Hobbes, however, contends that everyone has a natural right to do whatever they believe necessary to do in order to save their existence in the state of nature.

So, in Hobbes’ view, the right to self-preservation is a fundamental freedom that existed before the founding of governments.

Each person also has this right, according to the theory that makes people the holders of rights.

This view of rights, which places the individual as the primary right-holder, would subsequently have a significant impact on the liberal philosophical tradition.

In actuality, Leo Strauss (1936) saw Hobbes as one of the original proponents of the contemporary liberal state theory.

Hobbes’ conception of a natural right, however, does not impose obligations on others the way a right would in a state with a constitution. But, as there are no rules in the natural world, no one is required to respect the rights of others.

Instead, this natural right means that every person has the freedom or right to do anything they deem essential to protect their existence in the state of nature.

Hobbes is quick to point out that in reality, this freedom does not mean much because nature is harsh and brutal, which makes it difficult to engage in any type of productive work.

Numerous people pass away brutally and prematurely, and life is continuously in danger. People will eventually become afraid of nature and try to flee it because of its absolutely dreadful and terrifying reality.

Reason would guide them in the right direction. Hobbes essentially contends that individuals would be motivated to transcend the natural state through a social compact if reason were fueled by a fear of violent death.

Q. 4. Examine the legacy of Hobbes Social Contract.

Ans. The social contract and Hobbesian understanding of human nature continue to have an impact on academics and have been critically analysed from various angles.

The Hobbesian theory of human nature has been criticised as a description of human behaviour in a market society rather than a prepolitical condition of nature by Macpherson (1962).

According to Macpherson, Hobbes’ description of human nature as competitive and perpetually at war was a characteristic of the period’s developing market culture.

He therefore believed that Hobbes’ social compact was an attempt to stabilise the unpredictability of the developing market society by advocating the establishment of a strong sovereign.

Several people have also criticised Hobbes’ theory of the state of nature for being ahistorical.

In ‘The Leviathan’, Hobbes acknowledges that the state of nature he describes is fictitious and not real. Some well-known intellectuals have also attacked Hobbes’ moral philosophy, including Adam Smith (1759) and Leo Strauss (1936).

Both of them criticised Hobbes for what they perceived to be his ingrained moral relativism.

As was previously mentioned, in Hobbes’ moral framework, good and evil are substantially analogous to appetites and aversions.

Hobbes receives harsh criticism from Adam Smith (1759), in particular for his denial of the existence of justice in the pre-civil society condition of nature and subsequent reduction of morality to a simple state fabrication devoid of higher principles.

In light of this, many have questioned his attempt to explain human behaviour, including moral precepts, in terms of materialistic, mechanistic causal principles.

Warrender (1957), a researcher who accepted a deontological reading of Hobbes, challenged this theory by asserting that Hobbes’ moral philosophy is primarily based on natural laws, which are unchangeable and everlasting even in the state of nature because they derive from God.

In Hobbes’ writings, there are arguments for each of these positions. It has also been questioned whether the egotistical and insecure people Hobbes depicts in the state of nature will ever cooperate to forge a social contract.

It seems unlikely that the hostile and violent human beings of nature will suddenly become rational and forge a social contract.

Hobbes has additionally come under fire for establishing an absolutist sovereign to whom all rights aside from the right to self-preservation must be ceded.

These ongoing discussions regarding the Hobbesian social compact are evidence of Hobbes’s lasting influence.

He is regarded by many as having made a significant contribution to liberal political philosophy, as was previously said.

Similar to how utilitarianism was unquestionably affected by his appetites and aversions theory.

Aspects of contemporary game theory, such as the famous Prisoner’s Dilemma, were also influenced by the Hobbesian theory of human nature, which holds that people are primarily self-interested and want to maximise their advantages.

The concept of anarchy in Realist International Relations theory, which contends that the contemporary state system is analogous to Hobbes’ state of nature in which there is a war of all against all between states because there is no central authority, was also greatly influenced by Hobbes’ portrayal of the state of nature.

These are a few illustrations of Hobbes’ ongoing worth and effect. It is undeniable that Hobbes’ social contract theory is still essential reading for anybody studying Western political philosophy, notwithstanding the passage of time.

Q. 5. Discuss Locke’s views on constitutional limited government.

Ans. Locke first explains why people in the natural condition are motivated to agree to the establishment of a commonwealth through a social contract, and then he goes on to explain how the commonwealth should be set up to keep it constrained, effective, and in check.

The majority must choose the form of government after the commonwealth is established. According to Locke, the type of government is determined by who or what entity has legislative authority.

This is true since the government’s legislative branch has absolute power. The majority has the option to create a democracy in which they retain control over the legislative process.

They can choose to create an oligarchy by concentrating power in the hands of a select few or a monarchy by concentrating power in the hands of a single person.

Each type of government is acceptable as long as it fulfils its purpose and does not go beyond its bounds.

Yet, Locke states that he prefers some sort of elected, representative legislative body and that he is open to trying out diverse systems of government.

It is the responsibility of this legislative body to establish laws that are in accordance with natural law and are advantageous to the commonwealth.

The founding of the commonwealth and that of the system of government are two distinct acts, the former being a contract and the latter a simple act.

This means that if the majority believes that the legislative body is unable, ineffective, or going beyond its bounds, they have the power to change the system of government through another act.

So, the legislature is the most powerful branch of government in Locke’s view, while the people who make up the commonwealth hold the ultimate power.

The legislature cannot cede its authority to any other body for the same reason the people have only granted it to them. Locke also offers certain restrictions on the types of legislation that the legislature may pass.

Secondly, he makes the case that all people must be treated equally by the laws the government proposes, without any discrimination. They ought to work for everyone’s benefit.

He also argues that the legislature should not raise property taxes without the appropriate approval of the affected parties.

Locke considers property to be a natural right. He also provides a number of useful recommendations to keep the lawmakers from going too far.

He worries, for instance, that certain lawmakers may serve for a very long time, creating a permanent political class that may begin to view itself as distinct from the rest of society.

He also does not believe that the legislature should meet regularly or even be in session all the time because doing so may once again tempt them to go beyond what is appropriate.

IGNOU BPSC 110 Solved Free Assignment 2023-24

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