The Individual and the Political Order: An Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy

By Norman E. Bowie; Robert L. Simon | Go to book overview

Even if a sophisticated utilitarianism such as Brandt's or Braybrooke's could give the same answers to these questions that we do, we would prefer our rights perspective to that of the utilitarian for two reasons.

First, the utilitarian support for rights rests on too shaky a foundation. As you recall, Braybrooke argued that there is "an impressive empirical consideration that offers a strong defense, indefinitely continuing, for the inalienability of certain rights. Mindful of the weakness of human nature and aware of the imperfections of provisions for legislation, people believe that they will be safer if certain rights are kept out of reach." From our point of view this provision for natural rights is too insecure. Let people's attitudes about the frailty of human nature become less pessimistic and human rights will be in danger.

Second, the very complexity of the utilitarian attempt to find a place for human rights suggests that we might do better to let human rights serve as the focal point at the outset. However, the reader is urged to wait until completing Chapter Three before making a final decision on the question. In concluding this chapter, let us return to at least two of our original questions concerning the state. Our first question asked under what conditions a state should actually have authority. A utilitarian would answer that the state should have authority to provide for the public good. Immediately one would then ask our second question: "What is the proper scope or extent of its authority?" To this question, a utilitarian would respond that the extent of the state's authority should be sufficient to enable it to provide for the public good as long as the cost of expanding state authority is taken into account. Let us now consider how an adherent of natural rights would delineate the function of the state and the scope of its proper authority.


NOTES
1
Jeremy Bentham, Principles of Morals and Legislation ( Garden City, N.Y.: Dolphin Books, 1961), p. 17.
2
Ibid., pp. 38-39.
3
This point, using the schema of both our examples, is made by Nicholas Rescher in his book Distributive Justice ( New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1966), chaps. 2 and 3. This problem could be avoided if the utilitarian simply used the greatest good as the criterion. There is some evidence that Bentham actually gave up the double criterion of the greatest good for the greatest number. See Bhikhu Parekh, ed., Bentham's Political Thought ( London: Croom Helm, 1973), pp. 309-10.
4
John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism ( Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1957), p. 12.
5
Ibid.
6
Some philosophers like J.J.C. Smart use the term "extreme utilitarianism" to refer to act utilitarianism and "restricted utilitarianism" to refer to rule utilitarianism.
7
Richard B. Brandt, Ethical Theory ( Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1959), p. 384.
8
Some philosophers argue that a rule utilitarian who successfully formulated the rules that pass the utilitarian test would justify the same actions as an act utilitarian who successfully measured all the consequences of any individual act. The most outstanding book arguing for

-46-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Individual and the Political Order: An Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction 1
  • Selected Readings 5
  • One Love It or Leave It? Individual Conscience and Political Authority 7
  • Suggested Readings 26
  • Two Utilitarianism 28
  • Notes 46
  • Notes 47
  • Three Natural Rights: Meaning and Justification 72
  • Notes 74
  • Suggested Readings 75
  • Four Justice 77
  • Suggested Readings 112
  • Five Democracy and Political Obligation 114
  • Suggested Readings 140
  • Six Liberty 141
  • Notes 168
  • Notes 170
  • Seven Law and Order 171
  • Articles 201
  • Eight an Evaluation of Preferential Treatment 202
  • Notes 228
  • Notes 230
  • Nine Ethics and International Affairs 231
  • Notes 257
  • Notes 259
  • Index 260
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 264

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.