Poly Sci 402 Exam 1 Study Guide

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1. Discuss how natural law, utilitarian, and deontological conceptions of rights differ. How are rights justified and conceptualized in each. For example, how would Locke, Mill, and Rawls each treat a right to free expression and a right to health care?

Natural law, natural rights - is that individuals have certain rights and liberty as a product of nature that they have these as a natural entitlement as opposed to an artificial creation of governments or the civil law - utilitarian is that rights really are justified to the extent that they provide good social consequence - deontological - Each member of society should be as free as possible, to the extent all can share the same amount of liberty: maximum liberty based on equality - Locke wouldn't support free expression because he focused more on the natural rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. These natural rights existed prior to gov't therefore no government sponsored healthcare would have been supported by him. Mill (utilitarianism) - is what liberty or freedom there ought to be on the prior assumption that there will be no significant governmental limits on individual liberty in order to help individuals - highly objected censorship. Mill outlines the benefits of 'searching for and discovering the truth' as a way to further knowledge. He argued that even if an opinion is false, the truth can be better understood by refuting the error. Rawls - believes a liberal just society must honor a right to freedom of expression. Rawls healthcare - Though Rawls himself does not discuss health care, other writers have applied Rawls' theory to the provision of health care - For instance, Amartya Sen has argued that we should attend not only to the distribution of primary goods, but also how effectively people are able to use those goods to pursue their ends. In a related vein, Norman Daniels has wondered why healthcare shouldn't be treated as a primary good, and some of his subsequent work has addressed this question, arguing for a right to health care within a broadly Rawlsian framework

2. Discuss the relationship between "liberalism" and "democracy." What do these terms mean? List at least four concepts that are important to liberalism? Do you think that these traditions are contradictory or complimentary? Use examples to explain.

While democracy is basically the idea that the majority ought to govern; liberalism on the other hand is the idea that individuals have certain rights and liberties that ought to be respected. And a tension of these two make up much of our American Constitutional tradition. Individualism - most liberals believe that the individual is a rational actor; that what makes us human individuals is our abilities to reason and in particular our ability to reason about our own self-interest - most important single unit in liberalism - Rights - That is to say they take precedence over all competing values. If I have an individual right, if I have a right to something in a political regime that takes precedence over other values that the regime might have - Weak vs. Strong Rights - Weak claims to rights being a claim that is rooted in some positive law either in a statute passed by a legislature or an executive proclamation, a judicial order, a judicial decision. A strong claim on the other hand is a claim rooted in some view of critical morality, and is actually used in fact to criticize existing positive law. Good and the "Right" - is important and really differentiates liberal societies more than any other concept for a liberal societies is the ability to distinguish the good from the right - conceptions of good are conceptions of virtue - What a liberal society attempts to do however, is to construct a conception of rights or in other words a political agreement about freedom that is independent of any particular conception of the good. Rights in this sense are prior to in liberal societies the good. This is...
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