Monday, September 19, 2011

Political Philosophical Compass (Spectrum) --- Part 2

... contuned from Part 1:

2: From the late medieval to the modern:

Machiavelli openned the gate way from Antiquity and Medieval to the modern political philosophical world. There is no doubt that Hobbes was inspired by Machiavellian philosophy to write his Leviathan. All remarkable modern political philosophers were highly influenced by Hobbes so that it may be possible to say that all these philosophies were merely the footnotes of Hobbes's work. If Hobbes was the founder of the modern political philosophy, Machiavelli would be the person who evolved the political philosophy from the old Antiquity to the progressive modern philosophy.

Machiavelli's ethical focus was how individuals should act owing to the surrounding evnrionment. Machiavelli had ever mentioned about neither the ideal world (Utopia) nor how human-beings ought to be naturally. His philosophy is about deriving the optimum solution for each different individual to act according to their own individual subjective interests regardless of an objective moral principle. His book called "Prince" indicated how a nation, the community of human-beings, and her sovereign such as a monarchy and any top political leader should act like. Machiavelli's success was having simplified the method to consider and analyse how the world is formed and how the human-beings ought to be.

All Antiquity and Medieval philosphies were too complex to analyse the decision making of human-beings. These ancient philosophers always started imaging about the world and and the moral judgement from thinking about the universality and the essentiality of human-beings.

By contrast, Machiavelli started to argue about political philosophy (Ethics) from the individual subjective interests rather than an objective moral guide line stated by Plato (as Idea) and Augstine (as God), and a metaphysics by Aristotle (as the nature (essentiality) of human-beings and their community) and Aquinas (as Natural law of human-beings and Divine law of God). Machiavelli could be one of the first political philosophers who invented the "moral relativism" which denies the existence of Utopia, the absolute universal value of moral judgement, and the essentiality of human-beings.

In terms of Machiavelli's world view, individual human-beings should act by following their expected merit gained from their action, so by neither the ideal moral guideline nor how human-beings ought to be naturally. The merits mentioned by Machiavelli are security (protection) of individuals, their family, and their significant others, material gain, full-filling desires, admiration to charisma (beauty, masculine power, authority, family-tie, friendship, and something related to self-identity).

Only the objectivity mentioned by Machiavelli was the power of an authority with these merit. The one holding a high level of these merits is the one who control the most. Machiavellian philosophy of measuring these merits is highly subjective and varies across time, place, and occasion. Unlike Platonism and Aristotlean, Machiavellian does not have an universal objective measure to tell what is right and wrong. The judgement highly depends on how human-beings can see and feel at their moment. Thus, Machiavelli is one of the most subjectivist philosophers because there is no objective principle to measure the volume of these merits; only the measure is human-beings' sujective sensation.

Machiavelli regarded the essentiality of human-beings is the instinction that they follow the charisma and the merits they can immediately see. However, unlike Aristotle, he did not mention all the human-beings are naturally same. Machiavelli regarded the quality of human-beings varies across their endowed talent, family, ethnicity, civilisation, and their sovereign they obey. All in all, Machiavelli saw human-beings have a natural instinct to follow the charisma. Nonetheless, Machiavelli seemed to believe in the evolution of human-beings to the next step and the alternative world more than Aristotle did. Unlike Aristotle, Machiavelli aspired to create a new ideal world although it was not strong desire as much as Plato did. Machiavelli seemed to have thought that if the strong and admirable charismatic sovereign could have existed and prevailed in this world, the better alternative world could have existed. However, Machiavellian world view is still based on the assumption that, although human-beings maybe able to create an alternative better world, the instinction of human-beings will not change.

He regarded highly of the existence of a sovereign (monarchy and any other form of political leadership) who ought to possess a high level of these merits. The interesting fact of Machiavellian philosophy is that, although Machiavelli put a high priority on the existence of sovereign and supported the position of sovereign should be inherited, he claimed that the one who becomes a soveign and his/her family has to possess these merits he mentioned. Therefore, he seemed to have criticised and contradicted the existence of the sovereign who lacks all these merits he mentioned. Furthermore, although the position of the sovereign must be inherited, the family of this sovereign has to have an ability to keep the high level of these merits to inherit. Thus, Machiavelli seemed to have used a rhetoric to criticise the existence of monarchy by pretending the existence of monarchy. But, we never know whether Machiavelli was a supporter of monarchism or a critic of monarchism.

Hobbes seemed like to have taken over the philosophy of Machiavellian moral relativism and optimum decision making based on a subjective interest of individuals and a nation, the community. On the top of his emphasis on the moral relativism and need of the powerful authority, Hobbes offered more mathematically and logically structured analyses of political philosophy than Machiavellian. Hobbes regards that there should be moral codes which guide human-beings to establish a stable and cohesive community.

Hobbes was more realist than Machiavelli. Unlike Machiavelli, Hobbes did not believe in the ideal sovereign with a full of the merits Machiavelli mentioned. Although Hobbes admired the power of a charismatic sovereign, he assumed that it is impossible for the sovereign be powerful and charismatic as much as Machiavelli described. The main reason of this difference between Hobbes and Machiavelli is that Hobbes did not believe in the evolution of human nature. Although he insisted that a sovereign should be powerful and charismatic as same as Machiavelli did, he assumed that it is impossible for a sovereign to be always an ideally powerful and charismatic. This is because sovereign is also a human-being, and can be corrupted if there is no rationally coded law guidling people and their sovereign. Machiavelli regarded that a good sovereign makes a good law whereas Hobbes argued a law should select and keep a good sovereign. All in all, Machiavelli seemed to have thought that, although the essential human nature would not change, there would be an non-naturally superior individual who could be a sovereign ruling over the others. By contrast, Hobbes had never believed in any non-natural human-beings at all, and a sovereign is naturally a same human being as same as other individuals.

Instead of the supremacy of a sovereign that Machiavelli insisted on, Hobbes put emphasis on the "legitimacy" of sovereign, and the strictly coded rational law should define the legitimacy of sovereign. Hobbes argued that human-beings need a strictly coded rational law, they should be guided by its legal system. He claimed that the "law" based on rationally (neither superstitiously nor intuitively) constructed codes is the universal moral principle. He argued the rule under this law could actually measure whether human-beings' decisions are morally right or wrong. Hobbes puts emphasis on the obeying "order" rather than charisma. Hobbes did not regard there should be always a perfect charismatic sovereign, whom Machiavelli admired, as long as the stability of humans' community under the law guideline is guaranteed. Unless the sovereign is really useless enough to collapse one enitre civilisation, s/he should reign.

This aspect that Hobbes supported there should be a rationally coded law (legal system) guiding human-beings as a universal principle indicates that Hobbes is more objective than Machiavelli. Machiavelli claimed that action and decision of human-beings are judged in terms of human-beings own feeling, desire, admiration, fear, and all the subjective feelings at any different time, place, and occation. Hobbes agreed with this Machiavelli's point. However, this is not enough to guide human-beings to establish a stabile civilised society which Hobbes considered as necessary for all human-beings. Hobbes strongly required the existence of a strictly coded rule under a rationally constructed legitimate law, and despised superstition and intuitive rules. Machiavellian philosophy still allows either a sovreign or a legal system to be driven superstition and intuition if human-beings and accept to exist. By contrast, Hobbes highlighted that an existence of secular (not superstitious) and rational (not intuitive) law as an objective measure and a universal moral principle.

Both Machiavelli and Hobbes thought a unity of human-beings could be achieved by allowing human-beings' subjective interests to be competing each other, and then the physically strongest, the most charismatic, and the wisest one to win. Both of them thought highly of the natural selection that determines which moral decision is right and wrong when two or several moral decisions exist and decision makers have to decide any one of them. One of the measures of the natural selection is individuals' merit to the others. It indicates those who have more merit than the other shall rule the others.

Although Machiavellism and Hobbesian are authoritarianism as same as Platonism, Machiavellian characteristics is totally opposite from Platonian characterisitics. Plato said the authoritarian heirarchy should be established by following the ideal structure in order to create an ideal world i.e. Utopia so that he claimed that possition of individuals in their cummunity "should be re-shuffled" to re-allocate them owing to their merit accomplishing to establish a Utopia. On the other hand, Machiavelli and Hobbes had never believed in Utopia. Both of them regarded that all individuals' status is "already" given to all individuals owing to the merit distrubuted to each individual by following the natural selection. Machiavelli believed that the natural selection prevails whereas Plato believes the natural selection is not an ideal. In addition, Plato believed there is an absolute universal objective moral guide line whereas Machiavelli and Hobbes regarded that the moral is relative to time, place, and occasion. Furthermore, unlike Aristotle, Machiavelli and Hobbes had never mentioned how human-beings ought to be by nature (Aristotle is more objective than Machiavelli and Hobbes because Aristotle believed there is an objective scale to what human-beings ought to be although his objectivity is not strong as much as Platonian philosophy.

The interesting aspect is that, meanwhile Platonists, the moral universalists, and these two moral relativists (Moral value is a subjective matter and is derived from the human-nature) have an opposite philosophy on the spectrum from each other, both of these opposing groups strongly necessarity and inevitability of the existence of an "absolute authority".

... to be contuned to Part 3:

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