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Today we turn to Kant’s reply to Aristotle.
Kant thinks that Aristotle just made a mistake.
It’s one thing, Kant says,
to support a fair framework of rights
within which people can pursue their own
conceptions of the good life.
It’s something else and something that runs the risk of coercion
to base law or principles of justice
on any particular conception of the good life.
You remember Aristotle says in order to investigate the ideal constitution
we have first to figure out the best way to live.
Kant would reject that idea.
He says that constitutions and laws and rights
rights should not embody or affirm or promote
any particular way of life.
That’s at odds with freedom.
For Aristotle the whole point of law,
the purpose of polis
is to shape character,
to cultivate the virtue of citizens,
to inculcate civic excellence, to make possible a good way of life.
That’s what he tells us in the politics.
For Kant, on the other hand,
the purpose of law, the point of a constitutiion
is not to inculcate or to promote virtue.
It’s to set up a fair framework of rights within which
citizens may be free to pursue their own conceptions of the good for themselves.
So we see the difference in their theories of justice.
We see the difference in their account of
law or the role of a constitution, the point of politics,
and underlying these differences are
two different accounts of what it means to be a free person.
For Aristotle we are free insofar as we have
the capacity to realize our potential.
And that leads us to the question of fit.
Fit between persons and the roles that are appropriate to them.
Figuring out what I’m cut out for.
That’s what it means to lead a free life, to live up to my potential.
Kant rejects that idea and instead
substitutes his famously demanding notion of
freedom as the capacity to act autonomously.
Freedom means acting according to a law I give myself.
Freedom is autonomy.
Part of the appeal, part of the moral force
of the view of Kant and of Rawls consists in
the conception of the person as a free and independent self
capable of choosing his or her own ends.
The image of the self is free and independent
offers a, if you think about it, a powerful liberating vision
because what it says is that as free moral persons
we are not bound by any ties of history
or of tradition or of inherited status
that we haven’t chosen for ourselves,
and so we’re unbound by any moral ties prior to our choosing them.
And that means that we are
free and independent sovereign selves.
We’re the authors of the only obligations that constrain us.
The communitarian critics of Kantian and Rawlsian liberalism
acknowledge that there is something powerful
and inspiring in that account of freedom,
the free independent choosing self,
but they argue it misses something.
It misses a whole dimension of moral life and even political life.
It can’t make sense of our moral experience because it can’t account
for certain moral and political obligations
that we commonly recognize and even prize.
And these include obligations of membership, loyalty,
solidarity, and other moral ties that may claim us for reasons
that we can’t trace to an act of consent.
Alistair McIntyre
gives an account what he calls a narrative conception of the self.
It’s a different account of the self.
Human beings are essentially storytelling creatures, McIntyre argues.
That means I can only answer the question
'what am I to do?' if I can answer the prior question
of what story or stories do I find myself a part?
That’s what he means by the narrative conception of the self.
What does this have to do with the idea of community and belonging?
McIntyre says this,
Once you accept this narrative aspect of moral reflection
you will notice that we can never seek for the good
or exercise of the virtues only as individuals.
We all approach our circumstance as bearers of particular social identities.
I am someone’s son or daughter,
a citizen of this or that city,
I belonged to this plan, that tribe, this nation.
Hence, McIntyre argues, what is good for me
has to be the good for someone who inhabits these roles.
I inherit from the past of my family, my city, my tribe, my nation
a variety of debts, inheritances, expectations, and obligations.
These constitute the given of my life, my moral starting point.
This is in part what gives my life its moral particularity.
That’s the narrative conception of the self.
And it’s a conception that sees the self as
claimed or encumbered, at least to some extent,
by the history, the tradition,
the communities, of which it’s a part.
We can’t make sense of our lives,
not only as a psychological matter, but also as a moral matter
in thinking what we are to do
without attending to these features about us.
Now, McIntyre recognizes that this narrative account,
this picture of the encumbered self,
puts his account at odds with contemporary liberalism and individualism.
From the standpoint of individualism
I am what I myself choose to be.
I may biologically be my father’s son
but I can’t be held responsible for what he did
unless I choose to assume such responsibility.
I can’t be held responsible for what my country does, or has done,
unless I choose to assume such responsibility.
But McIntyre says this reflects a certain kind of moral shallowness
even blindness.
It’s a blindness at odds with the full measure of responsibility which sometimes,
he says, involves collective responsibility or responsibilities that may flow
from historic memories.
And he gives some examples.
Such individualism is expressed by those contemporary Americans
who deny any responsibility for the effects of slavery upon black Americans saying
"I never owned any slaves."
Or the young German who believes
that having been born after 1945 means
that what Nazis did to Jews has no moral relevance
to his relationship to his Jewish contemporaries.
McIntyre says all of these attitudes of historical amnesia
amount to a kind of moral abdication.
Once you see that who we are
and what it means to sort out our obligations
can’t be separated, shouldn’t be separated
from the life histories that define us.
The contrast, he says, with a narrative account, is clear,
For the story of my life is always embedded in the story
of those communities from which I derived my identity.
I am born with the past and to try to cut myself off from that past
is to deform my present relationships.
So there you have in McIntyre, a strong statement of the idea
that the self can’t be detached, shouldn’t be detached,
from its particular ties of membership history,
story narrative.
Now, I want to get your reactions
to the communitarian critique
of the individualist or the voluntarist,
the unencumbered self.
But let’s make it concrete so that you can react
to more than just the theory of it by looking at
the two different accounts of moral and political obligation that arise
depending on which of these conceptions of the person one accepts.
On the liberal conception,
moral and political obligations arise in one of two ways.
There are natural duties that we owe human beings as such.
duties of respect for persons qua persons.
These obligations are universal.
Then, as Rawls points out,
there are also voluntary obligations.
Obligations that we owe to particular others
insofar as we have agreed
whether through a promise or a deal or a contract.
Now, the issue between the liberal and communitarian accounts of the self,
is there another category of obligation or not?
The communitarian says there is.
There is a third category that might be called
obligations of solidarity or loyalty or membership.
The communitarian argues that construing all obligations
as either natural duties or voluntary obligations
fails to capture obligations of membership or solidarity.
Loyalties whose moral force consists partly in the fact
that living by them is inseparable from
understanding ourselves as the particular persons we are.
What would be some examples?
And then I want to see how you would react to them.
Examples of obligations of membership
that are particular but don’t necessarily flow from consent
but rather from membership narrative community, one situation.
The most common examples are ones to do with the family.
The relation between parents and children, for example.
Suppose there were two children drowning.
You could save only one of them.
One was your child, the other was a stranger’s child.
Would you have an obligation to flip a coin
or would there be something morally obtuse
if you didn’t rush to save your child?
Now, you may say, well, parents have agreed
to have their children.
So take the other case, the case of children’s
obligation for their parents.
Now, we don’t choose our parents.
We don’t even choose to have parents.
There is that asymmetry.
And yet consider two aging parents, one of them yours,
the other a stranger’s.
Doesn’t it make moral sense to think that you have a greater obligation
to look after your aged parent than to flip a coin or to help the stranger’s?
Now, is this traceable to consent? Not likely
Or take a couple of political examples.
During World War II, French resistance pilots
flew bombing raids over occupied France.
One day, one of the pilots received his target
and noticed that the village he was being asked to bomb
was his home village.
He refused, not disputing that it was as necessary as the target he bombed yesterday.
He refused on the ground that he couldn’t bring himself.
It would be a special moral crime for him to bomb his people
even in a cause that he supported, the cause of liberating France.
Now, do we admire that?
If we do, the communitarian argues,
it’s because we do recognize obligations of solidarity.
Take another example.
Some years ago there was a famine in Ethiopia.
Hundreds of thousands of people were starving.
The Israeli government organized an airlift to rescue Ethiopian Jews.
They didn’t have the capacity to rescue everyone in Ethiopia.
They rescued several hundred Ethiopian Jews.
Now, what’s your moral assessment?
Is that a kind of morally troubling partiality, a kind of prejudice?
Or as the Israeli government thought, is there a special obligation of solidarity
that this airlift properly responded to?
Well, that takes us to the broader question of patriotism.
What, morally speaking, is to be said for patriotism?
There are two towns named Franklin.
One is Franklin, Texas,
and the other is just across the Rio Grande River, Franklin, Mexico.
What is the moral significance of national boundaries?
Why is it, or is it the case
that we as Americans have a greater responsibility
for the health and the education and the welfare and public provision
for people who live in Franklin, Texas,
than equally needy people just across the river,
living in Franklin, Mexico?
According to the communitarian account, membership does matter.
And the reason patriotism is at least potentially a virtue
is that it is an expression of
the obligations of citizenship.
How many are sympathetic to the idea that there is this third category of obligation?
The obligations of solidarity or membership.
How many are sympathetic to that idea?
And how many are critical of that idea?
How many think all obligations can be accounted for
in the first two ways?
All right, let’s hear from the critics of the communitarian idea first.
My biggest concern with the idea of having obligations
because you’re a member of something or because of solidarity
is that it seems that if you accept those obligations as being
sort of morally binding, then there is a greater occurrence of overlapping obligations
a greater occurrence of good versus good.
And I don’t know if this sort of framework
allows us to choose between them.
Good, and what's your name? - Patrick.
So you worry that if we recognize obligations of membership or solidarity,
since we inhabit different communities, their claims might conflict,
and what would we do if we have competing obligations?
Well, one solution is that we could view ourselves as
ultimately, members of the human community
and that then within that we have all these smaller spheres, of that,
you know, I am American or I am a student at Harvard.
and so the most important community to be obligated to
is the community of human beings.
And then from there you can sort of, evaluate,
which other ones are most important to you.
So the most, and what’s your name? - Nichola.
So, Nichola, you say the most universal community
we inhabit, the community of human kind,
always takes precedence? - Yes.
Patrick, are you satisfied?
No. - Why not?
It seems rather arbitrary that we should choose the
universal obligation over the more specific obligation.
I might also say that I should be obligated first to the most specific of my obligations.
For instance, take my family as a small unit of solidarity.
Perhaps I should be first obligated to that unit
and then perhaps to the unit of my town,
and then my country, and then the human race.
Good, thank you.
I want to hear from another critic of the communitarian view.
We have the objection, well, what if goods collide?
Who objects to the whole idea of it?
Who sees patriotism as just the kind of prejudice
that ideally we should overcome?
Patriotism reflects a community membership.
That’s a, like, a given.
I think the problem is that where some memberships are natural narratives,
the narrative of citizenship is a constructed one.
And I think a false one because, as the river is just a historical accident,
it makes no sense that because the lottery of birth threw me into
the United States as opposed to Mexico that
that’s the membership that I should be a part of.
Good. And what’s your name? - Elizabeth.
Elizabeth. Who has a reply?
I think in general, we have to ask where do our moral obligations arise from anyway.
And I think, basically, there’d be two places from which they could arise.
One would be kin and the other one would be reciprocity.
And isn’t the closer you are associated to other people,
there’s a natural reciprocity there in terms of
having interactions with those people.
You interact with the neighbors on your street,
with the other people in your country through economic arrangements-
But I don’t know and you don’t know those people in Franklin, Texas,
any more than you know the people in Franklin, Mexico, do you?
Presumably you’re naturally more connected with the people
in your own country in terms of interaction and trade
than you are with people in other countries.
Good. Who else? Go ahead.
Yeah, I think that a lot of the basis for patriotism
can be compared to like school spirit or even house spirit that we see here
where freshmen are sorted into houses and then within a day they have developed
some sort of attachment or a pride associated with that house.
And so I think that we can probably draw a distinction between
a moral obligation for communitarian beliefs
and sort of just a sentimental, emotional attachment.
Good. Wait, stay there. What’s your name?
What about... Go back to my example about the obligation
of the child to the parent.
Would you say the same thing there?
It just may or may not be a sentimental type and it has no moral weight?
Well, I mean, I’m not entirely certain that accident, in the initial stages,
something that will preclude moral obligations later.
Just because we are randomly sorted into a house or just because
we don’t choose who our parents are or what country we're born into
doesn’t necessarily mean that we won’t develop an obligation based on
some type of benefit, I guess, to sort of...
So your obligation to your aged parent
that’s greater than to aged parents around the world,
is only because and insofar as you’re repaying a benefit
that your parent gave you when you were growing up?
Yeah, I mean, I would say that if you look at cases of adoption where,
you have a biological parent somewhere else that you don’t interact with,
and then you have a parent who adopted you,
most people would say that if you had to pick between them
in the case of aging parents, that your obligation would lie
more with the person who raised you and who had exchanges with you meaningfully.
May I ask you one more question about the parent?
Do you think that a person with a bad parent owes them less?
I don’t know because I’ve never had a bad parent.
I think that’s a good place to end. - Thank you.
We’ll continue with this next time. Thank you.
If I were working on an [economics] problem set, for exmaple,
and I saw that my roommate was cheating,
that might be a bad thing for him to do but I wouldn’t turn him in.
You would not turn him in.
I wouldn’t turn him in and I think that I would argue that’s the right thing to do
because of my obligation to him.
You don’t have a duty to tell the truth,
to report someone who cheated?
Today I’d like to take, I’d like to consider
the strongest objections to the idea that there are
obligations of solidarity or membership.
Then I want to see if those objections can be met successfully.
One objection emerged in the discussion last time.
Patrick said,
if obligations flow from community membership and identity,
we inhabit multiple communities,
doesn’t that mean that our obligations will sometimes conflict?
So that’s one possible objection.
And then Rina said these examples meant to bring out the moral force
of solidarity and membership,
examples about parents and children, about the French resistant fighter
asked to bomb his own village and withdrawing back.
About the airlift by Israel of the Ethiopian Jews.
These examples, they maybe intuitively evocative, Rina said.
But really they’re pointing to matters of emotion, matters of sentiment.
Not true moral obligations.
And then there were a number of objections,
not necessarily to patriotism as such.
But to patriotism understood as an obligation of solidarity and membership
beyond consent.
This objection allowed that there can be obligations to the communities we inhabit
including obligations to patriotism.
But this objection argued that all of the obligations of patriotism,
or of community or membership,
are actually based on liberal ideas and perfectly compatible with them.
Consent, either implicit or explicit or reciprocity.
Julia Ratthel for example on the web site
said that liberalism can endorse patriotism as a voluntary moral obligation.
Patriotism and familial love both fall into this category
because after all, Julia points out,
the Kantian framework allows people free reign to choose to express
virtues such as these if they want to.
So you don’t need the idea of a non-voluntary particular moral obligation
to capture the moral force of community values.
Where is Julia?
Okay, so did I summarize that fairly?
Julia actually is in line with what Rawls says about this very topic.
You weren't aware of that?
You came up it within your own. That's pretty good.
Rawls says, when he’s discussing political obligation,
he says it’s one thing if someone runs for office
or enlists in the military,
they are making a voluntary choice.
But Rawls says there is, I believe, no political obligations, strictly speaking,
for a citizens generally.
Because it’s not clear what is the requisite binding action
and who has performed it.
So Rawls acknowledges that for ordinary citizens
there is no political obligation except in so far as
some particular citizen willingly, through an act of consent,
undertakes or chooses such an obligation.
That’s in line with Julia’s point.
It’s related to another objection that people have raised which is
it’s perfectly possible to recognize particular obligations
to ones family or to ones country, provided
honoring those obligations doesn’t require you
to violate any of the natural duties or requirements
of the universal respect for persons-qua-persons.
So that’s consistent with the idea that we can choose if we want to,
to express our loyalty to our country or to our people or to our family
provided we don’t do any injustice
within the framework acknowledging the priority that is of the universal duties.
The one objection that I didn’t mention is
the view of those who say
that obligations of membership really are kind of collective selfishness,
why should we honor them?
Isn’t it just the kind of prejudice?
So what I’d like to do, perhaps of those of you
who have agreed, who wrote and who have agreed
to press these objections,
perhaps if you could gather down all together,
we’ll form a team as we did once before.
And we’ll see if you can respond to those who want to defend patriotism
conceived as a communal obligation.
Now there were a number of people
who argued in defense of patriotism
as the communitarian view conceives it.
So let me go down now and join the critics,
the critics of communitarianism.
If there’s a microphone that we could use somewhere.
Okay, thanks Kate.
Who as the critics of patriotism, communal patriotism
gather their forces here?
Patrick if you want to you can join as well or Rina.
Others who have spoken or addressed this question
are free to join in.
But I would like to hear now, from those you who
defend patriotism and defend it as
a moral obligation that can’t be translated back into
purely consent based terms.
Can’t be translated into the liberal terms.
Where is AJ Kumar?
AJ, everybody seems to know you.
All right, let’s hear from AJ.
You said, in the same way I feel I owe more to my family than to the general community,
I owe more to my country than to humanity in general.
Because my country holds a great stake in my identity.
It is not prejudice for me to love my country
unless it is prejudice for me to love my parents
more than somebody else’s.
So AJ what would you say to this group?
Stand up.
I think that there is some fundamental, a moral obligation
that comes from a communitarian responsibility
to people in groups that form their identity.
I mean even, like I’ll give the example that,
there are a lot of things about our government, right now,
that I’m not in favor of but part of my identity is
that America values a free society where we can
object to certain things and I think that’s an
expression of patriotism as well.
And, I go back to the parent example, even at Harvard,
I think, I owe more to my roommates because they make up my identity,
than I do it to the Harvard community as a whole.
And I think that applies to our country because there’s certain things
that growing up here, yes, we can’t choose it,
we can’t choose our parents, things like that.
But it makes up part of our identity.
Okay, who would like to take that on? Mike?
Yeah about the obligation to the others simply by virtue of being in their,
being influenced by them.
I’m a German citizen and if I’ve been born 80 years earlier
then I would have been a citizen of Nazi Germany.
And for some reason I just don’t think that I would have to feel obligated
towards Germany because I had benefited from actions of Nazis.
I mean I guess my response to that would be
you have hundreds of thousands of protesters in the United States right now
who hold up signs that say, "Peace is patriotic."
And I’m sure there are people in this room who don’t agree with that.
I personally do and I would say that
they are strongly objecting to basically everything the Bush administration is
doing right now but they still consider themselves
loving their country because they’re furthering the cause of
what they see is best for the country.
And I tend to agree with that as a patriotic movement.
Well but how’s that then, how do you still favor your country?
How’s that still patriotic?
I mean isn’t that more sentimental attachment?
Where is the obligation there?
Yeah not to bring this back to John Locke, but
I would like to bring this back to John Locke.
So, I mean in his conception of, when people join society,
there’s still some outlet.
If you’re not satisfied with your society,
you do have a means of exit even though
we had a lot of concerns about how you’re born
and it’s not very feasible, he still provides that option.
If we want to say that your obligation to society is a moral one,
that means that prior to knowing exactly what that society is going to be like
or what your position is going to be in that society,
that means that you have a binding obligation to a complete unknown body
that could be, completely foreign to all of your personal beliefs
Or what you would hold to be correct.
Do you think that that kind of communal obligation or patriotism
means writing the community a blank moral check?
Basically, yeah.
I think it’s reasonable to say that as you grow and as you develop
within the community that you acquire some type of obligation based on reciprocity
but to say that you have a moral obligation I think requires a stronger justification.
Who else?
Anyone else who would like to address that?
I guess we could say you could argue that you are morally obliged to society
by the fact that there is that reciprocity.
I think it’s the idea that, you know, we participate in society, we pay our taxes,
we vote, this is why we could say that we owe something to society.
But beyond that I don’t think there’s anything inherent in the fact
that we are members of the society itself that we owe at anything.
I think it’s in so far as we, as the society give us something,
gives us protection, safety, security,
then we owe the society something but nothing beyond what we give the society.
Who want to take that on?
I don’t think we give the community a blank moral check in that sense.
I think we only give it a blank moral check when we abdicate our sense of
civic responsibility and when we say that
the debate does matter because patriotism is a vice.
I think that patriotism is important because it gives us a sense of community,
a sense of common civic virtue that we can engage in the issues.
Even if you don’t agree with the way the government is acting,
you can still love your country and hate the way it’s acting.
And I think because out of that love of county,
you can debate with other people and have respect for their views
but still engage them in debate.
If you just say that, patriotism is a vice, you drop out of that debate
and you cede the ground to people who are more fundamentalist,
who have a stronger view and who may coerce the community.
Instead we should engage the other members of the community
on that same moral ground.
Now this, what we hear from AJ and Raul that’s very pluralistic argumentative
critically minded patriotism.
Whereas what we hear from, Ike and the critics of patriotism here
is the worry that to take patriotic obligation in a communal way, seriously,
involves the kind of loyalty that doesn’t let us just pick and choose among the beliefs
or actions or practices of our country.
what’s left of loyalty if we’re all talking about,
AJ and Raul,
if all we’re talking about is loyalty to principles of justice
that may happen to be embodied in our community
or not as the case may be.
And if not then we can reject its course.
I don’t know, I sort of given a reply.
I got carried away. I’m sorry. Who would like...?
Go ahead Julia.
Yeah I think that patriotism you need to define what that is.
It sounds like, you would normally think that we are given a more weak definition
here of patriotism amongst us but almost sounds like
your definition is merely to have some sort civic involvement in debating
within your society.
and I think that that kind of undermines maybe some of the moral worth of patriotism
as a virtue as well.
I think if you can consent to a stronger form of patriotism if you want
that’s a stronger, I guess, moral obligation than even what you’re suggesting.
What we really need to sharpen the issue is an example from the defenders
of communitarianism of a case where loyalty can actually compete with
and possibly outway universal principles of justice.
That’s the test they really need to meet isn’t it?
All right. So that’s the test you need to meet.
Or, any among you who would like to defend obligations of membership or solidarity
independent of ones that happened to embody just principles.
Who has an example of a kind of loyalty
that can and should compete with
universal moral claim respect for persons?
Go ahead.
Yeah, if I were working on an [economics] problem set, for example
and I saw that my roommate was cheating, that might be a bad thing for him to do
I wouldn’t turn him in. - You would not turn him in?
I wouldn’t turn him in and I think that I would argue that’s the right thing to do
because of my obligation to him.
It may be wrong but that’s what I would do
and, I think that’s what most people would do as well.
All right, that’s... Now there’s a fair test.
He’s not slipping out by saying he’s invoking, in the name of community,
some universal principles of justice.
What's your name?
Stay there. What's your name?
It’s Dan.
Dan. So what do people think about Dan’s case?
That’s a harder case for the ethic of loyalty, isn't it?
But a truer test.
How many agree with Dan?
So loyalty... Dan loyalty has its part, if that's it.
How many disagree with Dan?
Oh well I agree with Dan but I agree that it’s a choice that we make
but it’s not necessarily right or wrong.
I’m agreeing that I’m going to make the wrong choice
because I’m going to choose my roommate.
But I also recognize that that choice isn’t morally right.
So you’re still translating, even Dan’s loyalty,
you’re saying well that’s a matter of choice,
but what’s the right thing to do?
Most people put up their hands saying
Dan would be right to stand by his roommate and not turn him in.
Yes, go ahead.
Also I think as a roommate you have insider information
and that might not be something you want to use.
That might be something unfair to hold against.
You’re spending that much time with the roommate,
obviously you’re going to learn things about him
and I don’t think it’s fair to reveal that to a greater community.
But it’s loyalty, Vojtech.
You agree with Dan that loyalty is the ethic at stake here?
You don’t have a duty to tell the truth, to report someone who cheated?
Not if you’ve been advantage into getting that kind of information.
Before our critics of patriotism leave,
I want to give you another version, a more public example of what,
I guess we should call it Dan’s dilemma.
Dan’s dilemma of loyalty and I want to get the reaction of people to this.
This came up a few years ago in Massachusetts.
Does anyone know who this man is?
Billy Bulger that’s right. Who is Billy Bulger?
He was president of the Massachusetts State Senate for many years.
One of the most powerful politicians in Massachusetts
and then he became president of the Univeristy of Massachusetts.
Now Billy Bulger, did you hear the story about him that bears on Dan’s dilemma?
Billy Bulger has a brother named Whitey Bulger
and this is Whitey Bulger.
His brother Whitey is on the FBI’s most wanted list
alleged to be a notorious gang leader in Boston,
responsible for many murders and now a fugitive from justice.
But when the US attorney... They called Billy Bulger,
then the president of the Univeristy of Massachusetts,
before the grand jury and wanted information
on the whereabouts of his brother, this fugitive,
and he refused to give it.
US attorney said, “Just to be clear Mr. Bulger,
you feel more loyalty to your brother than to the people
of the commonwealth of Massachusetts?”
And here’s what Billy Bulger said,
“I never thought of it that way
but I do have a loyalty to my brother, I care about him.
I hope that I'm never helpful to anyone against him.
I don’t have an obligation to help anyone catch my brother.”
Dan you would agree.
How many would agree with the position of Billy Bulger?
Let me give one other example and then we’ll let the critics reply,
the critics of loyalty as we’ll describe it.
Here’s an even more fateful example from a figure in American history,
Robert E. Lee.
Now Robert E. Lee on the eve of the civil war,
was an officer of the Union Army.
He opposed secession, in fact, regarded as treason.
When war loomed, Lincoln offered Lee
to be the commanding general of the Union Army,
and Lee refused.
And he described in a letter to his sons why he refused.
With all my devotion to the Union, he wrote,
I have not been able to make up my mind
to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home.
By which he meant Virginia.
If the union is dissolved I shall return to my native state
and share the miseries of my people.
Save in her defense, I will draw my sword no more.
Now here’s a real test, Dan,
for your principle of loyalty.
Because here is the cause of the war against,
not only to save the union but against slavery.
And Lee is going to fight for Virginia even though he doesn’t share
the desire of the southern states to secede.
Now the communitarian would say there is something admirable in that.
Whether or not the decision was ultimately right,
there’s something admirable.
And the communitarian would say we can’t even make sense, Rina,
we can’t make sense
of Lee's dilemma as a moral dilemma
unless we acknowledge that the claim of loyalty
arising from his sense of narrative of who he is
is a moral, not just sentimental, emotional tug.
All right, who would like to respond to Dan’s loyalty,
to Billy Bulger’s loyalty or to Robert E. Lee’s loyalty to Virginia?
What do you say Julia?
Okay, well I think that these are some classic examples
of multiple spheres of influence.
And that you have conflicting communities that your family and your country.
I think that’s one reason why the idea of choice in your obligation is so important
because how else can you resolve this?
If you’re morally obligated and there’s no way out of this
need for loyalty to the both communities,
you’re trapped, there’s nothing you can do.
You have to make a choice.
And I think that being able to choose based on other characteristics,
than merely the arbitrary fact that you’re a member of this community is important,
otherwise it’s left to, I guess, randomness.
Well, Julia, the issue isn’t whether Dan makes a choice,
or Billy Bulger or Robert E. Lee, of course they make a choice.
The question is on what grounds, on what principle should they choose?
The communitarian doesn’t deny that there is choice to be made.
The question is which choice, on what grounds
and should loyalty, as such, weigh.
Andre now you want to, all right, go ahead. What do you say?
Well one of the things we’ve noticed in the three examples is that
the people of all chosen the most immediate community of which they're a part.
The more local one.
And I think there’s something to be said for that.
It’s not just random.
I mean, there doesn’t seem to be a conflict
because they know which one is more important.
And it’s their family over the Ec10 Class.
Their state over their country,
and their family over the Commonwealth on Massachusetts.
So I think that’s the answer to which is more important.
Do you think that the local, the more particular,
is always the weightier morally, Andre?
Well I mean there’s seems to be a trend in the three cases.
I would agree with that.
And I think most of us would agree that your family takes precedence over
the United States perhaps.
Which is why you go with Dan?
Loyalty to the roommate over Ec10 and the truth?
Yeah, exactly.
I would because it...
I mean truth telling, not the truth of Ec10.
Yes. - Alright, so we understand.
But on the same example in terms of family,
you had cases in the civil war where brother was pitted against brother
on both sides of the war, where they chose country instead of family.
So I think the exact same, more shows, that different people
have different means of making these choices
and that there is no one set of values, or one set of morality
that communitarians can stick to.
And personally, I think that’s the biggest problem with communitarians,
that we don’t have one set of standard moral obligations.
And tell me your name. - Samantha.
So Samantha, you agree with Patrick.
Patrick’s point the other day
that there may be... If we allow obligations
to be defined by community, identification or membership,
they may conflict, they may overlap, they may compete.
And there is no clear principle.
Andre says here’s a clear principle, the most particular.
The other day, Nichola who was sitting over here, where's Nichola?
Said that most universal.
You're saying, Samantha,
the scale of the community as such can’t be the decisive moral factor.
So there has to be some other moral judgment.
All right, let’s first... Let's let our defe...
our critics of communal patriotism,
let’s express our appreciation and thank them
for their having stood up and responded to these arguments.
Let’s turn to the implications for justice
of the positions that we’ve heard discussed here.
One of the worries underlying these multiple objections
to the idea of loyalty or membership as having independent moral weight
is that it seems to argue that there is no way
of finding principles of justice that are detached from
conceptions of the good life
as they may be lived in any particular community.
Supposed the communitarian argument is right.
Suppose the priority of the right over the good can’t be sustained.
Suppose instead, that justice and rights unavoidably
are bound up with conceptions of the good.
Does that mean that justice is simply
a creature of convention,
of the values that happen to prevail in any given community at any given time?
One of the writings we have among the communitarian critics
is by Michael Walzer.
He draws the implications of justice this way.
Justice is relative to social meanings.
A given society is just if its substantive life is lived in a certain way,
in a way that is faithful to the shared understandings of the members.
So Walzer's account seems to bear out
the worry that if we can’t find independent principles of justice,
independent that is, from conceptions of the good that prevail in any given community,
that we’re simply left with justice being a matter of fidelity or faithfulness
to the shared understandings or values or conventions
that prevail in any given society at any given time.
But is that an adequate way of thinking about justice?
Well, let’s take a look at a short clip
from the documentary "Eyes on the Prize."
It goes back in the 1950s in the south.
Here are some situated American Southerners
who believed in the tradition and the shared understandings of segregation.
Listen to the arguments they make about loyalty and tradition
And see if they don’t make you uneasy
about tying arguments about justice to the shared understandings or traditions
that prevail in any given society at the moment. Let’s run the clip.
'This land is composed of two different appearances.
A white culture and a colored culture.
And I've lived close to them all my life.
But I'm told now that we've mistreated them
and that we must change.
And these changes are coming faster than I expected.
And I'm required to make decisions
on the basis of a new way of thinking and it's difficult.
It's difficult for me, it's difficult for all southerners.'
Well there you have it, narrative selves, situated selves invoking tradition.
Doesn’t that show us that justice can’t be tied
to the shared understandings of goods that prevail in any given community
at any given time?
Or is there a way of rescuing that claim from this example?
Think about that question and we’ll return to it next time.


Michael Sandel:Justice What's The Right Thing To Do Episode 11 THE CLAIMS OF COMMUNITY

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ethern 2014 年 4 月 27 日 に公開
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