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Flashcards in Philosophers Deck (10):

Hobbes (1588-1679)

Generally believed people were bad and would hurt each other.
The purpose of government was to protect people from each other and provide stability.


Locke (1632-1704)

Believed that people were generally good
Believed that there existed a social contract between people and their government.
Government was to provide order and protection for people rights (property)
People could overthrow a government that went against their rights


Rousseau (1712-1778)

People are a product of their society. (neither good or bad)
Government restricted the freedoms of people and that people should have freedoms
"Social Contract"
Laws should reflect the will of the majority. "general good"


Voltaire (1694-1778)

Believed in personal liberty and responsibility
People should be able to do as they please as long as they do not harm others ( the right of hand at the beginning of your nose)
I will defend your rights to disagree with me


Montesquieu (1689-1755)

Believed that no one person should have all the power
Introduced the idea of division of power (executive branch -authority), (legislative-law makers), (judicial-referees)
Believed that each nation should have their own form of government (large countries need different types of governments than small countries)


Bentham (1748-1832)

Believed that laws should reflect the will of the majority
Greatest good for the greatest number
This argument justified slavery at the time.


JS Mill (1806-1873)

Feared utilitarianism
Feared the Tyranny of the Majority
Believed in personal liberty
Laws need to reflect he will of the majority while respecting the RIGHTS of the minority


Adam Smith (1723-1790)

Believed the economy would regulate itself if left alone (laissez faire)
Believed those that failed to compete fail to survive
"invisible hand" in working on their own self-interest, individuals will "accidently" benefit all of society; the market will solve all basic economic questions
if people worked to benefit themselves, competition among producers ensures that the best product will be made at the lowest possible price due to the forces of supple and demand
if consumers are free to act individually, supply and demand will dictate the natural flow of the market


Karl Marx

did not believe in gradual change rather a revolution
believed workers(proletariat) must replace the ruling class(bourgeoisie) through revolution
the ruling class exploited the workers by paying them low wages and forcing them to make goods that the ruling class would sell for a higher price
though tit necessary to abolish private property and profit motive


Edmund Burke (contemporary Adam Smith)

believed that the government represented not only the will of the people living, but also the legacy of the people who had gone before, and the inheritance of those yet to come
changes had to honour the citizens of the past, present, future
was horrified by the French revolution, used to explain the flaws of equality, individualism and freedom
believed institutions run by the educated were necessary to control irrational passion of the uneducated
did not believe everyone should participate in politics because uneducated people could not make those kind of decisions