April 19, 2012 | by Armando | | Leave a Comment
This week we’ll be featuring a paper by one of our own members. In “Reciprocity, The Bare Minimum of Morality,” Kavid Singh engages with Thomas Hobbes’ picture of morality. Most people might recognize Hobbes’ portrayal of human nature as basically selfish, and that government serves as a means to mitigate the competing selfish desires of other people. This understanding of Hobbes is what Kavid seeks to challenge. Here is his abstract:
“Hobbes is famous for trying to justify why all rational humans need government by arguing from the perspective of the selfish individual. He does this through a thought experiment which starts by considering how men would fare without government and ends with establishing how the chaos of such a situation would lead the rational man to want government. Most agree that the traditional, self-preservation based account of the thought experiment fails to stand up to scrutiny. I will argue that an alternative interpretation (advocated by Professor Sharon Lloyd), based on the principle of reciprocity, fares much better. Insofar as it does, it raises a host of important questions concerning the nature of reason, government and the relationship between ethics and political philosophy.”
As always, we’ll meet this Friday (tomorrow) in GAR 3.116 at 4:30 PM.
Kyle and Armando, co-presidents