The Individualism of Early Liberal Thinkers

Early liberal thought, especially as it has been argued through Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, have identified human nature as inherently individualistic and self-motivated. Each liberal thinker in their stead has offered some interpretation of this individual and how that relates to the natural condition of humans outside of society. This essay will explore the main features of those varying conceptions but, due to the broad nature of the essay, it will not examine all the related arguments about human nature. It should be additionally noted that in the discussion of John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor, their individual works will be treated as representative of both of them (except where explicitly stated) as they largely held the same philosophical views and co-authored many of their works together (Miller). Finally, it will be explicitly mentioned here that all of the discussed philosophers, with the exception of Karl Marx, emphasize human nature as individualistic. This can be noted implicitly by the features of their human nature. Ultimately, liberal thinkers have conceived of humans as naturally individualistic, equal to one another, and selfish, with later feminist thinkers (such as Wollstonecraft, Mill, and Taylor) focusing on including women as equals in human nature and one socialist thinker, Karl Marx, rejecting this individualism and selfishness entirely.

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Hobbes and Locke on Human Nature and Their Necessitated Governments

Thomas Hobbes and John Locke are two English philosophers who were important proponents of classical liberalism. They conceived of humans as existing in a state of nature by default and that it was by their doing that societies were formed. This was accomplished through a social contract in which individuals gave up some rights in order for a state that was to their benefit. This essentially repositioned political legitimacy as arising from the consent of the governed. This essay particularly explores how Hobbes and Locke’s conceptions of the state of nature led each to propose very different governments for correcting their problems, with Hobbes supporting a coercive authority and Locke supporting an impartial authority limited by an obligation to protect the property of citizens.

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A Response: “A Question For Atheists”

I depart from my typical regime of educational essays to respond to a post by flyinguineapig whose original post can be located here. I must first, however, pay thanks to Godless Cranium and his response as it directed me to the original question. One of the questions is epistemic in nature and the second is more social. I will delve into those after a brief preamble. As a warning, this essay is far more stream of consciousness than it is structured, so if the contents of this response are disorderly, I apologize. On the matter of my response, I will say now that my position is the result of an aggregation of my experience with theological arguments and with my study of religions. It is by no means complete or exhaustive and so, on that basis, I wish to make it clear that my position is not one that is definite or firm. Rather, I have come to it as evidence and reason have guided me, but should some evidence present itself that orients me toward a different position, I would gladly welcome it. My chief priority is knowledge, not esteem. With that said, I will address the first question:

“My first question is more general. I see this among atheists and my agnostic friends. People deny the possibility of any deity’s existence because of the lack of some kind of proof. It occurred to me that I have no idea what kind of proof you’re looking for. Furthermore, it seems to me that, in many cases, not just in the case of spirituality, what constitutes proof is at least somewhat subjective. I would love to get a few different perspectives, so my question is, what would prove to you that God exists?” (Flyinguineapig)

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Kaufman’s Fluidity of Time

In film, it is common practice to indicate the passage of time through the use of establishing shots or by explicitly stating the passage of time via a text overlay. These techniques serve their purposes but there are other more efficient ways that the passage of time can be communicated. Charlie Kaufman, an accomplished director and writer, has demonstrated the passage of time through subtle environmental markers in a way that occurs simultaneously with scenes vital to the story without interrupting the plot. His particular way of presenting the passage of time lends itself to the perception of time as fluid while also communicating this passage more efficiently.

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The Christian Doctrine of Sola Fide and Catholic Responses

Introduction

The doctrinal understanding of justification is one of the essential differences between Protestant denominations and Catholicism. The Protestant doctrine of Sola Fide, or justification by faith alone, has traditionally been criticized by Catholics as being “legal fiction,” such that God declares righteous those who sin (Witt 66-67). The Catholic understanding of justification has traditionally been criticized by Protestants as a denomination of works, such that sinners make themselves righteous by some personal quality of their own rather than through Christ. Neither are entirely accurate. While clarification and mutual understanding have been achieved through the recent Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, the core issues which divide Catholics from Protestants still remain. The purpose of this essay is to explore the historical development of Sola Fide, delineate the Protestant and Catholic understandings of Sola Fide, and evaluate the effects of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification on both Protestant and Catholic understandings of justification.

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An Exposition on the Types of Political Parties

Political parties form the bedrock of political life in Western nation-states, but just what are political parties? This essay’s scope is to define what political parties are and present a classification system for distinguishing some political parties from other political parties. After establishing what a political party is, this essay will examine the historical cadre party and mass party, then offer additional classifications for the kinds of parties found within the modern Western political system.

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