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Posts Tagged ‘政宪’

  1. note on Justice

    December 4, 2015 by xudifsd

    Although I love programming and make it as my profession, I still found studying philosophy of right interesting.

    While idling at home, I watched <Justice> for the 3rd times, so this post is served as my notes on it.

    classification of principle of justice

    There are two kind of principle to reason what is right thing to do:

    • consequential
    • categorical

    consequential way of justice judges an action based on the result produced by it, whereas categorical way of justice judges an action not by result but by categories the action belongs to, so from this point of view, murder is murder, no matter whether it is for saving other lives or for money.

    Utilitarian is considered as consequential, because its underlying principle is “to maximize the utility of the whole society“, this principle is focusing on the result produced by an action, and say nothing about the categories that action belongs to. This principle, however, failed to respect individual rights. So libertarian do not like utilitarian for its dehumanization.

    Libertarian

    For libertarians, which I think I’m one of them, individual rights should not be violated either by other individuals or by government.

    John Lock is considered as a libertarian, but he is a little bit different from libertarian in a sense that he think “right of life, liberty and property are unalienable“, and since it’s unalienable, we can not freely trade them.

    There’s a tricky part of the Lock’s theory: since right of life, liberty and property are unalienable, how does government can tax people? Well, Lock says it is possible for the majority of people to agree on a general procedure not an arbitrary procedure to decide how to tax.

    Kant (freedom as autonomous)

    Kant reject utilitarian, he think that the individual person, all human beings have a certain dignity that commands our respect. The reason the individual is sacred or the bearer of rights doesn’t stem from the idea that we own ourselves but instead from the idea that we are all rational beings and autonomous beings. And he deny that pain and pleasure are our sovereign masters, he thinks that it’s our rational capacity that makes us distinctive, it makes us something more than just physical creatures with appetites.

    And Kant have a special and interesting idea about freedom:

    When we, like animals, seek after pleasure or the satisfaction of our desires or the avoidance of pain, when we do that, we aren’t really acting freely, because if we do so, we were acting as the slaves of those appetites and impulses, when I act to satisfy it, I’m just acting according to natural necessity. So for Kant, freedom is the opposite of necessity.

    So, to act freely is to act autonomously, and to act autonomously is to act according to a law I give myself, not according to the physical laws of nature or the laws of cause and effect. To act freely is not to choose the best means to a given end, it’s to choose the end itself for its own sake. Insofar as we act on inclination or pursue pleasure, we act as means to the realization of ends given outside us, we are instruments rather than authors of the purposes we pursue. Respecting human dignity means regarding persons not just as means but also as ends in themselves. And this is why it’s wrong to use people for the sake of other peoples’ well-being or happiness.

    I’m in love with above idea, actually I think I agreed with him many years ago even before I know Kant. Have you noticed that I used “Rational life” as my tagline of this blog? I used that subconsciously when I was building this blog site and never changed it. So there would be no double that I love Kant’s idea.

    What gives an action its moral worth? Consists not in the consequences or in the results that flow from it but in the motive, in the quality of the will.

    A good will isn’t good because of what it effects or accomplishes, it’s good in itself. Even if by utmost effort the good will accomplishes nothing it would still shine like jewel for its own sake as something which has its full value in itself. We should “act in such a way that you always treat humanity , whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as a means, but always as the same time, as an end.

    Although Kant’s idea appeals me, I found it lacks something to make that idea a great guidance for making law, it didn’t provide a practical approach to do that.

    Rawls

    Rawls agree with Kant, and works “never happened contract” out with the device of what he calls the “veil of ignorance“. This, I think, provides the missing practical approach to serve as guidance to make law.

    A subproblem needs to be solved first is: what makes contract restrictive? The sign of the contract is not a sufficient condition of the agreement being fair. And an actual agreement is not a sufficient condition of there being an obligation.

    Actual contracts have their moral force in virtue of two distinguishable ideals: autonomy and reciprocity. But in real life every actual contract may fall short.

    One student says that we would choose a system based on merit behind the veil of ignorance, but professor rejected that idea, because the effort itself is also largely shaped by family and education environment. And here comes my favorite part of the lecture: professor did a very interesting poll on how many students in Harvard University are first in birth order, it turns out that the majority of people are first.

    The application of theory

    Theories of distributive justice:

    • Libertarian – free market system (against a background of formal equality) but this will in favor of those who happen to be born to affluent families.
    • Meritocratic – fair equality of opportunity (to bring everyone to the same start point of line)
    • Egalitarian – Rawls’ difference principle (people may gain from the lucky they have, but only on terms that work to the advantage of the least well off)

    Teleological reasoning

    If you look at a range of thinkers this lecture has been considering, there does seem to be a reason they want to detach justice from desert that goes well beyond any concern for equality. They all agree that justice is not a matter of rewarding or honoring virtue or moral desert.

    Somehow they think tying justice to moral merit or virtue is going to lead away from freedom, from respect for persons as free beings. But Aristotle is different.

    Aristotle think that justice means giving each person his or her due.

    For Kant and for Rawls, the point of politics is not to shape the moral character of citizens. It’s not to make us good. It’s to respect our freedom to choose our goods, our values, our ends consistent with a similar liberty for others. But Aristotle disagree: “Any polis which is truly so called, and is not merely one in name, must devote itself to the end of encouraging goodness. Otherwise, political association sinks into a mere alliance.

    Because in pluralist societies people would disagree about the nature of the good life, we shouldn’t try to base justice on any particular answer to that question. So Kant and Rawls reject teleology, they reject the idea of tying justice to some conception of the good. What’s at stake in the debate about teleology:

    If you tie justice to a particular conception of the good, if you see justice as a matter of fit between a person and his or her roles, you don’t leave room for freedom, and to be free is to be independent of any particular roles or traditions or conventions that may be handed down by my parents or my society.

    Well, I think this is why I do not like some parts of Chinese culture, it seems they are actually promoting some goods or ends and forcing us to do something towards those them, failed to provide freedom to chose. So I do agree that the best law is not the one that promotes certain goods, but provides a fair framework for people to achieve their own ends while respecting individual rights.

    Conclusion

    Kant and Rawls failed to provide ideas about obligations of membership, loyalty, and how to interact with other people. Kant is focusing on individual, and provides a set of way to live a rational life and respect people at the same time. And since I love his idea so much, his book <Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals> should be appended to the list of books I must read.

    And in a sense that lacking respect for freedom to choose, the idea that law should promote certain goodness should be rejected. The only functionality of the law is to provide a framework for people lived in to achieve their own ends.

    In later part of the lecture, the professor talked about how to respect fellow citizen which I found intriguing:

    For libertarians, how to respect our fellow citizens’ moral and religious is just to ignore them. But that isn’t the only way even the most plausible way to do so. There is a different conception of respect according to which we respect our fellow citizens’ moral and religious convictions, not by ignoring, but by engaging them. By attending to them, sometimes by challenging and contesting them, sometimes by listening and learning from them. There’s no guarantee that this will lead to agreement, there’s no guarantee it will lead to appreciation for the moral and religious convictions of others. But compare to ignoring others, the respect of deliberation and engagement is more adequate, more suitable ideal for pluralist society. This kind of moral engagement will better enable us to appreciate the distinctive goods our different lives expressed.


  2. 公正

    June 8, 2012 by xudifsd

    很久以前,同学推荐了哈佛大学的公正课,马上就被第一堂课的辩论吸引了,所以拿业余时间看完了一遍。现在在看林达的近距离看美国系列书,对于宪法比较感兴趣了,所以又拿公正课看了一遍,觉得第一遍看很多都是看热闹去了,看他们如何辩论,但是真正学到的没什么东西,再看一遍时非常认真地做了笔记,觉得收获很大,可能这也是有目的的好处吧。总结一下,也算是梳理内容了。

    关于精英制度

    以前我是很喜欢精英制度的,也认为这样的制度能最大限度的激发人的创造力,对社会整体是好的,但是现在我觉得这观点值得商讨。

    很多精英制度的维护者都认为努力是个人因素,和遗传无关,所以这样的制度能避免歧视,对于一些有天生缺陷的人也能很好地照顾到,因为他们只需要努力即可,但是现在看来却不是如此。

    公正课的教授支持罗尔斯的差异化原则:

    只有在社会与经济不平等这一条件能够为最贫穷最底层的人带来利益之时才许可这一条件,因此我们不会拒绝所有收入和财富的不平等,我们会允许一些,但标准是,他们是否服务于所有人的利益尤其是最底层人民的利益。

    这种原则马上就会被精英制度维护者辩驳,认为这样会限制人的积极性。但是教授举了一个例子“一个人身强力壮,能够毫不费力地在1小时内筑起一堵墙。而另一个人非常孱弱需要一天时间才能筑墙。但是任何一个精英制度的辩护者都不会认为后者更值得赞赏,尽管他更努力。”所以,教授说“精英制度的辩护者们所考虑的并不是一个人的努力程度,而是他对社会的贡献程度,而这种贡献的多少很大程度上又由个人的遗传所决定。”所以为什么我们在反对残疾人的同时又同意精英制度呢?精英制度只不过是另一种歧视罢了。

    精英制度并不是真正的公正的制度,而税收在这里也不仅仅像在经济学里那样只是用来维持政府支出,同时也是一种维护公正的手段。

    乔丹可以赚很多钱,但那必须在一个特定的制度下,税收会将他部分收入拨来资助那些没有天分的人,同样的,比尔盖茨可以继续赚钱,但从道德的角度而言 ,他不能认为自己理所当然该拥有这些钱。那些受到自然眷顾的人,可以从他们的好运中获利,但那只建立在改善那些失利者状况的基础上,这就是差异原则。

    另一个解释努力并非是个人因素的例子出现在第8集上半部分快结束时,教授援引心理学家对努力做调查得出的结论“努力,奋斗精神很大程度上都决定于出生顺序。”而这时的调查也证实了这个观点:在哈佛这样的最高学府很多人都是第一个出生的。父母的期望会让孩子具有很强的努力的欲望,因此更加努力,也因此更容易成功。这样的结果就证明了努力这样的能力并非个人因素,因此社会不能推崇精英制度,这样是不公平的。

    在《经济学原理》,《自由选择》中。作者们都在鼓吹自由的重要性,用各种图表和理论来证明受到管制的经济会多么大地伤害经济蛋糕的大小。《自由选择》就写道“生活本就是不公平的,相信政府可以纠正自然产生的东西也是诱人的”,他的观点是“唯一能够有效解决生活中不平等的方法就是追求结果的平等,每个人都以相同的起跑点为基础完成这场比赛”。罗尔斯对此做出了回应:“人降生于社会的某一特殊地位说不上是公平或者不公平,这些只是自然的事实。公平或者不公平,只是制度处理这些事实的方式而已。”

    这很类似于一些VC大肆鼓吹创业如何如何艰苦,只有习惯他,但是事实上,这样的话绝对没有任何用。事实是很多人垄断了资源,然后装着很关心的样子来告诉你这个社会如何如何,你要如何如何。在接受他的观点之前真的需要认真考虑一下《公正》课里提到的观点。精英制度真的不是一个公平的制度。

    关于宪法

    亚里士多德的主张

    公正实质上就是给予公民应得的,在对公正和权力的推理过程中,我们难免需要探究社会实践活动的目的,结果或终极目标。任何名副其实的城邦不能徒有虚名,而是必须致力于精益求精的终极目标,否则政治同盟就会沦落为一般同盟,法律仅为一纸契约使权力互相对抗呈现的不是它应当有的——让城邦成员过上美好而公平的生活。城邦并不是为了比邻而居的人们,或者为了阻止彼此的不公行为和轻松交易而建造的。城邦的终极目标和目的是创建美好的生活,而社会的制度就是奔那目标而去的。

    城邦确实有其固有的目的,但是城邦如果将这样的目的固化下来,并且要求所有适合某职位的人去做他适合的事,如果公民并不喜欢他适合的职位,那么他也会不幸福,这会与城邦的目的相反,所以亚里士多德的整个目的论没有为个人的自由留下任何空间,而只是想象整个社会是一个有目的的机器,每个个人都是机器上的螺丝。同时像这样在政治上或者宪法上决定哪种是“好”,哪种是“坏”本身就是非常危险的,因为这种决定要求某个人或群体做出,而这样的一个群体做出并将其扩大到整个社会范围就会伤害到没有参与决定的人们,这就是某种程度上的胁迫了。

    在康德和罗尔斯看来,政治学的关键不在于塑造公民的道德品质,它不是让我们变善,而是尊重我们选择善,价值观念和终极目标的自由,其他人也拥有同样的自由。康德说

    构建公平的权利框架是一回事,人们能在其中追逐自己对于幸福生活的观念。但是将法律或正义准则建立在某种特定幸福生活观念的基础上又是另外一回事了,并且还是冒着强制性的危险。宪法,法律和权力不应该体现或者确定或促进任何特点的生活方式,这就和自由相左了。

    在现实当中确实很容易接受亚里士多德的主张,因为城邦确实有它的目的,但是如果将某个群体宣扬的善写入宪法,这样会导致很严重的问题,那就是公民的自由被无情侵犯了。其实康德的观点更好,他将宣扬善和宪法脱钩,因为宪法根本不应该宣扬任何善,宪法的唯一作用就是定义一个权利框架,在这个框架之下让公民能够自由地追逐自己的幸福。而善则应该留给社会和道德去宣扬。所以现代的民主的宪法一般只定义权利的分配,而不定义任何一种形式的“美德”,也不能去鼓励人们去实现一种“美德”,宪法的存在不是为了确定哪种是“好”,哪种是“坏”,这种决定应该最终留给社会及道德。


  3. 你所了解的历史只是真实历史的一部分

    September 15, 2011 by xudifsd

    我们都知道1861年美国打了一场著名的解放奴隶的南北战争,但是对于这个战争的原因却有不同的观点:

    按照中国教科书上的观点,北方和南方的经济基础是不一样的,北方主要是工业生产,而这些生产很多都是半自动化的,这样的产业对于劳动力的需求很低,但是对于自由消费者的需求却很旺盛,因此北方人民一直反对奴隶制度。与北方相反,南方主要是农业,而农业的自动化程度很低,所以整个南方对于劳动力需求旺盛,而廉价的黑奴则是最好的选择。

    教科书上让我们相信了,美国人民南北战争的原因一开始就是经济原因,与道德无关。

    但是林达的《我也有一个梦想》观点却更加令人信服,他是从移民成分的角度来分析的:北方的移民大部分都是“政治移民”,他们移民的原因并不是为了淘金,也不是为了发家致富而是他们在英国本土受到了政治迫害或者是宗教迫害。正是由于他们是“政治移民”而非“经济移民”,再加上他们受教育程度较高,他们从一开始就对蓄奴有反对的心理。而南方,特别是佐治亚这样的州当初是政府支持移民的,他们的移民口号是“把穷人都送走,英国会更富”,所以南方的移民大部分都是穷人,甚至是最为穷困的人,他们几乎都没有受过多少教育,因此他们对于北方人所坚持的反对蓄奴是不屑一顾的。

    从林达的口中我们可以得出美国人民南北战争的最基本原因是道德。

    我觉得林达的解释更加深入,正是由于北方人民一开始在道德层面就不是很支持奴隶制度,之后他们才发展劳动力需求少的工业生产,然后才造成了教科书上所说的局面。我倒不愿意把这解释成为中国的政治宣传,因为任何人在看待历史问题时都会有一定的局限性,要想真正弄明白一些历史真相那么无论是批评的或者是赞扬的都必须了解,任何人了解的历史都只是真是历史的一部分。


  4. 从美国宪法第一修正案到言论自由

    September 13, 2011 by xudifsd

    我们总是说美国人民非常自由,其中我觉得最为重要的自由就是言论自由了。这样的自由甚至被写入宪法修正案,也就是美国宪法非常著名的第一修正案

    条文的内容如下:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    虽然说懂得这些,但是还是无法深入理解言论自由。最近在看林达写的《历史深处的忧虑》,这本书非常好,里面以信件的形式描述了美国人民的政治生活以及美国政治产生的原因,读完这本书觉得受益匪浅,书中很大的一部分都提到了言论自由,但是由于书中的内容有些分散,所以我就在这把书中的观点集中一下。

    书中说道:

    在美国,“言论自由”和“追求真理”之间的界限,是划得非常清楚的。在这里,这是两件完全不相关的事情,言论自由只有一个目的,保证每个人能够说出他自己的声音,保证这个世界永远有不同的声音。而绝不是希望到了某一天,人们只有一种声音,哪怕公认为这是“真理”的声音。

    美国人民在考虑言论自由时和我们最大的一个不同就是他们认为言论自由和真理的探讨是无关的,也就是说言论自由并不是为了保证真理的产生而存在的。而我们在讨论时总是想要通过这样的自由来获得真理。其实将言论自由和真理绑定在一起是非常危险的,因为真理有一个非常可怕的属性——排他性,如果人们明确认为或者在潜意识中觉得言论自由是通往真理的唯一途径,那么在这种概念下,一旦自己觉得已经寻求到真理时,那么将言论自由抛弃也就成为顺利成章的事了。所以在很多国家,言论自由变成了非常可怕的东西,一旦人民开始利用这种自由往往意味着政权的垮台,而一旦新政权开始执政,又开始借助真理的排他性来限制言论自由。

    书中还举了一个滥用言论自由的例子——三k党制作了一部“种族与情理”的电视片,要在公共电视台播放。到底要不要将言论自由给公认的恶人,按照中国人的观点是“既然公认的恶人,那么剥夺他的权利也无可厚非”,但是我记得西方有个哲学家说的一句话可以解释为什么美国人将恶人平等对待——“我不同意你的观点,但是我誓死保护你说出你观点的权利。”

    书中的解释就更有意思了:

    在本世纪,美国的荷尔姆斯法官曾经就类似观点提出过很形象化的比喻,他把它称为言论的“战场化”和“市场化”。他认为,与其让不同的观点象在战场上一样殊死决斗,一方一定要扼杀另一方,那还不如把这些言论抛入“市场”,让他们去竞争,看看到底哪一种观点能被大家所接受。同意这一理论的人相信,宪法第一修正案的力量所在,正是让大家分享言论自由的理想和它的原则。根据这一理论,如果三K党播放他们的节目, 克莱弗牧师们所应该做的事情,不是去阻止他们的节目,而是应该也播出自己的观点。在这种“市场竞争”中能最终站得住脚的理论,才是更可靠和更持久的。但是,克莱弗牧师显然并不同意这样的观点。

    接受了三K党法律委托的斯蒂芬·潘弗所说的一段话, 颇能代表今天一般美国人的看法:“自由言论就是自由言论,对于流行观点和非流行观点都是一样的。我们不可能一边宣称这是一个自由的国家,一边又把言论划为可接受的和不可接受的两部分。 如果有一种检查制度可以把三K党从电视里剔出去,那么,同样的制度也许早就把马丁·路德·金的讲话从阿拉巴马州剔出去了。”必须听那些听不下去的话,“这正是我们必须为自由支付的代价”。

    在明白这些之前最让我吃惊的一件事就是08年美国大选时一名白人在网上公开宣布要刺杀奥巴马,而且最终法院的判决结果竟然是“这样的帖子不构成真正的威胁,因此该言论受到宪法第一修正案的保护”。现在我算是明白了“美国人把政府当成假想敌,任何公民只要不犯罪,真的几乎是想干什么就干什么了”,我想这样的社会也只有美国这样历史包袱少的国家能够承受的。