Creating Law: Philosophers Of Law Paper

2129 words - 9 pages

Aristotle is known as one of the most influential philosophers of all time. Many believe Aristotle laid the foundation of "ancient philosophy" (Wikipedia). The great philosopher lived from 384 BC to March 7, 322 BC and throughout his lifetime he made philosophical breakthroughs that opened minds to a new way of thinking (Greek Philosophers). He was born in a town in northern Greece called Stagira and this is where his prophecies began. Proxenus, his guardian, sent Aristotle to Athens, know as "the intellectual center of the world" at the age of seventeen to further and complete his education (The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy). There he met Plato, whom was his greatest influence. Aristotle attending Plato's lectures at the academy for twenty years, later, he also began to lecture. In 342 BC, Aristotle was the tutor or Alexander, the great, who at that time was thirteen and grew up to be the infamous conqueror. From 335 BC - 322 BC, Aristotle was a teacher, at this time he, as influenced by Plato, wrote "Dialogues". Aristotle contradicted some of Plato's beliefs. He believed "justice should aspire to equality" (Canadian and International Law), he also believe "allotment should not be dependant on the luck of being born into a wealthy or powerful family" (Canadian and International Law). Aristotle was against "oligarchy" and instead he believed in meritocracy (Blair 2004). Aristotle believed "justice should be done with equity" (Blair 2004). It is blatantly clear that the Greek philosopher is a fundamental part of the evolution of philosophy and law.Most famous for his "best-known work", Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes was a political and philosophical figure in England. He was born on April 5th, 1588 in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. (Tuck; Hobbes, A Very Short Introduction). Hobbes was born an atheist and was given the chance to share his theories by King Charles II later on in life. The events of 1642 "revitalized Hobbes's political interests" due to the English Civil War (Wikipedia). The civil war influenced him, as did other events in his life which led to his political theories. This is where he developed his ideals of law and how he incorporated those into his daily life. Many believe that Hobbes began his philosophical discoveries and research in the late 1630's. (Tuck; Hobbes, A Very Short Introduction). Hobbes believed in human made law rather than natural law, he thought of human made law to be of more importance. Thomas Hobbes believed "security and perseverance of peace" were the foundations of political and social justice (Blair 2004). To attain political and social justice, T. Hobbes also believed in a higher authority, a superior power, for example a sovereign or ruler to legislate life (Wikipedia). He believed that citizens had a need for government to regulate their lives. As reflected in Leviathan, Hobbes believed without a superior power, people of a country would be uncivilized and inhumane. Hobbes clearly outlined that, justice, in his eyes was largely based on citizen's obedience to law and breaking that binding contract was the true injustice (Blair 2004). According to Hobbes, citizens made a commitment a promise, an unsaid contract with the government or ruler in which they would "surrender the right to govern themselves to the ruling power" and therefore could not claim the right to have power or control over that ruler (Blair 2004). Hobbes passed on December 3, 1679; he was ninety-one years of age.As a philosopher of today, Avram Noam Chomsky was highly influenced by his professors. Chomsky was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Wikipedia). Noam Chomsky was the son of William Chomsky. At the age of eight, Chomsky began reading Hebrew literature which he later taught classes in. In 1945 Noam Chomsky studied philosophy and linguistics at university of Pennsylvania. He was there greatly influenced by his professor of philosophy, Zellig Harris (Wikipedia). Chomsky joined the staff of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1955 and in 1961 was appointed full professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics. At this time Chomsky became highly involved in public politics. Noam Chomsky opposed the Vietnam War and became a leading opponent during this time ( Wikipedia). The University of Pennsylvania granted the philosopher his Ph.D in 1955 in lingusitics (Wikipedia) .Avram N.Chomsky is known as a modern philosopher believing in the tradition of anarchism. He is known as an American political activist (Wikipedia). Chomsky is an anti-republican conservative philosopher who belief is that "rulership is unnecessary" (Wikipedia). Noam Chomsky belives that law serves those in power and an "elite" class of society and hence have the greater influence toward law as the media ( Blair 2004). Chomsky reflects these believes through various books and magazines today.All three philosophers are from different time periods and are thus bound to be different, however all three philosophers possess similarities as well as their differences. Aristotle, as the eldest philosopher, generally laid the fundamentals of law, political and social ideals. Aristotle was against oligarchy, which in his time was extremely common and placed the wealthy and upper class families into a category of superiority (Blair 2004). He was then in favour of meritocracy which declares that individuals are rewarded based on their individual performance and ability rather than their family's influence or wealth. Thomas Hobbes would hypothetically agree more or less with Aristotle's legal beliefs because Hobbes too presents an idea of a high power elected by the people with regard to his or her own deeds and characteristic possessions. Hobbes and Aristotle would also agree because they both believe in the importance of human made law as shown through Aristotle's meritocratic beliefs and Hobbes' ideals (Blair 2004). Aristotle and Chomsky however, would not agree in comparison to the degree Hobbes and Aristotle would. Chomsky's views of the media and anarchism would contrast with Aristotles's own beliefs because Aristotle did believe that there was a necessity for a higher power to govern society, whereas Chomsky did not. Chomsky believes that upper class families make the legal decisions and are the main influence in a legal system, whereas Aristotle completely contrasts that exact idea through his own beliefs. Both Chomsky and Hobbes would appreciate Aristotle's effort to breakaway from the oligarchy ways of life.Hobbes, as stated in the previous paragraph would agree with Aristotles beliefs in respects to the time period of Aristotle and his own person beliefs. Hobbes and Aristotle would share the concepts of a necessary higher power and a meritocrac (Blair 2004). Both philosophers would agree more than disagree because of their common beliefs, for example, both Hobbes and Aristotle share the belief that citizens have a duty to they law. Hobbes and Chomsky's legal and political beliefs however, would contrast because of chomsky's anarchistic beliefs and Hobbes' anti- anarchistic veiws. Hobbes believed that there should always be a higher power or authority to enforce the law, and without that high power, the people would become disorientated and uncivilized (Blair 2004). Chomsky believes in an anarchistic veiw which is the belief that a higher power or government is unessecary. In addition, Hobbes was a republican whereas Chomsky was anti- republican (Wikipedia). Thomas Hobbes and Noam Chomsky are the most contrasted philosophers spoken of. Conclusivly, Thomas Hobbes would find Aristotle's legal veiws acceptable and unacceptable in the case of Noam Chomsky. Hobbes would be recoginzed by both, Aristotle and Chomsky for his views on justice.As philosophy is derived from all sides of life, as are these philosophers. Noam Chomsky would respect and admire Aristotle for his innovative discoveries and beliefs of philosophy. Chomsky would understand and observe the circumstances through which Aristotle lived and would admire his excellence as the "founder of philosophy". He would also agree with several aspects of Aristotle's political opinions, such as, Aristotle's views of equality. Both Chomsky and Aristotle would agree that "justice, was to be exercised in the distribution of wealth and honour" and given to those who earn it, not just simply to everyone. Noam Chomsky would also respect Thomas Hobbes for his work, but disagree when it comes to political and social aspects of law. Chomsky believes in an anti-republican government and a government in which no sole leader is in charge (Wikipedia). Chomsky believes that higher authority is unnecessary which directly contrasts Hobbes' views on the government, because Hobbes believed that society could not function without a high power or ruler (Wikipedia). Though these philosophers may have some contrasting beliefs, it is clear that all three of them possess one common goal and that is for philosophy to prosper and develop.Aristotle's political beliefs lead to concluding that he would be satisfied with Canadian law and would applaud our attempt at equality. Aristotle strived for serving the people and making equality more equal. Aristotle would be happy that we live in our society; anyone with qualifications can run for a political position in our government. He would also appreciate our system of rewarding those based on their individual performance and not of their families' wealth. Aristotle would agree with our jury system, believing that one man's life is better suited in the hands of twelve people rather than one judge. However, though Aristotle would agree with several components to our legal system, he would also disagree to many because of his age and lifestyle. He would not agree with sending females to work or gay marriages because such a thing was not spoken of as much as it is today and working females back then were highly uncommon. Aristotle generally would appreciate Canada's legal system, especially for attempting to accommodate for the beliefs of various cultures.As an English philosopher, Thomas Hobbes would relate to our Canadian laws and understand how they were developed. He would appreciate our attempt at a stable government and regulation of citizens. Hobbes would view our legal system as an organized, well-functioned system. He would agree to enforcing the law with police offers and having a higher power to make those laws to be enforced. Thomas Hobbes would also like the fact that every citizen has a duty to the law and to do their best to follow it or suffer the consequences. Hobbes would approve of our contract laws and our ways of governing society as a whole. Hobbes would observe Canada as a clearly, safe and peaceful regulated society. His views on justice, fundamental politics and social justice are seen through in Canadian law and therefore he would be satisfied with our legal system.Chomsky would also be satisfied with Canadian law because our law addresses many components of the world's law and attempts to integrate them into our society. Also, Noam Chomsky would respect the fact that we do have a Prime Minster but law is enforced through not one but hundreds of people throughout our country. As an individual believing in the tradition of anarchism, He would accept the fact that we do need a higher power to keep order but not to rule completely as an anti-republican. Noam Chomsky would respect our legal system as to how it is functioned because all citizens are given equal rights and not just those of an "elite" society. He would see that, in our country, laws are not made to serve those in power, but everyone, as a community. Noam Chomsky would also observe that the media, in Canadian law, does not withhold information, but simply tells it as it comes. Chomsky would obviously, not agree with every aspect of our law, but for the most part be satisfied and applaud our efforts. He would appreciate Canadian law today and understand its roots.Bibliography:"Aristotle -- General Introduction." The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2005. 01 Oct. 2005 .Blair, Annice, Kathleen R. Elliot, Bonnie Manning, and Marcus Mossuto. Canadian and International Law. Don Mills: Oxford UP, 2004. 01 Oct. 2005.Bocheńsk, I. M, and Lynn E. Rose. "Aristotle." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Dec. 2001. 01 Oct. 2005 ."Noam Chomsky." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Nov. 2001. 01 Oct. 2005 .Taylor, C.C.W, R.M Hare, and Jonathan Barnes. Greek Philosophers. London: Oxford UP, 1999. 01 Oct. 2005."Thomas Hobbes." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Aug. 2001. 01 Oct. 2005 .Tuck, Richard. Hobbes: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford UP, 2002. 01 Oct. 2005.


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