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By James R. Otteson

A security of the 'classical liberal' political culture, utilized to brand new ethical and political matters.

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Sample text

You will have to answer these questions, as well as indefinitely more such, at some point in your life, and the point of listing them like this is to bring several things to the fore. First, no one else can answer these questions for you. You will have to answer them for yourself, and you will have to do so by experimentation, not sitting in your office and trying to deduce things from the “concept of humanity” (or whatever). Second, if you are to have a shot at leading a happy life, the rest of us will have to let you conduct these experiments.

Xii, p. 76. Ibid. ” One can understand why Hobbes would think that mankind’s natural state was so nasty and brutish: he wrote Leviathan, after all, in 1651, just after the English civil war and the execution of its sitting monarch, Charles I, and the deep religious and political divisions among the people of England— not to mention the unhygienic squalor in which most people lived at the time15 —cannot have given a very good impression of mankind’s “natural” state. Nevertheless, although the apparent ease with which mankind can be provoked to aggression and atrocity cannot be gainsaid, I think everyday experience points against Hobbes.

Indeed, I am skeptical that there exists any universal form of justice out there somewhere awaiting discovery. What I am more confident about is that human beings seem to have a nature, that the world seems to have a nature, and that if we want to figure out how human beings should behave given their ends, we will need to see what their and the world’s natures are. That means empirical investigation, and a lot of it. What indeed has empirical investigation disclosed? Is there anything we can say in general about an empirically grounded human ‘justice’?

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