Top PDF Political liberalism and epistemic permissivism

Political liberalism and epistemic permissivism

Political liberalism and epistemic permissivism

There are three 53 canonical sorts of motivations for conservatism. The first sort of motivation relates to cognitive efficiency. The second relates to issues pertaining to memory retention. The third relates to evidential under-determination and sceptical worries. I shall describe each sort of motivation in turn. With regards to the first motivation, on one view, changing one’s doxastic attitudes is cognitively costly and epistemic conservatism is supposed to make our doxastic decisions sensitive to these costs (Lycan 1988; Podgorski 2016). Relatedly, one can also avoid intellectual clutter by not having to keep track of the justifications for all of one’s beliefs (Harman 1986). Since conservatism provides some occasions where beliefs can be retained when they otherwise could not be without having to keep track of the evidence, conservatism provides a boost to the cognitive efficiency of agents. Crucially, conservatism is a view that is invoked in response to the cognitive limitations of actual agents. If we were not cognitively limited, we would not need to be sensitive to the cognitive costs of changing one’s doxastic attitudes. Similarly, intellectual clutter would not be a problem and we would always be able to keep track of all our evidence all the time. These are similar types of considerations to those that are supposed to operate in the first, third and fifth burdens of judgment. According to the first and fifth burdens, people rationally disagree because the evidence or the subject matter is too complex. The complexity of the evidence or subject matter cannot cause disagreement unless people have limited cognitive capacities. Likewise, as per the third burden of judgment, the vagueness in the concepts we use is a result of our limited cognitive capacity to infer from our evidence whether a predicate applies in borderline cases. To the extent that, as I have argued in Chapter 5, limitations to an agent’s cognitive capacities do not affect what is rational for her to believe, some of the motivation for epistemic conservatism is undermined. I shall discuss this more extensively later in this chapter.
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Liberal trusteeship : preparatory work for an epistemic defence of non egalitarian liberalism

Liberal trusteeship : preparatory work for an epistemic defence of non egalitarian liberalism

Estlund concedes to his opponent that the political value of education is beyond qualified disagreement. But he argues that rule by the educated, even in the plural voting form, would still be vulnerable to qualified ob- jections. For one, (a) access to education is often correlated with certain socio-economic factors, hence the educated will be overrepresented in cer- tain social groups. Even if we were to assume that the educated will be conscientious and will endeavour to be impartial between the interests of their own social groups and of those they do not belong into (which is a very generous assumption), Estlund argues that their socio-economic back- ground will inevitably a↵ect their judgement in subconscious ways. As such, giving more votes to the educated may unjustly privilege some groups over others, thus o↵setting the benefits of their education. In which case it will indeed be “qualified” to object to plural voting. More, (b) plural voting would remain objectionable even if these socio-economic distortions were corrected. For example, members of underrepresented groups could be given free access to education. In such cases, Estlund insists, it would still be qual- ified to object to plural voting on the grounds that the educated may have “empirically latent” biases. That is, despite corrective adjustment for socio- economic distortions, the educated may remain biased in favour of certain socio-economic demographics. They may be racists, or sexists, or elitists, or they may disproportionately favour funding for academic research over
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Realism and liberalism in the political thought of Bernard Williams

Realism and liberalism in the political thought of Bernard Williams

This is particularly significant because it shows that it is not adequate to merely explain how socio-historical conditions might curtail access to liberal ideals, as the liberal- universalist must also make some claim about our socio-historical conditions and explain why they are unique insofar as they (alone) grant access to these truths. If no such account is forthcoming there is further reason to affirm what, as we saw in Chapter One, Williams calls the nonobjectivist model, in which normative judgements are part of a ‘way of living’ or a ‘cultural artifact’ we come to inhabit (ELP, p. 147). This is especially pressing if we adopt the Nagel–Dworkin line and hold that a justification of the idea that liberalism is, universally speaking, ‘the true moral solution to the questions of politics’, can only be offered via first-order moral argument, so that we hold liberalism to be the true moral solution to politics because the best internal explanation of our moral intuitions suggest it is. The problem with this metaethical position is that our intuitions are deeply historically conditioned. This recognition subsequently invites a further sceptical thought that Nagel and Dworkin seem to ignore: that an equally coherent first-order defence of alternative moral solutions to the questions of politics was available to countless other individuals in a multiplicity of prior historical epochs. Thus, if we are to continue to think that liberalism is the true moral solution to the questions of politics we must think, as a matter of faith (or perhaps divine providence, or Hegelian teleology), that we (alone) are lucky enough to have lived in a uniquely privileged historical/epistemic time to have grasped these truths.
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Liberalism and the governance of populations

Liberalism and the governance of populations

In his early lectures Foucault makes a clear distinction between, on the one hand, the concerns of natural right, natural law and the ‘social contract’ that constituted ‘external limitations’ to raison d’État, and, on the other, the internal ‘self-limitation of governmental reason’ characteristic of liberalism. He later acknowledges the importance of a ‘revolutionary’ theory of rights for liberalism, but argues: ‘The [system] that has been strong and has stood fast is, of course, the radical approach which tried to define the juridical limitation of public authorities in terms of governmental utility’ (43). He claims that this system characterises the history of European liberalism, and goes on to assert that ‘the problem of utility increasingly encompasses all the traditional problems of law’ (44). However, it can be argued that these ‘external limitations’ play a more significant role in liberal thought than Foucault allows for. To argue that they have largely been replaced by ‘internal’ considerations of ‘utility’ is highly misleading. To see this point one need only consider some of the major works of Anglophone liberal thought published in the decade preceding Foucault’s lectures. In his famous essay Two concepts of liberty, published in 1969, Isaiah Berlin considered Thomas Hobbes’s theory of a ‘free man’ in Leviathan to be the paradigmatic example of ‘negative liberty’ (Berlin, 2002: 170). John Rawls considered his A theory of justice, published in 1971, to be a continuation of the ‘social contract’ tradition of Locke, Rousseau and Kant (Rawls, 1999: 10). And Robert Nozick drew heavily on the natural rights theory of John Locke for his Anarchy, state and utopia (1974). These were highly influential works for liberal thought at the time of Foucault’s lectures (1979), yet in none is an understanding of ‘freedom’ or ‘liberty’ derived from calculations of utility.
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Barbara Wootton, Friedrich Hayek and the debate on democratic federalism in the 1940s

Barbara Wootton, Friedrich Hayek and the debate on democratic federalism in the 1940s

Wootton, later Baroness Wootton of Abinger, was born in Cambridge in 1897. Her parents were academics and inspired her to pursue a similar career path. She graduated in Classics and Economics from Girton College, Cambridge, and consequently joined the college’s staff as a director of Social Studies. The shift from Classics to Economics to Social Studies shows Wootton’s motivation to address in her intellectual work the central problems of her times. 8 As a student at Girton she found inspiration in the writings of Alfred Marshall, and like him hoped to reconcile the scientific and public aspects of Economics. John Maynard Keynes was a family friend, and Wootton shared the concerns at the background of his 1936 General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money 9 which helped foster the idea that political institutions should direct and regulate the economy. In the interwar years Wootton worked for the Trade Union Congress, developing a clear interest in socialism. Yet she was also receptive of elements of Fabian economic reformism aimed at bringing about economic change through gradual political and legal means. If the Fabian thesis focused on fiscal and redistributive reform measures in a democratic system based on representative government, Wootton insisted on the importance of popular participation at the grassroots level and on state intervention to regulate and reshape the market for the common good. 10
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The Discriminating Shopper

The Discriminating Shopper

This is, of course, only a caricature of Rawls’s political liberalism. But it allows us to proceed with our analysis. We might begin by noting that the moral analysis of discriminatory shopping now takes a more complex form than it would under the broad view of liberal equality. In particular, condemning discriminatory shopping might now take one of two distinct forms. We might mean, in the first instance, that one or more particular comprehensive moral theories prohibit discriminatory shopping. These moral theories, we should emphasize, should not be understood as having any secondary or diminished claim to truth; political liberalism is not relativism. Adherents of a given doctrine are not called upon to regard their own doctrine as anything less than the final truth in matters of morality. Political liberalism instead demands that when we reason together about constitutional essentials and matters of basic justice, we refer only to the restricted set of political reasons we can be expected to share. But this does not restrain us from relying upon our own comprehensive doctrines in making moral evaluations in sites other than the public form of deliberation.
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The Illiberalism of Liberalism: Religious Discourse in the Public Square

The Illiberalism of Liberalism: Religious Discourse in the Public Square

it specifies public political culture as distinct from the background culture.") (footnote omitted). According to Lawrence Solum, Rawls's version of liberalism may b[r]

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Book review: Nathalie Sigot, Bentham et l'économie: Une histoire d'utilité

Book review: Nathalie Sigot, Bentham et l'économie: Une histoire d'utilité

Nathalie Sigot does mention sinister interest, lack of education and prejudice, but she maintains that all these difficulties can eventually be overcome by the legislator, who could then claim to understand truly all individual interests. Indeed, for her ‘uniting the individual and the general interests supposes that one is fully informed of the interests of each and every individual, and of the general interest’. 13 A few pages later, she adds that ‘the normative side of the principle of utility not only implies that the state should be aware of what makes up the general interest, but also that it should be able to assess the pleasures and pains of each individual’. 14 She leaves out the details of Bentham’s theory of action, which relies on a complex analysis of motivation, will and understanding, none of which can be entirely predicted by the legislator. As a moral agent living in a political society, the individual is much more than a calculating economic agent. Her argument is illustrated by a study of two categories of individuals, the poor and the functionaries, but she does not mention that these classes of people are subcategories to which the legislator has to pay particular attention. In the case of the ‘subject many’, the picture would have to be qualified. On the contrary, one could argue that Bentham’s political writings allow for uncertainty on the legislator’s side, and for individual freedom on the part of the ‘subject many’.
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Who We Are: Constructivism and the Dual Personality of American Nationalism

Who We Are: Constructivism and the Dual Personality of American Nationalism

To Tocqueville, American individuality becomes dual- istic since “not only is public opinion the only guide left to aid private judgment,” but “its power is infinitely greater in democracies than elsewhere” (1969, 435). This nationalistic duality leads Mark Juergensmeyer to conclude that “the nine- teenth century saw the fulfillment of Tocqueville’s prophecy that the ‘strange religion’ of secular nationalism would...overrun the whole world” (1969, 28). Indeed, as American democratic ideals spread, they “became the ideo- logical partner(s) of what came to be known as nation building” (Juergensmeyer 1993, 28). From Tocqueville on, the “litany is remarkably similar: democracy, liberty, equality and individual achievement” provide the concept of American identity, and “emotional attachments to these sym- bols and practices that embody them,” according to Jack Citrin, Beth Reingold and Donald P. Green (1990, 1129). Though liberalism appears victorious, American national identity proves more a hybrid of both republican and liberal theory.
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Misrecognition and ethno religious diversity

Misrecognition and ethno religious diversity

This last point raises the issue of church-state relations, something that is forensically examined in a delineation of different scales of misrecognition in Laegaard’s differentiation between ‘formal’, ‘substantive’, ‘comparative’ and ‘moralised’ misrecognition. For Laegaard, the first may denote the refusal to recognize some group as, in his example, a religious group, and thereby deny them the associated rights and privileges of a religion (as opposed to a cult or similar movement). The second refers to the imposition of an inappropriate category; an illustration of which may be subsuming South Asians under an overarching identity of political blackness in Britain (Modood, 1988). The point is that the ‘substantive dimension of misrecognition is distinct from the formal, since the state can recognize a religious community formally while still misrecognising it substantially’ (Laegaard, this issue). The third refers to inequalities in the way the state extends recognition to different groups, to which other forms of claims-making are pursued as a corrective measure, for example legislation addressing incitement to hatred against some minorities and not others (Thompson, this issue), or more ‘positive preference, symbolic status, institutional security and practicalities’ (Laegaard, this issue). His final scale, ‘moralized misrecognition’, points to less recognition than is entitled, which is consistent with recognitive injustice.
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Liberalism, political theory, and the rights of minority cultures: Just how different are the 'politics of difference'?

Liberalism, political theory, and the rights of minority cultures: Just how different are the 'politics of difference'?

The point I am trying to make here, then, at this stage, is actually quite simple. Choices which involve the questioning of accepted values and beliefs will not, for many people, be frivolous or superficial in the way that their smaller and more insubstantial choices might be, and as such, it is the responsibility of the state to encourage those conditions which allow all members of society to make important and fundamental decisions about the lives they wish to lead, based upon the understanding they have of themselves and of the world in which they live. Choices and decisions are taken at all levels of human life - in public and in private - and hence, institutions must strengthen ‘informal’ and ‘non-political’ networks and norms in which we might exercise our autonomy.57 ‘Frivolous’ and ‘trivial’ choices will go on without the help of the state; they do not require the establishment of any particular or specific conditions (except, perhaps, for the requisite ‘space’ in which these choices can be freely enacted). Such choices are, to some extent, self-regulating in that the limits of what is ‘trivial’ or ‘frivolous’ will be circumscribed and bounded by the wider values and commitments which claim the individual at any one time (some of which will be derived from their cultural membership, some of which will not), and which constitute its understanding of the world. But groups must not deny their members the capacity to make meaningful decisions about fundamental issues such as their religion, their culture, and their values because many people will not consider these decisions to be frivolous; they will consider them to be of fundamental importance, and carrying with them the potential of bringing great hardship. But the individual must be free to suffer this hardship if they feel that it is worth it. Exit is not costless, and perhaps can never be, because one will invariably leave behind certain aspects of the community that one valued; friendships and relationships will inevitably change (or dissolve completely) as the individual’s commitments and values change and there is much to regret in these changes and dissolutions. But the state should not seek to protect people from them, because, in their promise of a new life based upon truly valued commitments and beliefs, they are also liberating. It is for individuals themselves to make the decisions that shape their lives, against a background of values and ideas and beliefs which make them who they are; they must make the required trade-offs and suffer the consequences of their actions, for better or worse.
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Liberalism and Tolerance

Liberalism and Tolerance

The case of Mill suggests there are good reasons why so many people use the political terms “liberal” and “progressive” interchangeably. Liberals believe in progress because they believe in a virtuous circle: freedom promotes progress, and progress promotes freedom. As the quality of life improves, and the sources of and occasions for conflict diminish, people are left increasingly amenable to further improvement through reason and persuasion. In turn, reasoning people see how life has been improved by free discourse and inquiry, and knowing these benefits they wish to preserve and expand freedom in the expectation of securing even greater benefits in the future. The hallmark of the conservatism that stands athwart liberalism and progressivism yelling, “Stop!” is the conviction that the civilizational prerequisites of liberalism are not self-perpetuating: not always; not necessarily; not usually; and, quite probably, not ever. In 1964 Evelyn Waugh reviewed two biographies of Rudyard Kipling, whom he described as “a conservative in the sense that he believed civilization to be something laboriously achieved which was only precariously defended. He wanted to see the defences fully manned and he hated the liberals because he thought them gullible and feeble, believing in the easy perfectibility of man and ready to abandon the work of centuries for sentimental qualms.” 27
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Realism, Liberalism and Non-ideal Theory Or, Are there Two Ways to do Realistic Political Theory?

Realism, Liberalism and Non-ideal Theory Or, Are there Two Ways to do Realistic Political Theory?

While the accusation that political theory is too detached from the real world of politics is hardly a new claim, it has been made repeatedly throughout the years by those more sympathetic to the empirical study of politics or who see themselves as men (or women) 'of action', this charge is now being loudly and forcefully voiced from within the sub-discipline itself. Both the ideal/non- ideal theory debate and the recent resurgence of interest in realist political thought pursue this line of criticism, most often in relations specifically to the work of John Rawls and the form of neo-Kantian liberal theorising which he has inspired. However, though non-ideal theory and political realism make prima facie similar claims regarding the need for contemporary liberal theory to be more in touch with reality, this thematic similarity obscures a series of significant differences in relation to their critiques of liberalism and their suggestions as to how political theory can be more realistic. These differences are being lost in an increasing and unfortunate tendency in the literature to elide the realist critique of liberalism with the non-idealist critique of ideal liberal theory, and more generally, realism with non-ideal theory. Realism is often presented as a variation of a non-ideal theme. This conflation is a mistake. Whereas the ideal/non-ideal theory debate is a series of methodological issues that take place squarely within the liberal framework and hence retains many (if not all) of its assumptions regarding the purpose of politics and the ambitions of political theory, realism is a competing theory of politics in its own right, and, importantly, one that presents a radical challenge to those liberal assumptions. In the context of ongoing concerns about the relationship between political theory and political practice including the question of how realistic our theorising of politics needs to be, it is important that these significantly different accounts of what it is to do realistic political theory are highlighted and preserved.
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Frederick Rosen : from ethology to political economy

Frederick Rosen : from ethology to political economy

John Stuart Mill has several good claims to be considered as one of the founders of modern social and political thought, particularly given his central role in the foundations of liberalism, and thus, though a good deal has been written about him already, a book on Mill in this ‘Founders’ series should be welcomed. Frederick Rosen brings his wealth of scholarship on both Mill and Jeremy Bentham to play, giving a fresh and informative perspective. The book is structured around Mill’s two largest compositions, the texts which made him famous in his own age – namely, the System of Logic Ratiocinative and Inductive (1843) and Principles of Political Economy (1848) – which Rosen follows Alexander Bain in describing as being where ‘Mill’s creative energy was mainly confined’ (7). It is refreshing to find a book on Mill which is not centred around On Liberty or Utilitarianism as being the only works of interest in Mill’s canon, though Bain’s remarks seem a little harsh.
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Human rights from the Great Depression to the Great Recession: the United States, economic liberalism and the shaping of economic and social rights in international law

Human rights from the Great Depression to the Great Recession: the United States, economic liberalism and the shaping of economic and social rights in international law

The second part then traces how these domestic US conceptions then fed into the international level, through the 1945 UN Charter commitments to ESCR, larger freedom and full employment, and the placing of human rights squarely in the economic and social responsibilities of the new international organisation. Drawing on the original archival material mentioned above, I then trace further how these US conceptions profoundly influenced the nature and scope of ‘economic and social rights’ as they emerged during the drafting of the 1948 UDHR and the 1966 ICESCR, including examining the Keynesian roots of ‘maximum available resources’ and exploring why the right to property was included in the UDHR but left out of both of the binding Covenants. I suggest that formalising ESCR in the international human rights instruments was an attempt to ‘freeze’ the New Deal vision of ESCR and ‘embedded liberalism’ into (international) law. However, I also show how this was strongly contested in the US domestic context, with standard conservative tropes that ESCR (and thus Roosevelt’s rights) were alien and un-American and of communist influence, and I describe the eventual reassertion of the classical liberal rights to life, liberty and property and the re-emergence of (neo)classical economics and
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Labour and the Caucus: Working Class Radicalism and Organised Liberalism in England, 1868 1888

Labour and the Caucus: Working Class Radicalism and Organised Liberalism in England, 1868 1888

“separateness” from the two main political parties that can be linked to the later calls for an independent labour politics' (p. 76). Turning to an examination of the National Agricultural Labourers’ Union (NALU) and the Lincolnshire and Neighbouring Amalgamated Labour League (LNALL), Owen highlights the diversity of relationships that could be established with Liberal Party organisations, and takes issue with historians who have all too easily connected radical rural groups with the Liberal Party. Rather than being effusive and consistent in their praise for Gladstone, rural radical groups often criticized Gladstone’s first government for a failure to extend the franchise in the counties and for his inaction against the Criminal Law Amendment Act. Ultimately, Owen arrives at three specific conclusions in his assessment of republican groups and organisations of agricultural labourers. First, support for Liberal politics and policies was
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Beyond epistemic democracy: the identification and pooling of information by groups of political agents

Beyond epistemic democracy: the identification and pooling of information by groups of political agents

According to the polling model, the particular problem a group faces is held fixed but there is uncertainty over which individuals will comprise the group. To say that agent competence is = 0.6 is to say that 60% of the wider population will cast their votes for the correct alternative (and 40% of the population will vote for the incorrect alternative). If we take random samples from the wider population to form the voting group then there is a 60% chance that a given agent will vote correctly. As Edelman notes, this model makes no assumption that the voters have any information whatsoever about the true state of the world which generates their judgements. The polling model might be appropriate for non-epistemic social choices, for example where a group needs a collective decision over whether to prioritise education or health spending and agents merely express their preferences. However, in the epistemic social choice problems considered in this thesis the polling model is inapplicable and we can again put to one side the question of how agent competence levels are determined.
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The ethics of the willing: an ethnography of Post Soviet Neo Liberalism

The ethics of the willing: an ethnography of Post Soviet Neo Liberalism

OzolinaFitzgerald PhDThesis Final Jan2015 The London School of Economics and Political Science The Ethics of the Willing An Ethnography of Post Soviet Neo Liberalism Liene Ozoliņa Fitzgerald A thesis[.]

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Some varieties of liberalism and pluralism with special reference to the political theory of Joseph Raz

Some varieties of liberalism and pluralism with special reference to the political theory of Joseph Raz

Raz, being neutral in terms of the promotion of morality in the public domain is disrespectful towards others since we all are moral agents and, as a consequence, ignoring issues of morality is anything but respectful. Whether perfectionism is actually the right (or wrong) thing to do is not significant for the argument I am making here. What is important is that the idea o f neutrality which is entailed in reasonable pluralism is not consistent with Raz’s liberal doctrine which focuses on autonomy. Second, reasonable pluralism holds that it will be possible for different values and convictions to coexist in the context of an environment o f non-political neutrality; however, the dilemmas of modernity have shown that this is a chimera. The issue of abortion is, for example, an issue in which one agent’s appreciation o f the value of life conflicts with another agent’s or group’s advocacy for the right to choose. Situations such as the one above point towards the, often inescapable, inclusion o f comprehensive conflicts in the political and social sphere; conflicts which, furthermore, appear to be irreconcilable with each other. The irreconcilable nature of these conflicts exemplifies the ‘fact of pluralism’, as Rawls puts it. Third, the context of modernity is again applicable here since the behaviour and level of toleration that might have been considered to be within the boundaries of reasonableness have been redefined to the extent that even invoking them might have become meaningless.
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Liberty and self in the political argument of republicanism, liberalism and postmodernism

Liberty and self in the political argument of republicanism, liberalism and postmodernism

firstly after his ow n wealth, though always in accordance w ith the law and established practices since 'we do not wish to be rich for our own sake alone, b u t for our children, our friends, and m ost of all for the political com m unity'. (DO, 111.63) Thus, Scaevola w ould not be bound to pay a higher price than offered, since he w ould not be violating any 'right7 of the seller, and his subsequent increase in w ealth w ould be, in a general way, contributing to the good of the com m unity as a whole. Cicero rejects this: 'if ever that which we call beneficial seems to conflict w ith th at which w e understand to be honourable, a rule of procedure (formula) m ust be established'. (DO, 111.19) This 'rule of procedure' (in accordance w ith Stoic orthodoxy) is that w here dishonourableness exists there can be nothing beneficial, since 'for one m an to take advantage at the cost of another's disadvantage is m ore contrary to n ature th an death, than poverty, than pain and anything else th at m ay happen to his body or external possessions'. (DO, 111.21) Scaevola, therefore, is to be praised for his action, even though the present law (or contract) does not call for it, since reason dem ands that 'nothing is done insidiously, deceptively, or w ith pretence'. That current practices have becom e corrupted and that these are reflected in civil law does not excuse it from the authority of the law of nature, w hich is the ultim ate ground for the fellowship of m an in the com m onwealth. Cicero dissolves the conflict through the application of a 'rule of procedure' which collapses any distinction betw een w hat is the 'good' thing to do and the 'proper7 thing to do according to established practices. Unlike Diogenes and Hecaton, w ho could be said to be recognizing the
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