IGNOU BPSC 111 Important Questions with Answers (Classical Political Philosophy)

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BPSC 111 Classical Political Philosophy questions with answers, you will find here free material only on our site Senrig.in. IGNOU BPSC 111 Important Questions with Answers – Indira Gandhi National Open University will open the IGNOU 2023 exam form submission window for June TEE in the month of June. Students are required to pay a IGNOU 2023 exam form fee of Rs. 200 for each theory and practical examination. Students can pay the exam form fee of IGNOU exam form through credit card, debit card or net banking. The IGNOU June 2023 term-end Examinations will be held in offline mode. 

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IGNOU BPSC 111 Important Questions With Answers

Some Important Questions With Answers From IGNOU Study Material

Q1. According to Locke, why shouldn’t atheists be tolerated? 

While Locke supports broad religious toleration within a state, he does not advocate toleration in an unconditional and universal manner. He does propose certain limits on toleration, which in his view, are needed for the smooth ordering and functioning of society. Again, the limits he proposes are influenced by his political and religious convictions.

Firstly, Locke argues that beliefs and practices which are extreme, morally bankrupt and dangerous to the preservation of human societies and functioning of civil government should not be tolerated – “No Opinions contrary to human Society, or to those moral Rules which are necessary to the preservation of Civil Society, are to be tolerated by the Magistrate”. As noted earlier in the general discussion of toleration as a concept, toleration is often not extended to those beliefs or practices that are deemed as intolerable. While toleration is desirable, every belief or practice does not deserve toleration. Locke is making a similar argument here when he says that destructive beliefs and practices should not be tolerated. For Locke, any belief or practice which goes against the natural law and infringes on the natural rights of people is ultimately intolerable.

Such beliefs or practices are inimical to moral behaviour and thereby, harmful to human societies. Moreover, as discussed in the previous unit, natural law and natural rights form the basis of the commonwealth for Locke. Hence, beliefs or practices that go against them will threaten the preservation of the commonwealth itself. Secondly, Locke contends that a state should not tolerate people who swear allegiance to a political authority beyond the one created by the social contract because of their religious beliefs or due to any other reason. Locke gives the example of Islam of his time, in which he claims that a higher allegiance was owed to the Mufti of Constantinople. However, while Locke does not state it directly, it is clear from his writings that he is predominantly concerned about Catholicism which has its own figurehead who demands a higher allegiance in the form of the Pope. The papacy, during Locke’s time and for much of the medieval period, claimed civil authority as well as religious authority. It was deeply involved in European political conflicts. The catholic church of Locke’s time claimed authority from God to appoint and remove rulers across Europe. Therefore, Locke came to believe that Catholicism demanded the loyalty of its adherents even if that meant non-compliance with the civil government of one’s own state. This was unacceptable and intolerable for Locke as it threatened the commonwealth itself

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IGNOU BPSC 111 Important Questions With Answers

Q2. What are qualities of the Philosopher King described by Plato?

Throughout the Republic, Plato emphasises the importance of having rulers who know the form of good. Plato holds that a philosopher by his grasp of the idea of good was best qualified to rule, implying that knowledge could be obtained only by a select few who had the leisure and the material comforts. Plato shared the general Greek perception that leisure was essential for the pursuit of wisdom.

A philosopher would be able to administer justice and act for the good of the community. He would have a good character, a calm disposition and a sound mind. He would have the qualities of a ruler namely truthfulness, highmindedness, discipline and courage. Plato in The Republic insisted that politics and philosophy ought to be safe from one another. A philosopher ruler would make wise legislator and frame laws in accordance with the Idea of Good, thereby linking statecraft with soulcraft. For Plato, Ideal State ruled by philosopher king was a divine institution perfectly worthy of emulation and imitation.

He defined ideal state as one based on timeless and unchanging principles, suggesting that an ideal pattern existed which could be discerned and employed to reform a diseased polity, and transform into a thing of beauty. He implied that political order was highly malleable and could be moulded in order to receive the right imprint. Since the work of the ruler requires knowledge of the forms, the instillation of such knowledge is a significant concern of the state. To Plato, entrusting the state to rulers without this knowledge would be like turning it over to blind. Though the philosophers prefer not to, they must be persuaded to rule. The philosophic curriculum is an institutionalised means of creating successors to the existing rulers. It is only when successors have been brought up and educated can the existing rulers unshoulder their burden and return to the realm of philosophy. According to Plato, the philosophers must undergo a rigorous program of education and then, spend fifteen years performing administrative servile in the city, before they are raised to glimpse the form of the good, which gives them perfect knowledge and completes their education.

IGNOU BPSC 111 Important Questions And Answers

Q3. Explain the organic nature of the Aristotelian state.

Aristotle’s theory of state has been criticised for subsuming individual and all other associations under the state. His state is seen as a totalitarian state. In the vision of Aristotle, there is hardly any scope for the individual to think in his own way and to do something independently. According to Aristotle, the state is all-embracing and it leaves no room for the individual’s freedom. The morality, ethics and idealism of the state and that of the individual are inseparable and same. Since the state is the highest association, it is quite capable of accepting the responsibility of helping and enriching the moral and ideal values to which the individual aspires. So the individual must be subordinate to the state and not vice versa. If the reverse is accepted then the authority of the state as the supreme organisation will be challenged and the nonexistence of the state will suggest the non-fulfilment of the goals. Again, this is unacceptable. Hence, the subordination of the individual to the state is a must.

This type of subordination of individual to the state—which may also be described as totalitarian, authoritarian or paternalistic—is undoubtedly recommended by Aristotle. He thinks that people want to be happy and their happiness is required to be maximum. This is possible only if the state takes steps in making legislation and regulating the entire educational system. That means, the state-controlled education and state-sponsored laws are the only weapons of attaining happiness. The state is the only authority of all the enterprises and the individual has no choice. There is no alternative but subordination. His concept of organic theory of state is also a powerful hint of totalitarianism. In an animal body the parts have no importance away from the whole. Although this is true, yet the same cannot hold good for the relationship between the individual and the state. The state is essential for the individual no doubt, but it cannot claim to embrace all the aspects of his life. The state can fulfil a part of human demands but not all the demands. For complete satisfaction and happiness, the individual seeks the membership of different organizations. Aristotelian state cannot tolerate this. It is absolutely unintelligible how a political association can make all its inhabitants moral, ethical and ideal single-handedly. It is both physically impossible and morally unjustifiable. No person or organization can take the absolute guardianship of all individuals. Aristotle’s polis is a community and not an association, because men value it for its own sake and not just as a means to the fulfilment of separate individual ends. If this is the nature of Aristotle’s polis, the individual finds no honourable position in the state. Any form of defiance to the state is seen as irrationality on the part of individuals. Rationality of the individual is equated with unconditional surrender to the state.

Q4. Illustrate the reasons why Machiavelli gave importance to civic virtu and liberty?

Q5. Differentiate between Private and Public Morality.

The aphorism like might is right, necessity knew no law and the end justifies the means- had been the nucleus of Machiavelli’s idea of morality. Since, in the realm of statecraft the safety and security of State justifies everything. Therefore, he proposed two different strands of morality- one for the ruler and another for the citizens. He argued that State actions cannot be judged by only individual morals. For an individual telling a lie might be immoral but it may not be necessary for a ruler. He may have to sometimes tell a lie in the interest of the state because the state is a non-ethical entity.

Machiavelli’s firsthand experience of his diplomatic assignments made him clear with the understanding that ends can always justify the means. Therefore, he contended that rulers need not to adhere with the notion of conventional morality. A ruler must be judged on the basis that how successfully he ensures the well being of its citizens, expand its territory and defend the national interest of the State. Sometimes, for the survival and the safety of State, ruler may have to rely upon immoral ways as well. He further stated that it may be an obligation for an individual to exhibit his/her impeccable moral standards like trust, loyalty, purity and simplicity that family or religious teachings nurtured. On the other hand, a statesman can be always flexible as far as the conduct of state affairs was concerned. In other words, in times of peace and stability, the ruler may exhibit his high morals like humane compassion, love, faith etc. But can assert his power to handle chaos and lawlessness by the use of force. In short, in politics, depending upon time and circumstances, fair could be foul or foul could be fair. Therefore, ruler must train himself to represent the judicious combination of the lion and the fox.

Q6. Why Machiavelli attaches only an instrumental value to religion?

Q7. How did Machiavelli look at the concept of politics?

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Q8. How time and context influenced Machiavelli’s thinking and philosophy?

Q9. According to Hobbes, what are the Laws of Nature?

Q10. According to Hobbes, which right alone is not surrendered in any social contract and why? 

Q11. According to Hobbes, what are the three main reasons for the ceaseless quest for power in the state of nature?

Hobbes theorizes how human beings driven by appetites and aversions will fare in a hypothetical state of nature which is devoid of any government or central authority. In this state of nature, there is neither independent judiciary nor laws. With this conceptual tool of state of nature, Hobbes is not seeking to make a historical argument, but rather a philosophical one, more akin to a thought experiment to imagine through reason how human beings would behave in a society without a sovereign. Hobbes argues that conflict will be inherent and continual in human societies in state of nature because of three reasons arising out of the interplay between appetites and aversions – competition, insecurity and a desire to pursue glory. There is competition between human beings to fulfil their desires and to avoid aversions. Everyone is trying to acquire things which satisfy their desires and this in, turn makes them come in conflict with others who are pursuing the same desires. This gives rise to insecurities even in the minds of those who have the things they desire because of the fear of losing them. Since there is no sovereign, there are no enforcers of the rule of law. As a matter of fact, there are no laws in the first place and hence, each individual has to fend for himself or herself. Moreover, human beings also desire pride and glory which also makes them enter into conflict with others. Hence, people end up fighting with others, either to gain something they desire or to protect themselves or to heighten their status to increase their glory.

Ultimately, an endless quest for power between people characterizes state of nature, because one requires power to satisfy desires, protect oneself and to attain glory. So, power becomes the ultimate desire of all human beings. This leads to extreme instability and violence in the state of nature, because according to Hobbes, all human beings are roughly equal in strength. This is because, Hobbes argues that even the weakest can kill the strongest of human beings through trickery or through collusion with others. Therefore, nobody is safe as all are threatened by death which fosters a sort of natural equality among people. In the absence of a government, this leads people to constantly seek power to either aggrandize themselves or simply to protect themselves. Thus, the state of nature becomes characterized by a ceaseless and unstable quest for power between people which ends only at their deaths. State of nature for Hobbes is, thus, in effect a state of war

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