The 207 new ideas included in the latest update (of 31 January), by Theme

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2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 1. On Reason
Reason leads to prudent selfishness, but overruling natural compassion [Rousseau]
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 4. Aims of Reason
Without reason and human help, human life is misery [Spinoza]
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 9. Limits of Reason
A very hungry man cannot choose between equidistant piles of food [Aristotle]
2. Reason / B. Laws of Thought / 2. Sufficient Reason
Both nature and reason require that everything has a cause [Rousseau]
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 1. Knowledge
No one would bother to reason, and try to know things, without a desire for enjoyment [Rousseau]
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 3. Belief / a. Beliefs
A notebook counts as memory, if is available to consciousness and guides our actions [Clark/Chalmers]
14. Science / A. Basis of Science / 4. Prediction
A system can infer the structure of the world by making predictions about it [New Sci.]
15. Nature of Minds / A. Nature of Mind / 6. Anti-Individualism
If something in the world could equally have been a mental process, it is part of our cognition [Clark/Chalmers]
Consciousness may not extend beyond the head, but cognition need not be conscious [Clark/Chalmers]
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 5. Generalisation by mind
Only words can introduce general ideas into the mind [Rousseau]
General ideas are purely intellectual; imagining them is immediately particular [Rousseau]
16. Persons / B. Concept of the Self / 3. External Properties
If a person relies on their notes, those notes are parted of the extended system which is the person [Clark/Chalmers]
16. Persons / G. Free Will / 1. Free Will / a. Nature of free will
People are only free if they are guided entirely by reason [Spinoza]
19. Language / A. Language / 1. Language
Language may aid thinking, but powerful thought was needed to produce language [Rousseau]
21. Aesthetics / B. Aesthetic Experience / 1. Beauty
Without love, what use is beauty? [Rousseau]
22. Metaethics / A. Ethical Ends / 1. Value / a. Nature of value
Values are an attempt to achieve well-being by bringing contingencies under control [Kekes]
22. Metaethics / A. Ethical Ends / 8. Love
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself [Anon (Leviticus)]
22. Metaethics / B. Basis of Ethics / 7. Moral Motives
If we should not mistreat humans, it is mainly because of sentience, not rationality [Rousseau]
22. Metaethics / C. Sources of Ethics / 6. Ethics from Reason
Rational morality is OK for brainy people, but ordinary life can't rely on that [Rousseau]
23. Ethics / B. Contract Ethics / 2. Golden Rule
The better Golden Rule is 'do good for yourself without harming others' [Rousseau]
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / f. Compassion
The fact that we weep (e.g. in theatres) shows that we are naturally compassionate [Rousseau]
24. Applied Ethics / B. Moral Rights / 3. Animal Rights
Both men and animals are sentient, which should give the latter the right not to be mistreated [Rousseau]
24. Applied Ethics / C. Death Issues / 4. Suicide
The maxim for suicide is committed to the value of life, and is thus contradictory [Kant]
25. Society / A. State of Nature / 1. A People / a. Human distinctiveness
Humans are less distinguished from other animals by understanding, than by being free agents [Rousseau]
25. Society / A. State of Nature / 1. A People / b. The natural life
People need society because the individual has too many needs [Plato]
We are not created for solitude, but are driven into society by our needs [Locke]
All countries are in a mutual state of nature [Locke]
Natural mankind is too fragmented for states of peace, or of war and enmity [Rousseau]
Most human ills are self-inflicted; the simple, solitary, regular natural life is good [Rousseau]
Is language a pre-requisite for society, or might it emerge afterwards? [Rousseau]
Primitive man was very gentle [Rousseau]
I doubt whether a savage person ever complains of life, or considers suicide [Rousseau]
Hobbes attributed to savages the passions which arise in a law-bound society [Rousseau]
Savages avoid evil because they are calm, and never think of it (not because they know goodness) [Rousseau]
Savage men quietly pursue desires, without the havoc of modern frenzied imagination [Rousseau]
Leisure led to envy, inequality, vice and revenge, which we now see in savages [Rousseau]
Our two starting principles are concern for self-interest, and compassion for others [Rousseau]
25. Society / A. State of Nature / 1. A People / c. A unified people
Peoples are created by individuals, not by nature, and only distinguished by language and law [Spinoza]
To overcome obstacles, people must unite their forces into a single unified power [Rousseau]
Human nature changes among a people, into a moral and partial existence [Rousseau]
25. Society / A. State of Nature / 2. Natural Freedom
In nature men can dispose of possessions and their persons in any way that is possible [Locke]
A savage can steal fruit or a home, but there is no means of achieving obedience [Rousseau]
25. Society / A. State of Nature / 3. Natural Equality
There is no subjection in nature, and all creatures of the same species are equal [Locke]
In a state of nature people are much more equal; it is society which increases inequalities [Rousseau]
It against nature for children to rule old men, fools to rule the wise, and the rich to hog resources [Rousseau]
25. Society / A. State of Nature / 4. Natural Rights / a. Natural rights
In nature everything has an absolute right to do anything it is capable of doing [Spinoza]
Natural rights are determined by desire and power, not by reason [Spinoza]
The animals and fruits of the earth belong to mankind [Locke]
The rational law of nature says we are all equal and independent, and should show mutual respect [Locke]
There is a natural right to inheritance within a family [Locke]
25. Society / A. State of Nature / 4. Natural Rights / b. Alienating rights
Forming a society meant following reason, and giving up dangerous appetites and mutual harm [Spinoza]
No one, in giving up their power and right, ceases to be a human being [Spinoza]
People only give up their rights, and keep promises, if they hope for some greater good [Spinoza]
Once you have given up your rights, there is no going back [Spinoza]
In democracy we don't abandon our rights, but transfer them to the majority of us [Spinoza]
Everyone who gives us their rights must fear the recipients of them [Spinoza]
The early Hebrews, following Moses, gave up their rights to God alone [Spinoza]
There is only a civil society if the members give up all of their natural executive rights [Locke]
If we all give up all of our rights together to the community, we will always support one another [Rousseau]
We alienate to society only what society needs - but society judges that, not us [Rousseau]
25. Society / B. The State / 1. Purpose of a State
All exchanges in a community are for mutual benefit [Plato]
The state aims to allow personal development, so its main purpose is freedom [Spinoza]
Politics is the right to make enforceable laws to protect property and the state, for the common good [Locke]
A state's purpose is liberty and equality - liberty for strength, and equality for liberty [Rousseau]
The measure of a successful state is increase in its population [Rousseau]
The purpose of society is to protect the rights of liberty, property, security and resistance [Mirabeau/committee]
25. Society / B. The State / 2. State Legitimacy / a. Sovereignty
Sovereignty must include the power to make people submit to it [Spinoza]
Sovereignty is the exercise of the general will, which can never be delegated [Rousseau]
Just as people control their limbs, the general-will state has total control of its members [Rousseau]
People accept the right to be commanded, because they themselves wish to command [Rousseau]
The sovereignty does not appoint the leaders [Rousseau]
25. Society / B. The State / 2. State Legitimacy / c. Natural authority
Force can only dominate if it is seen as a right, and obedience as a duty [Rousseau]
25. Society / B. The State / 2. State Legitimacy / d. Social contract
A society only begins if there is consent of all the individuals to join it [Locke]
A politic society is created from a state of nature by a unanimous agreement [Locke]
The government is instituted by a law, not by a contract [Rousseau]
25. Society / B. The State / 2. State Legitimacy / e. General will
A single will creates the legislature, which is duty-bound to preserve that will [Locke]
We need a protective association which unites forces, but retains individual freedom [Rousseau]
The act of association commits citizens to the state, and the state to its citizens [Rousseau]
Individual citizens still retain a private will, which may be contrary to the general will [Rousseau]
The more unanimous the assembly, the stronger the general will becomes [Rousseau]
The general will changes its nature when it focuses on particulars [Rousseau]
Assemblies must always confirm the form of government, and the current administration [Rousseau]
Citizens must ultimately for forced to accept the general will (so freedom is compulsory!) [Rousseau]
The general will is always right, but the will of all can err, because it includes private interests [Rousseau]
If the state contains associations there are fewer opinions, undermining the general will [Rousseau]
If a large knowledgeable population votes in isolation, their many choices will have good results [Rousseau]
The law expresses the general will, and all citizens can participate [Mirabeau/committee]
25. Society / B. The State / 3. Constitutions
There is only a constitution if rights are assured, and separation of powers defined [Mirabeau/committee]
25. Society / B. The State / 4. Citizenship
You can only become an actual member of a commonwealth by an express promise [Locke]
Children are not born into citizenship of a state [Locke]
Anyone who enjoys the benefits of a state has given tacit consent to be part of it [Locke]
We all owe labour in return for our keep, and every idle citizen is a thief [Rousseau]
Political laws are fundamental, as they firmly organise the state - but they could still be changed [Rousseau]
Citizens should be independent of each other, and very dependent on the state [Rousseau]
A citizen is a subject who is also sovereign [Rousseau]
25. Society / B. The State / 5. Leaders / b. Monarchy
Kings tend to fight wars for glory, rather than for peace and liberty [Spinoza]
Deposing a monarch is dangerous, because the people are used to royal authority [Spinoza]
Monarchs are always proud, and can't back down [Spinoza]
Absolute monarchy is inconsistent with civil society [Locke]
Ancient monarchs were kings of peoples; modern monarchs more cleverly rule a land [Rousseau]
The highest officers under a monarchy are normally useless; the public could choose much better [Rousseau]
Hereditary monarchy is easier, but can lead to dreadful monarchs [Rousseau]
Attempts to train future kings don't usually work, and the best have been unprepared [Rousseau]
25. Society / B. The State / 5. Leaders / c. Despotism
The idea that absolute power improves mankind is confuted by history [Locke]
Despotism is arbitrary power to kill, based neither on natural equality, nor any social contract [Locke]
People stripped of their property are legitimately subject to despotism [Locke]
Legitimate prisoners of war are subject to despotism, because that continues the state of war [Locke]
25. Society / B. The State / 5. Leaders / d. Elites
Natural aristocracy is primitive, and hereditary is dreadful, but elective aristocracy is best [Rousseau]
Large states need a nobility to fill the gap between a single prince and the people [Rousseau]
25. Society / B. The State / 6. Government / a. Government
The state has a legislature and an executive, just like the will and physical power in a person [Rousseau]
Law makers and law implementers should be separate [Rousseau]
25. Society / B. The State / 6. Government / b. Legislature
Even the legislature must be preceded by a law which gives it power to make laws [Locke]
25. Society / B. The State / 6. Government / c. Executive
The executive must not be the legislature, or they may exempt themselves from laws [Locke]
I call the executive power the 'government', which is the 'prince' - a single person, or a group [Rousseau]
25. Society / B. The State / 6. Government / d. Size of government
Large populations needs stronger control, which means power should be concentrated [Rousseau]
Democracy for small states, aristocracy for intermediate, monarchy for large [Rousseau]
25. Society / B. The State / 7. Changing the State / c. Revolution
Every state is more frightened of its own citizens than of external enemies [Spinoza]
Any obstruction to the operation of the legislature can be removed forcibly by the people [Locke]
Rebelling against an illegitimate power is no sin [Locke]
If legislators confiscate property, or enslave people, they are no longer owed obedience [Locke]
If inhabitants are widely dispersed, organising a revolt is much more difficult [Rousseau]
Revolutionaries usually confuse liberty with total freedom, and end up with heavier chains [Rousseau]
The state is not bound to leave civil authority to its leaders [Rousseau]
25. Society / B. The State / 8. Religion in Society
All legislators invoke God in support of extraordinary laws, because their justification is not obvious [Machiavelli]
State and religious law can clash, so the state must make decisions about religion [Spinoza]
25. Society / B. The State / 8. Culture
We seem to have made individual progress since savagery, but actually the species has decayed [Rousseau]
25. Society / B. The State / 8. Religion in Society
By separating theological and political systems, Jesus caused divisions in the state [Rousseau]
Civil religion needs one supreme god, an afterlife, justice, and the sanctity of the social contract [Rousseau]
All religions should be tolerated, if they tolerate each other, and support citizenship [Rousseau]
25. Society / B. The State / 8. Culture
The flourishing of arts and letters is too much admired [Rousseau]
25. Society / B. The State / 8. Religion in Society
Every society has a religion as its base [Rousseau]
25. Society / B. The State / 9. Population / a. State population
A state must be big enough to preserve itself, but small enough to be governable [Rousseau]
Too much land is a struggle, producing defensive war; too little makes dependence, and offensive war [Rousseau]
If the state enlarges, the creators of the general will become less individually powerful [Rousseau]
If the population is larger, the government needs to be more powerful [Rousseau]
25. Society / C. Political Doctrines / 5. Democracy
Democracy is a legitimate gathering of people who do whatever they can do [Spinoza]
Unanimous consent makes a united community, which is then ruled by the majority [Locke]
The people have supreme power, to depose a legislature which has breached their trust [Locke]
If the sovereign entrusts government to at least half the citizens, that is 'democracy' [Rousseau]
Democracy leads to internal strife, as people struggle to maintain or change ways of ruling [Rousseau]
Democratic elections are dangerous intervals in government [Rousseau]
When ministers change the state changes, because they always reverse policies [Rousseau]
In a direct democracy, only the leaders should be able to propose new laws [Rousseau]
25. Society / C. Political Doctrines / 7. Communism
The nature of people is decided by the government and politics of their society [Rousseau]
25. Society / C. Political Doctrines / 11. Theocracy
If religion is law, the piety is justice, impiety is crime, and non-believers must leave [Spinoza]
Allows religious ministers any control of the state is bad for both parties [Spinoza]
In early theocracies the god was the king, and there were as many gods as nations [Rousseau]
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 1. Legal Rights / a. Basis of rights
It is not a law if not endorsed by the public [Hooker,R]
The sovereignty has absolute power over citizens [Spinoza]
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 1. Legal Rights / b. Inalienable rights
We all own our bodies, and the work we do is our own [Locke]
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 1. Legal Rights / c. Property rights
A man's labour gives ownership rights - as long as there are fair shares for all [Locke]
If a man mixes his labour with something in Nature, he thereby comes to own it [Locke]
Gathering natural fruits gives ownership; the consent of other people is irrelevant [Locke]
Mixing labour with a thing bestows ownership - as long as the thing is not wasted [Locke]
A man owns land if he cultivates it, to the limits of what he needs [Locke]
Soldiers can be commanded to die, but not to hand over their money [Locke]
Fountain water is everyone's, but a drawn pitcher of water has an owner [Locke]
Private property must always be subordinate to ownership by the whole community [Rousseau]
Persuading other people that some land was 'owned' was the beginning of society [Rousseau]
What else could propert arise from, but the labour people add to it? [Rousseau]
Land cultivation led to a general right of ownership, administered justly [Rousseau]
If we have a natural right to property, what exactly does 'belonging to' mean? [Rousseau]
Property is a sacred right, breached only when essential, and with fair compensation [Mirabeau/committee]
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 2. Social Freedom / a. Slavery
Slavery is not just obedience, but acting only in the interests of the master [Spinoza]
Slaves captured in a just war have no right to property, so are not part of civil society [Locke]
If you try to enslave me, you have declared war on me. [Locke]
A master forfeits ownership of slaves he abandons [Locke]
Sometimes full liberty is only possible at the expense of some complete enslavement [Rousseau]
We can never assume that the son of a slave is a slave [Rousseau]
People must be made dependent before they can be enslaved [Rousseau]
Enslaved peoples often boast of their condition, calling it a state of 'peace' [Rousseau]
If the child of a slave woman is born a slave, then a man is not born a man [Rousseau]
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 2. Social Freedom / b. Freedom of belief
Government is oppressive if opinions can be crimes, because people can't give them up [Spinoza]
Without liberty of thought there is no trust in the state, and corruption follows [Spinoza]
No one should be molested for their opinions, if they do not disturb the established order [Mirabeau/committee]
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 2. Social Freedom / c. Free speech
Treason may be committed as much by words as by deeds [Spinoza]
Free speech is very precious, and everyone may speak and write freely (but take responsibility for it) [Mirabeau/committee]
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 2. Social Freedom / e. Freedom of lifestyle
The freest state is a rational one, where people can submit themselves to reason [Spinoza]
Freedom is not absence of laws, but living under laws arrived at by consent [Locke]
Like rich food, liberty can ruin people who are too weak to cope with it [Rousseau]
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 2. Social Freedom / f. Freedom to leave
A person is free to renounce their state, as long as it is not a moment of crisis [Rousseau]
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 3. Social Equality / a. Grounds of equality
The social compact imposes conventional equality of rights on people who may start unequally [Rousseau]
Three stages of the state produce inequalities of wealth, power, and enslavement [Rousseau]
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 3. Social Equality / b. Political equality
All citizens are eligible for roles in the state, purely on the basis of merit [Mirabeau/committee]
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 3. Social Equality / d. Economic equality
All value depends on the labour involved [Locke]
The pleasure of wealth and power is largely seeing others deprived of them [Rousseau]
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 4. Right to Punish / a. Right to punish
Self-defence is natural, but not the punishment of superiors by inferiors [Locke]
Punishment should make crime a bad bargain, leading to repentance and deterrence [Locke]
Reparation and restraint are the only justifications for punishment [Locke]
We accept the death penalty to prevent assassinations, so we must submit to it if necessary [Rousseau]
A trial proves that a criminal has broken the social treaty, and is no longer a member of the state [Rousseau]
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 4. Right to Punish / b. Retribution for crime
Primitive people simply redressed the evil caused by violence, without thought of punishing [Rousseau]
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 4. Right to Punish / c. Deterrence of crime
Only people who are actually dangerous should be executed, even as an example [Rousseau]
25. Society / E. State Functions / 1. Consultation
Plebiscites are bad, because they exclude the leaders from crucial decisions [Rousseau]
25. Society / E. State Functions / 2. The Law / a. Legal system
Rule of law is superior to autonomy, because citizens can see what is expected [Hooker,R]
The aim of law is not restraint, but to make freedom possible [Locke]
The state ensures liberty, so civil law separates citizens, and binds them to the state [Rousseau]
25. Society / E. State Functions / 2. The Law / b. Natural law
Human laws must accord with the general laws of Nature [Hooker,R]
The order of nature does not prohibit anything, and allows whatever appetite produces [Spinoza]
It is only by a law of Nature that we can justify punishing foreigners [Locke]
Writers just propose natural law as the likely useful agreements among people [Rousseau]
25. Society / E. State Functions / 3. Taxation
The consent of the people is essential for any tax [Locke]
The amount of taxation doesn't matter, if it quickly circulates back to the citizens [Rousseau]
Everyone must contribute to the state's power and administration, in just proportion [Mirabeau/committee]
25. Society / E. State Functions / 6. War
A state of war remains after a conquest, if the losers don't accept the winners [Rousseau]
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 6. Natural Kinds / b. Defining kinds
Men started with too few particular names, but later had too few natural kind names [Rousseau]
27. Natural Reality / C. Biology / 3. Evolution
Small uninterrupted causes can have big effects [Rousseau]
29. Religion / C. Monotheistic Religion / 1. Judaism
Hewbrews were very hostile to other states, who had not given up their rights to God [Spinoza]