Start your Morning with a Lil’ Intellectual Debate

*Awesome 7os haircuts and outfits alert*

Sometimes I watch stuff like this when I wake up just to give the old brain a jumpstart. This is a discussion between Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault (my avatar image) filmed in 1971. They are essentially talking about what constitutes a just society. My favorite part is how Chomsky is speaking English and Foucault is speaking French and they are still able to perfectly understand each other.

Chomsky posits that it is within human nature to want justice. He believes his now trademark  “anarcho-syndicalism” model of decentralized social structures that foster freedom and human creativity would be the basis of a just society. For Chomsky, justice and human nature are knowable concepts. We have a general, baseline sense of what these things entail. Anarcho-syndicalism claims to be in accord with the requirements of true justice and the fulfillment of human potential.                                                

Foucault believes that our ideas of human nature and justice are functions of the power structure of society. This means that the way we define these terms depends upon our position within a society. Essentially, if human nature and justice do exist, we can never know what they are because our views of them are determined by society and our place within it. For this same reason, any attempt to create a utopia runs the risk of replicating the injustices we are trying to avoid. In short, we cannot access the ideas of justice and human nature without tools borrowed from our culture.

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2 responses to “Start your Morning with a Lil’ Intellectual Debate

  1. Have you read C. S. Lewis’ treatment of the “The Law of Human Nature” or the “Moral Law”? I’m doing a study of it on my blog. ReformedMind.com

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