The alienation of labor in capitalist society

Write an essay on one of the following topics. Choose whichever question you can answer best.
1. Is Socrates that emerges as a supporter of strict obedience to the laws in the Crito at odds with Socrates who is apparently determined to defy any potential court order forbidding further public philosophizing in the Apology? Whatever stance you take, be sure to justify your answer.

2. In Politics Book I, Aristotle makes a defense of slavery as a natural institution. According to Aristotle, for whom and under what circumstances is slavery appropriate? Critically discuss the success of Aristotle’s natural slavery argument.

3. In Hobbes’s Doctrine of the State of Nature, Merriam writes: ‘Although “naturally” man is a stranger to political life and looks askance at government, as one who would not be entangled on its net, yet he possesses irresistible impulses to enter the civil condition and inevitably passes over into it. Naturally, he is out of society, but inevitably he comes in.’ (Merriam 1906, 156)

Present and critically analyze the account of this “coming in” to society that Thomas Hobbes offers in Leviathan.

4. In the Second Treatise on Government, John Locke offers an account of how the just initial acquisition of private property is possible. He writes: ‘But I shall endeavor to shew, how men might come to have a property in several parts of that which God gave to mankind in common, and that without any express compact of all the commoners.’ (Chapter V, Section 25)

Present and critically assess Locke’s argument for private property.

5. According to Jean Jacques Rousseau, his version of the ‘social contract’ can be reduced to the following formation: ‘Each of us puts his person and all his power in common under the supreme direction of the general will, and, in our corporate capacity, we receive each member as an indivisible part of the whole.’ (Of the Social Contract, 1.6)

Present and critically discuss Rousseau’s conception of the general will.

6. In On Liberty, J. S. Mill offers ‘one simple principle’ designed to regulate the restrictions that governments and societies can place on the liberty of their citizens. He writes that ‘the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.’ (On Liberty, Chapter 1).

Present and critically examine Mill’s Harm Principle.

7. In Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts (1844), Karl Marx examines four aspects of the alienation of labor in capitalist society. Present the four aspects of alienated labor and critically assess Marx’s solution to the problem