Sunday, August 30, 2009

Monograph #7 Max Weber

Che Guevara, the Symbol of Charisma

About 60 years ago, there was a medical student who was interested in many of intellectual studies like philosophy, sociology, political science and history. His name was Che Guevara. As he grew up, he became interested especially in Latin America.

In 1951, he took a year off from his medical study to travel to Latin America. Nobody knew at the time that this ordinary college student who loved Latin America would be the one who would make a great stroke in the History of not only Latin America but all over the world. As he traveled around Latin America he was struck by the crushing poverty of the remote rural areas, where peasant farmers worked in small plots of land owned by wealthy landlords. Such things he experienced totally changed his life and his dream.

During the journey he visited the mining town that was owned by an American capitalist and he saw the burial grounds for the laborers and Indios who worked like an animal but were not treated as they deserved. He felt great compassion to those workers and at the same time he felt abhorrence and angry against the ones who sucked the blood of Indios and laborers. Likewise he many times witnessed the life of Indios of Latin America who were being seized by bourgeois and capitalists. Such experiences made Guevara give up his life as a doctor and take the life of a revolutionist who would fight for the rights of the suffering people under bourgeois and achieving equality among men.

After the fatal meeting with Fidel Castro, Guevara in June 1955 in Mexico, he began to lead guerilla movements in Cuba, the country in Latin America that was suffering under American oppression. He organized an army of 82 men and fought against the millions of army of Batista, the governmental officer.

It is actually not imaginable for an army of 82 to defeat millions of army. After a month there were only 12 people left. However, Che Guevara has made it happen. The united and determined army under the great leadership of Che Guevara and the native Cuban people, who were convinced by charismatic but generous leadership of Che Guevara, were the motive power of his victory. Finally he and his people succeeded in freeing the Cuban people from the dictatorship of Batista.

Even after the victory in Cuba he didn’t stop working for Utopia in which everyone is happy and enjoys life. He did not enjoy the authority and power he got after the revolution. He was able to live a wealthy life and did have to get involved in such movements again. But then he again went to Bolivia to set the fire of revolution against the spoilt government and the unjust rulers. Also in Bolivia there were a number of followers of Che Guevara. However in this guerrilla movement, Guevara was captured and executed.

Regardless to the matter of ideology, Che Guevara is still being remembered as a brilliant charismatic leader of 20th century who fought for the people who were suffering under unjust authority and spoilt traditions.

The charisma of Che Guevara is still affecting many young people and it is still setting a fire of revolution in the hearts of the people who remember him.

It is not a matter of wishing success to the victim of aggression, but of sharing his fate; one must accompany him to his death or to victory.

- Ernesto 'Che' Guevara

If you tremble indignation at every injustice then you are a comrade of mine.

- Ernesto 'Che' Guevara

Each spilt drop of blood, in any country under whose flag one has not been born, is an experience passed on to those who survive, to be added later to the liberation struggle of his own country. And each nation liberated is a phase won in the battle for the liberation of one's own country.

- Ernesto 'Che' Guevara


Che Guevara(August 30, 2009). In Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 05:47 August 30, 2009 from

Ernesto 'Che' Guevara Quotes & Sayings Retrieved August 30, 2009 from

Che Guevara. Retrieved August 30, 2009 from

Position Paper #7 Max Weber


The Importance of Legitimate Domination in Sociological History

Max Weber, one of the great sociologists is very much concerned with legitimate domination in other word, power or authority. I am quite interested in his argues about societies. It has easily been noticed that there have always been existing powers, or authorities which control and hold societies. Even in primitive societies in which any civilization had occurred, there were certain forms of authority and power.

Weber defines domination in his book “Economy and Society (1978)” as “The probability that certain specific commands will be obeyed by a given group of persons” It means that if the authority of certain society commands something, members of that society should obey it. This definition of domination convinces us to believe great effect of domination or authority on societies.

Base on this fact, I strongly insist that it is really important for us to look into and precisely analyze the authorities that are holding their societies in order to understand things about societies. Therefore, I quite admire that Weber points out the importance of domination in field of sociology and History.

Weber prefers Taxonomic scheme of Darwinian Science in analyzing History. So he has categorized the pure types of domination into three: Rational, Traditional and Charismatic according to the kind of claim to legitimacy typically made by each. (Weber, 1978)

First, Rational ground, according to Weber, it rests on a belief in the legality of enacted rules and the right of those elevated to authority under such rules to issue commands (Legal Authority). In case of legal authority, obedience is owed to the legally established impersonal order. It extends to the persons exercising the authority of office under it by virtue of the formal legality of their command only within the scope of authority of the office. (Weber, 1978)

Second, Traditional ground, it rests on an established belief in the sanctity of immemorial tractions and the legitimacy of those exercising authority under them. (Traditional authority) In the case of traditional authority, obedience is owed to person of the chief who occupies the traditionally sanctified position of authority and who is bound by tradition. But here the obligation of obedience is a matter of personal loyalty within area of accustomed obligation. (Weber, 1978)

Third and last, Charismatic grounds rest on devotion to the exceptional sanctity, heroism or exemplary character of an individual person, and of the normative patterns or order revealed or ordained by him. (Charismatic authority) In case of charismatic authority, it is the charismatically qualified leader as such who is obeyed by virtue of personal trust in his revelation, his heroism or his exemplary qualities so far as they fall within the scope of the individual’s belief in his charisma. (Weber, 1978)

I believe that Weber’s categorization of the types of legitimate domination and analysis on each type is valid and historically proven. There are a lot of examples in History that show the existence and characteristics of those three types of authority.

The examples of legal authority may be found in every institution and organization which is bureaucratic in a single, hierarchical, pyramid structure: Modern Catholic Church, British Parliament, Political parties, and Corporations. The cases of traditional authority are usually found in every period and every society which respects its traditions and in which the traditions take and perform important roles: Feudal period, and Patrimonial society. And there were some charismatic leaders who led people and societies with charisma like Napoleon, Achilles and Dalai Lama.

However, I would like to point out that most of legitimate dominations that have been shown in History were not pure but mixed with one another. The three types of domination always exist and interact together in society. The law, the legal authority is greatly influenced by traditional custom, culture and values. Differences in laws of each countries and nation prove this fact. And at the same time, the people in the society seek for charismatic leader who may lead them with charisma. Therefore, I would say that the societies are dominated and led by the mix of three types of legitimate domination which interact and give influence to each other.


Charismatic Authority


A spiritual power or personal quality that gives an individual influence or authority over large number of people” (Webster’s Dictionary)

For me, the charismatic authority is quite interesting and fascinating topic. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel insists that “Great men”, world historical individuals make a profound difference in the course of History. I believe that Charismatic leaders are those individuals.

Everyone was and is a part of History but not the one who makes and leads History. The majority of people remain just as the subject of History. The number of objects of History is always few. But those individuals have always been great impact on human society and History.

I believe that Charismatic leaders usually appear during the time of crisis of certain group of society. They are revolutionary and they break frames of society which are out-dated and sometimes spoilt but holding society. So Weber says that Charismatic authority opposes legal and traditional authority. Great changes in society and History were always made by charismatic authority not legal and traditional authority because charismatic authority is not afraid of big changes while legal and traditional authority is.

I do not say that charismatic authorities or leaders are the best. Legal authority and traditional authority take the role of supporting society and giving basis to it. Without them the society would no longer stand stable. But in terms of necessary changes that should take place, charismatic authority is really needed. They can surely bring changes that the world needs and seeks and this is one of the factors which develops and progresses the world.

Due to revolutionary characteristic of charismatic authority, it seems that it opposes the legal and traditional authority. Weber actually believes in it. However, I would rather say that those three types of domination interact with one another and they need each other. I believe that the great changes brought by charismatic authority will be again legal authorities and certain traditions of society. And they will be again replaced by changes brought by charismatic authority. History develops and progresses as it go through this pattern.

But I would again like to emphasize that it is charismatic authority that moves and leads History. Human society and History go forward through this power. Charismatic leader are the motive power of History. They are not many in History but just few. But all of them have made great impact and changes which should have been. The world needs charismatic leaders, the great men.


Weber, Max (1978). Economy and society (G. Roth and C. Wittich). Berkeley: University
of California. (Originally published in 1922).

Hegel, G.W.F. (2001). The philosophy of history (J. Sibree, Trans.). Kitchener, Ontario:
Batoche Books.

Charisma. Webster’s Dictionary

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Monograph #6 Friedrich Nietzsche

Yu Kwan-Soon, the Most Beautiful Flower

History belongs, above all, to the active and powerful man,
the man who fights one great battle.
-Friedrich Nietzsche

In 1900s, Japan conquered Cho-Sun. The Japanese Army harshly trampled the people of Cho-Sun with no mercy. Cho-Sun was full of desperate cries of liberty suffering under the oppression Japan. The Japanese strategy of colonization was quite effective to the people. They tried to trample down Cho-Sun people’s nationality and their national self-esteem by forcing them to change their inherited Family names into Japanese names and by prohibiting the use of Korean. It was a really successful way to oppress Cho-Sun people. They were frustrated by Japanese elaborated colonial policies and lost volition to withstand against Japanese occupation.

During this period, December 16th 1902, Yu Kwan Soon was born. Yu Kwan Soon was born as a second daughter of Yu Joong Kwon. Her father realized the importance of education and wished to educate his children. By the help of American missionaries, Yu Kwan Soon was able to attend Ewha School.

She was an ordinary girl before she came to realize about the crisis that her nation was in. She could not understand why the people were afraid to fight back and did nothing even though their nation was in crisis. Although she was just 17 years old, she had great compassion towards her nation than any other person in Cho-Sun.

In March 1 of 1919, a national movement arose against Japan. Many people participated but it was becoming weaker and weaker due to a stronger oppression by Japan and people were once again discouraged. At this time, Yu Kwan Soon stood up at the very front and led the movement. She was never afraid of the Japanese Army and was never discouraged even though people who were older and more educated than her already had given up. This passion and bravery of Kwan Soon set fire on the hidden patriotism of Cho-Sun.

Many people were worried about her and they tried to stop her from continuing the movement because she was only a young girl of 17. However nobody was able to stop her passion and patriotism toward her nation.

In 1919, April 1, she again led the movement and during this movement both of her parents were shot by the Japanese Army. Imagine how painful it was for this girl to lose her parents in such a young age. However even the death of her parents could not stop her love toward her nation.

After this movement, many people were arrested and Yu Kwan Soon was also taken away. She had to endure many different kinds of tortures. It was truly impossible for a 17 year-old girl to withstand the harsh and cruel violence which was not bearable for normal men. However her love for her nation made it possible. Although her body became weak and came to lose vigor, the fire of patriotism in her heart never got weaker and was never shaken.

At first, she was sentence for only 3-year imprisonment due to the consideration of the young and weak girl. However in the second trial, she again strongly acted against Japan. In that trial, Yu Kwan Soon kept insisting, “If Japanese are the ones who are committing the sins, how come they are the ones judging us?” The Judge asked her, “If you repent your deeds and become a Japanese citizen, I will forgive you and treat you with mercy.” But she answered, “Why is it a sin to drive out robbers from my country? I will cry for my nation’s independence whether I am dead or alive.” She even threw a chair to the judge when the judge mentioned words that insulted her nation.

This event increased her imprisonment from 3 years to 7 years and brought more harsh tortures which weren’t ever tried before. However even in such situation, she kept on crying, “Independence! Glorious Cho-Sun!” until her last breath when she died in September 28, 1920.

For the suffering nation, the life of a 17 years old girl was like a flower that was trampled before ever blooming. She had to spend her precious and beautiful teen-age in a prison. Yu Kwan Soon was not able flower her life. However she is and will be remembered as the most beautiful flower of Korea forever

Nietzsche, F. (2007). On the use and abuse of history for life (I. C. Johnston, Trans.).
(Originally published in 1873). Retrieved March 27, 2008, from

Yu Gwan-sun (July 27, 2009) In Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 03:04 July 27, 2009 from

Yu Gwan Sun August 25, 2009 Retrieved from

Position Paper #6 Friedrich Nietzsche


Historical Understanding

Friedrich Nietzsche, the revolutionary German Philosopher deals with problems which have been ignored in many ways but which are really essential, important and practical in studying History. He asks us “Why do we need to study History and in what way does it serve our life and societies?” His questions are really practical and giving us foundation where we are going to build up our historical knowledge. I believe that those questions are those that we should profoundly think about and carefully answer before we study History. I strongly believe that study of those questions will give us clear and distinct object in studying history.

In order to answer these questions, Nietzsche proposed the three different model of History the ‘Monumental’, ‘Antiquarian’, and ‘Critical’ and says that each model of history serves different types of people in different ways. And each of them has positive and negative points as a historical model.

First, Monumental History, it is simply about monumental events and beings in the past which can give great inspiration and hope to the people in present. It serves our societies in which people seek teachers and role model whom they may follow. Nietzsche states in his book “On the Use and Abuse of History for Life (1873)” about Monumental History that The greatest moments in the struggle of single individuals make up a chain, in which a range of mountains of humanity are joined over thousands of years. For me the loftiest thing of such a moment from the distant past is still vital, bright, and great. (Nietzsche, 1873) Monumental historians seek a return to or affirmation of the continuing presence of the great achievements of the past. In so doing, they manage and even avoid the complexities and crises of the present day world. (Marie Hughes Warrington, 2009)

Second, Antiquarian History, this model of history accepts events and things in the past without reserve. Antiquarian Historian according to Nietzsche (1873) preserves, honors and love look back in the direction from which he has come. Aiming to bring order to archival traces, the antiquarian historian seeks to preserve the past for the present in an authentic fashion. (Marie Hughes Warrington, 2009)

Third, Critical History, actually it sees History in different view from Monumental, and Antiquarian History. However it has objective, unbiased and practical view on History. There is no beautification or any decoration on History. Staloff (1995) has once described its function that “It serves the need among humans, to liberate us from the shackles of, for example, a conservatism born of mindless antiquarianism.

I admire Nietzsche’s precise analysis on the models of History. And I quite agree with his view on those three different types of view of History. Actually in Historical understanding those three methods of Historical must take important role in our study as a Historian.

I believe that a Historian should not prefer only one model of those three. In Historical understanding, I think all of three methods of analyzing History are crucial and needed. For me, a good Historian is a historian who is able to harmonize these three models.

I strongly believe that the great value of History is that we can learn something from the past regardless of the method and means. Is it too monumental, antiquarian or critical? It is ok if we can still get something good from it. But we can maximize the value of History by combining and harmonizing three methods of Historical understanding.

From Monumental History, we should take as much as we can great inspirations and hopes which our ancestors inherited through their actual experience. Even if there are some lies, we do not need to harshly criticize and dig it unless we can learn something from it.

We should also learn from Antiquarian Historian. In fact some of them accept everything of past thoughtlessly. But I admire their attitude in treating History. They are the people who realize great value of History therefore, we should learn their reverence and respect to History.

However, we should not accept everything of past. Sometimes, we need to see History as itself by properly judging and criticizing. If we are biased too much toward Monumental and Antiquarian History, we might possibly live in untruth. And there are some events of past that we can learn something from by criticizing them. For example, we can specify bad example not to follow by criticizing.


Historical Writing

When we analyze and interpret the Historical events or individuals, we may as well use all of three approaches of historical understanding- Monumental, Antiquarian and Critical. Each of them can give us different teachings but all of them are valuable. In understanding History, we may take any view of Monumental, Antiquarian and Critical because we can still learn something through those views in studying History.

However, in field of Historical writing, I say that it is better for us to take critical method than another two methods. I do not say that critical method is the best. But when write about Historical events we ought to use the critical method because it is most objective and factual among three methods.

As a Historian, I strongly believe that addition should not be added to the any Historical material. Inevitably, the styles, ideas, and views of Historiographers are reflected in most of their Historical writings. It is quite impossible for them to completely avoid it. But Historiographer must try to be objective and factual as much as possible.

Interpreting History and Writing History are different. I insist that in interpreting History any views and approaches are allowed unless they can get certain teachings from the past. However in writing History, personal views or idea should not be reflected because it might lead readers to have the biased and distorted views.

Only an objective and factual writing of History can give us great teachings. The Truth has a power. That is why I insist that the Historiographer should be very objective. History is valuable because it is Truth so a Historiographer must be able to offer pure History itself to people. That kind of Historiographers can offer great teachings of History for those who love History and are willing to learn things from the past. And those Historiographers are great Historians.


Marie Hughes Warrington (2009). 50 Key Thinker on History New York: Routlege

Staloff, D. (1995). The search for a meaningful past philosophies, theories and interpretations.
NY: The Teaching Co

Nietzsche, F. (2007). On the use and abuse of history for life (I. C. Johnston, Trans.).
(Originally published in 1873). Retrieved March 27, 2008, from

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Monograph #5 Karl Marx

Bolsheviks Dreams Utopia

Between late 19th century and 20th century, Russia has gone through the rapid industrialization. At first it seemed that Russia was greatly developing and progressing in terms of Economy, but there came a lot of problems following rapid changes in society as the result of industrialization.

Most of workmen were not given proper environment that they ought to be given. And they were not also guaranteed even minimum wages. Their lives were becoming worse more and more while the factory owners and capitalists were becoming rich. There was economic wealth of Nation and economic progresses and development. However the society was getting so far from people’s happiness and social welfare. Materialism prevailed and it led society to be more inhumane. \

Under autocracy of Nicholas II, who oppressed his citizens and was not concerned with social welfare of people but was busy to achieve his own interests and ambitions. Turning on top of another, the failure of Russia in World War I brought chaos in society. This social phase urged social reform.

Bolsheviks (or "Maximalist"), founded by Vladimir Lenin, were an organization of professional revolutionaries under a democratic internal hierarchy governed by the principle of democratic centralism, who considered themselves as the vanguard of the revolutionary working class of Russia(Wikipedia, 2009). It follows a Marxist program- the overthrow Tsarism, the establishment of constitutional government, and, finally, the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of a Communist society (Encarta, 2003).

As Marxist, Bolsheviks were very much concerned with equality among people in the society and admiring the values of workers. This idea of Bolsheviks was attractive enough to convince the people of working class who suffered under the tsarist. That is why the main source of power to revolutionize was mass workers.

In 1917, there was a revolution that stoke down reign of Nicholas II. It is the “October Revolution”. This revolution was led by Vladimir Lenin and was based upon Lenin's writing on the ideas of Karl Marx, a political ideology often known as Marxism-Leninism. It marked the beginning of the spread of communism in the twentieth century. It was far less sporadic than the revolution of February and came about as the result of deliberate planning and coordinated activity to that end. Though Lenin was the leader of the Bolshevik Party, it has been argued that since Lenin wasn't present during the actual takeover of the Winter Palace, it was really Trotsky's organization and direction that led the revolution, spurred by the motivation Lenin instigated within his party.(Wikipedia, 2009) Critics on the Right have long argued that the financial and logistical assistance of German intelligence via their key agent, Alexander Parvus was a key component as well, though historians are divided, for the evidence is sparse.

On 7 November 1917, Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin led his leftist revolutionaries in a revolt against the ineffective Provisional Government (Russia was still using the Julian Calendar at the time, so period references show a 25 October date). The October revolution ended the phase of the revolution instigated in February, replacing Russia's short-lived provisional parliamentary government with government by soviets, local councils elected by bodies of workers and peasants. Liberal and monarchist forces, loosely organized into the White Army, immediately went to war against the Bolsheviks' Red Army.

Soviet membership was initially freely elected, but many members of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, anarchists, and other leftists opposed the Bolsheviks through the soviets. When it became clear that the Bolsheviks had little support outside of the industrialized areas of Saint Petersburg and Moscow, they barred non-Bolsheviks from membership in the soviets. Other socialists revolted and called for "a third Russian revolution." The most notable instances were the Tambov rebellion, 1919–1921, and the Kronstadt rebellion in March 1921. These movements, which made a wide range of demands and lacked effective coordination, were eventually defeated along with the White Army during the Civil War.

As the result, the Provincial Government was destroyed and Bolsheviks established the first Communist government in the world. As what is mentioned above, this revolution was based on the idea of Karl Marx which promotes classless society in which every citizen is treated equally and enjoys social welfare. In order to achieve this social state, there were many people who submitted their blood.

Sadly, in fact that ideal society Bolsheviks dreamed was not achieved. After 70 years from establishment of the first communist government, Soviet Union was vanished into the History with many problems that it had. However we remember and History tells us that there were the people who dreamed Utopia.


Russian Revolution(1917), (August 2, 2009). In Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 13:44 August 2, 2009 from

Bolsheviks, (August 10, 2009). In Wikipedia . the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 01:35 August 10, 2009 from

Bolshevism (1993-2003). In Encarta Encyclopedia, Microsoft Corporation

David W. Koeller (1996). The Bolshevik Revolution. Retrieved from

Position Paper #5 Karl Marx


Scienticism vs Historicism

There have been a lot of debates on the various ways of interpreting History. The philosophers of Enlightenment like Vico Giambattista, Immanuel Kant, and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel insist that the factor that makes and leads History is human reason and consciousness. Things in human society are a work of human reason and potentiality. What does it mean? It strongly says that History or human society can never be explained by any mathematical laws and means so we should not put our History into certain laws of mathematics.

Those philosophers criticize the trial to interpret and look into History by means of Newtonian science which realize things by rational experiments and work out certain formula from certain phenomenon. Rene Descartes was the one who tried to explain History by his epistemological view which was only applicable in the area of mathematics and physics. As we know History is sometimes not obvious. There is something in History that is hard to exactly explain and define. There could be certain patterns, but there could never be the law that put History in it. Due to the vagueness of History Descartes devaluated History.

Karl Marx was the one who admired “Scientism” His attempts to interpret History by means of science and materialism were to answer to Hegel who was an advocate of “Historicism”

Marx’s theory is quite different from Hegel’s. It is well shown in their views on human reason which is an anthropological matter. Hegel says that the thing that distinguishes Human species from other animal species is human reason and by which Human society develops and progresses. But Marx insists that human reason is just a function that is developed instrumentally to serve naturalistic purposes. For Marx, Consciousness does not determine life, but life determines consciousness (Marie Hughes Warrington, 2009).

What does it mean? Marx thinks that the material condition of life determine the nature of human consciousness and society, rather than the other way around (Marie Hughes Warrington, 2009). It is Marx’s materialist conception of History. This conception of History therefore, is very much concerned with the development of human species and society which occurs as human species evolve. So the idea of Marx is related to Darwinian Science and also with Newtonian Science in the point that he concentrates on materialistic matter in approaching certain realization.

I quite disagree with Karl Marx’s approach to History. I believe that man’s nature to produce something is already under human consciousness. Therefore it is obvious that human consciousness is the factor that brings social developments and progresses.

What is consciousness? It is the ability of human to realize and be aware of things. I believe that realization and awareness of human species about their nature and environment is the factor that enables and urges them to produce something. A man produces something when he is aware of his needs. And that awareness is under consciousness.

Karl Marx sees materialistic things first to reach certain realization of History. But in my opinion, we should first look into the factors which bring certain materialistic change. And I say in Human history every materialistic change comes from man’s reason or consciousness. Materialistic changes do not determine consciousness. Consciousness determines materialistic changes.

Therefore, I disagree with Marx’s scientism that puts the history into certain laws or formula and interprets History with materialistic concept. In order for us to properly understand History, we should know the factor that makes and moves Human History. And it is man’s consciousness.


Communism, the Solution to the Problem of History?

Karl Marx also takes important part in economic philosophy. He sees means or system of production as an important key to History. Then he bravely says that “Communism is the solution to the problem of history.”

In Ancient period, slavery was the force of production. In early historical time slaves were needed for various specialized functions in the societies (Encarta, 2003).

In Medieval period, feudalism was the mode of production. It was characterized by the granting of fiefs, chiefly in the form of land and labor, in return for political and military services—a contract sealed by oaths of homage and fealty (fidelity). The grantor was lord of the grantee, his vassal, but both were free men and social peers (Encarta, 2003).

Finally, in modern era, the capitalism became the mode of production. Marx argues that the capitalist form of production is a truly dynamical economic structure. In fact capitalism has achieved amazing economic development in countries and solved problems of scarcity. However for Marx, capitalism could not be complete stage of the mode of production.

He points out the problem of capitalism such as an enormous gap between rich and poor, and inhumane life of workmen as a result of division of labor. And he predicted that when the recession and depression comes communism will occur.

Marx actually wants Utopia in which there are no classes and everyone can enjoy equality. Communism is simply that everyone works and be distributed things equally so that there will be too rich and poor people and it is classless society.

Actually, his desire is quite ideal. Utopia that Marx suggests may be a perfect society but it is impossible because of human nature. Here is the crucial error in Marx’ ideal society, it denies natures of human such as greed and selfishness while Adam Smith’s capitalism accepts those natures of human and considers them as the key or motive power the economic system. If Utopia can be established, there should not be any one who is greedy and selfish. However there is no man like that.

And we may notice that none of the modes of production that prevailed in history (Slavery, Feudalism and Capitalism) was classless society. Actually there is no certain class in society but there are still classes in terms of economic power and wealth. What does it tell us? It is truly impossible to achieve classless society. The natures of human do not allow it to happen. This is what has been proven through History, the collapse of USSR and other communist society.

Communism cannot be the solution to the problem of history. It is proven in Russia and other communist countries. Most of communist countries have been collapsed. Their trial and failure is telling us that there is no Utopia.


Division of labour, (August 8, 2009). In Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 05:43 August 8, 2009 from

Marie Hughes Warrington (2009). 50 Key Thinker on History New York: Routlege
Marx, K. (2002) Das kapital (Vol. 1, 4th ed.). (Ehrbar, H.G., Trans.) (Originally
published in 1890).

Park, Sungbeen(2009). Position Paper on Vico Giambattista.

Encarta Encyclopedia (1993-2003), Microsoft Corporation

Monday, August 24, 2009

Economic Philosopher- Adam Smith

Economic Philosopher #1 Adam Smith



Adam Smith (5 June 1723 – 17 July 1790) was born to Margaret Douglas at Kirkcaldy, Scotland, United Kingdom. During his childhood he was particularly close to his mother, who likely encouraged him to pursue his scholarly ambitions. He attended the Burgh School of Kirkcaldy – characterized by Rae as "one of the best secondary schools of Scotland at that period" – from 1729 to 1737. There he studied Latin, mathematics, history, and writing

Smith entered the University of Glasgow when he was fourteen and studied moral philosophy under Francis Hutcheson. Here he developed his passion for liberty, reason, and free speech. In 1740, Smith was awarded the Snell exhibition and left the University of Glasgow to attend Balliol College, Oxford.

At Oxford fell incurred the displeasure of the university authorities because of his taking an approving interest in the philosophical works of David Hume. Some twelve years older than Adam Smith David Hume was a fellow Scot and a son of the "Scottish Enlightenment" becoming the author of his "A Treatise of Human Nature", which was held by influential opinion at Oxford University to be guilty of promoting an "atheistic" philosophy. He also seems to have suffered from troubles with his nerves and, as a result of the situation; Adam Smith relinquished his scholarship in 1746 returning homewards to base himself in Edinburgh. He had in any case been unimpressed with the standard of teaching he had found at oxford.

Back in Edinburgh, Adam Smith moved in intellectual circles and gave a number of public lectures that brought him to the attention of the wider intellectual public such that at the age of twenty-eight he became Professor of Logic at Glasgow University in 1751. Shortly thereafter, in 1752, Adam Smith secured the more richly rewarded professorial chair of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow.

Smith was a reserved and absent minded individual much inclined to enjoy the books in his own library and continuing to live in the same house as his ageing mother. Though often awkward in social situations he acquired a great reputation as an interesting and animated lecturer. In this he was perhaps aided by following Francis Hutcheson in giving his own lectures in English rather than the previously more expected scholarly medium of Latin. In his spare time Adam Smith had opportunities to meet with many influential persons in intellectual and business circles in a city still under the influence of the "Scottish Enlightenment" and which even had its own Political Economy Club.

In 1759 a major work by Adam Smith entitled Theory of Moral Sentiments attracted much attention even beyond British shores winning him an intellectual reputation in such foreign countries as France and Germany. Adam Smith's enhanced reputation resulted in his being able, in 1763, to resign from the University of Glasgow to take on the very well paid role of private tutor to the youthful Henry Scott, heir presumptive to the Dukedom of Buccleuch, whom he was to accompany on an eighteen month "Grand Tour" on the continent of Europe as was perhaps expected for the privileged sons of the wealthy and powerful.

In 1759 he published his Theory of Moral Sentiments, embodying some of his Glasgow lectures. This work, which established Smith's reputation in his own day, is concerned with the explanation of moral approval and disapproval. His capacity for fluent, persuasive, if rather rhetorical argument is much in evidence. He bases his explanation, not as the third Lord Shaftesbury and Hutcheson had done, on a special "moral sense,"nor, like Hume, to any decisive extent on utility, but on sympathy. There has been considerable controversy as how far there is contradiction or contrast between Smith's emphasis in the Moral Sentiments on sympathy as a fundamental human motive, and, on the other hand, the key role of self-interest in the The Wealth of Nations. In the former he seems to put more emphasis on the general harmony of human motives and activities under a beneficent Providence, while in the latter, in spite of the general theme of "the invisible hand" promoting the harmony of interests, Smith finds many more occasions for pointing out cases of conflict and of the narrow selfishness of human motives.

In Geneva and Paris, Adam Smith, established philosophical author and holder of the post of tutor to an immensely wealthy lordling, met such intellectuals as Voltaire, several economic theorists such as the "Physiocrat" Quesnay and also important French economic administrators like Turgot and Necker.

On his return to London from continental Europe Smith stayed there for some time and met amongst others Edmund Burke, Samuel Johnson and Edward Gibbon. His established reputation and ongoing well-regarded ideas resulted in his being elected as member of a particularly prestigious intellectual association known as the Royal Society.

Having proven to be a satisfactory tutor to the Duke of Bucchleuch Adam Smith was awarded an annuity that had been agreed was to be his at the end of his period of service. He then returned to Scotland where he stayed quietly with his mother at his native town of Kirkcaldy and occupied himself in study and writing such his "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations" was published in 1776.

Influential movements that led to the emergence of Modern Capitalism are substantially based on Smith's work and hence he deserves to be regarded as one of the most dramatically influential philosophers or philosophic writers of modern times.

In 1777 he was named lord rector of the University of Edinburgh and in 1778 was appointed as commissioner of customs in Scotland. This post was well paid and Adam Smith even contacted his former aristocratic pupil volunteering to relinquish the annuity that he had been awarded. In the event, however, the young nobleman preferred to continue with the annuity.

On July 17th, 1790, Adam Smith died at Edinburgh and was buried some days later in Canongate churchyard in that city.


Free Market Economy of Selfish People

When we think of Adam Smith’s theory, the word ‘Market’ comes in our minds. For Adam Smith, a market is the factor that makes people and their society work in terms of economy. Actually, his idea of market came from the two great problems that absorb Adam Smith’s attention. He is interested in laying bare the mechanism by which society hangs together. How is it possible for a community in which everyone is busily following his self interest not to fly apart from sheer centrifugal force? What is it that guides each individual’s private business so that it conforms to the needs of the group? With no central planning authority and no steadying influence of age-old tradition, how does society manage to get those tasks done which bare necessary for survival? (Robert L. Heilbroner, 1953)

The Laws of Market that he proposes are the answer to those questions. He pointed out the vital role of market in society especially in area of economy. And he even insists that Government should let market work itself and minimize its interference in economy and the free economic activity of business men should be promoted. This is quite opposite to communism proposed by Karl Marx that emphasizes central planning of the government on economy.

According to Adam Smith, selfishness of men is the factor that moves maintains market economy. The works of men which are motivated by selfishness bring the economic development. In a society, there are many people and they have different interest and preference from one another. And this difference of the people will bring competition among themselves. What is interesting in Adam Smith’s theory is that the motive power of economy is not cooperation and altruism but competition and egoism among people. It seems to sound strange that economic welfare of society is achieved when people freely follow their self-interest. Thus very much as in The Theory of Moral Sentiments, the selfish motives of men are transmuted by interaction to yield the most unexpected of result: Social harmony (Robert L. Heilbroner, 1953)

This fact is clearly shown in settlement of prices among producers. Robert L. Heilbroner in his book ‘The Worldly Philosophers (1953)’ gives the example of how the selfishness of people works in market economy. He said that “Suppose we have one hundred manufactures of gloves. The self-interest of each one will cause him to wish to raise his price above his cost of production and thereby to realize an extra profit. But he cannot. If he raises his price, his competitor will step in and take his market away from him by underselling him. Only if all glove manufacturers combine and agree to maintain a solid front will an unduly high price be charged.”

This is so-called “invisible hand”. There is invisible factor, or hand that controls and maintains a market economy. Without interference of government, the market is enabled to regulate prices and quantity of commodities by invisible hand. So what is “invisible hand”? It is people’s behavior in their own interest (Wikipedia, 2009).

The market is full of consumers and producers who are greedily pursuing their self-interest. However, this selfishness should not be restricted by any other factors. There should be liberty of people to freely pursue their own interest. . So Adam Smith said that “Don’t try to do good, leg good emerge as the product of selfishness” It is the free market economy. It is the system that lets market and its people work

Robert L. Heilbroner stated in his book “The Worldly Philosopher (1953)”, that “What is it that drives society to multiplication of wealth and richness? It is market mechanism which encourages and forces people to invent, innovate things.


A Great Endless Chain, Market Mechanism

I would like to more profoundly look into the market economy with practical example. According to Smith, the market economy moves and processes with certain patterns. It seems to be “A Great Endless Chain”(Robert L. Heilbroner, 1953).

So what does “A Great Endless Chain” mean? In order to understand that term, we must first know the laws of behavior which propel the market system in the ascending spiral of productivity. The Laws of Behavior is divided into two: The Law of Accumulation and Population.

First, the Law of Accumulation, Adam Smith thought that accumulation is necessary factor in market economy of capitalism. He insists people should accumulate. However he opposes the accumulation for accumulation’s sake because for him the purpose of accumulation is for it to be used as a capital for economic development. Smith saw a vast benefit to society in the accumulation of capital

Second, the Law of Population, actually Smith considers labor as a value that is necessary in economy. Webster’s Dictionary defines labor as “Productive activity, for the sake of economic gain”. Actually labor is work of men. So a large number of populations would mean abundance in labor. Abundance in labor would also mean the abundance of productive activities. It is really important factor in capitalism because by which things are produced and economic development is achieved. That is why Adam Smith sees labor as an important value in economy. So what is the law of population? It is really simple. Higher wage will cause increase in number of workmen population and decrease in wage will cause decrease in workmen population.

Based on this knowledge we may now understand “A Great Endless Chain”. The following shows the process of “A Great Endless Chain” and how the law of accumulation and labor take their parts in the chain:

Accumulation of Wealth takes place

Increased facilities for production and in a greater division of labor

Accumulation will raise wages

Accumulation begins to look unprofitable

Higher wage of workmen→ Supply increases

Population will increase

Competition among workmen will decrease the wage

Accumulation begins again

We may have noticed that the market system has its own mechanism and it enables market to work itself without any other interference and help. Economy develops as it repeats certain patterns of mechanism. This is what Adam Smith pointed out. For him, this market system was wonderful social machine which leads the economy and brings the wealth of nation.

To Adam Smith, market that wonderful social machine would take care of society’s needs if it was left alone so that the law of evolution might take over to lift society toward its promised reward. (Robert L. Heilbroner, 1953)


Labor, Productive Power

Adam Smith insists in the first part of His book “The Wealth of Nation (2001)” that “the annual labor of every nation is the fund which originally supplies it with all necessaries and convenience of life” The fact that he starts his book with the emphasis on important of labor may tell us that how important role the labor will take in economic system which Adam Smith is going to introduce.

Smith tries to find the key of economic development and increase of the wealth of nation in matter of labor. He highly values the ability of labor of men. This view even brought theoretical conflict between Francois Quesnay who was the leader of physiocracy and whom Smith respected.

Physiocracy insisted that only the agricultural worker produced true wealth (Robert L. Heilbroner, 1953). But Smith did not limit the ability of labor within agricultural area. He believes that labor can produce wealth wherever it performs.
This idea which emphasizes the importance and ability of labor leads Smith to the next idea that economic development and increase in the wealth of nation depend on how we maximize productivity of labor by using it efficiently.

At the time of Smith, there was a wave of modernization in European society. And this modernization was based on the industrialization. The remarkable industrial revolution took place from late 18th century started from the invention of a steam engine. A side from the invention of a steam engine, there is another factor that made industrial and economic development possible. It is efficient use of labor. Actually Adam Smith could not see the industrial revolution in his days. However after his death, his idea on labor was proven right during the industrial revolution.

So what is the efficient way of use of labor proposed by Adam Smith? It is “Division of Labor” or “Specialization”.


Division of Labor

Division of labor is the specialization of cooperative labor in specific, circumscribed task and roles, intended to increase the productivity of labor. (Wikipedia, 2009)

Smith considers Division of labor as essence of industrialism. During pre-industrialization period, things were manufactured by small size of home industry or manufacturing. Adam Smith says in his book “The Wealth of Nation (2001)” that in those trifling manufactures which are destined to supply the small wants of but a small number of people, the whole number of workmen must necessarily be small; and those employed in every different branch of the work can often be collected into the same workhouse, and placed at once under the view of the spectator. However in great manufactures, which are destined to supply the great wants of the great body of the people, every different branch of the work employs so great a number of workmen that it is impossible to collect them all into the same workhouse. We can seldom see more, at one time, than those employed in one single branch. Though in such manufactures, therefore, the work may really be divided into a much greater number of parts than in those of a more trifling nature, the division is not near so obvious, and has accordingly been much less observed.

This idea of Smith was applied in the industrial factories during the industrialization and it brought amazing increase in number of products and became the base of industrialization. This fact proves that division of labor is truly the way that can maximize the efficiency of labor ability.

Division of labor increase productivity power of labor by specializing works of laborers. We may as well find the effect of division of labor in example of Pin factory suggested by Adam Smith.

Smith noticed that a worker who performs all the works needed to make a pin alone was able to produce only 20 pins in a day. But in one factory he once visited, the work of making pin was divided into 18 parts and 10 specialized laborers perform one or two parts of the work. The number of products of this factory in one day was 48,000. In other words, one worker manufactured 4,800 pins.

This specialization was also applied in Ford Company. Ford divided process to make a car into 7,882 of different parts. And it hired specialized laborers and it also brought great power of productivity.

In “The Wealth of Nation (2001)” Smith states that “the improvement of the dexterity of the workman necessarily increases the quantity of the work he can perform”. A workman’s dexterity can be cultivated by repeatedly performing reduced and simplified operation. This dexterity of workman is able to reduce the time to manufacture certain things. And by gathering of this kind of people who have dexterity in their own works great quantity of things can be produced in a short time. And this may happen as a result of division of labor.

Therefore, Labor itself and efficient use of it are really important value to Adam Smith’s economic system. With technological development, it can be considered as the key of industrial development which leads society to economic development and increase the Wealth of Nation.


Adam Smith, (August 17, 2009). In Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 15:04 August 17, 2009 from

Biography of Adam Smith (1723-1790). (2003, March 6) Revolution to Reconstruction Retrieved August 17, 2009 from

Division of labour, (August 8, 2009). In Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 05:43 August 8, 2009 from

Adam Smith (2001). An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations London: The Adam Smith Institute

Alvin Toffler (1980). The Third Wave New York: Bantam Books

Robert L. Heilbroner. The World Philosophers New York: Touchstone book

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Monograph #4 Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Martin Luther King, His Trace in Civil Right

“Great man is world historical individual who makes a profound difference in the course of History and fundamentally changed moralities, national principles, and system of law.” (Staloff, 1995)

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia as son of the Reverend Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King. King's father was born "Michael King," and Martin Luther King, Jr., was originally named "Michael King, Jr.," until the family traveled to Europe in 1934 and visited Germany. His father soon changed both of their names to Martin in honor of the German Protestant leader Martin Luther. (Wikipedia, 2009)

Like Martin Luther who has made a great revolution against unjust deeds of Churches, King also has made things that can be possibly called revolution against disrespecting Civil right of Black people.

He founded lots of movements and campaign which try to build up morality by enhancing and promoting the rights of black people in USA. (But, his works focused on not only Black people but also civil right of other group of people whose rights were not respected.) His revolution was quiet and soft but really strong. He followed non-violent activism of Gandhi.

In 1957, King founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) with other civil right activists. This group purposed to harness the moral authority and organizing power of black churches to conduct non-violent protests in service of civil right reform. (Wikipedia, 2009)

With SCLC, King has gone through many movements and campaigns such as Albany movement which is considered as a key lesson in tactics for the national civil rights movements and Birmingham campaign which was strategic effort to promote civil rights for African Americans.

In 1963, King and other leaders of civil rights organizations had a march in Washington. This is so-called “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom”. During this march, King delivered his most famous speech “I Have a Dream”

This is a part of King’s speech “I Have a Dream”:

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

This speech electrified the crowd and King was considered as most dangerous and effective Negro leader.

Until King was assassinated, he has made a lot of impact on civil rights movement that rebuilt the crumbled morality in USA. He has changed the wave of racial discrimination and engraved his trace on History of Civil Right.

King’s dream which did not seem to be achieved is being achieved little by little. In 2009, Barak Obama became first black president of USA, and there are still many movements for Civil rights following King’s footmark.

According to Hegel, the Owl of Minerva begins its flight at the falling of the dusk (Marie Hughes Warrington, 2009). Truly the value of Martin Luther King Jr. could be fully understood at the end of his days.

Great man makes changes in History and solves problems that world faces. Now we see those what the one of the great men dreamed are being achieved.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

—"I have a Dream," Speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963

“Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to life our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.”

—"I have a Dream," Speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963


Marie Hughes Warrington (2009). 50 Key Thinker on History New York: Routlege

Staloff, D. (1995). The search for a meaningful past philosophies, theories and interpretations.
NY: The Teaching Co

Martin Luther King JR., (August 11, 2009). In Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 22:54 August 11, 2009 from,_Jr.

Carolyn Garris (2006) Martin Luther King's Conservative Legacy. American Founding and History, Retrieved August 17,2008 from

Position Paper # 4 Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel


Role of Human Reason in History

As a Historian, I think it is really important to define the factors that makes and lead History because it decides the direction of our approach to History. However it is not easy to exactly define what those factors are. Every person might have different view on what factors lead History. There have been a lot of arguments on this matter.

There were people who tried to find certain rule and formula which are rationalistic means to analyze History like Rene Descartes. In other hand, some thinkers like Vico argued that things are created according to human’s idea (Vico, 1744) which means History is created by Human being. And Immanuel Kant (1784) believed that things are created by human reason and potentiality. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, the one of the greatest philosopher of History also highly valued human reason and mind (Hegel called it “Spirit”) in looking into History.

Actually, I do agree with the view of Vico, Kant, and Hegel rather than the view of rationalist like Rene Descartes who tried to put History into certain rule of formula. I believe that there are two factors that make and lead History- God’s prudence and human reason.

Although the ideas of Vico, Kant and Hegel are different from my idea about History on that point that they do not really consider God’s prudence and intervention on History, their ideas about human reason and potentiality as factor that strongly affects on human History and civilization are logical and reasonable.

According to Hegel’s idea, there are no mathematical laws that can define History and human culture and society. The thing that we can say about Human civilization is that it is developmental. And the development or progression of human society occurs in accordance with development or growth of Human reason and potentiality. Therefore, the ability of human reason is essential to Human History and civilization.

“Reason is the sovereign of the world; that the History of the world, therefore, presents us with a rational process. And that reason is substance, as well as infinite power; its own infinite material underlying all the natural and spiritual life which it originates, as also the infinite form.”(Philosophy of History, 2001)

I actually agree with this idea of Hegel that emphasizes the importance of Human reason. Truly, as human species has gone though many problems and difficulties in their lives, their rational ability has been developed and it led them to more civilized society.

Human reason led men to realize their needs and means to achieve their needs. For example, people realized that it was dangerous and uncomfortable to live outside. This rational realization made people to build so-called house.

This rational ability is something that distinguishes and differentiates Human being from animals. Without this we are just like an animal which does not have any development and progression.

Therefore, Human reason can be considered as the factor that greatly affects human society and History and as something makes man a man.


History, Dialectic Process

Reason, the ability to think about something can be grown and developed as it faces problems and barrier. People’s ideas, output of rational thinking can become more systematic and organized through facing contradictions. This process which proposed by Hegel is called “Dialectic”.

Hegelian Dialectic is defined as:

an interpretive method, originally used to relate specific entities or events to the absolute idea, in which some assertible proposition (Thesis) is necessarily opposed by an equally assertible and apparently contradictory proposition (antithesis), the mutual contradiction being reconciled on a higher level of truth by a third proposition (Synthesis).(Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary)

I agree with the idea of Hegel that History is a dialectic process. I believe that dialectic method is a high level of rational thinking which can reach a great conclusion. Human being establishes an idea which we may call “Thesis” and the thesis will be examined by opposite proposition which proves contradiction of thesis. And through this process he will be able to establish better idea or thesis.

In my opinion, human society has been developed and progressed through questioning against it and answering to that question. Works of human being have always been examined by opposite proposition and it always brought better result.

Kant’s theory is somehow similar to the idea of Hegel. Kant, in the Sixth Thesis of “On History (1784)” suggested three requirements- correct conception of possible common law, great experience gained in many path of life and a good will ready to accept such a constitution- for the solution to the problem proposed in Fifth Thesis (“The greatest problem for the human race, to the solution of which Nature drives man, is the achievement of a universal civic society which administers law among men.”) What I would like to emphasize here is the fact that Kant suggested the practical knowledge which is gained from trial and error as means to solve the great problem.

For example, group of people can have certain form of government (Thesis). Later on, people will face some problems and disadvantage of the government and they will establish the opposite proposition against the government (Antithesis). And they will finally make up other form of government which synthesizes two propositions (Synthesis). This is an example that shows how practically the Hegelian dialectic can be used in human society.

By this dialectic process, human society has been always developed, strengthened and supplemented its lack. The dialectic method has been being used in various areas like politics, economy, society and culture. It helps human society and civilization go forward. The works of the past can also be considered as work of dialectic process.

Therefore, I admire Hegel for well pointing out dialect process which is a high level of rational thinking as a motive power of human civilization for it to move forward. However I would like to make it sure that God’s prudence and intervention still dominate all the human activities and the world will ultimately go to as God planned.


Vico Giambattista(1744). The New Science New York: Ithaca

Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View(1784). Translation by Lewis White Beck. From Immanuel Kant,“On History,”The Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1963. Retrieved June 13, 2009, from htm

Hegel, G.W.F. (2001). The philosophy of history. (J. Libre, Trans.) Kitchener, Ontario: Batoche Books

Marie Hughes Warrington (2009). 50 Key Thinker on History New York: Routlege

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Monograph Paper #3 Immanuel Kant

Hammurabi’s code

Fourth Thesis: The means employed by Nature to bring about the development of all the capacities of men is their antagonism in society, so far as this is, in the end, the cause of a lawful order among men. (Kant 1784)

The Seven Examples of Code of Hammurabi

1. If any one ensnares another, putting a ban upon him, but he cannot prove it, then he that ensnared him shall be put to death.

2. If any one brings an accusation against a man, and the accused goes to the river and leaps into the river, if he sinks in the river his accuser shall take possession of his house. But if the river proves that the accused is not guilty, and he escapes unhurt, then he who had brought the accusation shall be put to death, while he who leaped into the river shall take possession of the house that had belonged to his accuser.

3. If any one brings an accusation of any crime before the elders, and does not prove what he has charged, he shall, if a capital offense is charged, be put to death.

4. If a Builder builds a house for someone, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built falls in and kills its owner, then that builder shall be put to death.

5. If a man gives his child to a nurse and the child dies in her hands, but the nurse unbeknown to the father and mother nurses another child, then they shall convict her of having nursed another child without the knowledge of the father and mother and her breasts shall be cut off.

6. If any one steals the minor son of another, he shall be put to death.

7. If a man takes a woman to wife, but has no intercourse with her, this woman is no wife to him.

The code of Hammurabi is considered as most well-preserved ancient law code. It has been valuable historical material for historians to profoundly look into the ancient society because the law code was made due to social needs and problems. But more important point is that Hammurabi’s code shows us how so-called constitution emerged. This code can answer to the questions “What made people need a law?”

Hammurabi was the sixth king of Babylon. He became the first king of Babylonian Empire, extending Babylon's control over Mesopotamia by winning a series of wars against neighboring kingdoms.

Actually, it was the time that city-state began to emerge and form. Starting the Mesopotamian Civilization, in this time the population was greatly increased and large number of population form the first Metropolis called Babylon.

We may wonder that “what problems and needs would the people of first city-state face? Indeed, there happened many problems and needs as the society came to be formed.

As many people who have different personality and interest from one another lived together in certain area, there was increase in crime and it resulted in chaos among the people and social order. Growth in population and social development brought various problems.

For example, a primitive man did not need to steal from others because they ate hunting for food together and ate together. And there was no personal wealth among them. However as people began to know how to domesticate and farm, there was an accumulation of wealth. And it somehow tempted people to steal.

Likewise, there occurred many crimes which caused confusion in society. This problem in society the people of Babylon faced led Hammurabi, the leader of them to establish a constitution, a law to achieve a social order among the people.

The seven examples of Code of Hammurabi stated above show us that how tough the laws were at the time. Hammurabi needed to cope with the unsocial sociability of men (Kant 1784). Therefore, the constitution, which can nearly be considered as first organized constitution was a result of social antagonism among people in society.


Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View(1784). Translation by Lewis White Beck. From Immanuel Kant,“On History,”The Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1963. Retrieved June 13, 2009, from htm

Hammurabi, (July 29, 2009). In Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11:20 July 29, 2009 from

Marie Hughes Warrington (2009). 50 Key Thinker on History New York: Routlege

Position Paper #3 Immanuel Kant

Is Human Reason Everything That Leads History?

Immanuel Kant (22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804), the philosopher of the period of High Enlightenment, had a teleological view of history that denied the arguments of his predecessors. His view opposed the cyclical conception of Vico Giambattista, who looks at History in a Cyclical conception and that Human History repeats certain stages- the age of gods, the age of heroes and the age of men (Vico 1744).

Kant on the other hand, argues that our world and Human beings are going to certain end. He supported this idea with biological concept that a seed becomes a tree; it reaches to the final natural end. Based on this Historical concept, he also argues that the progress is always possible until human being reached his natural end. And the reaching to the final end of human is achieved by rational capacities and potentials of human being.

I would like to point out the factors of progress of human civilization proposed by Immanuel Kant in his book “On History (1784)” by stating some of his nine theses.

Third Thesis: “Nature has willed that man should, by himself, produce everything that goes beyond the mechanical ordering of his animal existence, and that he should partake of no other happiness or perfection than that which he himself, independently of instinct, has created by his own reason.(Kant 1784)”

According to this thesis, everything in our society or civilization is created by human reason; that every aspect that constitutes the human civilization such as politics, society, economy and culture are all the result of human reason. Therefore, the progresses that had occurred in the past and will occur in the future are all made by human reason. So the development of rational capacities of human is directly related to the progresses of human life.

Second Thesis: “In man (as the only rational creature on earth) those natural capacities which are directed to the use of his reason are to be fully developed only in the race, not in the individual. (Kant 1784)”

Fourth Thesis: “The means employed by Nature to bring about the development of all the capacities of men is their antagonism in society, so far as this is, in the end, the cause of a lawful order among men. (Kant 1784)”

Fifth Thesis: “The greatest problem for the human race, to the solution of which Nature drives man, is the achievement of a universal civic society which administers law among men. (Kant 1784)”

The fourth thesis argues that the people’s antagonism in society is the factor that brings the development of all the capacities of men specifically a lawful order among men. This quite supports the idea of the Fifth thesis which implies that the achievements are possible only in the society. They cannot be achieved by an individual. Achievements and progress may occur in the relationship of people with one another. Therefore, Human civic society takes important role in occurrence of progress and achievement of human civilization. What people feel and experience in society brings their needs and people rationally come up with solutions to them. Those solutions which are for people to progress are examined by knowledge acquired through trial, practice, and instruction.

We can pick out the fact that the factors spur the progress in human life are all from human being itself- rational capacity, and social relationship among people.

I partially agree with his idea. I believe that Human society and civilization always progress and do not decline. Human civilization does not go back to barbarian time unlike what Vico said. It is true that human being has infinite potential and it will spur human civilization go forward and progress. And human reason somehow affects on directions of the world.

However, the problem with Kant’s theory is that his ideas are too humanistic and human-centered. He is not considering other factors that have led human History and will lead to a future human life. He is too much focusing on human beings and man’s rational capacity. It seems to be a narrow view on History. I strongly say that the human life and civilization have been led by not only human reason but also beyond power. I do not like his idea that eliminates the God from the History.

The basis of my Historical conception is that the maker, owner, and leader of History is not human but God. So I cannot agree with Kant’s humanistic view. The factor that determines direction of History is God’s will not human reason and product of people’s social relationship.

Truly, our world is going to a certain end. We should not deny it. But I would like to oppose the idea of Kant that the end of human History is not necessarily happiness but the development of rationality. Indeed the end of human History is not happiness and also not development of rationality. The end of the world is God’s will. The world is going to the end that God wants.


Vico Giambattista(1744). The New Science New York: Ithaca

Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View(1784). Translation by Lewis White Beck. From Immanuel Kant,“On History,”The Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1963. Retrieved June 13, 2009, from htm

Immanuel Kant (Aug 1, 2009). In Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 13:23 Aug 1, 2009 from