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He sees that a system of nature could indeed exist in accordance with such a law, even though man (like the inhabitants of the South Sea Islands) should let his talents rust and resolve to devote his life merely to idleness, indulgence, and propagation -- in a word, to pleasure.

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Such prisons still exist, such as the infamous Pelican Bay State Prison of California; but the prisoners are isolated there only because they proved too violent to be housed with other prisoners.

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Their isolation thus has no moral purpose; and if the confinement drives them insane, perhaps they were already -- in any case, there is not much else that can be done about it.

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Thus, the notion that homosexuality or sodomy was and a was the basis of laws against these practices (so that the law therefore did not need to invoke ).

Posted: 6:00 p.m. Monday, December 07, 2015

This is a normative conception that posits substantial duties -- as in fact we have seen above with duties not to contravene "self-love" as self-preservation and to develop our "talents," where both kinds of duties involvement judgments about the (Aristotelian "entelechies") of our faculties or even feelings.

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Indeed, Locke himself, in speaking of the "Law of Nature" said, "Reason, which is that Law."In this way, Locke and Kant focus on one of human existence as being of moral significance.

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In fact, the notion that ideology is a superstructure imposed on a substratum of permanent great power interest is a highly questionable proposition. For the way in which any state defines its national interest is not universal but rests on some kind of prior ideological basis, just as we saw that economic behavior is determined by a prior state of consciousness. In this century, states have adopted highly articulated doctrines with explicit foreign policy agendas legitimizing expansionism, like Marxism-Leninism or National Socialism.

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I suspect that this is Kant's view, as part of a system of ethics in which, as Nelson says, "every action must be characterized as either fulfillment or violation of duty." But we also have the paradox, as I have noted , that Kant thinks that "To secure one's own happiness is at least indirectly a duty." So under Kantian ethics, we seem to have a duty to develop talents that may make us unhappy, while we also have a duty to secure our happiness.

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Even if Kant is drawing on an originally Aristotelian and potentially conservative view of human nature, the context of his own thought is the Enlightenment, the aftermath of the liberalism launched by John Locke and the American Revolution, and the metaphysical structure of Kant's own philosophy.