Twelve Questions to Ask of Political Philosophies and Philosophers

  1.     Authority:  What authority does the state have and what is its basis?
  2.     Obligation: What obligations do individuals have to obey and to support the state?
  3.     Coercion: What justifies the use of coercion and what are the limits?
  4.     Legitimacy: When is a state legitimate?
  5.     Freedom:  What is it?  How important is it?
  6.     Equality: In what sense are people equal? In what sense ought individuals to be treated as equal? How important is equality?
  7.     Justice: What kinds of justice and injustice are there and what does justice demand?
  8.      Welfare: What is it, and to what extent is the promotion of individual welfare an obligation of the state.
  9.     Rights.  What are they? What rights should the state recognize and protect?
  10. Solidarity (fraternity). What is it?  What obligations does the state have to nurture it?
  11.    Desert. What is it, and how should it influence the state?
  12.    Democracy. What is it and why is it important?