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Horton hears a who analysis

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Julia Lopez

on 22 June 2015

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Transcript of Horton hears a who analysis

Horton hears a who analysis
design by Dóri Sirály for Prezi
The following presentation is an analysis of the movie Horton hears a who. There is a comparison between the social theories of David Hume, Rousseau, John Locke, Hobbes, Kant, and Jeremy Bentham, and the behaviors of the characters in the movie. The objective is to identify if there are any similarities with the theories reflected on how the characters interact as a society
The author that for me related the most with the movie is David Hume, because many of what he proposes of a society is present on the citizens of whoville. How the join forces to make more, how they always seek for agreements so all can be satisfied, and how Horton kept his promise with the whos. The citizens of whoville are a well made society and I consider them as a civil society like Rousseau proposed, because they are so well organized and everyone is satisfied, because they're a democracy. Fm my point of view I like that the mayor has to work with the city council, this avoids that the power rests in only one person. I think that the citizens of whoville enjoy all their rights without this being violated. Comparing this society with the real ones I consider whoville as a kind of utopia, because all the citizen are willing to cooperate to achieve the commonwealth. I think this is how society must be, an authentic social contract.
Humans are born wild and naturally selfish. Human's motivation is survivance.The basic right is to protect oneself. In the state of nature, profit is the measure of right. Everyone against everyone. There is not justice.The only way to control humanity is with a strong authority.
All are born free and happy. All citizens are equal with basic rights (property, freedom, life). Authorities aren't special, they're just there to protect the citizens' rights. Citizens give the power to the government, but if this one doesn't do a good job they can replace it. We have a right to revolution if one of our basic rights is violated (liberal democracy).
John Locke
Movie summary
Horton is an elephant with a very characteristic personality. He is the ones that tend to stand out from the others, he usually gets himself in many troubles. One day Horton was playing with some kids when he heard a little noise coming from a speck. Surprised, he began to ask himself if it was possible that a very tinny person could live in that speck. He was right, inside that little speck the whos lived, the city is called "whoville". After he discovered that inside that speck a whole city was living he decided to help them to find a safe place for the speck in order to avoid danger, since the speck was flying all around. But, where Horton lives there is an authoritarian and scary Kangaroo who is on charge of the order in the jungle who wants to destroy the speck, because she doesn't believe what Horton says. Then, Horton has to confront and convince all the jungle in order to save the whos.
She is a strong authority. She uses any mean in order to keep the order, even manipulation and violence. She doesn't tolerate anyone who challenges her. The animals are afraid of her.
Kangaroo rules the jungle
The mayor of whoville & the city council
The mayor is a devote right and fair man. The mayor position is hereditary. The mayor alwas looks for the common good. He can't decide by it's own he must get the city council's permission to do something. They ruled under a democracy.
He proposed the idea of commonwealth. It is an agreement between society and government. He said that society will follow the rules of the authoritarian government because of the fear to punishments. Also,the rules must be equal for everyone.
Relation with the movie...
When the monkeys are attacking Horton who is invading their territory. They were protecting themselves, as Hobbes said.
The Kangaroo in the movie represents the authoritarian government that Hobbes proposes. She doesn't want chaos, she is strong and even sometimes mean. She is the only authority and she doesn't need to consult society in her decision making. She said "the jungle is not place to act as a wild animal". She also said that Horton is a bad influence for children".
The animals always follow her orders and rules,because they are afraid of her and her punishments, this is why Hobbes believed people obey the rules. All the animals where afraid when Horton challenged her, he was the first one. He was the first one to disagree with her, when she said that there weren't any persons living on the speck Horton defended his belief by saying she was wrong that there do were people living in the speck. Another proof that they were afraid of the kangaroo is that Horton best friend always told him to keep as a secret that there were people living in the speck, because Kangaroo could get mad if she knew it, and she did.
Government must rule with equal rules that protect our rights (state of nature = born free). Society follow the rules, because they want their right guaranteed, but if they don't see results they can change the government.
In the movie...
"A person is a person, no matter how small"
This phrase means that even if some people have differences of aspect and colors, they're still being persons, so we all are equal. Locked believed like Horton, that we all are equal.
When Horton is looking for a safe place for the whos, he states that: "every who will have 3 inalienable rights" like the 3 basic right Locke proposed
When the whoville city council asked to the citizens what they wanted to do (continue with the whocentenario or to hear to the mayor) he affirmed that they were a democracy. John Locke believed in liberal democracy.
He wrote the book social contract. There he explained that a primitive society can become either a civil society or just a society. The civil society seeks for the general will and it's considered as the authentic social contract, while the society only seeks for particular wills of some citizens and it is considered as the fraudulent social contract.
General will: sovereign people looking for common good
Particular will: individual needs
The social contract is a dichotomy (duty & right) where the sovereignty belong to the people and considers aristocracy as the best way of government. People obey rules for their rights and government must be efficient if not society can replace it.
In the movie...
Whoville is a democracy,the mayor and the city council consider the citizens' needs in order to achieve the common good, Rousseau proposes.
At first, the kangaroo was the only authority so she was only viewing for her own interests (particular will). No one could disagree with her, all were afraid of her.
When the Kangaroo followed the general will of the animals of the jungle by not destroying the speck. The animals started to believe in Horton so they wanted to protect the whos as well.
David Hume
As a society we can more than individually. To live in a society we need agreements and to respect each other. Justice and injustice are created, not natural, for keeping people on the right way. The government is someone impartial that decides in our problems. To be a good citizen start with yourself by keeping your promises. There isn't social contract, but there is a right to revolution. Hume believed in international laws.
In the movie...
When all the whoville citizens joined to make noise in order to be heard by the jungle's animals. They needed the help of each who in order to make an impact, because together they can more as Hume believed that a society together is stronger.
When the councilman asked the citizens what they wanted to do with the whocentenius, continue or to follow the mayor and stop the preparations. He wanted an agreement between all the citizens where the majority wins. They made an agreement to avoid disagreements, as the ones Hume stated we need.
The mayor is not the only authority, in whoville there is a city council. The mayor needs their permission in order to do anything. When he wanted to alert the people he needed the ok of the councilman. There must be an agreement between the two parties. Hume beilived that in order to live in a society we need agreements like these ones.
"Always recognize humans as ends, and don't use them as means to your end. May you live your life as if the maxim of your actions were to become Universal laws" (Kant). In order to see if your action is correct ask yourself what would happen if everyone starts to act like you, is it ok?. The intentions are what measure if an action is good or bad. Humans are free to choose between desire and reason. Humans should act according to reason and they must accomplish their duty not looking for profit.
Kant said that freedom was the only basic right humans have and that it is the basis of the state power. There must be an universal law so all the free people can be able to coexist without problems. He argued that the welfare cannot be the basis, because it is related to happiness and he said that happiness is a desire and people should follow reason not their desires. He believed that as mankind have the right of freedom he also have the duty to be part of a social contract so that right could be preserved. He said that all citizens are equal, free and independent. (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2012).
In the movie...
When the citizens were asked to stop or to continue with the whocentenario, they decided to continue. They followed their desires instead of reason. They were free to decide between desire or reason. This is contrary of what Kantian phylosophy tell us to do.
The mayor always followed his reason by accomplish his duty as a mayor. When her assistance told him to go to a meeting he had programed, he didn't wanted to go, but he went, because he had to. because it's his work. This is what kant would have done, follow his dury.
When the mayor alerted the people that they were in danger even if he was going to be considered a boob. He did all what he could to protect their citizens, because is what he must do, he is the mayor. He followed the kantian philosophy of doing what we must.
When Horton kept his promise of helping the who until the end. He never doubted on broking it. This means that as Hume said he needs to keep his promises first to be a good citizen.
Jeremy Bentham
Utilitarianism is to make the most happiness of the most number of people and to stop the most suffering. As this doctrine only focuses on results you can use any method as Machiavelli said "The end justifies the means". The results and the consequences measure if an action is good or bad. It is consider as a teleological/consequentialist theory. The authority doesn't need to consult the people in order to act.
When the councilman decided to continue with the whocentenarium in order to avoid the panic between the civilians so they could continue happy and unworried. There he wanted the most happiness same what the utilitarianism seeks for.
When the kangaroo took the decision of considering Horton a threat to the order of the island by herself. In order to avoid Horton influencing children she decided to throw the speck into boiling oil. She also hired a buzzard to get rid of the speck. She used a lot of bad means to obtain what she wanted. There she was deciding according to utilitarianism, doing all the neccessary to mantain the order in the jungle, so all the animals could continue living in peace.
In the movie...
When kangaroo lied and manipulated the animals so they could be against Horton and by that she could get rid of him and of the speck. She used any mean no matter if they weren't good means. Similar to the utilitarianism philosophy of using any mean.

Dr. Seuss' Horton hears a Who! [Motion picture on DVD]. (2008). Twentieth Century
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González. G.(2015). Philosophy of society: Thomas Hobbes [PowerPoint slides].

González. G.(2015). Philosophy of society: Jean Jacques Rousseau [PowerPoint

González. G.(2015). Philosophy of society: Jeremy Bentham [PowerPoint slides].

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