References and Further Reading 1.
So far 3 volumes are available: Readers new to Hobbes should begin with Leviathan, being sure to read Parts Three and Four, as well as the more familiar and often excerpted Parts One and Two.
The Philosophical Project Hobbes sought to discover rational principles for the construction of a civil polity that would not be subject to destruction from within. Continued stability will require that they also refrain from the sorts of actions that might undermine such a regime.
For example, subjects should not dispute the sovereign power and under no circumstances should they rebel. In general, Hobbes aimed to demonstrate the reciprocal relationship between political obedience and peace.
The State of Nature To establish these conclusions, Hobbes invites us to consider what life would be like in a state of nature, that is, a condition without government. Perhaps we would imagine that people might fare best in such a state, where each decides for herself how to act, and is judge, jury and executioner in her own case whenever disputes arise—and that at any rate, this state is the appropriate baseline against which to judge the justifiability of political arrangements.
He assumes that people are sufficiently similar in their mental and physical attributes that no one is invulnerable nor can expect to be able to dominate the others. While people have local affections, their benevolence is limited, and they have a tendency to partiality.
Concerned that others should agree with their own high opinions of themselves, people are sensitive to slights. They are curious about the causes of events, and anxious about their futures; according to Hobbes, these characteristics incline people to adopt religious beliefs, although the content of those beliefs will differ depending upon the sort of religious education one has happened to receive.
Hobbes further assumes as a principle of practical rationality, that people should adopt what they see to be the necessary means to their most important ends. The State of Nature Is a State of War Taken together, these plausible descriptive and normative assumptions yield a state of nature potentially fraught with divisive struggle.
The right of each to all things invites serious conflict, especially if there is competition for resources, as there will surely be over at least scarce goods such as the most desirable lands, spouses, etc. People will quite naturally fear that others may citing the right of nature invade them, and may rationally plan to strike first as an anticipatory defense.
Conflict will be further fueled by disagreement in religious views, in moral judgments, and over matters as mundane as what goods one actually needs, and what respect one properly merits.
Further Questions About the State of Nature In response to the natural question whether humanity ever was generally in any such state of nature, Hobbes gives three examples of putative states of nature. First, he notes that all sovereigns are in this state with respect to one another.
Third and most significantly, Hobbes asserts that the state of nature will be easily recognized by those whose formerly peaceful states have collapsed into civil war. The bonds of affection, sexual affinity, and friendship—as well as of clan membership and shared religious belief—may further decrease the accuracy of any purely individualistic model of the state of nature.
Another important open question is that of what, exactly, it is about human beings that makes it the case supposing Hobbes is right that our communal life is prone to disaster when we are left to interact according only to our own individual judgments.This course is intended as an introduction to political philosophy as seen through an examination of some of the major texts and thinkers of the Western political tradition.
Pamela Abbott and Claire Wallace Pamela Abbott Director of the Centre for Equality and Diversity at Glasgow Caledonian University. The 17 th Century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes is now widely regarded as one of a handful of truly great political philosophers, whose masterwork Leviathan rivals in significance the political writings of Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, and Rawls. Hobbes is famous for his early and. Among the most-influential philosophers of law from the early modern period was Thomas Hobbes (–), whose theory of law was a novel amalgam of themes from both the natural-law and command-theory traditions. He also offered some of the earliest criticisms of common-law theory,.
Three broad themes that are central to understanding political life are focused upon: the polis experience (Plato, Aristotle. Many of Hobbes and Locke’s general arguments over the proper structure of the state derives from their views on human nature.
Thomas Hobbes, for instance, believed that humans were self-interested and only concerned with doing things that benefited themselves instead of others. Leviathan and the Air-Pump examines the conflicts over the value and propriety of experimental methods between two major seventeenth-century thinkers: Thomas Hobbes, author of the political treatise Leviathan and vehement critic of systematic experimentation in natural philosophy, and Robert Boyle, mechanical philosopher and owner of the newly invented air-pump.
Pamela Abbott and Claire Wallace Pamela Abbott Director of the Centre for Equality and Diversity at Glasgow Caledonian University.
+ free ebooks online.
Did you know that you can help us produce ebooks by proof-reading just one page a day? Go to: Distributed Proofreaders. This article provides an analysis/comparison of the theories devised by Thomas Hobbes and John Locke.