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Thomas Hobbes Leviathan – the state of nature, natural laws, and the commonwealth.

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Presentation on theme: "Thomas Hobbes Leviathan – the state of nature, natural laws, and the commonwealth."— Presentation transcript:

1 Thomas Hobbes Leviathan – the state of nature, natural laws, and the commonwealth

2 The Condition of Man Men are equal in the power of their minds and bodies. They are equal in their faculties of mind because there is no large degree of difference in their intelligence, and each has a sufficient ability to pretend to be similar in ways that they maybe deficient from one another. They are equal in their bodies in the sense that if one man is stronger than another, the former can band together with others to overpower the other. From the fact that we have equal abilities it follows that we have equality of hope in attaining what we want. From the equality of hope it follows that any two men that desire the same thing, but cannot both enjoy it, will become enemies.

3 The State of Nature The three principle causes of fighting in the state of nature: Competition – makes people invade for gain Diffidence – makes people invade for safety Glory – makes people invade for reputation Life in the state of nature is: Solitary – alone in the sense of not being able to trust others Poor – both in wellbeing and in resources Nasty – in terms of interaction with others Brutish – in terms of the overall condition of things Short – in terms of the length of life

4 The Argument for Anti-Realism about Justice in the State of Nature 1. In the state of nature the condition is one of a war of every man against every man. 2. From the fact that the condition is one of a war of every man against every man, it follows that there is no common power. 3. If there is no common power, then there is no law. 4. If there is no law, there is no injustice. 5. So, in the state of nature there is no conception of law or justice. In the state of nature the notions of right and wrong do not apply!

5 The Transition out of the State of Nature Hobbes argues that we come to desire an exit from the state of nature. First and foremost, the passions and desires that we come to have from being in the state of nature provide us with hope for something better. From the fact that it is a nasty, brutish, and a short lived life that we have, we come to desire peace. Our fear of death in the state of nature leads us to desire peace. We also want those things that are necessary for living with one another in a peaceful way, since those things are a necessary condition for peace. Second, through our reason and reflection on the state of nature we are able to see that certain natural laws are correct. These natural laws lead us to see a means for exiting the state of nature and forming civil society in the form of a monarchy.

6 The Right and Law of Nature The Right of Nature : is the liberty each man has to use his own power to preserve his own life. It is our freedom to do whatever we want to preserve our life. Liberty means the absence of external impediments, which prohibit a man from using his natural mental and physical faculties to the degree his will can take them. The Law of Nature : we are forbidden to do that which is destructive to our lives or takes away the means for preserving our lives.

7 The 1 st, 2 nd, and 3 rd Laws of Nature The First Law of Nature : Every man ought to endeavor peace, as far as he has hope of obtaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek and use all helps and advantages of war. The Second Law of Nature : that a man be willing, when others are so too, as far forth as for peace and defense of himself he shall think it necessary, to lay down this right to all things, and be contented with so much liberty against other men as he would allow other men against himself. The Third Law of Nature : that men should keep the covenants that they make. Breaking contracts is not rational.

8 The Nature of Contracts To explain the third law of nature we need to understand the nature of contracts and covenants. A contract is a mutual transference of a right amongst men. There is a distinction between transferring the the thing contracted, and transferring the right to the thing contracted. A covenant between parties occurs when one contractor completes his contractual duties, and leaves it to the other at some later time to complete their contractual duties. A contract or covenant is void if there is no common power that can compel performance of the respective obligations of the contractual parties.

9 The Derivation of the Concept of Justice 1. Where there is no common power, there are no valid covenants. 2. Where there is a common power, and a covenant is broken, an individual has done something that is unjust. The notion of unjust action is the notion of breaking a covenant. 3. Since justice is the opposite of injustice, justice is related to maintaining the covenants that one has made. 4. Maintaining the covenants that one has made is giving to each what they are owed. Justice is the constant will of giving to every man what he is owed

10 Justice and the Commonwealth 1. In the state of nature every man has a right to everything. 2. Justice is giving to each man what he is owed. 3. If every man has a right to everything, then there is no concept of that which owed to another. 4. So, in the state of nature there is no justice. 5. So, justice arises in a commonwealth. A commonwealth contains a common power that has the capacity to enforce contracts. The breaking of a contract gives us our concept of injustice, from which we derive the concept of justice.

11 Why we seek the Commonwealth Since we live in the state of nature we see eventually over time that certain natural laws are true and grasped by all men through reason. These laws obligate us to seek peace and give up our arms, and transfer some of the freedom we have in the state of nature to a more restricted freedom whereby we benefit through peace and commodious living. We discern that the only form of peaceful living and commodious living that is possible is one under which we all give up certain rights to a single sovereign ruler. The sovereign ruler has absolute power and in return for our granting to him absolute power, he promises in return to bring about the means necessary for peace and commodious living.

12 The Justice Applied to Men vs. Justice Applied to Actions Justice applied to men refers to when their manners conform to reason. A just man is he that takes all the care he can that his actions may be all just, and an unjust man is he that neglects it. Justice applied to actions refers to when particular actions are in conformity to reason. A just action is an action that renders the man who did the action not guilty or at fault, and an unjust action is one that renders the man that acted guilty and at fault.

13 Examples of some Laws of Nature The Fourth Law of Nature : Gratitude – that a man which receives benefit from another of mere grace endeavor that he which gives it have no reasonable cause to repent him of his good will. The Fifth Law of Nature : Complaisance –that every man strive to accommodate himself to the rest. The Sixth Law of Nature: Pardon– that upon caution of the future time, a man ought to pardon the offenses past of them that, repenting, desire it. The Seventh Law of Nature: Revenge – in retribution of evil for evil men look not at the greatness of the evil past, but the greatness of the good to follow.

14 Hobbes on Distributive Justice Equity is the distribution to each man of that which in reason belongs to him. Distributive justice (a) of those things which cannot be divided, they be enjoyed in common. (b) of those thing which can be divided, and where the quantity of the thing permits of equal distribution, then equally to all. (c) of those things that can be divided, but where the quantity of the thing does not permit of equal distribution, it should be done proportionally to the number of them that have the right. (d) for those things that cannot be enjoyed or in common, they should be given possession through the drawing of lots, either arbitrary or natural. Arbitrary is where the method is agreed, natural is where possession is by first seizure.

15 Hobbes on Moral Philosophy For moral philosophy is nothing else but the science of what is good and evil in the conversation and society of mankind. Good and evil are names that signify our appetites and aversions, which in different tempers, customs, and doctrines of men are different. That peace is good, and therefore also the way of means of peace, which, as I have showed, before, are justice, gratitude, modesty, equity, mercy, and the rest of the laws of nature good. These dictates of reason men used to call by the names of laws, but improperly, for they are but conclusions or theorems concerning what conduces to the conversation and defense of themselves, whereas law, properly, is the word of him that by right has command over others.


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