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Leviathan Philosophy 1 Spring, 2002 G. J. Mattey.

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1 Leviathan Philosophy 1 Spring, 2002 G. J. Mattey

2 Thomas Hobbes Born 1588 From England Studied at Oxford Personally knew many leading philosophers Fled from England anticipating civil war Banned from writing on religious matters Died 1679

3 Hobbes’s Contributions Contributed to the science of optics Rejected Aristotelian natural philosophy, claiming that all physical change is matter in motion Submitted the Third Objections to Descartes’s Meditations Held that thinking is computation Tried to establish the basis of the authority of the sovereign

4 Artificial Life Animal life was made by God as automoton, or engine that can move itself The state is an artificial man with its own springs of motion There are many analogies between the two, among which are the following –Nerves: rewards and punishments –Reason and will: equity and laws –Creation: pacts and covenants

5 Sense The thoughts of human beings are individually representations of qualities of bodies outside us (objects) Sense is the origin of these “fancies” It is caused by the motion of external bodies pressing on the human body Aristotle’s account of sense by communication of form (“species”) is “insignificant speech”

6 Imagination Bodies in motion remain in motion unless something stops them from moving Imagination is the continued motion of fancies in our brain--“decaying sense” To call imagination memory is to indicate that it is “fading, old, and past” Experience is much memory of many things Dreams are combinations of decaying fancies Imagination is the source of superstition

7 Reason There is a tie between the motions of one fancy and another –Unguided thoughts (e.g., dreams) are influenced by weak connections –Other thoughts are regulated by something strong, such as desire or design (causal reasoning) Foresight, prudence, wisdom are only guesses, which improve with experience Our reasoning is finite –We cannot conceive of God –We can only conceive of objects in space

8 The Basis of the Passions Imagination is the source of all voluntary motion (e.g., speaking, moving limbs) Endeavors are small beginnings of motions Endeavor toward something is desire, and away from something is aversion Some desires are natural, some artificial We call good that which we desire and evil that to which we are averse

9 Some Passions Defined Pleasure is the appearance of good, i.e., the appearance of what is desired Displeasures of the body are called pain, and of the mind are called grief Courage is aversion to an object with the hope of avoiding hurt from it by resisting it Deliberation is alternation between desire and aversion, hope and fear, continued until the act is done or thought impossible to be done Will is the last appetite or aversion before the act

10 Manners Manners are the qualities that enable humans to live together in peace and unity There is no highest good, but only a continual series of desires Voluntary actions are directed at procuring satisfaction of the successive desires This leads people to seek to increase their power as the only way to guarantee the continued satisfaction of their desires

11 War and Peace Competition leads to enmity and war Needy people are ambitious and have an interest in stirring things up People are willing to obey a common power that will ensure their protection for several reasons –They seek ease and sensual delight –They wish for knowledge

12 The State of Nature The differences in people are such that none have natural predominance over others So everyone hopes to attain his ends This leads to continual actions to deprive others of their lives and productions Without a common power to restrain them, people live in a state of war of all against all Life under such conditions is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”

13 Confirmation The deduction of the state of nature from the passions is confirmed by experience –People take all manner of security measures, even with a common power in place States of nature exist in undeveloped areas such as seventeenth-century America A state of nature exists among sovereign countries, which are armed for conflict The notions of justice and injustice have no application in a state of war

14 Natural Laws The right of nature is liberty (lack of external impediment) of each person to do what is necessary for self-preservation A law of nature is a general rule requiring one to do to do what he thinks will best preserve his life –Everyone ought to strive for peace, but if this cannot be had, they are entitled to self-defense –People ought to be willing to give up their right of nature to the same extent as other agreeable parties, in order to fulfill the first law

15 Laying Down Rights One is obligated not to hinder those to whom a right is transferred, or anyone if the right is renounced Duty is not to annul one’s voluntary act Injustice is the hindrance in cases where one no longer has rights Laying down rights is done for self-benefit One may not give up rights to self-defense, since this would undermine the reason for renouncing or transferring other rights

16 Contract Contract is the mutual transfer of rights Covenant involves a deferred transfer by one party Contracts can be undertaken in two ways –Expressly, with signs (e.g., “I grant”) –Inferentially Contracts made in a state of nature are void under numerous circumstances, when to keep them would undermine the right of nature Contracts made under a common power are not void under such circumstances, since the power will provide enforcement for each side

17 Justice It is a (third) law of nature that covenants must be kept, as without them there is war This is the foundation and origin of justice Injustice is breaking the covenant Since in the state of nature there are no covenants when there is fear they will be broken, a common power is needed to make them, and hence justice, possible

18 Injustice It may seem that it is reasonable to break a covenant on the grounds that it is to one’s advantage to do so Successful wickedness could then be called virtue But this is not reasonable Whatever advantage is gained on an individual basis is overcome by the undermining of society, which is against the person’s interests It is also not reasonable to violate the covenant on religious grounds, which are uncertain

19 Person and Act A just person is one who conforms his manners of life to reason: in this respect justice is a virtue So, justice in a person is a comprehensive attitude Just actions are those which conform to reason A person may commit unjust actions (be guilty) while remaining just, due to: –Passion –Error –Fear

20 Commutative and Distributive Justice Commutative justice is thought to be equality in the value of things transferred –But this would make profit unjust It is really equity in performing the covenant Distributive justice is thought to be distribution of goods on the basis of merit It is really the distribution of goods on the basis of the covenant

21 Other Laws of Nature There are numerous other laws of nature, including the following: –One ought to accommodate himself to others –One ought to pardon those who repent –Retribution should be based on beneficial consequences, not magnitude of offense –No one may declare hatred of another –Everyone must acknowledge others equal by nature In sum, do not do to another what you would not have done to yourself (negative Golden Rule)

22 Moral Philosophy Laws of nature are always binding on what one desires, though not always on how one acts in every circumstance They are immutable and eternal theorems The science of them is moral philosophy Good and evil signify our appetites and aversions In a state of nature, good and evil are subjective The only objective good is peace and the ways of peace

23 The Commonwealth The purpose of the restraint to which we subject ourselves in living in the commonwealth is escape from the misery of the state of nature This can only be accomplished under the domination of a permanent strong power, who will enforce covenants and provide security

24 The Sovereign The common power reduces the will of all to that of one person or an assembly Each member of the commonwealth makes a covenant to give up his rights to the governing power and let it act for him –This is a political commonwealth The commonwealth is thus an artificial being which is a real unity of people The sovereign is the person or assembly authorized to act for all

25 Rights of Sovereigns In a commonwealth by institution, people agree to treat the sovereign’s actions as their own No new covenant may justly overturn such an agreement, once it is in place The sovereign is not capable of breaching the covenant, so no one can be freed from it due to the sovereign’s forfeiture Those who dissent from the institution of the sovereign are still bound by the covenant Censorship is permitted for the good of peace

26 Incommodity People suffer if the sovereign exercises power obnoxiously The fault is not to be placed on the form of government (monarchy, democracy) But the lot of human beings is to suffer from incommodity Damage inflicted by the sovereign is small compared to the incommodity of civil war

27 Despotism In a commonwealth by acquisition, sovereignty is acquired by force The only difference from a commonwealth by institution lies in who is feared, one another or a third party The rights of the sovereign are the same Parental dominion works through the child’s consent Despotical dominion occurs by agreement by the conquered to have their lives spared

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