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Hobbes’ Leviathan. Overview I. Natural Condition of Mankind II. Prisoner’s Dilemma III. The Bronze Rule IV. A Hobbesian Sovereign V. Autonomy and Authority.

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Presentation on theme: "Hobbes’ Leviathan. Overview I. Natural Condition of Mankind II. Prisoner’s Dilemma III. The Bronze Rule IV. A Hobbesian Sovereign V. Autonomy and Authority."— Presentation transcript:

1 Hobbes’ Leviathan

2 Overview I. Natural Condition of Mankind II. Prisoner’s Dilemma III. The Bronze Rule IV. A Hobbesian Sovereign V. Autonomy and Authority

3 IV.The State of Nature First condition of the state of nature is scarcity Not enough of the good things to go around Then we get: “From this equality of ability, ariseth equality of hope in the attaining of our ends…”

4 IV.The State of Nature “And therefore if any two men desire the same thing, which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies; and in the way to their end, which is principally their own conservation, and sometimes their delectation only, endeavour to destroy, or subdue one another”

5 IV.The State of Nature In other words, the scarcity creates competition since If we recognize the equality between two people then  A necessary condition of either “A” or “B” getting good “X” is preventing the other party from getting that good  Creates feelings of diffidence  Rise of pre-emptive strikes  Leads to a “war of each against all”

6 IV.The State of Nature Where “war” consists: “not in battle only, or the act of fighting; but in a tract of time, wherein the will to contend by battle is sufficiently known: and therefore the notion of time, is to be considered in the nature of war… so the nature of war consisteth not in actual fighting; but in the known disposition thereto, during all the time there is no assurance to the contrary” (p. 287). Consequences?

7 IV.The State of Nature In the state of nature, then: “In such condition, there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving, and removing, such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death…

8 IV.The State of Nature “and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

9 IV.The State of Nature Why? Why won’t people be able to get along? Why will the scarcity lead to this nasty situation?

10 Prisoners’ Dilemma Generalized Form: Rank Outcomes, from most preferred to least preferred  1 = first choice  2 = second choice  3 = third choice  4 = fourth choice Choice is “cooperate” or “not cooperate”

11 Don’t Cooperate Don’t Cooperate Cooperate Prisoners’ Dilemma 4, 1 3, 31, 4 2, 2

12 Don’t Cooperate Don’t Cooperate Cooperate Prisoners’ Dilemma 4, 1 3, 31, 4 2, 2

13 Prisoners’ Dilemma Problem for Hobbes, indeed for any political or moral philosophy, is how do we stabilize the cooperative outcome? Hobbes does not develop the language of the P.D., but he is the first both to recognize the difficulty and consider fully the implications

14 Prisoners’ Dilemma People in Hobbes’ state of nature are in Prisoners’ Dilemma situations Solution?  We need a sovereign  What kind?  Why obey?

15 I.The Bronze Rule For Hobbes, the rule governing our moral relations in the state of nature is:  As long as other people are not free riding, then don’t free ride  But if free riding is a problem, then free ride In other words, something like “Do unto others as they do unto you”

16 I.The Bronze Rule Laws of Nature  Clarifying terms Right of Nature – each individual is in a moral position to do whatever is necessary to stay alive Liberty: absence of external impediments  Free to do as you please since have no moral, political, physical, cultural, social constraints Law of Nature – rules governing our actions which can be discovered by reason and reason alone

17 I.The Bronze Rule Right = liberty Law = obedience

18 I.The Bronze Rule 1. First Law of Nature:  In state of war of each against all, seek peace if others seek peace That is, morality cannot restrict you from saving your own life Thus state of nature is basically amoral, in that everyone is acting in self defense The war of each against all results not because we are all evil, but because we each want to stay alive

19 I.The Bronze Rule 2. Second Law of Nature  Be willing to cede rights, if others are also so inclined  Why?

20 II.The Social Contract Renounce rights to kill each other (in self defense)  Recall conditions of the state of nature  Situation where pre-emptive strikes are rational  How to solve the Prisoner’s Dilemma? Whenever we have a public good, each of us must renounce our right of self government and give it to the sovereign  Note: you can’t give up the right of nature (protect yourself) but you do cede all other rights

21 II.The Social Contract Obey the sovereign so long as it keeps the peace  Because we can’t agree as individuals, simply cede authority to sovereign and accept the legitimacy of that sovereign Each of us promises each other to obey the sovereign and therefore

22 II.The Social Contract Each of us is morally obligated to obey the sovereign  This is necessary since it prevents us from slipping back into the State of Nature and the war of each against all Sovereign can do anything short of taking our life  There is no such thing as an unjust law

23 Sovereign

24 The obligations we make in the terms of the social contract are to each other, and as such bind each of us, not the sovereign.

25 Sovereign The sovereign is not part of the contract.

26 III.Autonomy and Authority Hobbes’ solution is practical when our autonomy is threatened by a lack of authority It solves the problem of incompatible wants.  Authority means allowing something to have unequivocal will to do whatever it wants

27 III.Autonomy and Authority If sovereign has authority, this means we are under moral obligation to others to obey the sovereign We cede the right to do anything we want to do (our liberty) in exchange for doing anything the sovereign does not forbid

28 III.Autonomy and Authority On Socrates and other fools  Recall Socrates and the position of the philosopher in the city  Philosopher thinks for himself, so we have the problem of trying to retain autonomy and resist authority  For Socrates, this was an irreconcilable conflict as authority means giving to others the ability to make my moral choices/objections

29 III.Autonomy and Authority Hobbes sees this as no problem, inasmuch as – given the baseline (the state of nature), it is always better to recognize authority Through moral sympathy and imagination – we can put ourselves in the position of other people – we can recognize that if I disobey, then others will, and we’re right back in the state of nature and the war of each against all.

30 III.Autonomy and Authority And only a fool would want that So..

31 Obey the sovereign


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