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Hobbes's Leviathan: critcial comments - 1 Hobbes’s Leviathan: critcial evaluation 4 Comments –1. Historically, the Leviathan marks an important shift in.

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Presentation on theme: "Hobbes's Leviathan: critcial comments - 1 Hobbes’s Leviathan: critcial evaluation 4 Comments –1. Historically, the Leviathan marks an important shift in."— Presentation transcript:

1 Hobbes's Leviathan: critcial comments - 1 Hobbes’s Leviathan: critcial evaluation 4 Comments –1. Historically, the Leviathan marks an important shift in political thought. It attempts to base a state on natural principles rather than an appointment from God. –2. Hobbes is often regarded as the father of réal politique. He recognized the importance of raw power in ruling and in international affairs.

2 Hobbes's Leviathan: critcial comments - 2 Hobbes’s Leviathan: critcial evaluation 4 Criticisms –1. The issue of totalitarianism. –Hobbes gives almost absolute power to the ruler –But what kind of absolutism does he defend »What is the purpose of giving absolute power to the ruler

3 Hobbes's Leviathan: critcial comments - 3 Hobbes’s Leviathan: critcial evaluation »Is power for the rulers an end in itself? »Does the power of the rulers extend to the details of everyday life à la Plato? »Does Hobbes allow for protests against the government?

4 Hobbes's Leviathan: critcial comments - 4 Hobbes’s Leviathan: critcial evaluation –2. The basis for Hobbes’s political philosophy is a contract. But the contract is lopsided. –In what sense? –3. What are the most basic values of Hobbes’s political system

5 Hobbes's Leviathan: critcial comments - 5 Hobbes’s Leviathan: critcial evaluation Suggestions –peace –order –security –prosperity What values are missing? –Cf. the positions of J.S. Mill & Anthony Burgess (in A Clockwork Orange).

6 Hobbes's Leviathan: critcial comments - 6 Hobbes’s Leviathan: critcial evaluation –5. Ernest van den Haag and the Hobbesian dilemma (1) The dilemma –Appeals to individual conscience in deciding which laws to obey or disobey leads to chaos & this requires raw, naked power in order to restore order & this undermines all possibilities of protesting against laws regarded as immoral or illegal.

7 Hobbes's Leviathan: critcial comments - 7 Hobbes’s Leviathan: critcial evaluation –Thus the result of allowing citizens to appeal to their conscience in deciding which laws to obey will be an extremely authoritarian, oppressive government. –“Absolute reliance on conscience rather than law [results] in absolute reliance on naked power” (435).

8 Hobbes's Leviathan: critcial comments - 8 Hobbes’s Leviathan: critcial evaluation –The issue, then, is how can one allow for challenges to laws & yet avoid a Hobbesian style government?

9 Hobbes's Leviathan: critcial comments - 9 Hobbes’s Leviathan: critcial evaluation (2) Is obligation to obey the law absolute--à la Hobbes? –Three possible grounds for disobeying laws –(a) Anarchy (two representatives - William Godwin, British, , & Peter Kropotkin, Russian, )

10 Hobbes's Leviathan: critcial comments - 10 Hobbes’s Leviathan: critcial evaluation »Van den Haag dismisses: » Hobbes’s description of the state of nature contains some truth » Is factually wrong -- look at what happens when authority breaks down.

11 Hobbes's Leviathan: critcial comments - 11 Hobbes’s Leviathan: critcial evaluation –(b) By regarding only some governments as legitimate & then holding than one is obligated to obey laws only if one lives under a legitimate government »Problems with this position: » What is a legitimate government?

12 Hobbes's Leviathan: critcial comments - 12 Hobbes’s Leviathan: critcial evaluation »Assume the most obvious candidate -- democracy. Even under a democracy, there may be laws which are immoral. –(c) Only some laws are legitimate »Problem -- now we are back to the Hobbesian dilemma

13 Hobbes's Leviathan: critcial comments - 13 Hobbes’s Leviathan: critcial evaluation »How can protest against laws be allowed without sliding into a Hobbesian style government? (3) Van den Haag’s solution: Limiting protest to three forms (really two) & then laying down conditions for using each form.

14 Hobbes's Leviathan: critcial comments - 14 Hobbes’s Leviathan: critcial evaluation –(a) Conscientious objection - refusal to obey a law on moral or religious grounds, but not claiming that anyone else ought to disobey the law. –(b) Civil disobedience - deliberate, non-violent, public violation of a law on moral or religious grounds, & claiming all ought to disobey the law.

15 Hobbes's Leviathan: critcial comments - 15 Hobbes’s Leviathan: critcial evaluation –(c) Insurrection - disobeying a law or laws because a government is regarded as immoral or illegitimate. Attempting to overthrow a government. Includes violence. These can be used only if –(a) The amount of social disruption is proportional to (b) the seriousness of the issue one is protesting against.

16 Hobbes's Leviathan: critcial comments - 16 Hobbes’s Leviathan: critcial evaluation –Van den Haag proposes that CO may rarely, CD even more rarely, and IN hardly ever. –Critique Is Van den Haag too conservative? Does he assume the worst consequences of CO and CD?


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