Absolutism and Leviathan I: The State of Nature Thomas Hobbes
Overview • Psychological Egoism • Equality • The “State of Nature”
Psychological Egoism • The Question: Why do people do the things they do? • The Egoist Answer: Whenever a person does anything, it is for some perceived personal benefit. • Corrollary: No one will do anything unless there is something in it for him or her. • This is Hobbes’s basic assumption about human nature.
Equality • Factual vs. Moral Equality • Hobbes thinks people are equal in fact. • Varieties of Equality • Equality of Physical Strength • Equality of Wit • Equality of Ambition • The Evidence about Wit: How Smart are You?
Life in the State of Nature • Sources of Conflict • Competition • “Diffidence” • Glory • The War of All Against All • Actual Fighting • Readiness to Fight • Justice in the State of Nature • “Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”
Review Questions • What is Hobbes’ view of human motivation? • What is the State of Nature? • How does Hobbes describe life in the State of Nature? • Why does he think life in the State of Nature would be like that?