hobbes leviathan state of nature cont n.
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Hobbes, Leviathan State of Nature, cont. PHIL 2345 2008-09. John Rawls on Hobbes. ‘greatest single work of political thought in the English language’; H.’ materialism not key—rather his common sense observations are; H.’s system does not have a theological basis;

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john rawls on hobbes
John Rawls on Hobbes
  • ‘greatest single work of political thought in the English language’;
  • H.’ materialism not key—rather his common sense observations are;
  • H.’s system does not have a theological basis;
  • It is ‘a secular moral system’
  • He seeks to provide ‘philosophical knowledge’ of the SC, not explain its origins.
  • See Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy (Belknap Press, 2007).
hypothetical character of son
Hypothetical character of SoN
  • Hobbes and Locke claim the SoN has actually existed some time, somewhere;
  • They invoke ‘America’ as a key example;
    • ‘…there are many places where they live so now. For the savage people in many places of America…have no government at all;and live at this day in that brutish manner…’ (ch. 13);
  • H. was unaware of the manner in which the indigenous peoples of the New World governed themselves;
  • Hence his SoN is effectively hypothetical;
  • So is the social contract (historical examples are suggestive models only).
why should son sow
Why should SoN = SoW?
  • If fighting is not actually always occurring,
  • The threat is always there
  • We show our awareness of this threat by
    • Carrying arms (U.S.)
    • Locking our houses, securing our possessions
    • Hiring nightwatchmen
    • And this is where there are police!
criticisms of son sow
Criticisms of SoN = SoW

H. ignores the necessity of social relationships,

  • e.g. of mother-child bond, hunting bands, etc. for human survival.
  • posits a state that could never have existed;
  • had it existed, we could have never left it;
  • in such a state the survival of the species would, arguably, not have been possible. Cf. Aristotle: those outside society are either beasts or gods, not human beings.
criticisms cont
Criticisms, cont.
  • H. has imposed on humans in the S of N attributes that they only first acquire in society–the desire for Gain, Safety and Reputation (Rousseau’s criticism in his Discourse on the Origins ofInequality, Pt. I);
  • According to Rousseau, the S of N is a reasonably secure and peaceful condition, in which there is little contact among people, and, no war among them;
  • Human relations with animals are peaceful:
    • ‘no animal naturally attacks man, except in the case of self-defence’. The savage knows his skills surpass those of animals so he need not fear them. This is not a fearful creature desiring safety and commodious living.
right of nature
Right of Nature
  • ‘…the Liberty each man hath, to use his own power.. for the preservation of his own Nature’;
  • permissive liberty to preserve oneself (biology: survival instinct)
  • A further right or permission in SoN is ‘to every thing; even to one anothers body’ in pursuit of first right;
  • We cannot covenant to abandon or transfer this right:
    • ‘there be some rights, which no man can be understood by any words, or other signes, to have abandoned, or transferred. As first a man cannot lay down the right of resisting them, that assault him by force, to take away his life…’ (ch. 14).
    • a subject of the Sovereign, after the Social Contract is made, may still resist arrest—this is always his right.
laws of nature
Laws of Nature

Prudential, eternal rules derived by reason (rational choice):

1st: endeavour Peace, but in its absence, use 'helps of...Warre';

2nd: surrender right to all things if others do so as well (mutual cooperation; Prisoner’s Dilemma?);

3d: 'performe Covenants made'--foundation of Justice/Compact.

laws of nature1
Laws of Nature
  • Science of Laws of Nature based on Science of Good/Evil, where
  • Good/Evil = Appetites/Aversions
    • Epicurus (ancient Greece) bases his philosophy of pleasure/pain
  • Passions are no Sin (ch. 13)
    • Key passion: desire for ‘power after power’, i.e. anything we might want;
  • No ref. to Christian morality in this stage
question on son ch 13
Question on SoN (ch. 13)
  • In the state of nature, every man against every man. There is no society. Men are solitary.
  • Question: Do humans have offspring and reproduction in the state of nature?
  • Family is a kind of society. Is family necessary for human reproduction?
  • Do humans have a natural drive for reproduction, like most animals?
  • Is it rational to have offspring?
    • Individual: beneficial? Dangerous?
    • “Social” (considering all human): better to have more people or less?
reasons to cooperate leave son sow ch 13
Reasons to cooperate/ leave SoN/SoW (ch. 13)
  • equality of hope & ability
    • i.e. everyone can hurt everyone else
  • fear, danger of violent death
  • own judge/executioner
  • rt. to each other's bodies
  • material deprivations
  • no sociability w/out a power to awe
why do we exit
Why do we exit?
  • Our Passions :
  • Especially, fear of death;
    • Is this a true Prisoner’s Dilemma?
    • Death is the consequence of remaining in the SoN;
  • desire for comfort, safety, security, a long life;
  • hope to obtain it.
conditions of compact
Conditions of Compact:
  • Unconditional covenant of every one w/ every one; no exceptions/free riders:
    • 'This is more than Consent, or Concord; it is a reall Unitie of them all, in one and the same Person, made by Covenant of every man with every man ...'
  • Duress allowed?
    • Yes: 'Covenants entred into by fear, in the condition of meer Nature, are obligatory' and enforced by Fear of reprisal (ch. 14; also ch. 18)
  • Use of force to enforce the compact:
    • 'Covenants without the Sword, are but Words‘.
what is leviathan
What is Leviathan?
  • A sea monster representing evil and the forces of chaos (The Bible, Job, 13-29):
    • Many-headed, scaly, fire-breathing;
    • Why would Hobbes select this for the title?
  • ‘that great Leviathan, called a commonwealth or state (in Latin civitas) which is but an artificial man…and in which the sovereignty is an artificial soul’ ( ).
  • ‘a real unitie of them all’ ( ).