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Hobbes’s Leviathan. Mark Bedau Hum 210. outline. metaphysics & epistemology materialism consciousness freedom ethics & politics human nature society. metaphysics. what kinds of things exist? what is their nature? what explains their behavior?. consciousness. nutritive

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hobbes s leviathan

Hobbes’s Leviathan

Mark Bedau

Hum 210

outline
outline
  • metaphysics & epistemology
    • materialism
      • consciousness
      • freedom
  • ethics & politics
    • human nature
    • society
metaphysics
metaphysics
  • what kinds of things exist?
    • what is their nature?
    • what explains their behavior?
slide4

consciousness

nutritive

reproductive

motive

sensitive

intellectual

consciousness

sensation

emotion

desire

motion

reproduction

growth

sensation

emotion

desire

motion

reproduction

growth

materialism
materialism
  • monism: everything is material
    • God: “a most pure, simple, indivisible, spirit corporeal”
  • micro-mechanical universe
    • corpuscular picture
    • interaction of parts explains behavior of whole
      • Galileo, Descartes, etc.
  • Hobbes extends corpuscularism
    • mind and action
    • morality and politics
epistemology empiricism
epistemology: empiricism
  • knowledge comes only via senses
    • cp. rationalism of Descartes
    • Hobbes: senses detect only material objects
      • view world materialistically
    • cp. empiricism of Machiavelli
    • cp. empiricism of Montaigne
  • apply reason to careful definitions
    • loved geometry
evidence
evidence?
  • pro
    • empiricist theory of experience
    • micro-mechanical science
    • alternatives are mysterious
  • con
    • conscious experience
    • freedom
consciousness
consciousness
  • the qualitative aspects of experience
    • “qualia”
    • hurtfulness of pains, itchiness of mosquito bites, taste of lemon, smell of skunk, …
    • how does Hobbes explain sensory experience?
hobbes on sensation
Hobbes on sensation
  • corpuscular, ballistic explanation
  • experience = motion of bits of matter
    • purely mechanical definition of conscious states
    • ditto for rest of mental lives
      • imagination, dreaming, trains of thought, …
    • like Descartes w/o pineal gland
    • like contemporary view
  • brilliant materialistic move!
slide10

“The cause of sense is the external body… which presseth the organ proper to each sense…; which pressure by mediation of the nerves … continued inward to the brain and heart, causeth there a resistance, … or endeavor of the heart to deliver itself, which endeavor, because outward, seemeth to be some matter without. And this seeming … is that which men call sense, and consisteth, as to the eye, in a light, or color figured; to the ear, in a sound;… Neither in us that are pressed, are [such sensible qualities] anything else but divers motions; for motions produceth nothing but motion.” (i, 4)

challenge zombies
challenge: zombies
  • zombies = physically identical but unconscious
    • behavior: talks of dreams, cries in pain, acts “freely”
      • not Hollywood zombies
    • inside: no conscious experience
  • zombies are logically possible
    • not claiming zombies exist
    • if Hobbes were right, zombies would be impossible
    • so materialism seems false
    • Q - any plausible materialist response?
materialism and freedom
materialism and freedom
  • materialism
    • all bodies subject only to physical forces
  • second problem
    • we think we have free will
    • free will seems impossible for materialism
    • puzzled Greeks, Romans, Scholastics
    • Renaissance: dignity, fortune, predestination
problem of prior causes
problem of prior causes

prior

material

conditions

beliefs &

desires

behavior

  • this causal picture undermines freedom
  • Action is free only if causes within control of the agent
  • Ultimate causes are outside the agent’s control
  • So, no action is free.
hobbes s solution
Hobbes’s solution
  • a pseudo-problem
    • false presupposition: freedom opposed to causation
    • truth: freedom is a kind of causation
      • “Liberty and necessity are consistent: … [the actions which men do voluntarily] proceed from their will, proceed from liberty; and yet, because every act of man’s will, and every desire, and inclination proceedeth from some cause, and that from another cause, in a continual chain, whose first link is in the hand of God the first of all causes, proceed from necessity.” (xxi, 4)
  • brilliant move!
    • compatibilism
freedom vs unfreedom

prior

material

conditions

beliefs,

desires,

will

behavior

external causes

freedom vs. unfreedom
  • internal vs. external causes
  • free actions result from deliberation (tussle between desires)

“In deliberation, the last appetite or aversion immediately adhering

to the action, or the omission thereof, is that we call the will…

For a voluntary act is that which proceedeth from the will, and no other” (vi)

challenge for compatibilism
challenge for compatibilism
  • lots of counterexamples: unfree behavior caused by internal desires, not by external factors
    • brainwashing
    • compulsion
    • kleptomania
  • diagnosis: the wrong kind of desires
    • Hobbes’s mistake: key not internal vs. external causes
    • Q - any materialist solution?
interim summary
interim summary
  • 2 challenges to corpuscular metaphysics
  • next: what about corpuscular ethics?
    • society = aggregation of people
      • explains formation of society, morality, property, laws …
    • what is human nature outside society?
three views of human nature
three views of human nature

society is artificial,

naturally good people are corrupted by society

society is artificial,

naturally selfish people are controlled by society

society is natural,

people are essentially

social

hobbes s state of nature
Hobbes’s state of nature
  • “… during that time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war, and such a war as is of every man against every man.” (xiii, 8)
    • rough equality of abilities
    • conflicting desires
    • actual fighting or threat of fighting
  • none of the benefits of society
    • chaos, insecurity, trauma
slide20

“In such a 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 commodities that may be imparted by sea, no commodious building, no instruments for 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, and the life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” (xiii, 9)

no morality no property
no morality, no property
  • “To this war of every man against every man, this also is consequent: that nothing can be unjust. The notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice, have there no place…. It is consequent also … that there be no propriety, no dominion, no mine and thine distinct, but only that to be every man’s that he can get, and for so long as he can keep it.” (xiii, 13)
  • morality and property are unnatural
    • artificial creation of collective human activity
create morality xxiv
create morality (xxiv)
  • Right of nature
    • the right to protect your life
      • Q - what is a “right” if there is no morality?
  • Law of nature
    • better phrase: “rational rule of self-interest”
      • moral virtues
    • a pattern of behavior that protects your life
  • First law of nature
    • you should seek peace, seek to avoid the state of nature
how create peace
how create peace?
  • rational self-interest causes state of nature
    • human nature
  • analogy: prisoner’s dilemma
    • insufficient evidence to convict
    • convict on lesser charge
    • if both confess, moderate sentences
    • if one confesses and implicates partner, he gets light sentence and partner gets harsh sentence
prisoner s dilemma
prisoner’s dilemma

prisoner A

keep quiet confess

keep quiet

prisoner B

confess

3 yrs

1 yr

3 yrs

20 yrs

20 yrs

10 yrs

1 yr

10 yrs

prisoner s dilemma1
prisoner’s dilemma
  • dilemma for rational self-interest
  • multiple person dilemma
    • tragedy of the commons
      • common grazing land
      • rational self-interest: cheat if you can
      • then everyone suffers
solution
solution
  • everyone agrees to cooperate
  • 2nd law of nature
    • you should give up your natural rights to the extent that everyone else also does
more laws of nature xv
more laws of nature (xv)

rational rules of self-interest = theorems of morality

    • keep your promises
    • reciprocate gifts and kindnesses
    • be accommodating
    • pardon people
    • seek rehabilitation, not revenge
    • be friendly

    • settle factual disputes by impartial witnesses
  • Q - any left out? any not belong?
  • Q - method sound?
how to stop cheaters
how to stop cheaters?
  • create mechanism to ensure compliance
create a sovereign
create a sovereign
  • “The only way to erect such a common power … is to confer all their power and strength upon one man, or upon an assembly of men, that may reduce all their wills, by plurality of voices, unto one will, … which is as much as to say, to appoint one man or assembly of men to bear their person, and every one to own and acknowledge himself to be author of whatsoever he that so beareth their person shall act, … and therein to submit their wills, every one to his will, and their judgments, to his judgment.” (xvii,13)
corpuscular leviathan
corpuscular Leviathan
  • the sovereign derives authority from the people
    • individuals exist before sovereign
    • individuals create sovereign to curb human nature
    • individuals identify with sovereign
sources of moral authority
sources of moral authority
  • God
  • social contract
    • reason & consent of governed & human nature
    • Hobbes: one morality
      • Cp. Machiavelli: individual morality ≠ civic morality
      • Q - Why Hobbes and Machiavelli differ on this?
  • next century: utilitarianism
    • reason & overall good of everyone
corpuscular consequences
corpuscular consequences
  • origin of property
    • “The distribution of materials … is the constitution of mine, and thine … and belongeth … to the sovereign power” (xxiv, 5)
  • no right of rebellion
    • the sovereign forms no covenant with subjects (xviii, 4)
  • no unjust laws
    • “The law is made by the sovereign power, and all that is done by such law is warranted and owned by every one of the people.” (xxx, 20)
conclusions
conclusions
  • materialism
    • problems: consciousness freedom
    • solutions: TBA compatibilism
  • social contract
    • artificial, rational (moral science)
    • basis: selfish human nuture
      • polarity: Hobbes vs. Rousseau
  • Hobbes’s outlook is substantially ours
    • we inherit his problems