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Hobbes’ Leviathan. Overview. Biographical/Historical Background Science vs . Prudence Goods, Power, and Felicity Natural Condition of Mankind Prisoner’s Dilemma The Social Contract. I. Biographical/Historical Background. Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679).

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overview
Overview
  • Biographical/Historical Background
  • Science vs. Prudence
  • Goods, Power, and Felicity
  • Natural Condition of Mankind
  • Prisoner’s Dilemma
  • The Social Contract
i biographical historical background
I. Biographical/Historical Background
  • Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)
  • Lifetime that spanned the reign of Charles I, The English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell, and the Restoration of the Monarchy under Charles II
  • Entered Oxford at 14, graduated when he was 19, got a job as a tutor
i biographical historical background4
I. Biographical/Historical Background
  • In 1629 he travels to Europe and finds Euclid’s Elements of Geometry, becomes mathematics tutor to son of William Cavendish, Earl of Devonshire
  • He reads one of the proofs and is astounded; has a “eureka” experience
  • Recognizes the power of deductive methodology
i biographical historical background5
I. Biographical/Historical Background
  • In 1636 he reads and meets Galileo and becomes intrigued with Galileo’s law of inertia and believes that the laws of motion apply to the political world as well as the physical/mechanical world
  • Begins to write a series of moral/political books, including The Elements of Law (1640), and De Cive (1642)
i biographical historical background6
I. Biographical/Historical Background
  • Leviathan was published in London in 1651 while he was in exile in Paris
  • Soon after publication he flees Paris (the Catholics objected to its attack on the papacy) and resettles back in England
  • Charles II is restored as king in 1660
  • Hobbes manages to live the rest of his life in relative peace on a government pension
ii science vs prudence
II. Science vs. Prudence
  • How do we approach our study of politics?
  • Hobbes wants to develop a political science, so we need to understand his understanding of science
  • Draws a distinction between prudence and science:
ii science vs prudence8
II. Science vs. Prudence
  • Chapter 9:

“There are of KNOWLEDGE two kinds; whereof one is Knowledge of Fact: the other Knowledge of the Consequence of one Affirmation to another…”

ii science vs prudence9
II. Science vs. Prudence

“The former is nothing else, but Sense and Memory, and is Absolute Knowledge; as when we see a Fact doing, or remember it done: And this is the Knowledge required in a Witnesse…”

  • In what sense is it “absolute knowledge”
ii science vs prudence10
II. Science vs. Prudence
  • Earlier, in Chapter 8 he refers to this as prudence:

“When the thoughts of a man, that has a designe in hand, running over a multitude of things, observes how they conduce to that designe; or what designe they may conduce unto; if his observations be such as are not easie, or usuall, This wit of his is called PRUDENCE…”

ii science vs prudence11
II. Science vs. Prudence
  • Or, as he defined it in Chapter 3:

“Prudence is a presumption of the Future, contracted from the Experience of time Past”

ii science vs prudence12
II. Science vs. Prudence

“The later is called Science; and is Conditionall; as when we know, that, If the figure showne be a circle, then any straight line through the Center shall divide it into two equall parts. And this is the Knowledge required in a Philosopher; that is to say, of him that pretends to Reasoning.”

ii science vs prudence13
II. Science vs. Prudence

“Whereas Sense and Memory are but knowledge of Fact, which is a thing past, and irrevocable; Science is the knowledge of Consequences, and dependence of one fact upon another: by which, out of that we can presently do, we know how to do something else when we will, or the like, another time: Because when we see how any thing comes about, upon what causes, and by what manner; when the like causes come into our power, we see how to make it produce the like effects” (Chapter 5).

  • What’s the advantage of science over prudence?
ii science vs prudence14
II. Science vs. Prudence
  • Think of Machiavelli’s Prince and the problem of fortune
  • Each incident may differ in subtle but significant ways so that the lessons learned from one event may not in fact be the proper guide for another event
  • The problem may not be fortune but a flawed methodology
ii science vs prudence15
II. Science vs. Prudence
  • For Hobbes, science = sapience, which is certain knowledge
  • The science which becomes our model is geometry
  • Let’s look at Hobbes’ geometric politics
iii goods power felicity
III. Goods, Power & Felicity

1.The world is in flux; i.e., things change and move; two types of movement:

“There be in animals, two sorts of motions peculiar to them: one called vital; begun in generation, and continued without interruption through their whole life; such as are the course of the blood, the pulse, the breathing, the concoction, nutrition, excretion, etc., to which motions there needs no help of imagination…” (Chap. VI)

iii goods power felicity17
III. Goods, Power & Felicity

“the other is animal motion, otherwise called voluntary motion; as to go, to speak, to move any of our limbs, in such manner as is first fancied in our minds…” (Chap, VI)

  • If we look at voluntary motion, what motivates us to move? In other words, why do we engage in any of these voluntary acts?
iii goods power felicity18
III. Goods, Power & Felicity

2. Some reason exists to explain voluntary motion; something motivates us to move:

“And because going, speaking, and the like voluntary motions, depend always upon a precedent thought of whither, which way, and what; it is evident, that the imagination is the first internal beginning of all voluntary motion…” (Chap. VI)

iii goods power felicity19
III. Goods, Power & Felicity

3. Some reason exists to prompt the imagination: DESIRE

“These small beginnings of motion, within the body of man, before they appear in walking, speaking, striking, and other visible actions, are commonly called ENDEAVOR…”

“This endeavor, when it is toward something which causes it, is called APPETITE, or DESIRE…” (Chap. VI).

iii goods power felicity20
III. Goods, Power & Felicity
  • In other words, desire means some things exist which are good:

“But whatsoever is the object of any man’s appetite or desire, that is it which he for his part calleth good; and the object of his hate and aversion, evil; and of his contempt, vile and inconsiderable” (Chapter VI)

iii goods power felicity21
III. Goods, Power & Felicity
  • What is missing in his definition here?
    • He’s not specifying the things which are good or evil
    • In other words, he’s not saying that we all will or can agree on what is good or evil
    • He is saying that every animal and every person has some conception of things it wants
iii goods power felicity22
III. Goods, Power & Felicity
  • In other words:
    • Good: things that are desirable
    • Evil: things that are undesirable
    • Contemptible: indifferent
  • All of these are relational and selfishly (self-referentially) defined
  • Each of us decides on our own what is good, evil, and contemptible
iii goods power felicity23
III. Goods, Power & Felicity

4.If we have desires, then that which allows us to reach those desires is what we call Power.

  • “The POWER of a man, to take it universally, is his present means, to obtain some future apparent good; and is either original or instrumental” (Chap. X).
  • We can’t fulfill our desires simply by wishing for them
  • More power is better than less power
iii goods power felicity24
III. Goods, Power & Felicity
  • Felicity:

“Continual success in obtaining those things which a man from time to time desireth, that is to say, continual prospering, is that men call FELICITY” (Chap. VI).

  • Note it is continual success in fulfilling our desires
  • Temporally extended (the desires exist through time)
iii goods power felicity25
III. Goods, Power & Felicity
  • Means both that we will continue to desire things and that we will continue to need the means to achieve those desires
  • We keep desiring things because life exists through time, but…
  • “[t]here is no such thing as perpetual tranquillity of mind, while we live here; because life is but motion, and can never be without desire, nor without fear, no more than without sense” (Chapter VI)
iii goods power felicity26
III. Goods, Power & Felicity
  • In other words happiness, felicity, once achieved is not permanent, but an ongoing process:
    • Felicity “consisteth not in the repose of a mind satisifed. For there is no such finis ultimus, utmost aim, nor summum bonum, greatest good, as is spoken of in the books of the old moral philosophers. Nor can a man any more live, whose desires are at an end, than he whose sense and imaginations are at a stand” (Chapter XI)
  • Need to secure means for future happiness and fulfilling future desires
iii goods power felicity27
III. Goods, Power & Felicity
  • “[T]he object of man’s desire, is not to enjoy once only, and for one instant of time; but to assure for ever, the way of his future desire” (Chapter XI).
iii goods power felicity28
III. Goods, Power & Felicity

“And therefore the voluntary actions, and inclinations of all men, tend, not only to the procuring, but also to the assuring of a contented life; and differ only in the way: which ariseth partly from the diversity of passions, in divers men; and partly from the difference of the knowledge, or opinion each one has of the causes, which produce the effect desired” (Chapter XI).

iii goods power felicity29
III. Goods, Power & Felicity

5. Power is a universal drive:

“So that in the first place, I put for a general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire for power after power, that ceaseth only in death…” (Chap. XI).

  • Why?
iii goods power felicity30
III. Goods, Power & Felicity

“And the cause of this, is not always that a man hopes for a more intensive delight, than he has already attained to; or that he cannot be content with a moderate power: but because he cannot assure the power and means to live well, which he hath present, without the acquisition of more” (Chapter XI)

iii goods power felicity31
III. Goods, Power & Felicity
  • In other words, because of the motion and flux of the universe (Point 1) – things change – we need to seek power continually, not necessarily because we want to improve our lot but rather simply to secure what we already have
  • No one wants to regress
iii goods power felicity32
III. Goods, Power & Felicity

This is no major difficulty if we all lived a Robinson Crusoe-esque solitary existence

  • What happens if we take these features and

combine them in a social animal?

iii goods power felicity33
III. Goods, Power & Felicity

6.People live near each other such that each of our activities influence those of our neighbors

iii goods power felicity34
III. Goods, Power & Felicity

7. People are by nature equal

“Nature hath made men so equal, in the faculties of the body, and mind; as that though there be found one man sometimes manifestly stronger in body, or of quicker mind than another; yet when all is reckoned together, the difference between man, and man, is not so considerable, as that one man can thereupon claim to himself any benefit, to which another may not pretend, as well as he.”

iii goods power felicity35
III. Goods, Power & Felicity

“For as to strength of body, the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest, either by secret machination, or by confederacy with others, that are in the same danger with himself” (Chapter XIII).

  • In other words, we are all equally a threat to each other
iii goods power felicity36
III. Goods, Power & Felicity

8. We all regard continual preservation as a good thing

  • Not necessarily the greatest good, but usually a good thing
  • Suicide objection?
iii goods power felicity37
III. Goods, Power & Felicity
  • What inferences, then, can we make from the preceding?
  • Let’s take individuals constituted the way we have described and imagine what sort of social relations they would have if left to their own devices (that is, in the absence of political authority).
iv the state of nature
IV. The State of Nature
  • First condition of the state of nature is scarcity
  • Not enough of the good things to go around
  • Combine that with points 5, 6, 7 above, then we get:

“From this equality of ability, ariseth equality of hope in the attaining of our ends…” (chap. 13)

iv the state of nature39
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” (chap. 13).

iv the state of nature40
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 (chapter 6)
    • Rise of pre-emptive strikes
    • Leads to a “war of each against all”
iv the state of nature41
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” (chapter 13).

  • Consequences?
iv the state of nature42
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…

iv the state of nature43
IV. The State of Nature

“and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

iv the state of nature44
IV. The State of Nature
  • Why?
  • Why won’t people be able to get along?
  • Why will the scarcity lead to this nasty situation?
prisoners dilemma
Prisoners’ Dilemma
  • Scenario:
  • You and an accomplice are arrested on suspicion of committing some nasty crime
  • The District Attorney and the police have been unable to produce enough evidence to convict you of that offense
prisoners dilemma46
Prisoners’ Dilemma
  • We do have enough evidence to convict you of some lesser charge
  • The only way the DA can nail you for the more serious offense is if one of you rats out the other
  • Conversely, you and your partner can largely elude prosecution if you both stay silent
  • You and your partner are placed in separate holding cells and are unable to communicate with each other
  • DA enters and offers you the following:
slide47

Rat

Hang Tough

Rat

Hang Tough

Prisoners’ Dilemma

slide48

From your perspective, you and your accomplice are faced with the following:

Don’t Cooperate with each other

(rat)

Cooperate with each other

(hang tough)

Don’t Cooperate

with each other

(rat)

Cooperate with each other

(hang tough)

Prisoners’ Dilemma

slide49

Rat

Hang Tough

0, 10

Rat

Hang Tough

Prisoners’ Dilemma

slide50

Rat

Hang Tough

0, 10

Rat

Hang Tough

Prisoners’ Dilemma

slide51

Column Player

Rat

Hang Tough

0 , 10

Rat

Row

Player

Hang Tough

10 , 0

Prisoners’ Dilemma

slide52

Rat

Hang Tough

5, 5

0, 10

Rat

Hang Tough

10, 0

Prisoners’ Dilemma

slide53

Rat

Hang Tough

5, 5

0, 10

Rat

Hang Tough

10, 0

1, 1

Prisoners’ Dilemma

slide54

What to do? Which strategy should you select?

Rat

Hang Tough

5, 5

0, 10

Rat

Hang Tough

10, 0

1, 1

Prisoners’ Dilemma

slide55

Dominant

Strategy

Rat

Hang Tough

Dominant

Strategy

5, 5

0, 10

Rat

Hang Tough

10, 0

1, 1

Prisoners’ Dilemma

slide56

Dominant

Strategy

Rat

Hang Tough

Dominant

Strategy

5, 5

0, 10

Rat

Hang Tough

10, 0

1, 1

Prisoners’ Dilemma

slide57

Neither player can improve his/her position,

Nash Equilibrium

Rat

Hang Tough

5, 5

0, 10

Rat

Hang Tough

10, 0

1, 1

Prisoners’ Dilemma

slide58

Neither player can unilaterally

improve his/her position

Nash Equilibrium

Rat

Hang Tough

5, 5

0, 10

Rat

Hang Tough

10, 0

1, 1

Prisoners’ Dilemma

prisoners dilemma59
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”
slide60

Don’t

Cooperate

Cooperate

3 , 3

1 , 4

Don’t Cooperate

Cooperate

4 , 1

2 , 2

Prisoners’ Dilemma

prisoners dilemma61
Prisoners’ Dilemma
  • Symbolic Form:
  • We’re in a Prisoner’s Dilemma situation whenever:

T > R > P > S

Temptation to defect > Rewards of Cooperation

Rewards > Punishment for Not Cooperating

Punishment > Sucker’s Payoff

prisoners dilemma62
Prisoners’ Dilemma
  • Note that even if we start at the cooperative outcome, that outcome is not stable
  • Each player can improve his/her position by adopting a different strategy
slide63

Don’t

Cooperate

Cooperate

3 , 3

1 , 4

Don’t Cooperate

Cooperate

4 , 1

2 , 2

Prisoners’ Dilemma

prisoners dilemma64
Prisoners’ Dilemma
  • But since both players have changed strategy we end up at the non-cooperative outcome, where both players are worse off than if they had chosen to cooperate
slide65

Don’t

Cooperate

Cooperate

3 , 3

1 , 4

Don’t Cooperate

Cooperate

4 , 1

2 , 2

Prisoners’ Dilemma

prisoners dilemma66
Prisoners’ Dilemma
  • And, as we noted, this non-cooperative outcome is also a Nash equilibrium outcome;
  • Neither player has any incentive to change strategy since whoever changes will do immediately worse by making the move
slide67

Don’t

Cooperate

Cooperate

3 , 3

1 , 4

Don’t Cooperate

Cooperate

4 , 1

2 , 2

Prisoners’ Dilemma

prisoners dilemma68
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
prisoners dilemma69
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
prisoners dilemma70
Prisoners’ Dilemma
  • People in Hobbes’ state of nature are in Prisoners’ Dilemma situations
  • Solution?
    • We need a sovereign
    • What kind?
    • Why obey?
vi the bronze rule
VI. 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”

vi the bronze rule72
VI. 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
vi the bronze rule73
VI. The Bronze Rule

Right = liberty

Law = obedience

vi the bronze rule74
VI. The Bronze Rule
  • 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
vi the bronze rule75
VI. The Bronze Rule
  • Second Law of Nature
    • Be willing to cede rights, if others are also so inclined
    • Why?
vii the social contract
VII. 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
vii the social contract77
VII. 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
vii the social contract78
VII. 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
slide80

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.

Sovereign

slide81

Sovereign

The sovereign is not part of the contract.

viii autonomy and authority
VIII. 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
viii autonomy and authority83
VIII. 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