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Thomas Hobbes thought that all human beings were equal in the state of nature, but all equally greedy, violent, vengeful and brutal. As he argued in Leviathan, this was a universal trait of humanity and that the purpose of contracting to form a state and civil society was basically to keep order. As he put it in his famous formulation in Chapter 13, the state of nature was a stake of chaos and war that made life "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." Only by transferring their natural rights of self-defense to a higher authority could they end this state of nature and find peace, order and security. Hobbes did not particularly care what form the government took after the contract, since its task was to maintain control over the instruments of violence and coercion and provide security. His sovereign state was highly authoritarian rather than democratic, and…… [Read More]
Hobbes vs. Locke
Thomas Hobbes and John Locke each provide intriguing opinions concerning the state of nature, but their thinking differs when considering the form of governing that each promotes as being the most effective. The individuals in Locke's example of a government appear to have greater security than those in Hobbes', as the latter considers that there would be nothing wrong with people renouncing some of their rights in order to be provided with protection from the government. Locke emphasized that rights such as life, liberty, and the right to own property are inalienable and that it would be wrong for an institution, regardless of its intentions, to deny people of them.
From Hobbes' perspective, people cannot possibly be trusted as long as they attempt to govern themselves and it is thus essential for a form of monarchy to control them and to provide a safe environment. In contrast,…… [Read More]
John Locke, who was a near descendant of Hobbes, differed most strongly in his political opinions and indicated that the 'state of nature' of which Hobbes talked would be preferable to having a sovereign government or absolute ruler and therefore be subjected to the whims and ideas of that person. Locke was not anti-political, but he did not share Hobbes' belief that having one ruler and therefore establishing one set of rules and laws for everyone to follow would be the best thing for all people. He believed that the 'state of nature' of which Hobbes spoke would allow for happiness and tolerance, and that no one would bother the possessions or rights of others. By living in this kind of state, all people would truly be equal and independent, and there would be no need for laws or government because of the strong sense of respect and moral duty…… [Read More]
Therefore, the welfare of others cannot be relevant to judging what one ought to do. This is a very interesting argument, but it does not establish its conclusion. Although it may be that every human being has a right to preserve his own life, one would like some evidence in support of this key premise. Even if there is a human right to self-preservation, it does not follow that it is always right for a human being to preserve his own life. That someone has a right to do something does not necessarily imply that his act of doing it is right, for one can have a right that one ought not to exercise (von Hayek, 23). For example, one may have a right to free speech when one ought not to speak freely because this is not the time or the place; one may have a right to demand…… [Read More]
He favored a large and powerful government able to enforce its will on subjects, in order to control their natural unruliness. Locke, on the other hand thought men in the state of nature were good, but that due to their need to be secure in their property and to protect themselves from outside forces, they banded together to form a state to benefit themselves individually. He favored a limited government able to protect its citizens which would act otherwise almost entirely on their behalf.
The framers of the constitution argued over these two positions, in an attempt to decide whether men needed more or less rule and how they ought to structure the government in order to achieve the right balance. In the end, they stuck a sort of compromise, making a limited government but building in potentialities for the government to grow if necessary in or to meet the…… [Read More]
The traits of the character are regular male traits from the society of that time. The character does not seem to be someone in particular (such a as a well-known knight or king), but a general representation of authority. And his name is Leviathan. The expression on his face is rather neutral, although the look in his eyes might transmit how heavy ad difficult the burden of authority is.
This implies awareness regarding his own role and the great importance of the consequences which his acts have. The territory is caught up between the sword and the sceptre. From this we can understand that the entire country is protected with the sword and that protection is guaranteed by the sceptre. There is however another interpretation that we can take into consideration, one according to which the character is trying to take over the territory.
The name Leviathan is usually associated…… [Read More]
This is significant for those that study politics today and actually seek to understand much of the reasoning behind it and the theories that encompass it.
Social contract is a theory that indicates that individuals have an agreement between themselves in order to form society. It is assumed that political and moral obligations of various people are based on this theory. Both Hobbes and Locke believed in the social contract theory, but the way that they developed it in their political thought and the way that they utilized the term were not the same. Hobbes believed that men are selfish by nature, but will choose to belong to the social contract rather than return to a state of nature. Locke, however, stated that the state of nature was a pre-political but not pre-moral place where everyone lived their lives as they saw fit, without interference from others. They were not,…… [Read More]
Nature by Hobbe and Locke
Thomas Hobbes, in Leviathan, bases his argument of an all-powerful and unlimited government on a scientifically modeled reasoning. He asserts that it is only a sovereign and an all-powerful government that has the authority to attract full obedience from the subjects thus preventing them from resorting to violent acts of rebellion, chaos, and violence.
Hobbes uses the desire-aversion principle and the man's insatiable desire for power to argue out his concept of the state of nature. He asserts that in the absence of ultimate power, humanity co-exists in a state described as equality. Equality implies that all humankind have expectations that equally match their individualistic fulfilled desires. Further, they bear equality in their desire fight for the unlimited resources as well as kill. Using deductive reasoning, Hobbes then argues out that eventuality of this state of affair is "war of every man against every man."…… [Read More]
Question 2: The goals of the philosophies were meant to exercise a set of ideals. Which common tenets of enlightened thinking do writers Mary Wollstonecraft and Denis Diderot advance in "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" and the selection from "Encyclopedie." Contemporary connections: Discuss how you see the tenets you identified in these works as having informed/influenced our contemporary experience.
Although Mary Wollstonecraft speaks about the rights of women specifically, her "A Vindication of the Rights of Women" stresses the value of rationality and reasonable discourse in keeping with Enlightenment principles that were particular to many other Enlightenment thinkers, including Diderot. Wollstonecraft argues one of the defects of male oppression of women is that it limits female education, and makes women more irrational. When men criticize women, men have essentially created a self-fulfilling prophesy. Women have not been allowed full venues to enrich themselves, which is the right of…… [Read More]
These ideas run in separate directions, but each seeks to provide a better understanding of what a human life is and why we should or should not serve a greater power than ourselves.
In conclusion, we see that the Leviathan is an important piece of work for man to understand his place in society and the role or lack thereof his life plays in the creation and maintenance of this society, with many parallels visible in ancient philosophical writing on war. Mo Tzu had exceptionally benevolent ideas for his time and the depressing period of Chinese history in which he lived, yet his enthusiasm for human life is remarkable. Mohism could never have worked in the time that Mo Tzu lived in, but 2300 years later, the rise of Mao Zedong and Communism in China drew heavily from the ideas of Mo Tzu. Universal love works well in the communism…… [Read More]
Machiavelli, Thomas More, Thomas Hobbes
Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes appear to recommend political actions and systems that take people "the way they are." In contrast, Thomas More and Aristotle appear to recommend political actions and systems designed to help people change the way they are. To what extent is this description of their approaches accurate?
According to the introduction to his text The Prince, Machiavelli believes that "the way humans act and should act are seldom the same." What Machiavelli means by this, however, is not that human beings fail to uphold their innately good ideals. What the theorist and advisor means is that a human being in a position of power does not have the luxury of asking himself what is good. A leader only can ask what is expedient for his state and what will continue his reign of power as a leader.
In direct contrast, the Greek…… [Read More]
Q1. Who were the philosophes? Describe their major accomplishment as reformers.
The philosophes were the founders of what came to be known as the Enlightenment, individuals such as Voltaire and Montesquieu who demanded that governments honor the rights of all human beings, not simply those who were of high birth. Their conviction in reason led them to support expanding equal rights to all human beings. Authors such as Mary Wollstonecraft created the architecture for what would eventually be equal rights for all women, much as Beccaria created the foundation of modern prison and judicial reform, and Locke the idea of a government that could be dissolved if the sovereign failed to protect the rights of the people.
Q2. What two forms of literature emerged during the Enlightenment? Give an example (title and author) of each one.
The journalistic essay, such as Mary Wollstonecraft’s “Vindication of the Rights of Women” (1792)…… [Read More]
Machiavelli, Thomas More, Thomas Hobbes
Under what circumstances is it just (or right, or ethical) to go to war? Why? Compare and contrast how Machiavelli, Thomas More, and Thomas Hobbes might answer this question.
Because of the rather negative perception of Niccolo Machiavelli's theories of political survival and expediency at all costs, one might be tempted to assume that the Italian political theorist believed that the ideal leader, The Prince, should go to war at any opportunity to demonstrate his strength as a leader. However, Machiavelli was not nearly so bloodthirsty or foolish. In fact, Machiavelli believed in self-promotion and the promotion of the existence of the Prince's political future and the state at all costs. War occasionally might serve as a means to this end but only should be undertaken in extreme circumstances. For instance, in discussing a specific political situation that plagued Italy at the time, he noted,…… [Read More]
Furthermore, that the intent of all princes should be to use all means necessary to maintain their powerbase.
The works of Thomas Hobbes were revolutionary during his time period. He used his understanding of human nature and extrapolated the need for absolutism within government. The Leviathan was revolutionary in that it expounded Hobbesian concept of a material universe. His essential premise is that everything in the universe consists only of matter in motion. Hobbes believes that all things have a material existence even God, and this allows him to derive a natural philosophy that fits within a framework for modern political thought. Hobbes main contribution is that he postulates a framework for human understanding, that we are in effect beasts in nature, until we have a framework of government. This understanding differs substantially from early philosophers who had a generally positive light of inherent human nature. Hobbes instead, believes that…… [Read More]
Nicomachean Ethics and Leviathan
In every society, there are tens of hundreds of individuals whose personal value system leads them to leading a life based on principles of honesty, trust, fairness and compassion. To that extent, justice, as a concept can and does exist quite separate from any system of government given any number of citizens who ensure that justice is done in their dealings with their fellow humans. However, viewed from the perspective that not all members of human society necessarily adhere to similar principles, justice in a society is largely dependent on a government that upholds and enforces it. ithout government and a legal system, it is more than probable that social anarchy would prevail with many humans resorting to pure self-indulgence, committing unjust and criminal acts purely for their own personal gain, with little or no regard to concepts such as the welfare of fellow citizens. Such…… [Read More]
The second part of this book introduces the more central aspect of his argument's epistemological motive, with the prescription for proper leadership extending from a view that is ethically, intellectually and socially instructed. e can easily detect here the strands of ideology which would be invested into Hobbes view many centuries hence. This is to say that at the crux of his argument, Plato writes that "until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never have rest from their evils." (Plato, Book V) in subsequent explanation, he determines that a virtuous ruler will ultimately find the right to rule his people as a consequence of his worthiness to lead the greater…… [Read More]
Hobbes, Locke, And Democracy
There once was a time when kings ruled and their people were subject to the absolute authority of that king. The king literally was the law, whatever he said became law. All of his subject had an obligation to be loyal to their king simply because God had appointed him king. Kings claimed their authority from God, and therefore possessed the ultimate authority. However, beginning in the 1600's in England, the people began to see the relationship between king and subjects a bit differently. A new ideal emerged, the idea that a king's authority came from the consent of the people, not from God. It was Thomas Hobbes, in his book Leviathan who first broached the subject that the relationship between the king and the people was a two way relationship. The king and people formed a "social contract" and each had it's responsibilities to the…… [Read More]
It is rather ironic to note that the development of higher philosophic ideas causes man to constrain the whole world within the narrow assumptions of his personal understanding of the world. In such instances, philosophers, who are expected to define and assimilate various conflicting ideas into an acceptable explanation of the world, shrink their perspectives and adamantly defines the world within limits set by them.
The ideas of Thomas Hobbes can be considered as narrow and very limiting because he considered the world to work only according to physical laws and definitions. Hobbes' travels throughout Europe brought him in contact with great minds in the field of politics and science, and their interaction was a definite factor that prompted him to write The Leviathan. Hobbes did not have any explanation for the finer and more subtle elements in the world and considered all aspects of life in a…… [Read More]
Thomas Hobbes and John Locke each formulated notions regarding human liberty in nearly the same social, political, and provincial circumstances. Although their most famous works were separated approximately forty years from one another, they were both wealthy members of seventeenth century English society during a period of particular social and religious turmoil. Similarly, both Hobbes and Locke sought to use reasoning to determine the most appropriate form of political and social organization. It should be anticipated, therefore, that their fundamental conceptions regarding freedom also possess many similarities; however -- aside from their initial premises -- Hobbes and Locke vary wildly in both their approaches to the topic of freedom and the consequences they believe these lines of reasoning hold for society. Locke has come to be thought of as one of the founders of modern political philosophy in the West, and rightly so. Hobbes, on the other hand, has continued…… [Read More]
So, who was right? Well, it seems that history has taught us again and again that in certain conditions, humans do express their evil and competitive natures (e.g. fascism, genocide, etc.); but that in other situations, the species can be incredibly giving and benevolent (think of Mother Theresa, people helping people). The complexity is that humans are not all one type or another, but a combination. Most sociologists believe that it is culture and society that form the basis for behavior. For example, the Kung! Bushmen of South Africa have no crime, very little disagreement, and understand they must cooperate for the good of the tribe. owever, if we look at the Epic of Gilgamesh or the Code of ammurabi, we find that the earliest civilizations had to provide structure and that evil nature was as much a part of humanity as goodness. The debate remains -- is the cup…… [Read More]
Hobbes and Rousseau
The notion of the social contract -- the concept that human society is fundamentally a human construct -- originated in seventeenth-century European thought and was developed throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, receiving perhaps its most dramatic and influential expressions in Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan, published in 1651, and Jean-Jacque Rousseau's The Social Contract, published in 1762. The notion of the social contract itself arises from a conception of the condition of humanity before the contract was established, the so-called 'state of nature', and each of these works embodies a contrasting view of the state of nature from which human society has arisen.
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) believed that politics was a science kin to geometry, and that political institutions could be understood using scientific principles. He perceived humans as objects pushed back and forth by powerful forces similar to those that acted upon objects in the physical universe,…… [Read More]
Hobbes cites two ways to attain absolute monarchy; by institution and by acquisition. The first one is achieved by voluntary agreement among a multitude of people wherein the selection of the sovereign power is done through the casting of votes or similar. He states that the main reason why people want a commonwealth by institution is because of fear of one another; they want a greater power to dictate the direction where everyone should go to avoid the possibility of everyone going against everyone else due to their opposing points-of-view. On the other hand, the second one requires the use of force by the sovereign power wherein people subject themselves under him due to fear of death or any other punishment should they choose otherwise.
When a sovereign power is put into place whether by institution or by acquisition, Hobbes represents the commonwealth as The Leviathan which is…… [Read More]
Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan Chapters 17, 19, 29
At the beginning of the first chapter of the second part of his monumental philosophical treatise upon the nature of government, entitled Leviathan, the political philosopher Thomas Hobbes stated that "the final cause, end, or design of men (who naturally love liberty, and dominion over others) in the introduction of that restraint upon themselves, in which we see them live in Commonwealths, is the foresight of their own preservation, and of a more contented life thereby." (Chapter 17). In other words, for Hobbes, the self-preservation and the desire to maintain the physical self in a state of pleasure is the root of all humanity's desire. Hobbes thus posits the essential nature of humanity, and makes an argument about the institutions of government that are best suited for the nature of human beings, given this 'fact' of human nature.
The aforementioned quote…… [Read More]
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) was a famous English philosopher and political theorist who profoundly influenced the political events during the so-called English Revolution (1640-1660), a time of great upheaval and disorder. Hobbes wrote his famous work Leviathan (1651) in this period in which he advocated a form of government in which the subjects hand over all the authority to the ruler. Hobbes is also thought to be the major influence behind the ethical philosophy of Utilitarianism and has contributed greatly to the development of psychology and modern sociology. Hobbes was one of the first philosophers to give a secular justification for a secular state and was responsible for the departure from a religiously centered thinking (the Scholasticism) in Europe that was opposed to any new ideas beyond the hristian theology and the Greek philosophies. This departure from Scholasticism is one of the turning points in Western civilization as secularism…… [Read More]
Hobbes believes that the cruel nature of human beings causes the state of nature to be a war of all against all. To do this, we will explain the difference between collective and individual rationality and how it applies to human beings in the Hobbesian state of nature. Also, we will identify the assumptions that cause Hobbes to believe the state of nature is a war of all against all and explain why he needs them. By delving into this assumptions, we can abandon our philosophical heritage from Locke and understand the opposite position of Hobbes.
Of the social contract theorists, Thomas Hobbes is the most extreme in terms of his view of human nature. Hobbes wrote a number of philosophical works, but the English Civil War with its horrible violence left an indelible impression upon him. In his magnum opus Leviathan that he published in 1651 he presents his…… [Read More]
Thomas Hobbes believed that all matter was in motion and would remain in that state until and unless another force changed it (Hobbes 1651). He saw that thought reflected the motion of things in the material world and affected the senses and the brain until this new motions degraded a previous one. To Hobbes, 1) everything, including the mind and the soul, is material; 2) man is born with a blank or tabula rasa mind; and 3) all mental activity proceeded from the senses.
Hobbes established a hierarchy of abstract thought levels. At the base was the representation or appearance, the first motion transmitted by the senses to the brain. Upon entry into the brain, it followed a "trayne (Hobbes)," which was the course of its motion in interacting with other representations. The power or influence of each motion decreased as it interacted, and he called this interaction imagination,…… [Read More]
Thomas Hobbes and John Locke: Perspectives on Governance and Power
Though John Locke's theory of natural law and natural rights at first glance seem to oppose the conservative authoritarianism of Thomas Hobbes', both men set out to establish a framework for governance that would protect the rights of individuals. John Locke takes the approach that a democratic nation with a system of checks and balances was an essential ingredient to protecting man's natural rights. Hobbes was also interested in protecting the interests of individuals, but having grown up during tumultuous times, believed that a strong hand was necessary within a governing body to prevent man from destroying himself. Each of these idealisms is important influences to the Constitution of the United States, setting up a framework for a governing authority that protects the rights of people while maintaining a state of peace and order. These ideas are explored in greater…… [Read More]
That artificial institution would be "endowed with enough power to deter violence and promise-breaking among it's subjects."
But, in conclusion, if that "artificial" institution uses violence or repression to "keep disorder at bay" then, according to what I have gained from reading Hobbes, individuals like myself will have the natural right to disobey those unfair orders, and create an alternative "artificial institution" to be truly free and express absolute liberty. After all, it was Hobbes who said, "hensoever a man transferreth his right...it is either in consideration of some right reciprocally transferred to himself, or for some other good he hopeth for thereby." I don't plan to transfer any of my rights to government any time soon, other than to perhaps help the habitat of an endangered species, or to assist another human in dire need of my sacrifice.
Goldstick, D. (2004). Cans and ifs: ability to will…… [Read More]
Says Hobbes, "Another doctrine repugnant to Civil Society is that whatsoever a man does against his Conscience is Sin; and it depends on the presumption of making himself judge of Good and Evil" (Hobbes, p. 234). Hobbes asserts that the civil law is the public conscience, and that even if an individual believes he sins against his own conscience, but does not in actuality violate civil law, that individual is not at fault. Here, Hobbes places the Civil Law and the Commonwealth on a higher plane of morality -- one which oversees all actions, and judges them as though it were somehow superior to them.
In conclusion, both Aristotle and Hobbes formulate complex philosophical systems by which men might live. hile both assert a logical desire for the common good, their judgment of what constitutes that good is different. Aristotle, while allowing for subjective considerations, acknowledges an objective standard by…… [Read More]
Basically, Hobbes takes a long historical view of human society, and sees the continuation of civil societies -- i.e. those organized under governments -- as the prime necessity for any progress. Left in the state of nature, mankind could not be guaranteed the continued success of any long-term projects, and therefore would not desire to undertake them. Also, without the rule of law, many men would not feel any need for government. The statement of Hobbes' quoted above indicates that he believes the state of nature is a state of rule by force, where the strong are able to take what they want from the weak with utter impunity.
Such a horrific view of humanity could cause many intellectual hackles to rise -- indeed, Hobbes' description of the state of nature has been dismissed as unduly pessimistic by many critics -- but Hobbes was not hasty in drawing such conclusions.…… [Read More]
Parental authority is something Hobbes believes is based on a contract. Parents take care of children in exchange for the obedience of the child. Locke believes parental authority relies on biological inheritance and the natural rights bestowed on a parent to take care of a needy creature they bring into the world. He also states, children are bound by honor to obey the parent until they reach 'an age of reason'. Such a convoluted and complex interpretation of parental authority is why Locke's perspective is wrong and Hobbes' perspective is right. Hobbes' interpretation of parental authority is simple and linear, introducing the concept of choice and obligation onto the parent and child. By providing an understanding that both parties are responsible and if lacking, have no rights in that respect, it makes parental authority appear more of a responsibility rather than a right. This makes Hobbes' perspective more convincing. This…… [Read More]
Luther / Bossuet/Hobbes
Martin Luther's adical eligion Vision
When Martin Luther nailed his infamous 95 Theses to the door of the cathedral in Wittenberg, Germany in 1517, he could hardly have foreseen that the consequences of his declarations would shake the Western world for centuries. While Luther was certainly not working in a vacuum and absorbed many of his attitudes towards the Catholic Church from the growing mistrust of the papacy in Germany at the time, his elegant theological arguments against the power of the pope and the rituals of Catholicism provided a strong religious alternative to the oman Catholic faith.
The instigation for the 95 Theses and one of the issues at the heart of Luther's argument against the Church was the practice of the selling of indulgences. Indulgences were essentially letters of forgiveness from the Church that could be bought in lieu of the traditional good works that…… [Read More]
Thrasymachus sustains that obedience to rulers is just (Republic, 399b7) and this comes in no contradiction with what Hobbes sustains. In a contractual society, laws must be obeyed, but this is simply the result of the renunciation of one's freedoms in return of security. However, what Hobbes always argues for in his writings is that individuals pursue their self-interest because this is their nature. Laws are restrictions in the path of pursuing one's interest. Thrasymachus makes it clear in his argumentation that he is in favour of everyone supporting their own interest and that this is the position he defends. This is one of the most obvious similarities with Hobbes. He described justice as seeking another's interest, and injustice as involving seeking one's own interest.
Hobbes supports that the ideal state of the human being is the state of nature, from which people moved to the commonwealth presented in the…… [Read More]
" (Prince: 61)
The second important thing to focus on is the military strength of that person. Does the ruler possess greater military might than the displaced ruler? If yes, then there is no point in rejecting him as the new ruler. This is because with his military weapons, he is likely to prove valuable to the country in the long run. Michaela's views on the art of war and possession of arms make it clear that a well-armed ruler deserves our respect because he can be relied on in difficult times
Liberty is an important concept in this connection. Liberty is the collection of various rights, which must be safeguarded at all costs, or else the public will reject the new ruler. It is thus important to remember that even when the people of a country give up their freedom because of fear of the new ruler, the ruler…… [Read More]
Philosopher-kings strive to lead individuals out of the cave, and to perceive 'the real,' the pure and ideal world of the forms rather than the shadows of ideals. This idealistic concept is one reason why Plato is so determined that every human being assume his ideal place in the social order, whether working at a trade, fighting, or engaging in philosophy.
hile Plato's version of a social contract between the different classes of society is, in his view, a mutually beneficial one, in Hobbes' view the social contract between sovereign in subjects is unequal, but extremely necessary because life is not worth living without such a contract. If there is any part of Plato that Hobbes would agree with, it is the "Myth of Gyges" which is told by an opponent of Socrates, the advocate of tyranny Glaucon (a kind of precursor to Hobbes). Gyges was a shepherd who became…… [Read More]
The difference resides in the use of the vocabulary. Values can not be decided upon in an arbitrary manner.
In his Two Treatises of government, Locke states that it is people's very own nature which endows them with rights. Under these circumstances, civil society can be considered to exist before the birth of the state. It is society which guarantees the legitimacy of the state and which guarantees a principle of order. The state is a mere instrument through which justice is being done.
When agreeing to the social contract people endow a single authority with an overwhelming power. This authority will make sure that everybody benefits from an impartial justice. Life, liberty and property are the most important rights that the new authority has to protect. In case of a conflict, people will have to make sure that the just principles win.
The role of the government for example…… [Read More]
John Locke's and Thomas Hobbes' Doctrines
Hobbes and Locke both agree on the argument that social contract plays a key role in determining the political stability of a state. However, despite this agreement, their philosophies are both based on different visions of human nature. Both philosophers wrote of a period which they called state of nature (period prior to establishment / creation of societies) in which man was described by individuality rather than collectivity. Both Locke and Hobbes also wrote of how man was able to leave this state and form civilized societies that however have different rules and conceptions. This essay considers the similarities and dissimilarities of both philosophers' ideas and works on social contract and the formation of civilized societies. This paper compares and contrasts fully and critically Locke's doctrine that "every man hath a right to ... Be Executioner of the law of nature" with Hobbs doctrine…… [Read More]
The reason it is human nature to experience conflict is because people are born to be free thinkers; not mindless machines that simply perform as they are instructed.
Does John Locke's political treatise "Of Civil Government" condemn or condone slavery? Give specific examples from his text that reveal his thoughts on slavery, and compare them with the state of slavery in eighteenth-century Europe
Locke condemned slavery because he valued human freedom. The emphasis in Locke's view of the social contract is clearly placed on diversity of judgment and choice within a context defined by each person's ability to act according to his own will, that is, each person's ability to act freely. Thus, according to Locke, people do not have the freedom to follow their own wills when their conduct is governed by the chosen few elite like those that Hobbes advocated. So when people are controlled by government, the…… [Read More]
And thus much shall suffice; concerning what I find by speculation, and deduction, of Soveraign Rights, from the nature, need, and designes of men, in erecting of Common-wealths, and putting themselves under Monarchs, or Assemblies, entrusted with power enough for their protection.
Hobbes & aller 143-144)
There would then seem to be little question as to the divides between Hobbes and Locke, with Hobbes stating firmly that they are very different (but may have similarities) and Locke calling them entirely the same, and only different in scale. This is also proof of the thesis that the divergence of the philosophies rides almost entirely on a core difference between Locke and Hobbes, as Locke stresses that the ultimate sovereign of all man is God Hobbes and relies on no such dominion or demand upon man and his governance of reason and society.
Hobbes, Thomas, aller, a.R., ed. Leviathan: Or,…… [Read More]
Aristotle, Hobbes, Machiavelli and Bellah
hat are the different conceptions of knowledge that inform Hobbes's and Aristotle's respective accounts of politics? Be specific about questions of individualism, virtue, and justice. In Bellah's terms, what kind of politics would they support? How are they related to Bellah's views on the relationship between social science and social life?
Aristotle stated repeatedly that the needs of the state and society overrode individual pleasures, desires and happiness, while Hobbes regarded unchecked individualism as a menace to public peace and good order. Public virtue and justice for Aristotle were not based on purely individual feelings, desires or personal happiness, for "which it is satisfactory to acquire and preserve the good even for an individual, it is finer and more divine to acquire and preserve it for a people and for cities" (Aristotle 2). Virtue is the chief end of political life, but only the vulgar…… [Read More]
To achieve his ends man gives up, in favour of the state, a certain amount of his personal power and freedom Pre-social man as a moral being, and as an individual, contracted out "into civil society by surrendering personal power to the ruler and magistrates, and did so as "a method of securing natural morality more efficiently." To Locke, natural justice exists and this is so whether the state exists, or not, it is just that the state might better guard natural justice Locke in his works dwelt with and expanded upon the concept of government power: it is not, nor can it possibly be, absolutely arbitrary over the lives and fortunes of the people. For it being but the joint power of every member of the society given up to the legislative assembly, the power vested in the assembly can be no greater than that which the people had…… [Read More]
Although within capitalism Marx understands that an individual seeks a
better situation for himself, his choices and the reasons for making his
choices are based upon the capitalist system that society has instituted.
Furthermore, Marx's view of history and the motivations of history
are much different than Hobbes and Locke. To Marx, all of history is a
class struggle. In the capitalist system laborers give their labor to the
capitalists. Locke writes about the body and labor that, "nobody has any
right to but himself. The labour of his body and the work of his hands, we
may say, are properly his" (Chap 5). This means, to Locke, that a laborer
is working with his own property, his own body, as an individual. Marx
differs in this assumption as not only does the laborer have very little
choice in the system, but also that while laboring "a crowd of people…… [Read More]
Second Treatise of Government," by John Locke is a revolutionary philosophical work that directly opposed the idea of absolutism.
Absolutism held that the best form of government was autocratic, and was based on both the belief in the Divine Right of Kings and the theory of natural law, as espoused by Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan. In the context of the absolutism of Louis XIV, and the political events surrounding Oliver Cromwell, Locke's "Second Treatise of Government" was clearly a revolutionary work on the structure and purpose of political authority.
One of the greatest debates of the 16th and 17th centuries was over the nature of political authority. The belief in divine right of kings that had once held sway over the estern world was quickly dissolving. In its place was a rapidly emerging idea of individualism that took form with the Renaissance and the French Revolution, and took root in…… [Read More]
Human Society -- Economic or State Power
Background (State Power and Economic Power) -- The political and sociological aspect of power is the ability for an organization to control its own environment, including the behavior of other entities with which it reacts. Authority is seen as the perception of legitimate power by the social structure of dominant culture. Power can be, of course, seen as good or evil, but the exercise of power is both endemic and necessary for the modern state as we know it. Certainly within the paradigm of political and economic power there are various permutations that surround sources of power, the balance of power, and theories of power (Kuusisto).
Balances of power are necessary within any reciprocal arrangement in order for statecraft to even exist: what are the relative strengths, weaknesses, and dimensions to a stable relationship? Given that power is never innate, and one must…… [Read More]
Modern Political Thought
The transition from a feudal serf economy to a capitalist market economy was one of the fundamental shifts which have produced modernity as we know it. This essay aims to understand how the authors of The Prince and Leviathan, Niccolo Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes would think about the transition and how these two great minds would relate to the issue of capitalism. Capitalism is a funny game that continually creates a series of boom and bust cycles throughout our modern history. Take the 1926 real estate craze that occurred in Florida. The United States economy was cooking along on all cylinders and good times were everywhere. No one was thinking about the Great Depression that would occur just a few years later. The rich and happy of 1926 figured that all was well as often is the case in Capitalism. Prosperity and growth were infinite --…… [Read More]
He who would attack that state from the outside must have the utmost caution; as long as the prince resides there it can only be wrested from him with the greatest difficulty. (Chapter III)
So, then one must be present and able to seek ambitious gains and if he is not both these things difficulty and likely failure will arise and greater losses that what is gained can be realized. In this goal the Prince appropriately governs the people and thus a civil society is created.
Within Thomas Hobbes, there is a sense of knowing that defines the nature of man, as one that is comprised of five senses and all beyond that must be learned and improved upon by appropriate seeking of knowledge. (Leviathan, Chapters I-XVI) His discussion of state is the determination of a civil society, designed and created to determine the end of warfare and therefore instability…… [Read More]
Mill believed that any act may itself be inherently moral, so long as the outcome of that action produces a benign effect. Mill believed that the most ethical act is that which produces the most good, even if the act itself is one which is traditionally considered evil. An example of utilitarian philosophy would include the killing of innocent animals to determine a cure for some infectious disease. And while there are components of this philosophy that would certainly align with Aristotle's definition of ethics, it seems difficult to picture the latter condoning any method to achieve moral behavior, particularly in regards to the following quotation from Nichomachean Ethics. "A man will not live like that by virtue of his humanness, but by virtue of some divine thing within him. His activity is as superior to the activity of the other virtues as this divine thing is to his composite…… [Read More]
In its most basic sense, this treaty abolished the age-old practice of electing a king of the Romans, a reference to the Holy Roman Empire; it gave France the geographical areas of Verdun, Alsace, Metz and a portion of Strasburg; Sweden was given West Pomerania, Stettin, Wismar and Bremen, known as bishoprics but now part of northern Germany; Bavaria retained the Upper Palatinate and all electoral titles, and Saxony retained Lusatia. Also, Spain was forced to fully recognize the United Provinces as a sovereign nation-state. Overall, the Treaty of Westphalia turned Europe into a conglomerate of separate political and economic nation-states that were only partially dependent on each other; the treaty also made it possible for mercantilism to spread throughout Europe, thus creating the foundation for many more years of conflict and war. In addition, this treaty also brought an end to the Eighty Years War between Spain and the…… [Read More]
What is the raison d'etat ( reason for the existence of the state)? Compare and contrast the views presented by theorists on the purpose, role, and existence of governments: Jean Bodin, Jacques Bossuet, James II, Thomas Hobbes, and John Locke. Discuss how political views reflected evolving views on human nature, humanity's place, and the Glorious evolution.
The concept of human liberty and the purpose of the state in Western Civilization have evolved over time. Jean Bodin, the French philosopher and jurist, was one of the first philosophers to advance the idea that as well as the loyalty the populace owed to the sovereign, the sovereign likewise had an obligation to educate the population in kind. Bodin wrote in his Six Books of the Commonwealth (epublique): "those who have written on the duties of magistrates and other similar books are wrong to support the idea that the Estates of the…… [Read More]
Although America's founding documents declared unequivocally "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable ights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," the signing of the Declaration of Independence did nothing more to end the debate over rights, power, and liberty than did the discourses of Immanuel Kant, Thomas Hobbes, and John Locke. The notion of inalienable rights is rooted in Hobbesian theory, after Hobbes wrote in his Leviathan that "to use his own power, as he will himself, for the preservation of his own Nature; that is to say, of his own Life; and consequently, of doing anything, which in his own judgment, and eason, he shall conceive to be the (most) apt means thereunto," thus offering philosophy's most basic elucidation of the concept of inalienable rights. Western philosophy has always focused the attention of…… [Read More]
That is, the desire for power, wealth, greater comfort, etc. will always incline some towards the breaking of the social contract and towards the exercising of their right under the second law of nature to have what they can take, and there must be a means of addressing these contractual transgressions if the contract is to have any integrity and install a lasting and reliable peace. An absolute sovereign, Hobbes contends, is the only way to achieve this, as this sovereign would be imbued with the authority to seek out and to redress contractual failings or breaches, while remaining outside the purview of the other members of the contract and thus remaining ostensibly incorruptible. The threat of punishment from the monarch enforces the contract, and the sovereign keeps the rights of everyone to everything at bay by promising its own application of this right in the form of imprisonment or…… [Read More]
In addition, I've heard a great deal of expressed frustration by the citizens of this country in regards to their rights, and the impact on their rights by the Patriot Act and regulations put in place by the Department of Homeland Security. Do these people not understand that their rights are nonexistent because of the authority of the state? Like a child and her parents, the state will do what it thinks is necessary for its people, and the people must obey."
Pretend for a moment," Augustine posed, "that the question at hand is not the sovereignty of the state, but the moral justice of the war. Do you agree that the decision to go to war was moral?" do not concern myself so much with morality," Hobbes countered, "as I do with the reason why these wars must continue to occur. Obviously, none is in favor of the death…… [Read More]
Peace Possible in the Modern World?
Is peace possible in the world as we know it today? One side of the human brain, if idealistic, might reply: "Certainly peace is possible, even perpetual peace, but it is possible only if visionary, bold and intelligent leadership emerges in key international places." The other side of the brain could well answer like this: "Are you kidding? There are too many terrorists, and too many greedy, power-crazed nationalist leaders pushing and shoving and developing weapons to ever expect a peaceful world." And meanwhile, what did some of the great thinkers and philosophers have to say about the prospects of peace?
THUCYDIDES: Thucydides, in writing about the Peloponnesian War, makes it clear that human nature tends to dictate how history plays itself out, and he does not blame the Gods or other forces for this war. Thucydides, who is a young man, and an…… [Read More]
Several theorists have used social contract theory to understand the government’s role in taking care of the public and addressing the public’s needs. Current political issues offer further examination of social contract theory and how it may help with understanding government obligation and public participation. Rousseau's social contract theory is best and most relevant for understanding and offering solutions to contemporary political issues like mandatory vaccination, taxation, and universal healthcare because it offers a foundation from which to explain the perceived obligations of both the government and the public. Rousseau’s version of social contract theory contrasted against other theorists like Hobbes's and Locke's social contact theories demonstrates how one interpretation of a theory may be better suited for modern political issues over others.
According to social contract theory via Locke’s interpretation, when the government remains unsuccessful in securing natural rights or fulfilling society’s best interest often recognized as the…… [Read More]
history of human civilization, the Scientific evolution emerged during the 17th century, which happened right after the enaissance Period. The Scientific evolution is the period in history wherein scientific methods and results where arrived at using experimentation and the use of scientific instruments such as the telescope, microscope, and thermometer (Microsoft Encarta 2002). The Scientific evolution is attributed to Galileo Galilei, who proposed that the universe and its elements can be explained mathematically, while subsisting to the fact the Sun is the center of the solar system. During the enaissance Period, Nicolaus Copernicus had declared that the Sun is the center of the solar system, but his declaration is only descriptive, while Galileo's declaration is verified through experimentation and the scientific method. This important distinction is the main reason why Galileo's time was considered the Scientific evolution, primarily because it uses the scientific method of research and experimentation.
Studies and…… [Read More]
Lagging Ethics in the United States Today
Techniques for Teaching Ethics
Should Ethics Be Taught in Public Schools?
Controversies and Problems in Teaching Ethics in Public Schools
Implementing a Non-Controversial Ethics Program
We want our children to exhibit ethical behavior. Yet, it is all too common to see adults engaging in decidedly unethical activities in front of their children. What about the mother who tells her child repeatedly about the importance of honesty, and then switches price stickers on items in the department store in front of her child? What kind of example about honesty is she setting? What about the father who tells his child to treat others with kindness, then lets his child hear him shouting obscenities at a driver he thinks cut him off in traffic? Is this really showing his child the traits he wants his child to exhibit? Then there are more subtle…… [Read More]
A section of commentators have taken issue with the manner in which the federal government denied suspected terrorist the due process of law as stipulated under the constitution. The government even commissioned the establishment of a torture chamber in Guantanamo Bay. This amounts to gross violation of human rights and civil liberties. There is another clause in the patriot act dubbed "enhanced surveillance procedures," which allows federal authorities to gather foreign intelligence by breaching firewalls of 'terrorist nations.' This controversial foreign policy clause damaged the relationship between America and the Middle East.
A section of scholars argues that key players in the oil industry manipulated the United States to wage war against Afghanistan. According to an article published on the BBC World Service in December 2007, the execution of Saddam Hussein was unwarranted. Political scientists reckon that a cartel of multinational oil companies wanted to control the oil in…… [Read More]
However, the point of mergence between the two theories has been given a name for itself and it is known as the Overlap Thesis. Overall, the natural law theory of law is used to refer to the analysis of legal systems and philosophical issues of law.
Among those who sought that natural law has no valid grounds is Leo Strauss who was convinced that it has to be refused on the premises of history and of the differences between facts and values. To most of those who oppose natural law, human knowledge and thought is characterized by the historical interpretation and history is time-bound and thus unable to encompass something which is eternal. Another reason natural law has been criticized is because of its ontological and epistemological suggestions. In regards to the former, it has been noted that no matter the way reality is perceived, whether from a theological point-of-view,…… [Read More]
And perhaps worst of all are books like Chicken Soup for the Soul, which are usually given as graduation gifts or gifts given to a person undergoing a difficult emotional crisis, again more like one would give a greeting card than a book full of information.
But Twitchell's other point, that the publishing industry must maintain a clear sense of high culture and guide rather than respond to America's tastes, is more controversial than his suggestion that the book world should re-focus its attention on reading rather than simply selling printed matter. Although some of the best sellers Twitchell despises, like works by Danielle Steel or Steven King, may be without merit one might ask -- has he ever read the cultural critiques found within the pages of a Calvin and Hobbes comic? Why speak of the quality of Salmon Rushdie in the same breath as Steel and King --…… [Read More]
The ideas of Thomas Hobbes, the influential English philosopher who lived in the late 1500s to middle 1600s, are still considered important today. Hobbes is best remembered for his ideas on political philosophy. While Hobbes throughout his life championed the idea of absolutism for the sovereign he also is responsible for many of the fundamentals of Western political thought such as equality of men, individual rights, and the idea that all justifiable political power must be representative of the people (Edwards, 2002).
Hobbes also believed that human nature was such that people acted out of selfish-interests and if left to their own devices would do anything to get what they wanted or to acquire more power at the expense of others. Governments are then formed to shield people from their own selfishness; however he understood that even a King left unchecked would also act in a selfish manner…… [Read More]