Thomas Hobbes


Flashcards on Thomas Hobbes, created by Amna AlNasser on 05/18/2016.
Amna AlNasser
Flashcards by Amna AlNasser, updated more than 1 year ago
Amna AlNasser
Created by Amna AlNasser about 8 years ago

Resource summary

Question Answer
What is the Leviathan - The Leviathan was the most influential work of the 17th century - In 1640, Hobbes thought that it was clear that the parliament would turn against the King (Charles 1), so to avoid the brutality of a civil war, he fled to France - He composed Levithan in france to raise the claim that it is necessary to have an absolute sovereign rule = he stresses this due to the many years of political instability and regise that was spreading in Europe.
What was the controversy behind the Leviathan ? - The political argument that Hobbes raised was very controversial - He advocated for restoring the monarchy in a time of civil war - The english republic was at its strongest - He based his arguments on mechanistic views of the world; this is a materialist philosophy which was even worse for him as people criticised him and labelled him as anthesis
How did Hobbes view civil wars? - To Hobbes, a civil war was the definition of horror and terror - This is why he wanted to reform political philosophy n order to reform the nation and as a result, end this fear of a civil war.
What are Hobbes's main arguments? Hobbes main argument is that centralised power is the best ideology as it best protects indivioduakls from the teroror or civil wars - To support this argument, he centered it around 5 aspects = 1) The establishment of a sovereign power 2) Notion of Absolutism 3) The state of nature 4) The laws of nature 5) The state of nature as a state of war
What does Hobbes state about sovereign power? - When people have mutually consented to obey the authority, they have established what Hobbes called a sovereign institution - If the consent to obey this authority occurs out of the instance of threat e.g a conqueror, then it is referred to as sovereignty through acquisition. = both these methods of gaining sovereign power are equally as legitimate - This is become in both instances, fear is the underlying motivation
How does Hobbes explain fear as the underlying motivation in 1) sovereign institution 2) Sovereignty through acquisition In a sovereign institution, the fear is over fellow citizens In sovereignty through acquisition, the fear is over external rivalry = it doesn't matter how the sovereign goverment came to power, but rather whether it is effective in protecting the commonwealth.
What does Hobbes's state about the notion of Absolutism ? -
What is the Hobbathian state of nature? - Hobbes invites the reader to imagine a world where we live in a state of no government - People would be in the condition of mere nature, solely driven by fear to survive and private judgments - This is because there is no agency or recognised authority to arbitrate disputes and enforce decisions
WHat is the criticism of a state of nature? - Many criticise the state of nature because they view it as pessimistic - In the state of nature, Hobbes is criticised for assuming that people are all similar - in physical and mentally, suggesting that n one can dominate other - Peoples only motivation is to preserve their life and survive based on judgements and this is also criticised. BUT = it is through these assumptions of a state of nature that Hobbes can explain why people have inclined to religion as a way to cope with the constant fear over their life - in this state, people hav ethe right to nature, which is the right to preserve themselves in whatever means possible
What is a Hobbathian state of war? - Hobbes argues that the right of each to all things can create a system of conlfict, especially if it is with respect to resources - People will always be in fear that outsiders will invade to access their resources - These conflicts are fuled by other diagremeents like moral judgments or relgious belifs = because in this state there is no established sovereign or commonwealth, everyone is at the liberty to decide for themselves and act of their personal moral; judgment - this is problematic because resolving a problem will be much harder and is more likely to result in a war against all.
What are laws of nature to Hobbes? - Hobbes claims that in the state of nature, there is amiserable state of war - In this state of war, none of our human important ends are realsied - Because of our human capacity , we can leave this state of nature= each human has rationality and when we use it, we see something better than a state of war, and we see a peaceful state - To obtain such peace, one must use the laws of nature to build a peaceful society and establish an absolute sovereign for the commonwealth
WHat is Hobbes' Fundamental Law of Nature and his 5 natural laws Fundamental Law of Nature - "That every man, ought to endeavor Peace, as farre as he has hope of obtaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek, and use, all helps, and advantages of Warre." Second Law of Nature - "That a man be willing, when others are so too, as farre-forth, as for Peace, and defence of himself he shall think it necessary, to lay down this right to all things; and be contented with so much liberty against other men, as he would allow other men against himself." Third Law of Nature, Justice - People should perform the covenants they make. Fourth Law of Nature - Since the object of every person is his/her own good, no gifts or acts of benevolence should meet ingratitude. Fifth Law of Nature - Every person should try to accommodate him/herself to others (i.e. Cooperate and work with others.). (The mutual transferring of a right is called a contract. -according to Hobbes)
What was the enlightenment period and how did it influence Hobbes? The age of enlightment introduced the new views on human nature These views were secular views, andbased on rationality - Thinkers had different conclusions on tehe true odeas of human nature and bejavour; so in order to settle these differences, englihgmtnet thinkers anaylsed the role of the state of nature through ideas of rationality - By the end of enlightenment, thinkers had analysed human instincts in the state of nature, and were able to design a system of government that promoted common equality over individual freedom Hobbes was the first enlightenment thinker to base his argument explicitly in the state on nature - claiming that humans need a rule of government, that would avoid a state on war.
How does Hobbes use rationality in the Leviathan ? - Hobbes used the leviathan to portray a rational agent who seeks to maximise power and act on self interest - He argues "the state is thus a cruel and artificial construct but necessary for the sake of protecting its citizens" Hobbes claims that humans have 2 principles choices 1) to live in a state of nature with no goverment 2) to live under absolute sovereignty Hobbes creates a sequence of political life based on rationality = 1. state of nature where man is at war with man and a war against all 2. man enters a social contract, submitting to the authority and protection of the sovereign either through a sovereign institution or sovereignty through acquisition 3. sovereign must be absolute and legitimate 4. if the sovereign fails, and the contract is broke, one returns to a state of nature.
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