The Life and Times of Thomas HobbesThomas Hobbes was born on April 5, 1588 near Malmesbury inWiltshire, England.He graduated from Oxford at age 19.Hobbes was a tutor to the son of the Earl of Devonshire .He translated Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War in1629.Hobbes visited Galileo and adopted the methods of the newphysics as the path to knowledge.He published a three part work of philosophy including amaterialistic metaphysics, De Corpore (1655); a materialisticaccount of man, De Homine (1658) and a work on the rights andduties of citizens, De Cive (1642).English Civil War erupted in 1642 – Hobbes fled to Paris.Hobbes tutored Charles I son, Charles II. King Charles I wasimprisoned in 1646.
The Life and Times of Thomas Hobbes - ContinuedIn 1649, Charles I is executed after after an unsuccessful attemptto regain power.In 1651, Charles II is defeated by Oliver Cromwell. Hobbespresented Charles II with a copy of Leviathan, orMatter, Form, and Power of a Commonwealth, Ecclesiastical andCivil. Hobbes was forced to flee to England since those aroundCharles believed Hobbes’ work supported Cromwell.In 1660, the English monarchy was restored. Hobbes regainedhis student’s favor.In 1666, House of Commons introduced bill against atheism andblasphemy, singling out Hobbes’ Leviathan.Hobbes was forbidden to publish his history of the English CivilWar, Behemoth (1670).Hobbes died of a stroke in 1679 at the age of 92.Four years later, Oxford condemned and burnt De Cive andLeviathan.
At university, Hobbes appears to have followed his own curriculum; he was "littleattracted by the scholastic learning". He did not complete his B.A. degree until 1608, buthe was recommended by Sir James Hussey, his master at Magdalen, as tutor to William,the son of William Cavendish, Baron of Hardwick (and later Earl of Devonshire), andbegan a life-long connection with that family.Hobbes became a companion to the younger William and they both took part in a grandtour in 1610. Hobbes was exposed to European scientific and critical methods during thetour in contrast to the scholastic philosophy which he had learned in Oxford. Hisscholarly efforts at the time were aimed at a careful study of classic Greek and Latinauthors, the outcome of which was, in 1628, his great translation of Thucydides Historyof the Peloponnesian War, the first translation of that work into English from a Greekmanuscript. It has been argued that three of the discourses in the 1620 publicationknown as Horea Subsecivae: Observations and Discourses, also represent the work ofHobbes from this period.
HIS THOUGHTSHobbes’ question
How is social order possible?Hobbes aimed to produce evidence for why weneed a government based on rational argumentand evidence without reference to the ‘divineright of kings’
Hobbes’ assumptions:All men seek to avoid death and injuryBecause men want a happy life, they seek sufficient power toensure that happy lifeAll men have a ‘restless desire for power’This leads to an ‘equality of hope in the achieving of our aims’
Hobbes’ assumptions:Without a power able to enforcerules, there is chaos and misery3 causes of conflictmen fight for gainmen fight for securitymen fight for reputation
ImplicationsEveryone is pulled into a constant competitive struggle forpowerthe natural state of man is a war of all against all (‘the state ofnature’)People are insecure, and live in a constant fear of injury anddeathThere is no place for industry in the state of nature, because thefruit of it is uncertain. Hence, noagriculture, navigation, building, culture, scienceLife in a state of nature is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short"
Hobbes – The First Political ScientistHobbes viewed himself as the first political philosopher.His predecessors errors fomented sedition, anarchy, and civil war. The distinction between virtue and vice that was apart from sovereign authority encouraged individuals to judge privately and act outside of the constraints of the civil law. This private judgment leads to tyrannicide and the chaos of the state of nature. Similarly badly constructed metaphysical systems encouraged people to fear divine punishments more than the punishments of civil authorities.Hobbes grounds his political science in natural law and his thefather of natural right.First political philosopher to ground his political thought in naturalphilosophy.Those seeking to govern a whole nation must understand humanpassion. They must know themselves.
Hobbes book ―LEVIATHAN”
Leviathan or The Matter, Forme and Power of a CommonWealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil — commonly called simplyLeviathan — is a book written by Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679)and published in 1651. Its name derives from the biblicalLeviathan. The work concerns the structure of society andlegitimate government, and is regarded as one of the earliest andmost influential examples of social contract theory. The publisherwas Andrew Crooke, partner in Andrew Crooke and WilliamCooke. Leviathan ranks high as a classical western work onstatecraft comparable to Machiavellis The Prince and is one of anumber of related works incident upon the crisis of the Englishstate framework of the time.In Leviathan, which was written during the English Civil War(1642–1651), Hobbes argues for a social contract and rule by anabsolute sovereign. He wrote that chaos or civil war – situationsidentified with a state of nature and the famous motto Bellumomnium contra omnes ("the war of all against all") – could only beaverted by strong central government.
BOOK’S CONTENTFrontispiecePart I: Of ManPart II: Of Common-wealthTypes of commonwealthSuccessionReligionTaxationPart III: Of a ChristianCommon-wealthPart IV: Of the Kingdom ofDarkness
The Motions of Man and theState of Nature (CHP-4)The beginning of motions in the human body is called endeavor.When endeavor moves towards its cause, it is called appetite ordesire.When endeavor moves away from its cause, it is called aversion.Deliberation is a weighing of appetites and aversions.Deliberative hedonism explains the order of the universe in termsof a calculus of pleasure and pain.Felicity emerges from fulfilling desire and requires constantmotion.The motion of mankind is ―a perpetual and restless desire forpower after power, that ceases only in death.‖
The Motions of Man and the Stateof Nature - ContinuedThis condition makes Hobbes conclude, ―Man is awolf to his fellow human beings‖ and this leads thestate of nature to be a state of war.Humans are equal because of even the weakesthas sufficient strength to kill the strongest.Humans can also contract with others to securetheir rights.Quarrels emerge among men because ofcompetition, diffidence, and glory.The state of nature prohibits civilization.Hobbes natural philosophy is used as a basis ofhis political philosophy: It is not all together clearthat politics is not natural, but Hobbes is attemptingto do away with Aristotle’s doctrine of essences toeliminate the private moral judgment that seems tobe the source of war.
Hobbes and International RelationsHobbes believes that survival is the most importantthings for states in a state of nature.There are no limits on what can be done in a state ofnature to advance this end.How does Hobbes position compare to St. ThomasAquinas’ position?Would Hobbes agree with President Bush’s reasoningabout how a war on terror must be waged?Publius in Federalist number 8 argues that even the loveof liberty can destroy civil and political rights. Howwould Hobbes respond to this argument?