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Leviathan Summary & Terms.pdf

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University of Alberta
Craig Taylor

Leviathan Summary Hobbes' Leviathan is divided into four parts: 1) of man, 2) of commonwealth, 3) of a Christian commonwealth, and 4) of the Kingdom of Darkness. His overall project is to explain by what reasons a commonwealth may govern men, and then to establish the best possible way for this government to function in order to accommodate the desires of its citizens. Part One begins naturally with man, for Hobbes believes that the commonwealth is nothing but an "artificial man." Beginning his argument at the most basic level, he argues that man exists in the external world as a reactive creature that senses objects and is driven to act by the constant motions of the world. These constant motions lead to man's constant and insatiable desires and wants, which in a state of nature pits everyone against another in a state of war. Here men are equal in that anyone can kill anyone else, and as such men live in a constant state of fear an anxiety. Since man's main goal in life is to protect his own life through his rational capacities he reasons that the best way to do this is to establish a state with a power great enough to protect all who consent to live under it. Thus, a state or commonwealth is established with the sole purpose of protecting the lives of those who live within it. Part Two is devoted to 致力于… explaining the citizen's obligations to this state, or 'Leviathan', and its proper form and functions. According to Hobbes, the best form of government is a monarchy, since in any other form of government the sovereign power is not strong enough to protect the subjects from outside invaders and from themselves. A subject's duty to the sovereign is total, and acting otherwise is only hurting oneself, since the commonwealth is established for the self-preservation of its subjects. Of course one has the option of leaving the commonwealth if one finds it too oppressive, but to leave the commonwealth is to re-enter the state of war that characterizes pre-social man. This is the worst possible outcome, since here there is no right or wrong, no justice or injustice, and man is constantly defending himself. 1 / 6 Glossary of Terms Acquired wit: Intelligence acquired through instruction, not necessarily through experience. Natural power: One's mental and physical abilities. Natural wit: Gained through experience (not innate), natural wit consists of our ability to organize means toward ends. Guided thought: Thought that is means-ends directed. You can either think of ends which require means, or think of means that may bring about ends. Unguided thought: Seemingly random thought, as in a dream, which nevertheless, when explored, reveals a logic. For instance, if you associate getting a haircut with meatloaf, you may find on delving into this association that you were hungry for meatloaf while waiting to get a haircut. Vital motion: Involuntary movements of the body, such as the heartbeat. Voluntary motion: Voluntary movements of the body, such as speech or walking. These are always directed toward some end. Acquisition: When power is used to force men to submit to a sovereign. Motion: Motion, for Hobbes, defines all of existence. The external world is nothing but a series of motions - objects (including, in the state of nature, people) chaotically混乱的 interacting with each other. We make sense of this motion through our sensory organs. Aristocracy: A commonwealth in which a select few natural bodies have the power of the sovereign. Monarchy: A commonwealth in which the sovereign is one natural person. Democracy: A commonwealth in which the sovereign consists of all the natural bodies of its members. Dominion: The realm王国 over which the sovereign rules. Can be paternal - i.e. established by the natural growth of the subjects - or despotically暴君 - i.e. increased through aggressive conquest of other dominions. 2 / 6 Civil law: Civil law "is to every Subject, those Rules, which the Common-wealth hath (have) Commanded him, by Word, Writing, or other sufficient Sign of the Will, to make use of, for the Distinction of Right, and Wrong; that is to say, of what is contrary to the Rule." In other words, one is bound by civil laws not because one is a subject of any particular commonwealth, but of a commonwealth in general. Command: Follows from the sovereign. Must be obeyed, or the right to peace is forfeit 失去 . Natural person: Oneself. Artificial person: State; A person represented through other people. Commonwealth: An artificial man, representing the natural men who form a covenant (contract), with the power to enforce the terms of the covenant. Leviathan: An artificial person in which all the power of a society inhe永存s . Formed through a covenant. Contract: The way that men renounce the right of nature in return for ensured peace through society. A contract is a pledge 保证 to respect the life and property of others; in return, they respect your life and property. Counsel: Advice, given by ministers to the sovereign, which the sovereign is in no way bound to follow. Covenant: A specific type of contract, specifying binding those who enter into it to a future obligation. Appetite: A force that drives
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