PHI 2174 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Irish Confederate Wars, Scottish Reformation, Scientific Method

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28 Jul 2016
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(9) Social Contact Ethics - Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury (1588-1670, 91yrs)
Background
He was born prematurely when his mother heard of the coming invasion of the Spanish
Armada. Hobbes later reported that ‘my mother gave birth to twins: myself and fear’.
Conquering of the colonies: When groups that are unknown to each other come into
contact, conflict, war, and aggression begin.
The Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648).
He translated Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War (1628).
He supported the Royalists, who favored a Monarch, in the English Civil war against the
Parliamentarians.
The possibility that we have free will, Hobbes believed, is stupid. He was preoccupied by
the scientific method and so his method followed a sort of certainty.
Constant War
Conflicts immediately connected with the Reformation of the 1520s to 1540s:
oThe German Peasants’ War (1524–1525).
oThe battle of Kappel in Switzerland (1531).
oThe Schmalkaldic War (1546–1547) in the Holy Roman Empire.
oThe Eighty Years’ War (1568–1648) in the Low Countries.
oThe French Wars of Religion (1562–1598).
oThe Thirty Years War (1618–1648), affecting the Holy Roman Empire including
Habsburg, Austria and Bohemia, France, Denmark, and Sweden.
oThe Wars of the Three Kingdoms (1639–1651), affecting England, Scotland, and
Ireland.
oScottish Reformation and Civil Wars.
oEnglish Reformation and Civil War.
oIrish Confederate Wars and the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland.
Anticipates
Newton: ‘That when a thing lies still, unless somewhat else stir, it will lie still forever, is
a truth that no man doubts of. But that when a thing is in motion, it will eternally be in
motion, unless somewhat else stay it, though the reason be the same.’ ‘Heavy bodies fall
downwards out of an appetite to rest.’
Smith: Self-interest is the operating principle of humanity, capitalism.
Darwin: Biology is historical = product of survival and competition.
Nietzsche: Power is the goal of all life.
Environmentalism: Uncontrolled self-interest will lead to ruin.
Neuropsychology: Mental phenomena are reducible to chemical motions.
Towards a Science of Life Through Observation
All knowledge comes from experience.
o‘There is no conception in a man’s mind which hath not at first, totally or by
parts, been begotten upon the sense organs.’
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