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Lecture 6

Lecture 6 - Hobbes

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Daniel Kofman

Jan. 23, 2014 Hobbes • Takes a moral subjectivist and instrumental-prudential view • Morality is what each man calls good in the state of nature. There is no moral reality beyond that. • There is no objective or common morality until one is invented (outside the state of nature) • Locke – moralized state of nature (but for Hobbes there isn’t) • To escape the state of nature, we can appeal to common interest rather than a common morality (because there isn’t one) • Common interest – avoiding violent death – Hobbes takes this for granted (thinks it’s obvious) based on human nature • Instrumental view of rationality – what is the most instrumental means to reach this end (avoiding violent death) • Law of nature – each man has the right to all things • It is in people’s best interest to leave the state of nature – seek peace, etc. • People ought to make alliances with each other to escape the state of nature • May result in the transfer of rights to a sovereign – the only time we can rebel against a sovereign is in cases where the sovereign means us bodily harm • Otherwise, we have a duty to obey the law, no matter what (avoid civil war) – if we don’t, we return to the state of nature • Max Weber – the sovereign must have power – have a monopoly of force • Why we should obey the law – avoid mass chaos – it is for the common good – in our best interest to obey the law Objections:  Hume: Whence obligation to obey promises?  The obligation to obey laws comes from avoiding chaos and the state of nature. But where does obeying promises come from? Is it in our best interest to keep promises? I promise to promise? You can’t derive the interest to keep a promise from a previously made promise. If
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