POL 2108 A - Modern Political Thought I - Guy Côté - 05 Jan. 21
He loves math and geometry. These are the only ways he thought you could access
nature and truth. He considers himself the first philosopher, because he rejects all political
thought before him.
His most important book is The Leviathan (1588-1670), The Citizen, The Laws. Hobbes
wrote those books during a the English Civil War. That is the main topic he had in mind while
writing about the human nature.
In all his work, he has essentially 2 objectives. First, he wants to put the political and
moral philosophy in terms of science, on a scientific basis. Second, he tries to contribute to the
establishment of peace in society through the fulfillment of civic duties.
Hobbes is so sure of philosophy and the truth that he wants his book The Leviathan to
be the resource in all universities. He think that anything done before him isn’t worth mentioning
or discussing. He thinks he has the truth.
Both Hobbes and Machiavelli completely reject, verging on hate, ancient Greek
philsophy, including Aristotle’s & Plato’s. He doesn’t agree with the Greeks on 2 terms. First, the
Greeks were never successful in their quest for truth, they didn’t find out what was good and
what was bad. They failed. To Hobbes, everything is relative, everyone has their own conception
of what is good and what is bad, influenced by a number of factors. Second, since they didn’t
have the truth, they were unable to have peace.
For Hobbes, it’s clear that there is a human nature, and that is our response to natural
laws. First and the main one, humans want self-preservation, to survive. This natural law is the
reason why we form a society, to help each other survive. Before this formation, what existed
was the state of nature, when humans were governed by natural laws without a government.
This state reveals human instincts and inclinations. Hobbes thinks this existed b/c it’s the only
explanation as to why we live together in a society. People want security, and this is ensured
with a civil government, a society. Another aspect of the state is that all humans are equal,
everyone has the right to kill