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POL 2108 A - Modern Political Thought I - Guy Côté - 05 Jan. 21.docx

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University of Ottawa
Political Science
Mark Salter

POL 2108 A - Modern Political Thought I - Guy Côté - 05 Jan. 21 Thomas Hobbes 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
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