POL 2108 A - Modern Political Thought I - Guy Côté - 19 Mar. 11
Final (not next)-take home 13046 FSS - 17
David Humes (cont'd)
• He says you can't explain anything simply by reasoning
- Therefore, the state of nature does not exist, as it cannot simply be explained by
• There was always a society, a social organization. People did not ever live alone.
• He thinks sexual desire is what brings people together. It's not rational, it's an experience.
• The cornerstone of society is also family, to create one due to sexual desire. The woman and
man work together to keep the family together, to find shelter and food, have offspring, etc.
• He sees the relationship between the parents and offspring in the same light as the
government and its people. They teach them how to move on in life, and they don't abuse their
authority b/c they love their kids. Authority in both situations is thus done out of love.
• Society brings solutions to 3 problems (inconviences):
1. Force; alone we can do little, but grouping up enables us to do more
2. Enlarges pool of skills; One is good at one thing, while another is good at another
thing, together they can share their crafts/skills
3. Security; Sexual desire is not the only reason we come together in a society, but
security as well. Societies fight together to protect their collective property, not primarily due to
the desire for self-preservation, as thought of by Hobbes.
• There is no social contract as envisioned by other philosophers, as it's a promise based on
reason. His version of the contract derives from sympathy and harmony.
- His example of this is if you had a problem outside, someone who sees that may then come
help you out of sympathy, without creating any verbal agreement or contract. This then proves
that the social contract is not a give-and-take agreement, but a relation based on sympathetic
• There is no true commitment or promise when people enter a society, but people must still be
able to feel the advantages of being in one. They form a society for