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Lecture

Lecture 06 - The Domestication of Man

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Department
Political Science
Course Code
POLC71H3
Professor
Stefan Dolgert

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Lecture 06
The Domestication of Man
Thomas Hobbes:
Provides a justification for absolute sovereignty
He DOES NOT defend the idea of Divine Right instead he starts with “all individuals are
radically equal:
oParadox: start with individual rights/equalitty and then end up with authoritarian
government?
Leviathan is his most important piece of work
1) Political Animals
Dismisses Aristotles notion that we are political animals (humans without politic life [society]
can mean one is a God (above politics) or a beast (below politics); humans are relatively unique
in that we talk and argue about justice and reason)
We only come together with other people, in any kind of society, out of desire for (1) honor and
(2) profit
Two examples:
oImagine one is going to buy something from somebody. What do you want from this
person? You are trying to make a buy/get what you can from this person. You want them
because you want to profit from them (instrumentally).
oLeisure situation for personal pleasure. When you are in this type of situation what you
really want to do is laugh and ridicule others.
Even if this assumption is not true, Hume says that when organizing political society, you must
assume that all men are naves, thieves and scoundrels.
2) Mutual Fear
Why do we come together? Mutual fear is what brings us all together we are afraid of
everybody else trying to take what we have (Glenn Beck)
We fear everyone because we have reason to fear everyone and everyone has a right to everything
(with no government)
oWhatever you can take/do, make sure you do take/keep
oAll is fair in love and war expression
This right comes from the fact that we are all basically equal (this equality comes from the fact
that we are all liable to violent death from the hands of another human being)
Mutual fear comes from mutual frailty
The state of nature then is a state of war (without a government of a very particular kind)
This does not mean we are all out there killing each other, but we have the potential to do so when
protecting ourselves
3) The State of Nature is the State of War
We have no security other than the security we provide to ourselves
This state of nature makes our lives solitary, brutish and poor
We dont have a lot of good or material possession
Our mind suggests to us that its not good to live in fear
Reason suggests a way out; make a compact with others around us
4) Compact
This compact to not harm each other
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Description
Lecture 06 The Domestication of Man Thomas Hobbes: Provides a justification for absolute sovereignty He DOES NOT defend the idea of Divine Right instead he starts with all individuals are radically equal: o Paradox: start with individual rightsequalitty and then end up with authoritarian government? Leviathan is his most important piece of work 1) Political Animals Dismisses Aristotles notion that we are political animals (humans without politic life [society] can mean one is a God (above politics) or a beast (below politics); humans are relatively unique in that we talk and argue about justice and reason) We only come together with other people, in any kind of society, out of desire for (1) honor and (2) profit Two examples: o Imagine one is going to buy something from somebody. What do you want from this person? You are trying to make a buyget what you can from this person. You want them because you want to profit from them (instrumentally). o Leisure situation for personal pleasure. When you are in this type of situation what you really want to do is laugh and ridicule others. Even if this assumption is not true, Hume says that when organizing political society, you must
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