Politics: Hobbes 2/6/2013 5:35:00 PM
-1588-1679. Studied at Oxford
English civil war, tensions and battles in 1642, over the King.
Execution of Charle I 1649
Protectorate 1653-1660 – Monarchy restored.
Where does authority come from?
Came up with new authority – Individualism (anarchy)
Old theory: Kings/ Queens ruled by divine right.
Find intellectual grounding for theories of political organization.
Find a way out of the chaos of the Civil War.
Hobbes thinker of the “new age”
Materialist: rejects the idea of the soul and its survival.
Individualist: rejects old idea that humans are essentially social, “Man is a
political Animal” – Aristotle
Great political thinker of generation
State of Nature:
No political authority = state of nature. A general inclination of all man kind,
for restless desire for power, after power, resulting only in death.
Human can’t be context with moderate power, cannot live well without
All humans start life with same amount of power, equal ability and hope to
attain more power. Start with equality.
Three Principles of Quarrels: (start with State of Nature)
Competition, Diffidence (insecure of power), Glory (strong reputation). The
first makes for gain, the second for safety, the third for reputation.
State of nature was not a theory, but he truly believe in it.
In State of Nature, nothing can be unjust, wrong/right, justice/injustice,
have no place, because there is no common power, there is no law. Design of men, loving power, have restraint in commonwealths, and a more
contented life. They can realize they can create a better society.
Only way to gain power is to gather all power and strength on one man, all
wills, to one will.
If all those in State of Nature, signed contract, stating, their giving of power
and self-governing abilities, to men. On the condition, that everyone else
gives the same power, to the same men. Source of King’s power is this
Generation of LEVIATHAN (moral God), under the immortal God, for peace
Form of State:
-What form should the Authority take?
One person – monarchy/ Tyranny
Assembly of Persons
Aristocracy/ Oligarchy – some belong.
Popular commonwealth/ democracy/ Anarchy – all belong.
Hobbes is in favor of Monarchy, is open to being wrong.
What form has most “convenience of aptitude” to produce peace and
security of people”.
A person in authority, “bears the person of the people, & bears his own
natural person” , this is a natural schizophrenia.
Struggle between two persons and one: public good vs. private good.
Public and private interest are most closely united , there is a public
In monarchy, private interest = to public – no split. Only in subjects.
Monarchs power not limited by law.
Monarchs power is not shared with anyone else
Monarchs decisions are final.
Authority extends to religion.
Authority extends to all other life.
Monarch has not private life – none at all.
EX: Louis XIV of France. I am the state, L’etat, C’est moi.
Hobbes theory is an empirical theory. He thinks it is best for peace and
security. Hobbes perhaps made a error of human psych: “Power tends to corrupt,
absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Locke 2/6/2013 5:35:00 PM
Midterm Room: EC 2168A
John Locke 1632-1704
Social Contract Theory – like Hobbes
His picture of the “state of nature”
His dismissal of monarchy and preference fro democracy
Revocability of the contract
State of Nature:
State of nature is where people have utter freedom, only
constrained by law of nature.
State of nature, has law of nature, teaching all mankind that being
all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life,
health, liberty or possessions.
Locke’s ideas are more peaceale than Hobbes.
Laws of Nature:
Law of nature means those of prescriptive laws of morality.
Natural Law Theory:
Some moral laws are just “there”, just objectively true, they
overrule mere positive laws.
Aristotle: 2 kinds of law. Particular: community relevant. Universal
Law is law of nature, divine senses for justice and injustice.
“True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it summons to
duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its
prohibitions. And it does not lay its commands or prohibitions upon
good men in vain, though neither have any effect on the wicked. It
is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to attempt to
repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. We
cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people, and we
need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of
it…And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or
different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and
unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times, and
there will one master and ruler, that is, God, over us all, for he is
the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge.
Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his
human nature, and by reason of this very fact he will suffer the worst penalties, even if he escapes what is commonly called
punishment . . ."(Cicero, The Republic, III, XXII)
Law is just there in the structure of the universe.
Ex: Thou shalt not kill, tell lies, etc.
Idea of natural laws has been powerful since it’s beginnings. It’s not
Reasons for Rejecting ideas of Moral Laws of Nature:
How do the subsist, especially if God does not exist?
How could anyone ever securely know what they are?
All law is positive law – no law without a law giver, so state of
nature has no laws.
There are natural moral laws that govern in the state of nature.
Why would one want to leave the state of nature?
Locke has two answers:
o God made man a creature who could not be alone, put him
under strong influence for convenience, inclination, to drive
him to society.
o Joining civil society liberates persons in the state of nature
from the obligations to punish those who injure them – freed
from having to punish people.
o Where ever man gives power to the public = society.
State of Nature has 3 Drawbacks:
Lack of established, settled, known law.
Lack of a known and indifferent judge
Frequent lack of power to support and execute the judgment.
All these are remedied in the social contract
Argument against absolute monarchy:
Monarchy has no one to appeal to when something happens.
Absolute Monarch would not be a member of civilized society
Society rests on the ongoing consent of it’s members
Evolution of Forms of Government:
Locke rejects absolute monarchy, argues for democracy in which
the will of majority will prevail. Majoritarian Democracy. M. Democracy subject to “tyranny of the majority”
Later development to curb the power of the simple majority with
such devices as constitutional law or minority rights. Constitutional
Social Democracy – should construct political systems on empirical
basis. What works, what makes people happy, productive,
Monarchy, liberal democracy, majoritarian democracy,
IDEOLOGICAL. Social democracy – empirical. John Stuart Mill 2/6/2013 5:35:00 PM
Old Question V. New Question:
O.Q: discussing what form of government is best. Monarchy,
N.Q: The scope of government. How much of our lives should
government have power? Not where the power should come from,
but extensiveness. Not source, but proper limits.
Effect was to introduce a new dimension into political organization.
Totalitarianism (government’s power interfere totally with lives) to
Libertarianism (government should have minimal interference
ability), new ladder of politics.
Libertarian has two meaning.
Monarchy Democracy Communism
Totalitarian Absolute Mon. Soviet States
Moderate Constitutional Us
Libertarian Mill Hippy
Mill On Liberty:
Quotes in notes online.
Only proper justification for interfering with liberty is to protect
oneself. Protect community.
Harm Principle: Only purpose for which power can be rightly
exercised over any member of community, is to prevent harm to
others. His own good is not a sufficient warrant.
Scope of Liberty:
Only part of conduct for which he can be held responsible by
society, when it concerns others. Can’t protect people from
Liberty of thought and speech.
o Liberty of thought, feeling, opinion on all subjects, including
expressing and publishing opinions. Of consciousness. o Liberty of tastes and pursuits, for our own character, doing
what we like, may be subject to consequences. Left alone by
others, unless it may harm them.
o Liberty of combination, freedom to unite for any purpose, not
involving harm to others.
Two Forms of Constraint:
Physical force of legal penalties – arresting, fines.
Moral coercion of public opinion
He observes: there is an increasing desire to stretch the powers of
society of individual, people don’t like it, and express disapproval.
Ex. Drug use: No laws against drug use that does not harm other
people. There should be no climate of public opinion that reprobates
Should not lose sight of what a revolutionary idea of freedom was.
Freedom is second nature to us, we need to understand that weight
of this proposal in this time period (1859).
Problem for Mill:
Inconsistency. We have freedom of opinion, but no public opinion
constraining freedom of action of individuals.
Mill: disagreement and debate are best paths to truth. Two
conflicting views, best thing to do is to have a free, open debate.
Nothing should ever silence debate.
Society without disagreement is not healthy. Wants eccentric views.
Tyranny of Majority:
Mill’s views raise question:
In the last century or so: in democracy’s developed legal systems in
which some matters are beyond reach of simple majority or
These protections from “tyranny of majority” are in Constitutions or
Charters. Can only be modified by some sort of supermajority.
Comes in different forms (3/4 more votes, etc.)
Humans rights defend political liberty, ensuring government is
Famous Canadian Case:
Want pure participatory democracy. Stockwell Day leader of Reform party, proposed any motion should
be referendum if 200,000 signatures were obtained on a petition for
Government did so: Stockwell’s first name be changed to Doris.
Stockwell abandoned law.
Emancipation of Women:
Women should not be confined to domestic role culture has given
1869: Subjection of Women
Women should have equal rights with men.
Old theories about women are not by nature should be subjected to
Mill is social constructionist, saw deep truth: people are made what
they are by other people’s beliefs about them & expectations.
Free market of labor. W