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Lecture 1

Political Science 1020E Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Thomas Hobbes, Thought Experiment, Homo Economicus

6 pages15 viewsFall 2015

Political Science
Course Code
Political Science 1020E
Bruce Morrison

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For Tutorial Read Something Public Policy Introduction (1-10)
Began with Monty Python Skit What have the Romans done for
o A lot
According to the referred definition of politics, Politics is
o A. Necessarily involves violence
o B. Requires strong leaders
o C. Is a way of dealing with conflict
o D. Is best left to the experts
o E. Is better than sex
Correct answer is C
Politics requires at least two people
State of Nature (World without States)
o Why do we need a state?
Thought experiment
Imagine no states and no political power, what
would it be like?
o Lord of the Flies example to demonstrate a natural state or
a state of nature, a world without government and where
no one has political power
o We live in a world of political institutions: police, courts,
central government
These people then claim to be able to tell us what to
do and punish us if we do not
o Rousseau said that a State of Nature could not exist because
it would take so long to transition from a state of nature to a
civil state that it would contradict scriptures. He also
believed there were real life examples of states of nature in
that day
o Is a state of nature possible?
Some people claim that the only way for humans to
exist is with a state, therefore the state naturally as
long as humans exist
Thomas Hobbes
o Lived in 17th century, most famous book is Leviathan
o Three main themes with Hobbes (Hobbesian Themes)
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o Should be remembered as the Theorist of Peace
o What Hobbes claims
Worst scenario imaginable: no state protection
Any state is better than no state
Powerful state is needed to avoid disastrous
interpersonal conflict
Main premises: Human Nature
Hobbes on Human Nature
o Seek Felicity Continual success in achieving the objects
of desire is what will bring us to war in the state of nature
o Power- The present means to obtain future good (necessary
to obtain felicity
o Believes that individuals will predominantly be self serving
o Seek to enhance reputation
o Avers (against) the idea of their own death
o Equally vulnerable as able
The Road to War (a world without state)
o Equality (no one is invulnerable)
Not in rights but in strength, as in everyone is of
average strength and therefore can kill one another.
Even the weakest has the strength to kill the
strongest, either by secret machination or
confederacy with others
o Scarcity
o Uncertainty
Attacks others not because they love violence but to
attack others before they attack you
o Three reasons to attack others in SoN
Competition: Attack others for gain
Lack of Trust: Attack for Safety
Glory: Attack for Reputation
Life=Seek of power after power
Morality in the State of Nature
o Known as the Natural Right of Liberty
Right to do whatever you deem necessary to preserve
yourself even others’ bodies i.e. murder
o In State of Nature there is no Injustices because in order to
have an injustice you must have laws. In order to have laws
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