Political Science 1020E Lecture Notes - Sea Monster, Thomas Hobbes, Thought Experiment
Course CodePolitical Science 1020E
According to the preferred definition of Politics from the last lecture politics,
• Necessarily involves violence
• Requires strong leaders
• Dealing with conflict
• Best left to experts
• Better than sex
Answer is way of dealing with conflict.
What is Authority:
• The right to command (exercise of power allege to be legitimate, legitimate
power)( the right to tell people what to do judges interpret laws, police direct traffic all
agents of the state tell people what to do and those decisions stick)
• The right to punish those who disobey ( is state authority justified doing these
rules or else, people tell you what to do who justifies this and why should the state be
allowed to justify this)
State of Nature:
• A way of answering why do we need a state
• Engage in a thought experiment (Hypothetical life without a state)
• Life without the state and political power (Hobbes disagreed with Aristotle that we
are not political animals by nature but rather by convention)
• Levethian (sea monster that can provide order)
• State is the only thing that can contain it
• Fear (born because his mother was afraid, “fear and I born twins”
• War (left England because of civil war need to avoid especially civil war because
this is were authority disappears and the results are terrifying.
• Peace: key idea the avoidance of having a war, main rule to preserve your life is
to seek peace
What Hobbes claims
• Worst scenario: no state protection. (worst thing we can imagine is life without
the state. Powerful state is needed to avoid disastrous interpersonal conflict. ( need
order that has awe frightening and impressive)
Hobbes on Human nature
• Introspection (own motivation forget about what we know think about yourself)
• Materialism: materialsist in a 20th century mechanist sense we are all just
machines very complex. Just bodies always in motion.
• Felicity: (Happiness) Hobbes says continual success of getting what you want.
• Power: ones presence means to obtain some future apparent good. Have power
then have capacity to get what you want and have Felicity.
• Never satisfied in this life only desire for power
• Predominantly self regarding( we don’t care about other people you would try to
• Seek to enhance reputation: we care about what other think about us. Status
• Averse to our own death: people would rather stay alive then not.
• Equally vulnerable, equally able: even the weakest of us can kill the strongest of
us. All equal all capable of killing and being killed
The Road to war:
• Equality: no one is untouchable
• Scarcity: If there were no state or laws to protect us it only takes a couple of
people to take your stuff.
• Uncertainty: Everyone is a potential threat, everyone has reason to attack
(Pomodoro techenqioe website timer/ why write essays: read carefully and actively
present a clear well argued case for a conclusion.) defend your conclusion provide
reasons for believing it.
They say I say:
• A form in an argumentative essay (put yourself in others shoes/summarize what
others say in order to set up your own argument/use templates, forms patterns to
structure your essay)
• Why templates: a model or guide to structure your essay
• Enables you to make the right moves
• Direct your think about an issue)
Three reasons to attack:
• Competition: gain, if we are all equal and things are limited
• food shelter etc.. I have a reason to attack you and you have the same reason to
attack me to survive and get the resource.
• Lack of trust safety: reason to attack is because of safety cant be safe from one
another unless you attack first lack of trust.
• Glory: Reputation: One way to word off attack is to be a tough guy get the
reputation. Idea of other people thinking of your greatness.
• “ Continual fear and danger of violent death and the life of man solitary poor
nasty brutish and short Hobbes Leviatahan chapter 13.
Is Hobbes too Pessimistic:
Read Thyself (not saying we are killing each other. Always unknown element of an
attack on you)
• what do we think of other
• actions speak louder than words evidence locking doors and chests
Morality in the state of nature:
• be nice to other people and that we are morally nice to each other
• natural right of liberty: claims of a natural right of liberty and exists in the state of
• Freedom of each individual to do what is necessary to preserve themselves.
• Freedom to do what ever it takes to preserve yourself. Cant have a law without a
• No injustice: Everyone is free to do whatever they want if you think you should kill
someone do it.
• Laws of nature: claims there are laws outside of the state of nature conclusion of
how to preserve yourself.