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Hobbes - State of Nature.docx

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Department
Political Science
Course Code
Political Science 1020E
Professor
Charles Jones

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Politics 1020 September 13, 2012 Hobbe’s State of Nature - We need a state to engage in thought experiment - Hypothetical condition of human beings without the state and political power Hobbes 1588 – 1679 - Most famous work Leviathan 1651 o Terrible monster that provides order o Also wrote Behemoth o Chaos can only be controlled by a central government Hobbesian themes - Fear o Hobbes was born because his mother was afraid o “Fear and I were born twins” o Every human being has a reason o fear others - War o Hobbes left England to Paris in fear of the English civil war o War is a condition in which authority diminishes - Peace o Key idea o Fundamental law of nature: Seek peace What Hobbes claims - Worst scenario possible: no state protection o Powerful state is needed to avoid disastrous interpersonal conflict o Main premises: human nature Hobbes on human nature - Introspection o Think about what you know about yourself o Understand your motivations - Materialism o “The heart is just a spring, our joints are wheels” o We are simply matter and motion; complex machines o To be alive is to be constantly in motion - Felicity o Happiness o Continual success in getting what you want - Power o Present means to obtain some future apparent goods - We are never completely satisfied in this life - There is only a desire for power after power - Predominately self regarding - Seek to enhance reputation - Averse to our own death - Equally vulnerable, equally able The Road to War - Equality o No one is invulnerable - Scarcity - Uncertainty o Everyone is a potential threat o Everyone has
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