Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Recall: reason is a servant of the passions. The nature of the passions must
Chapter VI of Leviathan
• Example: hope
• Hope is a passion; it is a desire for which we believe we can obtain.
Despair is something we do not consider attainable.
• Fear is an aversion for some object that we believe can hurt us.
Courage is something fearful that we believe we can successfully
resist. Confidence is constant hope. Ambition is a desire for riches.
• Why does Hobbes define these? For Hobbes, it is important to begin
with correct definitions, to standardize definitions. Humans must use
words rightly, to use them to signify one thing. For Hobbes, the
meaning of all words is nominal. E.g. a dog is a dog. For humans, dogs
make a sound that we label barking. Though the name for dog is
different in different languages, they all define dog as a dog.
• He treats it as a passion
• There is a corresponding passion in which he calls superstition that is
not publicly allowed
• Hobbes describes what he thinks is the source of our religious passion.
“Powers invisible” means how people form ideas about God, deities or
the divine. He also argues that these ideas of powers are made in the
• Mere religion vs. true religion- when powers imagined are truly such as
what we imagined, then the powers that we experience is true religion.
• He thought bad religious doctrine gave rise to bad ideas
• Explaining why people have religious doctrines is important because
they influence how people act. That influence can run counter to
• Some talk about it in terms of ration- Plato and Aristotle: rational
• Hobbes does not believe that deliberation is rational. Rather, it is a
concatenation of appetites, desires and aversions.
• Lower animals also experience desires and aversions
• Hobbes rejects the schoolman’s notion that the will is a rational
o A voluntary act is simply an action that proceeds from the will
• Reason has nothing to do with will
• For both Plato and Aristotle: if the mind is well ordered, then appetite is
governed by reason. If someone were appetitive, then the individual
would run out and drink motor oil. Though that is not a rational choice.
• If one were thirsty, then what beverage ought one drink? There are
better choices and worse choices.
• Hobbes purports that the mind is driven by will and not based on what
is best or what is right
• People call what they desire good and their aversions bad- e.g. if one is
afraid of dogs, then one would run away from a dog. That would be
good in that case.