Class Notes (834,932)
Canada (508,829)
York University (35,167)
POLS 2900 (130)
Lecture

Jan. 15- Hobbes' covenant.doc

3 Pages
109 Views
Unlock Document

Department
Political Science
Course
POLS 2900
Professor
Stephen Newman
Semester
Winter

Description
1 POLS 2900 Tuesday, January 15, 2013 HOBBES AND THE COVENANT Covenant • Creating a power among us strong enough so that no one can harm us- creating something that can protect us • There is a greater chance of stability when there is one will • In the creation of a sovereign, people in the public become subject to the sovereign power. This sovereign power then by association becomes a commonwealth. • When people covenant with one another, they transform their powers to one source- forming a commonwealth (the state) • This is the generation of the great Leviathan (the mortal God) • Leviathan is a literary illusion- it is from a book in the Bible. It depicts a sea monster. Leviathan is “king of the proud”. Leviathan and Sovereignty • From where Leviathan is rooted- when Joe asked God “why?” God answered, “where were you when I created the heavens?” • Power- owing power to obedience • Hobbes chose his literary illusion deliberately to be in sync with his message • Sovereign power is indivisible and irrevocable- otherwise it is self-contradictory. The definition of sovereign power is power of the highest realm. o Sovereignty can be no more divided than a single person is able to have two wills- it is a symbol of an artificial person, and the artificial person can only have one will o Sovereignty is irrevocable- cannot be taken back; unconditional. Either you give power unconditionally to the sovereign. Otherwise, you have not created sovereignty. • Rules of propriety- laws issued by the sovereign; civil laws • Absolute power allows the sovereign to enforce the laws absolutely • Sovereign has power to decide the outcome of controversy (adjudicating laws) • Sovereign has three powers: creating laws, adjudicating laws and enforcing laws • Securing peace involves no law-breaking because no one can escape the sovereign power • The Hobbesian sovereign is a human being. It is passed as sovereign. It is to establish laws, and in so doing, it is to establish just and unjust law. o What are rights? Rights are judged from the individual’s view in a state of nature. o But once there is a commonwealth, the sovereign gets to define rights. • The sovereign gets to decide what is right and what is wrong- it is translated through laws and holds absolute power. It functions like a justice machine. Are there limits? • No. There are no limits to what a sovereign can do. The sovereign does not forfeit its power if it commits some act that displeases its subjects. The sovereign has promised 2 them nothing, and thus is not subject to the covenant. • In making the covenant with one another, they all pre-approve everything that the sovereign does. • Hobbes defines tyranny as “monarchy misliked”- people who do not like the king call him a tyrant. A sovereign cannot abuse his power. Nonetheless, he may treat one or more of his subjects badly, where he is guilty of inequity. But he is not to be unjust. • The law of nature tells us to not interfere with those who mediate peace- sovereign may in fact impose a law of nature (thus, being wicked, but nonetheless, not unjust) • Sovereigns are not under the law- though wicked actions can be committed, it cannot be unjust • Hobbes: the worst abuse of sovereign power is nothing compared to the miseries and calamities that accompanies a civil war • The sovereign has n
More Less

Related notes for POLS 2900

Log In


OR

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


OR

By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.


Submit