A contemporary of Shakespeare, Rembrandt, and Newton
Knew Galileo and corresponded with Descartes
Shared Descartes’ interest in modern science and geometry
Aims at a science of politics based on clear definitions
Hobbes’ Leviathan (1651)
What is the source or political authority?
What justifies a political society?
Analyze society into parts
The parts of a society are individuals
Study politics by looking at human nature
Like Plato, Hobbes uses human nature as the basis for the state
But his idea of human nature is quite different from Plato’s and Aristotle’s
Leviathan takes its title from the Biblical book of Job:
It names a beast which, once raised, cannot be controlled
If you lay a hand on him, you will remember the struggle and never do it again!
Any hope of subduing him is false; the mere sight of him is overpowering
“There is no power on earth to be compared to him.” The Natural Condition of Humanity:
Man has as his end nothing more than the preservation and promotion of his own existence.
The good = what is in my interests alone
People are roughly equal in strength and intelligence
Equal in our abilities to attain the things we want and need
Plato’s assumption that only some individuals are capable of attaining the knowledge that suits them to be
Aristotle’s division of humans into natural masters and natural slaves
“I put for the general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that
ceaseth only in death.” –Hobbes
Natural condition of Humanity leads to:
“The condition of man… is a condition of war of everyone against everyone.” – Hobbes
The Hobbesian State of Nature:
“A war of every man against every man.”
Doesn’t necessarily involve actual combat
A state of constant fear in which combat is always possible
A state of chronic i