Hobbes Leviathan 01/28/2014
Hobbes (materialist) lived 17 cent England (ENT, Sci Rev)
Political change: const monarchy, civil war, execution of monarch, quasi commonwealth theocracy
(Cromwell II), restoration of monarchy (Charles II)
Did not live to see James II or Glorious Rev
Scientist and student of the classics, translating Latin and Greek (difficult Greek)
Shares Machiavelli’s pragmatic approach, write for a prince to put it into practice.
Assumptions and Terminology:
Hobbes thinks he’s constructing a “philosophical system” from the ground up ascending to ultimate view of
When first appeared in 1651 was received as “comprehensive vision of the world, which united
metaphysical, theological, and political arguments into a single distinctive outlook. At center of this outlook
was mechanical materialism”
It is based on metaphysical assumption (materialism) reached by a methodological assumption
Materialism: matter is the only substance of reality (body, extension, and motion) the rest tare “secondary
qualities.” ▯all in the mind. All other properties are perceived by the senses so they are only in the mind.
Empiricism: “for there is no conception in man’s mind which hath not at first, totally or by parts been
begotten upon the organs of sense. The rest are derived from that original”
Hobbes writes after physics we must come to moral philosophy. The principles of politics consist in the
knowledge of the motions of the mind
These two assumptions (materialism and empiricism) lead to both a cognitional theory and anthropology
Reason is the agent or “scout” of the passions
For the thoughts are to the desires as scout and spies, to range abroad and find the way to the things
This cognitional theory and anthropology grounds Hobbes’ political theory
The key link to political philosophy▯ aversion to death and go towards peace and pleasure. Go to gov that
gives you commodious living
Hobbes Anthropology is Rooted in Materialism
Mediate (through light) or immediate sensory descry then stirs passions (appetites and aversions) passions
then stir up the reason (calculation) and moves you to or away from the object Material subj ▯ material obj
Hobbes Linguistic Comments (rooted in materialist and metaphysical commitment)
Consider Chapter 5:816, 5:5758
What’s the connection with language and politics
We speak not in error but in absurdities. And we cant reason when we speak in absurdities.
There’s no body politic. To think there is a “body of the people” or “collective will” is to make a linguistic
mistake, is to buy into an illusion
It is not unlike people who say “the gov is going to raise taxes.” Or “I hate it when corp get richer.” ▯ need a
sovereign to represent the people. Have to donate their will to the will of the sovereign he must represent
willl of the people or else too many dif interests
Materialism ▯ nothing non physical. How can nonphysical have causal powers?
Reductionism? Mind is special.
“Casper problem”▯ non physicaltophysical causal interaction. Nonspatial things causing spatial
How could physical and non physical things interact
“the existence of non physical causes of physical events would require us to recognize whole new species
of causal relations and causal laws.” – Peter Carruthers
physical things go in, something physical happens in the brain, and it causes something physical to happen.
▯reductionist. Jerry Fodor
HObb’es language linked to materialism
Errors people making in language We try to reify things by making them more concrete then they actually
Nominalism▯ view that these things differ only in name. all of these things are really similar because they
are all spatially extended matter. They only differ in the aesthetic features we differentiate them by. Through
our mind we categorize them by, but they are all just matter.
There is no fruit, only multitude of individual extended things.
There is no voice of the people. There in only a sovereign who is spatially extended to unite them all under
“The fallacy of misplaced concreteness”
error of mistaking abstract for concrete. ▯ Alfred North Whitehead Hobbes “on Belief”
View on faith and opinion are rooted in his materialism
All propositions emanate from mouth of a speaker▯ the expression of thee internal workings of matterin
Read something from bible and believe it, it comes more from the faith in the prophet who says it rather
then the actually proposition uttered.
Judgments are either made of the
The proposition itself
Hobbes “On Religion”
Attacks religion or what seems to be an attack is also rooted in his materialism occurs on two fronts
Passion ▯ fear of death
Reason ▯ search for causes
Not coincidentally, these same two fronts (passion and reason) that will ground his argument for a
Sovereign. Need for sovereign as well as religion is rooted in need of people.
“Genesis of religion” ▯ polytheistic relig rooted in fear more than monotheistic, more grasped by reason.
indictment of polytheistic religion.incorporial substance is contradictory in conception if you ask someone
about it they are unintelligible.
“God of the Gaps”