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Leviathan Complete Notes

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Political Science
POLI 1041
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Leviathan By: Thomas Hobbes • Relates to Machiavelli: o People are selfish o Hobbes is a lot less sinister o More “scientific”  Politics based on science o Emphasis on acquiring power o Low opinion of religion o Self-preservation • About felicity o There is no such thing as happiness  Focus on power • State of Nature Chapter 11 • Felicity (happiness) = progression of desires o Moving from one desire to another • Desire to have power only stops when you die o Every human being wants power, nothing else  Once you acquire you desire to acquire more governmental authority • Goal is power  appealing to ambition • Religion shouldn’t get in the way of attaining power o Hobbes says religion is a tool for control  People invent their gods • Religion vs. superstition o Religion = fear of powers invisible  Turn to religion because we don’t understand things  comfort • Antireligious o Superstitions are what everyone else believes in Chapter 13 • Going to invent principles and values • Natural equality o Ancients had to take into account that not everyone can wrap their head around philosophy  hierarchical ordering of philosophers (Demonstrative, Dialectical, and Rhetorical)  Hobbes thinks that people should be treated equally (even though people are obviously not equal) • Creating the modern state o Leviathan = modern state  Made up of human people because it is a representative form of government that we turn to to escape the state of nature • Definition of equality: everyone can kill anyone  equal ability to kill o Argument for fundamental human equality  Foundation to our society today  where we get most of our human rights • The Prince takes pleasure in power o Hobbes attempting to de-fang the Prince  Create a form of government with an executive branch • Fundamental condition = war o Hobbes inherits and embraces Machiavelli’s view of war o War = inclination as well as physical fighting  Acquiring power promotes warfare • Scarcity of basic goods  war • State of Nature = solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short o Can’t trust anyone else, have scarce goods, suspicious all the time  Obvious inclination to fight • When you fight, don’t expect to live a long life • Pre-political state o Offends pre-modern view of philosophy/politics because “man is a political animal”  inclination to form community  Civil society emerges as a result of deficiencies of the state of nature • Based on our actions (locking doors, passwords, etc.) we show how untrustworthy and suspicious we are of other people • Where is the justice in the state of nature? o There is none, nor is there injustice  no entity to enforce justice  No law, no justice • State of nature = lawlessness • Fear of death leads to peace, especially fear of a violent death • State of nature can emerge at any moment when there’s no government authority to preserve justice • State of Nature = fiction o Leaves God out of this state because He can be seen as an authoritative body  state of nature is supposed to oppose the Beginning in Genesis  Eden = state of plenty and peace because God made it that way • Rejects the Garden of Eden o Is God needed for Civil Society? Nope, not needed  You can do it without God • State of Nature
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