PHIL 1034 Lecture 13: Lecture 13 Notes - Hobbes on the Sovereign and the Commonwealth 10.6.15
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Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness!
Hobbes on the Sovereign and the Commonwealth!
-A sovereign can be one person or a small group of people, just like Plato thought they would
be a small elite group!
-Hobbes had to paint a picture of the terribleness of the State of nature to argue for a very
strong and powerful sovereign for the commonwealth to avoid it!
-Argues for the commonwealth, it’s in our best interest to have this sovereign!
-Hobbes saying that many powers that he’s giving to the sovereign is actually in the best
interest to give to the sovereign !
Why, according to Hobbes, do men accept the restraints on their liberty that are involved in
living in a commonwealth?!
-Men don’t want to have any external impediments on our actions and we want to have
dominance over others!
-Going back to the state of nature, there’d be a lot of physical impediments if everyone has
their own mentality!
-We need to have a commonwealth so that we can have a sovereign power who will enforce
these laws of nature which will help to remove any suspicion that these people are going back
on their agreement!
-This is the best option!
Why must men allow themselves to be guided by the judgement of the sovereign rather than by
their own judgement?!
-Hobbes says in the state of nature we’re each trying to ﬁgure out how to secure our own good
i.e. how to stay alive!
•Hence theres no way to coordinate because we each are looking for our own interest to
-Hobbes says we have to make it so that we need to make so that people are no longer able
to make their own judgement about what they need to do in order to survive. !
-When you have a group of people who aren’t aligned in their own judgement then they will
easily be conquered by a group of people who are united in judgement!
-In areas such as a war, you need to have hierarchical structure, and Hobbes thinks that we
need this type of thing!
-Doesn’t leave the decision for judgement upon the sovereign ????!
Hobbes considers someone objecting that if some creatures can live tougher in society without
a sovereign an a commonwealth, then men should also be able to do so. How does Hobbes
respond to this objection?!
-Hobbes says men are in constant competition for honor and dignity - we naturally wan people
to acknowledge our superiority!
-Bees just do their part in meeting their common parts of the hive, but humans aren’t like that!