POL2108 Final Exam Review Date: April 18/17
Location: 2-5pm at STE G103 and STE G104
1. Compare Hobbes and Rousseau on the political significance of religion.
- Hobbes described God as the author of nature, and said - Social rather than theological
that the laws of nature were God's commands. - Rousseau’s contract also talks about religion and its
- But all these were derived from reason importance in independence.
- religious views posed no threat to the state, Hobbes - Rousseau believes that everyone should be able to
advocated permitting their free expression. practice their own religion.
- Nor did he think the state should enquire into people's - He does not believe that the state should have a
personal beliefs. common religion.
- Hobbes hoped that the free exchange of ideas would - “Now that there is and can be no longer an
promote scientific progress. exclusive national religion, tolerance
- Hobbes was highly suspicious of claims based on should be given to all religions that tolerate
individual conscience others, so long as their dogmas contain
- If everybody ignored the laws and acted in nothing contrary to the duties of
accordance with their own conscience, civil citizenship.”
society would dissolve into anarchy. - Quote favors freedom of religion, it also favors
- Hobbes thinks it pretty clear that the civil power needs aspects of religion that bring people together under
to control the appointment of spiritual pastors, and common belief = important part of a flourishing
supervise and license their activities, and this amounts society.
in effect to establishing a national church. - The object of civil religion for Rousseau is to foster
- Hobbes argues, without established forms of liturgy and sentiments of sociability and a love of public duties
religious practice, God cannot be worshipped by a among citizens
commonwealth. - Civil religion should also condemn intolerance as a
- Such worship as there is will be an unordered creedal matter given that there can never again be
and confusing mélange of private individual an exclusive national religion.
and sectarian practices - Rousseau averred that penalties may rightly be
- that in itself will be an affront to God and a applied against those who do not observe the civil
problem for society quite apart from any threat religion
to the peace that it involves. - Rousseau claimed that Thomas Hobbes was the
- Hobbes’s argument about the requirements of public only Christian writer brave enough to propose that
worship is not an argument about civil religion Christianity and state be reunified
- religion set up set up by statesmen “with a purpose to - but Hobbes misunderstood that Christianity
make those men who relied on them, the more apt to is terrible for founding republics.
Obedience, Peace, Lawes, Charity, and civil Society” - Rousseau charged that Christianity teaches
- Hobbes certainly believes in civil religion people to be excessively servile and
- he would have been in favor of a national dependent, leaving adherents unsuitable for
church even had he not accepted the argument military service and ready for slavery.
about public worship - Rousseau defined "civil religion" as a group of
- Hobbes’s position is that whether it is socially religious beliefs he believed to be universal
inflammatory or not, non-uniform worship falls short of - he believed governments had a right to
what God requires of us as an organized community. uphold and maintain: belief in a deity;
- Hobbes addresses the problem of how the Christian belief in an afterlife in which virtue is
faith relates to the Leviathan’s ideal civic society. rewarded and vice punished; and belief in - Christians, who are compelled to follow the religious tolerance.
laws of God, a conflict arises from Hobbes’s - Civil religion should be: simple, few in number, and
insistence that in the interest of peace, all stated in precise words without interpretations or
knowledge, law, and belief must stem from the commentaries.
sovereign. - Rousseau affirmed that individuals' religious
- Hobbes asserts that the sovereign’s laws may opinions should be beyond the reach of
occasionally contradict God’s prophetical laws governments.
- those Christian laws that cannot be known by - Most important opinions in society are the ones we
reason alone—as God’s natural laws are—but have of god because they decided everything we do
the sovereign’s laws must still be obeyed by his on earth
subjects. - Early people thought it would be monstrous to put
- Hobbes acknowledges that contradictory laws cannot one person in control of everyone else: The only
both be followed person that could rule them is a divine one
- in the face of this conflict, the sovereign’s laws - Religions are the products of others groups and are
must be obeyed above all. used to keep the people united
- Hobbes supports this position - Ancient world had religious tolerance
- arguing that true Christian doctrine itself is not - Three types of religion: Man, citizen, priest
antithetical to his political philosophy but in - Priest distinction: Rousseau finds this
fact supports it. awful because it divides us amongst
- There are some exceptions ourselves
- such as the Christian belief in incorporeal spirits - Man and citizen distinction: Man = private,
- Hobbes counters that these are false beliefs. between you and god, spirituality. Citizen
- He concludes that religious and civic authority must be = all about glory and public shows, pagan
united under one source. glorification
- The sovereign must be the head of the church in society - Rousseau thinks that civil religion is the best and
as he is head of all else. wants it to be mandatory
- You cannot be intolerant.
Intolerance = thinking that
everyone who believes in a
different god is damned
- Toleration has to go right into the heart of
the civic creed itself
- Civil religion: It is both an essential part of his
story but it is also something that has a power from
2. What does Rousseau mean when he says that ‘man is born free, and everywhere he is in
chains,’ and what would Hobbes think of that claim?
- modern states repress the physical freedom that is our - Man has a natural desire for security and order.
birthright, and do nothing to secure the civil freedom - In order to secure self-protection and
for the sake of civil society. self-preservation and to avoid misery and
- political authority comes from a social contract agreed pain, man entered into a contract
by all citizens for their mutual preservation. people - They voluntarily surrender all their rights and deserve to be free but they are chained by the societies freedoms to some authority by this contract who
in which they live. must command obedience
- people joined together in societies in order preserve - The mightiest authority is to protect and preserve
their lives and make cooperation between people their lives and property
- “Liberty,” he writes, “is the absence of all the
- They willingly made a "social contract" in which they impediments to action that are not contained in the
nature and intrinsic quality of the agent”
agreed to be ruled by the state in order that their lives - Hobbes occasionally defines liberty in a slightly
can be improved through increased safety and
different way, writing that an agent is “free, in
cooperation. those things that were in his power, to follow his
- When people are in society, they are "in chains.", the
society places all sorts of rules on them that limit their - Hobbes when discussing human nature often uses
beast-like tendencies as a comparison.
- people in societies have these rules that govern them - “The imagination that is raised in man (or
and limit their freedom. This is something that does not
any other creature endued with the faculty
just happen naturally. of imagining) by words, or other voluntary
- But this is a good thing so long as the people have
signes, is that we generally call
consented to have that freedom taken. Understanding; and is common to Man and
- believed that people were born as blank slates and were
neither good nor bad. However, as societal structures - Relating man to beast exemplifies Hobbes position
developed, people gave up their autonomy and free will,
on what he believes is human nature.
and modern society interfered with people's ability to - Civilization rescues humanity from an otherwise
live freely in the state of nature.
- Rousseau explains how man went from this state of - Hobbes view on government stems from these
autonomy to the modern condition, dominated by
beliefs as well.
inequality, dependency, violence and unhappiness. - As explained in Leviathan, government’s ultimate
- This also gives way to what Rousseau called the "right
purpose is to control by imposing law and order in
of the strongest" order to protect human nature from taking over.
- where a reign of inequality destroys man's
- In respect to parenting, proper and necessary
original state of happiness and freedom. discipline is required in order to establish order
- Humanity becomes alienated
within the household.
- Rousseau discovers a way men can associate - Hobbes view of man as naturally selfish and
themselves with each other while maintaining their own
constantly occupied with thoughts of how
individual freedom inside a social and political something may benefit them
- He calls that concept the "general will".
- it is a form of association in which an
individual alienates himself completely to the
general will, and therefore regains his freedom
in a political form.
- Rousseau believed that in the form of the general will,
the alienation of man would transform itself into
freedom - this makes him nothing less than the inventor of
modern dialectics, uniting the opposing
concepts of nature (or freedom) and society (or
contract), in their own opposition.
- All of Rousseau's philosophy is an attempt to
find a solution to the problem of alienation.
- only thing that made humans different from
animals is free will
3. What is the importance of language in Hobbes’ political philosophy?
a. Language theory is an important part of Hobbes’ intellectual legacy
b. Language is in the focus of attention here, as long as the state itself begins with a social
contract, and the most important point of the political thinker’s work is to consider the
agreements, treaties, and to analyze the constituent concepts of these.
c. Hobbes identifies four uses of speech
i. To record knowledge gained of things, which is the acquisition of Arts
ii. To communicate this knowledge to others, which is Counseling or Teaching
iii. To communicate intentions and desires to others and elicit their help
iv. To entertain ourselves by playing with words.
d. Hobbes identifies four abuses of speech
i. Inconstant signification, in which we carelessly let the meanings of words shift
ii. Metaphorical language, in which we use certain words to mean other words in
order to deceive
iv. Language employed to injure other people.
e. Hobbes recognizes that we must have some foundational reference for determining
whether a meaning is proper and suggests that, following the geometric method, true
speech begin by gaining general acceptance of the definitions of its terms.
i. He writes, "In Geometry (which is the only Science that it hath pleased God
hitherto to bestow upon mankind), men begin at settling the significations of their
words; which settling of significations, they call Definitions; and place them at
the beginning of their reckoning."
f. Hobbes believes that geometry is a venerable model for a philosophical language because
geometry finds its stability in defined terms that everyone has agreed to recognize
i. therefore, geometric arguments are indisputable
g. It follows that once philosophical definitions are established, true conclusions can be
made by building logically upon prior claims.
i. It is society that determines these first principles of philosophical discourse and
true speech, but Hobbes is still faced with the problem of how to achieve social
consent for the meanings of words.
h. speech was created by God and was given as a gift to Adam who eagerly grasped at the
chance of enlarging his supply of words. i. Hobbes frequently attacks metaphor as an improper and abusive use of language.
j. Yet Hobbes employs very powerful metaphors himself to make his argument, such as the
state of nature and the Leviathan
i. Hobbes claimed that metaphors were imprecise abuses of language that mislead
readers from the proper and rigorous denotations of concepts.
ii. This position required Hobbes to control the meanings of metaphors in his own
iii. By explicitly defining the precise meaning of a metaphor, its tendency to be
misinterpreted would be eliminated.
iv. Thus Hobbes could create a precise scientific language by controlling the
looseness of his metaphor, and he deliberately chose metaphors that would be
prone to misunderstanding and a variety of interpretations, intending to show off
his ability to constrain nonetheless the multiplicities of language
k. the importance of language is the central theme of Hobbes's philosophy.
l. Language enables us to reason, to form alliances and formulate abstractions.
m. It also enables us to worry (as animals don't) about the future and about our status.
n. It is this, and not the beast within, that renders us fractious and quarrelsome and makes it
necessary for us to be ruled by strong and undivided government.
4. What is the purpose of state-of-nature theory? Answer with reference to the three
state-of-nature theorists that you read this term.
a. State of nature, in political theory, the real or hypothetical condition of human beings
before or without political association.
b. One tries to imagine what life would be like without government, and then one compares
that to life with government. If things would be better with government than without,
then that is presumptive grounds for favoring the state over anarchy.
c. The state of nature is a concept used in moral and political philosophy, religion, social
contract theories and international lawto denote the hypothetical conditions of what the
lives of people might have been like before societies came into existence.
d. Key to this is the concept of a social contract
i. This is k