Names at least two conflict English civil wars
For instance, Hobbes's discussion of sovereignty and authorization (Leviathan, chapter
16) insists that sovereignty cannot be divided—the opinion that it can leads to civil war,
in his view—and that subjects are the authors of everything the sovereign does as their
The state of nature is the "war of every man against every man," in which people
constantly seek to destroy one another.
This state is so horrible that human beings naturally seek peace, and the best way to
achieve peace is to construct the Leviathan through social contract.
The Hobbesian state of nature is an instructive fiction, a reasoned deduction of what
human nature might have been like in a hypothetical existence prior to any civilization.
Yet while Hobbes concedes that it never existed in actual history, he asserts that, to a
degree, the state of nature is a reality; we see approximations of it in the lives of the
"savage people of America," he says, and Europeans approach it in times of civil war.
Further evidence of our natural condition can be seen in our mistrust of others, criminal
behavior, and in domination of weak countries by strong countries.
In the state of nature, where it is a war of every natural man against the others, no
security is possible and life is full of horror. But two natural passions enable people to
escape the state of nature: fear and reason. Fear makes natural man want to escape the
state of nature; reason shows him how to escape. Reason provides the natural laws that
Hobbes develops in the next section, which constitute the foundation for peace.
how did hobbes's approach in the leviathan differ from the political theory of his day?
Hobbes is famous for his early and elaborate development of what has come to be known
as ―social contract theory‖, the method of justifying political principles or arrangements
by appeal to the agreement that would be made among suitably situated rational, free, and
equal persons. He is infamous for having used the social contract method to arrive at the
astonishing conclusion that we ought to submit to the authority of an absolute—
undivided and unlimited—sovereign power. While his methodological innovation had a
profound constructive impact on subsequent work in political philosophy, his substantive
conclusions have served mostly as a foil for the development of more palatable
philosophical positions. Hobbes's moral philosophy has been less influential than his
political philosophy, in part because that theory is too ambiguous to have garnered any
general consensus as to its content.
From this proposition, Hobbes can describe the natural condition of mankind before
society, government, and the invention of law. This natural condition, free of all artificial
interferences, is one of continuous war and violence, of death and fear. This condition is
known as the "state of nature," and Hobbes's depiction of this state is the most famous
passage in Leviathan: "[D]uring the time men live without a common Power to keep them all in awe, they are in a condition which is called Warre; and such a warre, as is of every
man, against every man. . . . In such condition, there is no place for industry . . . no
Culture of the Earth; no Navigation . . . no commodious Building; no instruments of
moving . . . no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no
Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent
death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short."
Why is a Leviathan necessary? According to hobbes?
Hobbes saw the purpose of the Leviathan as explaining the concepts of man and
citizenship; he conceved of the work as contributing to a larger, three-pronged
philosophical project that would explain nature in addition to these two phenomena. To
begin his project, Hobbes argues that to understand the state we first need to understand
mankind, since the state is nothing but an artificial man. To extend the metaphor, the
sovereign of the state is like the soul of a man; the magistrates of the state like a man's
joints; and the rewards and punishments doled out by the state like the nerves of man.
According to Hobbes, the proper way to understand all men is to turn our thoughts
inward and study one man (namely oneself), for to understand the thoughts, desires, and
reasons of ourselves is to understand them in all mankind.
First law of nature Hobbes
• The first Law of nature is that every man ought to endeavour peace, as far as he has
hope of obtaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek and use all
helps and advantages of war.
The second Law of nature is that a man be willing, when others are so too, as far forth,
as for peace, and defence of himself he shall think it necessary, to lay down this right to
all things; and be contented with so much liberty against other men, as he would allow
other men against himself.
• The sixth Law is that upon caution of the future time, a man ought to pardon the
offences past of them that repenting, desire it.
The seventh Law is that in revenges, men look not at the greatness of the evil past, but
the greatness of the good to follow.
The seventeenth law is that no man is a fit Arbitrator in his own cause.
What Hobbes tries to tackle here is the transition from the state of nature to civil society.
But how he does this is misleading and has generated much confusion and disagreement.
The way that Hobbes describes this second law of nature makes it look as if we should all
put down our weapons, give up (much of) our ―right of nature,‖ and jointly authorize a
sovereign who will tell us what is permitted and punish us if we don‘t obey. But the
problem is obvious.
Right of Nature
This repeats the points we have already seen about our ―right of nature,‖ so long as peace
does not appear to be a realistic prospect. The second law of nature is more complicated: That a man be willing, when others are so too, as far-forth as for peace and defense of
himself he shall think it necessary, to lay down this right to all things, and be contented
with so much liberty against other men, as he would allow other men against himself.
As justice dependeth on antecedent covenant; so does gratitude depend on antecedent
grace; that is to say, antecedent free gift; and is the fourth law of nature, which may be
conceived in this form: that a man which receiveth benefit from another of mere grace
endeavour that he which giveth it have no reasonable cause to repent him of his good
will. For no man giveth but with intention of good to himself, because gift is voluntary;
and of all voluntary acts, the object is to every man his own good; of which if men see
they shall be frustrated, there will be no beginning of benevolence or trust, nor
consequently of mutual help, nor of reconciliation of one man to another; and therefore
they are to remain still in the condition of war, which is contrary to the first and
fundamental law of nature which commandeth men to seek peace. The breach of this law
is called ingratitude, and hath the same relation to grace that injustice hath to obligation
Rational choice thinkers call this ‗The Prisoners‘ Dilemma‘, it is demonstrative of the
difficulty to achieve co-operation to some collectively rational end. For example, a wood
owned by several farmers. It is in the best interests of these farmers to form an
agreement to never fell more than 25% of the trees in their patch each season, as this will
prevent soil erosion and the loss of nutrients from the ground so the trees will be healthy
and reach their optimum height. However, each farmer, having made this agreement, has
the incentive to cut down a few more trees. The actions of one individual will not
damage the land and that farmer will be able to sell more timber at a cheaper price than
the others. But if all the farmers chopped down a few more trees the result would be
disastrous, all could loose their livelihood.
Why does hobbes believe that monarchy is superior
Hobbes identifies three possible types of government based on whether the sovereign is a
single person, an
assembly of all the people or an assembly of one part. ―When the representative is one
man, then is the
commonwealth a monarchy; when an assembly of all that will come together, then it is
democracy or popular
commonwealth; when an assembly of a part only, then it is called an aristocracy‖
(467). Hobbes notes that other
forms of government such as tyranny and oligarchy are nothing more than other names
for monarchy and
aristocracy with a negative connotation, used by those who dislike themAccording to
Hobbes, in a monarchy the private interest is the same with the public because the
power and honour of a monarch arises only from the power and honour of his subjects. ―For no king can be rich
nor glorious nor secure whose subjects are either poor or contemptible or too weak
through want or dissension to
maintain a war against their enemies; whereas in a democracy or aristocracy, the public
prosperity confers not so
much to the private fortune of one that is corrupt or ambitious as does many times a
perfidious advice, a
treacherous action, or a civil war‖ (467). Public prosperity is not as important in a
democracy or aristocracy
because those who have power in these forms of government hold onto it through
treachery and corruption rather
than honestly attempting to improve the lives of the people
Govtheir own selfishness and evil. The besbelieves that any such conflict leads to civil
war. He holds that any form of ordered government is preferable to civil war. Thus he
advocates that all members of society submit to one absolute, central authority for the
sake of maintaining the common peace. In Hobbes‘s system, obedience to the sovereign
is directly tied to peace in all realms. The sovereign is empowered to run the government,
to determine all laws, to be in charge of the church, to determine first principles, and to
adjudicate in philosophical disputes. For Hobbes, this is the only sure means of
maintaining a civil, peaceful polity and preventing the dissolution of society into civil
war.ould never work. Hobbes wrote, "All mankind [is in] a perpetual
How does Hobbes define freedom and what is the significant of this definition for his
theory of the state?
Interesting philosophy on the definitions Freedom from Hobbes and Locke. Locke
defines Freedom based on the rights that one has within a commonwealth, his rights to
life, health, liberty, and property specifically. Hobbes says that Freedom is the absence
of obstacles. That so long as one can move physically that one has Freedom, and that the
only right one has is the right of self-preservation. Personally, I tend to agree, for the
most part, with Locke. I believe that Freedom is having the ability to find one‘s own self,
and pursue one‘s ambitions to the fullest extent as one wishes, so long as no one else is
denied this right in the process.
But, lest any one should suspect that there was at least this good in man, a propensity to
civil society and obedience to the rulers of cities, Hobbes insists that man is by nature
wholly averse to society with his kind: that the type of the race is an Ishmael, "a wild
man, his hand against all men, and all men's hands against him:" in fact that the state of
nature is a state of war all round. He writes (Leviathan, c. xiii.): "Men have no pleasure,
but on the contrary a great deal of grief, in keeping company where there is no power
able to overawe them all. For every man looketh that his companion should value him at
the same rate he sets on himself; and upon all signs of contempt or undervaluing naturally
endeavours, as far as he dares (which among them that have no common power to keep
them quiet, is far enough to make them destroy each other), to extort a greater value from
his contemners by damage, and from others by the example. . . . Hereby it is manifest,
that during the time that men live without a power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war, and such a war as is of every man against every man. .
. . In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain,
and consequently no culture of the earth: no navigation, nor use of the commodities that
may be imported by sea: no commodious building: no instruments of moving and
removing such things as require much force: no knowledge of the face of the earth: no
account of time: no arts, no letters, no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear
and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
To this war of every man against every man this also is consequent, that nothing can be
unjust. The notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice, have there no place. Where
there is no common power there is no law: where no law, no injustice. . . . It is
consequent also to the same condition, that there be no propriety, no dominion, no mine
and thine distinct, but only that to be every man's that he can get, and for so long as he
can keep it."
What are the passions that incline men to peace, according to hobbes?
The passions that incline men to peace are: fear of death; desire of such things as are
necessary to commodious living; and a hope by their industry to obtain them. And reason
suggesteth convenient articles of peace upon which men may be drawn to agreement.
These articles are they which otherwise are called the laws of nature, Passions that incline
men to peace are:
- fear of death (better live in disgrace than die in honor)
- desire to obtain things necessary to commodious living
- hope to get them by using only industry
Reason suggests convenient articles of peace upon which people can agree. These articles
are what Hobbes calls the "Laws of Nature". The laws of nature are therefore the dictates
of egoistic but enlightened prudence.
Morality arises only after the acceptance of these laws. It is nothing else but obedience to
the laws of nature. Thus morality is a form of social compromise between egoists. It
reduces certain rights but brings peace and justice.
The benefit of morality does not lie that much in positive effects it brings about as in the
calamities it helps to avoid
What is difference between Hobbes‘s social contract and a constitution?
This contract is constituted by two distinguishable contracts. First, they must agree to
establish society by collectively and reciprocally renouncing the rights they had against
one another in the State of Nature. Second, they must imbue some one person or
assembly of persons with the authority and power to enforce the initial contract. In other
words, to ensure their escape from the State of Nature, they must both agree to live
together under common laws, and create an enforcement mechanism for the social
contract and the laws that constitute it.
Is Hobbes opposed to the concept of a constitution? Why or why not? Constitution is sovereign because it lays out a complex structured government with laws
to control the population. This means that the real sovereign is the will of the people,
since the Constitution was created by and agreed upon by citizens themselves.
Hobbes claims that such a constitution is impossible Hobbes assumption is that human
disagreement is all pervasive; that the subjects of a commonwealth are incapable of
reaching a unified interpretation of a constitution a