Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)
Mid 17 century
Wrote the Leviathan
The English Civil War (1641-1649) pitted followers of King Charles 1 against followers of
Oliver Gonmell (parliament). The Cronmellians won, Charles beheaded.
This is relevant to Hobbes because he saw the civil war as tearing under the fabric of society. He
believed there were 2 choices: trusting or chaos.
State of Nature:
“a condition in which there is no government or civil authority.”
Hobbes says life is: “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
1) People in this state are by nature equal. (anybody can kill anyone else; weak can band
together, strong people need to sleep, anybody can prevail).
2) Equality produces fear.
3) Fear leads to war (not in battle only, but the notion that there is no assurance there will be
peace; a fight may be around the corner at any moment).
4) A state of war leads to pre-emptive strikes against neighbours.
5) There are 3 principle causes of quarrel:
a) Competition (over resources, food, etc).
The general goal = is gain
The specific goal = is to make oneself master of anothers “life, wife, children, and cattle”.
General goal = safety
Specific goal =