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PHIL 240 State of Nature - Hobbes and Locke

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PHIL 240
Adam Etinson

I: State of Nature Leacock 913 Wed 10-12 Two main questions: – Is it possible? – What would it be like? Aristotle Believes human beings must live in a State of Nature, or else they stop being human beings Hobbes -influence by English Civil War > saw country digressing into a savage society > favoured strong state to prevent society falling into a war of all against all -defines conflict as not necessarily actual physical confrontation, but constant readiness to fight -Hobbes' political philosophy therefore begins with the study of human nature 1) Self-Knowledge: honest introspection can tell us about what human beings are like 2) General physics: as a materialist, Hobbes believed that one must understand the body Galileo's principle of the conservation of motion: objects will stay in motion unless acted upon by a force -Hobbes took this principle and adapted it to the human body > mechanist view of human beings -this meant that, for Hobbes, mankind is never at rest, and is continually searching for “felicity”, or continual success in achieving the objects of desire Power: one's “present means to obtain some future apparent Good' (Leviathan, 150) -this means man will continually be searching for power, as power guarantees felicity 3 ways in which this results in conflict: 1) Men born “equal”, in the sense that the weakest can kill the strongest, given element of surprise or strength in numbers 2) Scarcity of resources leads to competition for the same good amongst two or more 3) No one in the state of nature can be invulnerable to the possibility of attack; even one with no possessions cannot rule out possibility of pre-emptive strike (reputation of power is power, yet reputation of power makes one a likelier target) 3 reasons for attack in the State of Nature: 1) For gain 2) For safety (pre-emptive) 3) For glory/reputation Summary: pg. 11 -Hobbes does not believe Man is naturally cruel, and believes that fear of attack is a greater cause of violence than greed -believes that morality cannot exist in the State of Nature, as, according to Hobbes, morality requires obedience to some legal code, which would not exist Right of Nature: the liberty to act as you think fit in order to preserve self- survival Natural Right of Liberty: in the State of Nature there is no such thing as morality Laws of Nature: 1) All men will seek Peace, and, barring that, Peace through War 2) Give others as much liberty as one would expect for oneself 3) Perform any covenants one makes However, all can be contracted to the Golden Rule How is this reconciled with the Natural Right of Liberty? Hobbes appears to believe that the Laws of Nature are the ethics that will maximize the ability of one individual to pursue the Right of Nature (self- preservation) How is the f
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