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PHIL 240 Chapter Notes -Political Philosophy, Rational Choice Theory, Rationality

Course Code
PHIL 240
Adam Etinson

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I: State of Nature
Leacock 913 Wed 10-12
Two main questions:
Is it possible?
What would it be like?
Believes human beings must live in a State of Nature, or else they stop being
human beings
-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
3 ways in which this results in conflict:
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