Leviathan - terms and theme

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Political Science
Clifford Orwin

Leviathan Summary Hobbes Leviathan is divided into four parts 1 of man 2 of commonwealth 3 of a Christian commonwealth and 4 of the Kingdom of Darkness His overall project is to explain by what reasons a commonwealth may govern men and then to establish the best possible way for this government to function in order to accommodate the desires of its citizens Part One begins naturally with man for Hobbes believes that the commonwealth is nothing but an artificial man Beginning his argument at the most basic level he argues that man exists in the external world as a reactive creature that senses objects and is driven to act by the constant motions of the world These constant motions lead to mans constant and insatiable desires and wants which in a state of nature pits everyone against another in a state of war Here men are equal in that anyone can kill anyone else and as such men live in a constant state of fear an anxiety Since mans main goal in life is to protect his own life through his rational capacities he reasons that the best way to do this is to establish a state with a power great enough to protect all who consent to live under it Thus a state or commonwealth is established with the sole purpose of protecting the lives of those who live within it Part Two is devoted to explaining the citizens obligations to this state or Leviathan and its proper form and functions According to Hobbes the best form of government is a monarchy since in any other form of government the sovereign power is not strong enough to protect the subjects from outside invaders and from themselves A subjects duty to the sovereign is total and acting otherwise is only hurting oneself since the commonwealth is established for the selfpreservation of its subjects Of course one has the option of leaving the commonwealth if one finds it too oppressive but to leave the commonwealth is to reenter the state of war that characterizes presocial man This is the worst possible outcome since here there is no right or wrong no justice or injustice and man is constantly defending himself16
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