He was educated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, and was supported during his long life by the wealthy Cavendish family, the Earls of Devonshire. Traveling widely, he met many of the leading intellectuals of the day, including Francis Bacon, Galileo Galilei, and Rene Descartes. As a philosopher and political theorist, Hobbes establishedalong with, but independently of, Descartesearly modern modes of thought in reaction to the scholasticism that characterized the seventeenth century.
Originally I planned to adapt an essay I wrote at university on Hobbes and Leviathan with comparisons against Locke, Rousseau and others to serve as a review, but it's rather unwieldy and a few of its less esoteric and elaborate points have been made very well and succinctly in some of the accounts above.
Hobbes is the most influential figure in political thinking when it comes to what might broadly be called 'pessimistic philosophy' contra Leibnizand in this sense he makes an excellent, more formal and treatise-like accompaniment to the works of Voltaire whose ' philosophical tales ' especially are, beyond the characteristic wit on display, also immensely enjoyable; Kafka, and to certain more personal extent Beckett, are also commendable reads.
He doesn't so much set out a modus operandi for a ruler as the Arthshastra or The Prince attempt to do, but tries to justify the power to be accorded a ruler, basically obliterating some of the more open concerns a statesman might have to tactically contend with in Machiavelli.
But it may be that of all of Leviathan's contributions, the eponymous Leviathan in the sense of an absolute monarch is the superfluous part.
|See a Problem?||Leviathan is a political book in the purest sense. For Hobbes, even friendship and love were forms of power.|
|Three to compare||For seeing life is but a motion of Limbs, the begining whereof is in some principall part within; why may we not say, that all Automata Engines that move themselves by springs and wheeles as doth a watch have an artificiall life?|
Given its age, the language of Leviathan is remarkably clear and precise, emphatic as necessary and quite accessible. Hobbes sets out his arguments with almost mathematical proof-like care however, and the book may require patience.
I had lecture notes to guide me through when I first read important selections, and perhaps something of that nature will be helpful. I more recently found it a fascinating exercise to study the thought of this 'school' roughly speaking in the context of modern evolutionary thinking as found in very accessible but also rigorous accounts like The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins.
Of course, just as science with its empirical concerns does not prescribe but might inform efficient and effective methods for achieving an aim, the pessimists are not prescriptive- they simply caution in the way dystopia in fiction doesn't provide constructive commentary as utopia does, but serve when done right, in the manner of Orwell for instance as elaborate warning tales.
It is wrong to think of them, especially Hobbes, as social Darwinists. This propensity is far from lessened by the argument in Leviathan for monarchy and the easy clamour citing this gains from those blinded and made to follow complacently by the very term 'democracy', whether true in fact or not.
It is perfectly fair to say that Hobbes, with interests very relevant to him personally in his day, fails to give due consideration to other forms of governance than the one he advocates, but this shortcoming does not invalidate or at all detract from the conundrum he poses about trust within his 'state of nature', or the dangers of it.
The situation is akin to the Prisoner's Dilemma from game theory and there is the question of what's rational for the society on the whole against what is rational for the individual at each decision. The implications from biology of trust-favouring behaviours and the evolutionarily stable equilibria which may come about through such strategies further elucidate our notions on the human condition when considered alongside the basic problem.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 . Leviathan or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common-Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil—commonly referred to as Leviathan—is a book written by Thomas Hobbes (–) and published in (revised Latin edition ).
Its name derives from the biblical alphabetnyc.com: Political philosophy. To describe the Nature of this Artificiall man, I will consider First the Matter thereof, and the Artificer; both which is Man.
Secondly, How, and by what Covenants it is made; what are the Rights and just Power or Authority of a Soveraigne; and what it is that Preserveth and Dissolveth it. Rate this book. Clear rating. “For such is the nature of man, that howsoever they may acknowledge many others to be more witty, or more eloquent, or more learned; Yet they will hardly believe there be many so wise as themselves: For they see their own wit at hand, and other mens at a distance.” ― Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan.
Locke versus Hobbes. by [email protected] Locke and Hobbes were both social contract theorists, and both natural law theorists (Natural law in the sense of Saint Thomas Aquinas, not Natural law in the sense of Newton), but there the resemblance ends.
Hobbes says that “in the nature of man we find three principal causes of quarrel: first, competition; secondly, diffidence, thirdly, glory,” and then list’s man’s primary aims to .