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Week of 1-25 Notes

by: Alexandra Intriago

Week of 1-25 Notes PHIL109124

Alexandra Intriago
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About this Document

Covers the week of 1-25 for the Leviathan (Thomas Hobbes).
Perspectives on Western Culture II
Professor Connors
Class Notes
philosophy, theology, Perspectives




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Alexandra Intriago on Saturday January 30, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PHIL109124 at Boston College taught by Professor Connors in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 76 views. For similar materials see Perspectives on Western Culture II in Western Culture at Boston College.


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Date Created: 01/30/16
Perspectives on Western Culture Week of 1/25-1/29 Thomas Hobbes: The Leviathan Introduction- Letter to Mr. Francis Godolphin  better to have too much authority than to have too little  Some people may perceive that Hobbes is anti-religious  Nothing will be truly against the Catholic Church  Human Nature o From this, the ideal government should be formed o This is like the Republic  Thinkers have assumptions regarding human nature  Natural state of humans is a state of war  A human being is fundamentally and inherently selfish because we are composed of atoms, which protect themselves. o Matter resists if you try to push into it o We are constantly in a state of war, so we need the government as a baseline security  Body is purely mechanical  Automata- we imitate nature  Call to know thyself o Study all humans study our desires o We must all function similarly o We are all material things and fundamentally the same  Who is human being and what form of government is best for him? o Question Hobbes is trying to answer Part I: of Man Chapter 1: Of Sense  Our body follows a certain structure  Links everything to the material world o Find things in the world through our senses  Matter is the only thing that exists in the world  Hobbes calls the imagination a decaying sense o Appears fainter to you than the way you first experienced it  Dreaming vs. Being Awake o We do not know if we are dreaming or if we are awake Ch. 2: Of Imagination  You do not think of people you think of in waking moments in your dreams  You have no coherent train of thought in your dream  Fundamentally human/material beings  we do not have to question the distinction because it is all just matter and motion  Putting things into words means we are understanding them  Thinking is a matter of adding and subtracting words The Will  Trying to decouple the reason and the will  Agreeing with Machiavelli on the nature of ruling  We voluntarily live in a state of fear o Life is nasty, brutish, and short o Constantly in a state of war  Fear drives us, so being in power is virtually impossible  We form a government based on our fear o Fear of our own life and safety Religion  Prometheus- Greek who stole fire from God o Gods punished humans  Government becomes arbiter of decision-making  We must fear God, so we are obviously driven by fear  Religion is a human construction driven by fear  There is no security in life and we are never not fearing something  Materialistic viewpoint o Matter is the same the only thing that changes is speed and arrangement  Since everyone is equal, we are all going towards the same goal, so there will be inevitable conflict o We are all fundamentally equal, so that naturally leads to war  In terms of the body, we are unequal; in terms of the soul, we are all equal  Justice has no place in a state of war o Agreeing to abide by the covenant and state of Leviathan  Injustice is you disobeying the covenant 1) Right of nature a. The power to preserve your own self interest 2) Law of Nature a. Forbidden to take your own life away (subtraction) 3) Liberty a. Absence of external impediments  Contract of Peace- agree to live by society’s rules o The “covenant”  In a state of nature, you had a right to anything  Inalienable rights o Imprisonment o Self defense o Personal belongings  How covenants are made void o By performing or by being forgiven o Performance is natural end of obligation o Forgiveness, the restitution of liberty  Any rebellion is forgiven must accept and follow the Leviathan Part II- Of Commonwealth  we are constantly at war o In a state of war, we steam up against one another o Must find a way to bring together everyone  Fear the monarch unites every multitude  Each individual gives up own will to an entity that is higher o How could a select group of people know what is best for people’s souls/well beings? o Absolute power corrupts  Hobbes values consodlidation o Everyone has the same passions, so no one would try to take over  State of war as a natural state of humans is insurance for the ruler o Impossible for the ruler to disobey the covenant o You have signed the covenant, so you and the ruler are on part it is impossible for you to disobey the covenant  When the contract is made, it arises from the people o Leviathan does not make any other contract with other people- the covenant is unidirectional o Give up will to one individual or group of individuals  Sovereign in control of education o Right to censorship  Monarchy is when people like the monarch, tyranny is when people do not like the monarch o They are both essentially the same thing  Sovereign and representation are incompatible  Monarchy is the best form of govt. because: 1) interests are the same a. Judge monarch as how well people are doing b. Nature of a ruler 2) Monarch can get better counsel a. Assuming that in a democracy, people are not really smart, they just have money 3) Policies more consistent 4) Civil war is less likely 5) Heir chosen  Voluntary to live in a state of fear


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