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PHIL 1400. Week Two. Book Notes.

by: Harley Hall

PHIL 1400. Week Two. Book Notes. PHIL 1400

Marketplace > University of North Texas > Philosophy > PHIL 1400 > PHIL 1400 Week Two Book Notes
Harley Hall
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About this Document

Pages 39-49 in the textbook, these notes cover Thomas Hobbes and his philosophy of the "state of nature."
Contemporary Moral Issues
Jared Opoien
Class Notes
philosophy, contemporary moral issues, ThomasHobbes, state, Of, nature
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Harley Hall on Monday September 5, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PHIL 1400 at University of North Texas taught by Jared Opoien in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 10 views. For similar materials see Contemporary Moral Issues in Philosophy at University of North Texas.

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Date Created: 09/05/16
Week Two. Book Notes. Hobbes on the State of Nature. (Pages 39-49) Section. Term. Concept.  Thomas Hobbes o Greatest English political philosopher o Set the idea that morality and politics arise out of a social contract o Born April 5, 1588 (Good Friday)  His mother gave birth two months early  It is rumored that his mother heard news of the Spanish Armada (the world’s greatest naval fleet at the time) being seen off the coast of England and went into labor out of fear  Hobbes’s life and philosophy are deeply entangled with fear  Some see his philosophy as a “defense against the fear and insecurity of people desperately in need of peace and tranquility.” o Studied at Oxford University o Lived through an era of political revolution (1588-1679) o Known for writing Leviathan, a revolutionary political text that:  Supported the monarchy as the best form of stable government  Rejected the idea of the divine right of kings  Had a materialist view of human nature  Was violently criticized most of Hobbes’s lifetime o Controversial Doctrines-  Hobbes broke from the medieval idea that the state is a natural organism based on natural devotion and interdependence  Developed a moral and political theory based on psychological egoism instead of natural affection  Argues that people are all egoists acting in self-interest (obtaining gratification and avoiding harm)  Hobbes wrote that the true state of nature is anarchy  It is in everyone’s self-interest/best interest to make a contract to respect human life and obey the laws of society  “Laws of nature”- minimal morality, a set of maxims of prudence as written by Hobbes.  Hobbes proposes a strong sovereign (or “Leviathan”) to impose severe penalties on those who disobey laws in order to ensure that we all obey our social contracts  “Covenants without the sword are but words”  Of the Natural Condition of Mankind as Concerning Their Felicity, And Misery o Nature has made each man equal in body and mind  Differences between men are not considerable in the grand scheme of things  Even though people may differ in their strengths and various powers, all people are naturally equal  Even the weakest man is capable of killing the strongest by some means  Battle is unavoidable  It is natural for man to believe he is wisest, “for they see their own wit at hand, and other men’s at a distance.” o Each man has equality of ability and therefore has equality of hope in attaining their wants/needs o Human nature is the sum of mechanic appetites and aversions, mediated only by struggles for power  Human appetite is mechanical and resources are limited  When two people want the same thing the natural result is war o Mankind’s natural condition (before the invention/interference of society, government, and law) is of never-ending war, violence, death, and fear (what Hobbes refers as “the state of nature”) o No security is possible and life is full of terror  Two natural passions enable people to escape this state of nature: fear and reason.  Fear- makes one want to escape the state of nature  Reason- shows one how to escape  Of the First and Second Natural Laws, and of Contracts o “Law of Nature”- general rule discovered through reason  Affirms self-preservation while condemning acts that are threatening to human life  Natural and inherently known by all because it can be deduced by innate (instinctual) reason o In the terrifying “state of nature,” man must seek peace if he has any hope for self-preservation o First Law of Nature- every man must seek peace, and when peace isn’t an option, man can “seek, and use, all helps and advantages of war.”  “Seek peace and follow it.”  Natural law demands mankind to seek peace because to seek peace is to fulfill our natural right to defend ourselves. o Second Law of Nature- we must ALL mutually forfeit certain rights (for example: the right to take human life) in order to escape the state of natural war  The mutual transferring of rights is called a contract and is the foundation of the idea of moral obligation (example: I won’t kill you if you don’t kill me)  For self-preservation, people will give up their rights only when others are willing to do the same  The right of self-preservation can NOT be given up because it is the right upon which any contract is founded to begin with  Of Other Laws of Nature o Third Law of Nature- we are required to keep the contracts we make, otherwise we are still in the condition of war.  This law is the foundation for the concept of justice  To break a contract is unjust  Despite this law and the need for self-preservation, there is always an incentive to break contracts because of the human desire for power


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