Name and Number of the Course Date THOMAS HOBBES Introduction Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) was an English philosopher whose famous 1651 book Leviathan formed the basis for most of Western political philosophy from the social contract theory approach (Rosenberg 9)…
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Hobbes’ perspective on human nature as self-interested cooperation is an enduring theory of philosophical anthropology (Wildawski, Chai & Swedlow 161). Thesis Statement: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the work of Thomas Hobbes from a social, political and economic perspective in western civilization. The Paradox of Hobbes Even in his own time, Hobbes was considered to have paradoxical views. Though he was perceived as a fierce controversialist and a brusque dogmatist, his main anger was directed against dogmatism of any kind. Similarly, although he was hostile to the intellectual authority of the churches as in the universities, he wanted his own philosophical works to be the authoritative texts within the universities. Though he praised toleration, he advocated an absolute sovereign with total power over intellectual matters. In place of scepticism, Hobbes promoted science although in an extremely sparse form. He cleared away all that he considered doubtful and was left with a “a bare a priori materialism, according to which the universe must consist of material objects causally interacting with one another” (Tuck 129), but the real nature of these objects and their interactions is not known. In the same way, in ethics, Thomas Hobbes eliminated all the complicated ethical theories of his orthodox predecessors whether Aristotelians or humanists, and was left with only the bare principle that people are morally entitled to preserve themselves. Hobbes’ Theory of Human Nature as Self-Interested Cooperation Hobbes had few to receive guidance from on the best way to live, other than sceptics such as Montaigne who had always acknowledged the practical necessity of self-preservation. In alignment with the sceptics, Hobbes also concluded that the laws of one’s country are constitutive of one’s general morality, and that whatever is necessary for one’s preservation has to be morally acceptable. He believed in taking this stance to radical lengths, and considered the sovereign to be responsible even for defining who a human being is, as in stating that “upon the occasion of some strange and deformed birth, it shall not be decided by Aristotle, or the philosophers, whether the same be a man or no, but by the laws” (Tuck 129). Thomas Hobbes’ Theory of International Relations Hobbes is a standard or mandatory figure in international relations theory, and also forms the core of one of the major traditions. Along with Machiavelli and sometimes with Thucydides, Hobbes stands as an archetypal proponent of ‘Realism’. Usually, scholars proficient in the study of Hobbes’ political philosophy deal with the theory of international relations in a very brief manner, within a few paragraphs or sentences. Modern international theorists interpret Hobbes work in a fixed manner. “The basic Hobbesian assumption is that there are no objective principles of morality” (Malcolm 433). Morality is determined only by the sovereign, once the state is formed. Hobbes’ belief was that the state creates morality as well as law, and that there is neither morality nor law outside the state. Hence, the realist view was that ethical standards were not applicable to relations between states. Similar to Machiavelli, Hobbes perceived politics as “the practical art of obtaining and preserving state power as an end in itself” (Malcolm 433). However, Hobbes reaches a higher level than Machiavelli through his clear account of the role
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“Hobbes Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1250 Words”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/macro-microeconomics/1425678-hobbes.
Ironically, the search of equality and having been able to attain it is initially the reason why war occurs. Hobbes noted that “if any two men desire the same thing which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies”.
Hobbes and Internationalism. This paper will explore Hobbes’ theory of the state of nature and assess whether it is applicable to nationalism and demonstrable in international relations. It will be argued that, although his initial concept of man in the state of nature corresponds with internationalism, that a more detailed application of his theory is difficult to reconcile with realistic principles.
His works were both criticised and accepted widely. Being argumentative and timid, some of the bibliographers claim that Hobbes learned several languages in his early life and translated some books too although he hated the university. Hobbes had writings in law, mathematics, religion governments and also studied classics apart from being a tutor.
The state of nature is useful in understanding the behavior and mutual disposition of the states at the international level. Thomas Hobbes categorically asserts that the state of nature as a state of war. He emphasizes about a state of anarchy and makes the case for a strong central authority to control disorder and to secure peace.
In fact most philosophical concepts are not relevant to concepts of science. It is a fact generally accepted that some aspects and phenomenon of this world are explained by logic. The rest are explained by science. However, there is an underlying and deep connection between philosophy and science since both of them are found on common ground knowledge.
More so, Hobbes belief that neither limited government nor divided authority is a practical possibility arguing that there must be a supreme sovereign power in the society. Hobbes claims that any form of ordered government is preferable to civil war, therefore, he suggests that all societal members to submit to a single absolute, central authority in order to maintain peace and stability.
Interestingly, Hobbes describes that from the equality rise all the feelings of diffidence, anticipation and the will to a common power, which in used in "acts of conquest", which man always "pursue farther" than what is generally required. The concept of "common power" is a very interesting point, where Hobbes describes this as the main pursuit of man, who is always at grief because man seeks to hold others in awe.
Man was in a perpetual state of war with his fellow man, where all had a right to self-preservation by any means necessary. The Hobbesian natural state was the "time men live without a common power to keep them in awe, they are in a condition which is called war, and such a war, as is of every man against every man," (Leviathan, ch.
Hobbes depicts 'natural' man as a creature fundamentally opposed to civil society. It is a picture of humanity lacking basic ties even of family and friendship, and primarily concerned with self-interest. As Hobbes also depicts 'men' in this situation as roughly equal, in terms of physical strength and mental faculties, he cannot see clear winners and losers in this state, or the emergence of a more fixed, systemic hierarchy.