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Leviathan

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Aidan Kaethler

on 24 September 2012

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Transcript of Leviathan

The Author By Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury (1588-1679) was an educated English Philosopher and author of the 'Leviathan.' He was one of the founders of the modern political philosophy and social contract. He was inspired to write the Leviathan after witnessing the English Civil War and the problems in the government at that time. So what's in the book anyways? The book the Leviathan is important to democracy because it established the foundation of the western political philosophy from the perspective of the social contract theory. It got people to question the state of government at that time and inspired others to write of change that was needed. Why is it so important? The Leviathan is not
only a roller coaster! The Matter, Form and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil -more commonly known as The Leviathan was written by Thomas Hobbes in 1651 during the civil war in England. Then what's a Leviathan? The Leviathan is a sea monster referred to in the Bible. Author Thomas Hobbes uses it as a metaphor to display his image of a 'Perfect Government.' Why is the social contract important? The social contract theory fundamentally changed the way people viewed society and government. The theory replaced the original "Chain of Being" where divine power was given to the King straight from God. Thomas Hobbes was the first to implement this theory in his book. Hobbes believed people had to give up their freedoms for security since human nature is to destroy one another. Later on the theory was expanded by John Locke who believed people always had the right to overthrow governments that violated their human rights. It was then popularized by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Social Contract Theory Hobbes designed the 'Leviathan' to portray the commonwealth government as a giant human built out of citizens and ruled by one 'head.' The book states his belief that the 'Leviathan' is necessary to maintain peace and prevent civil war. It is constructed through contract by people in the state of nature to escape the horrors of this natural condition. Commonwealth: A group of people who together decide on sovereign authority. The authority's power is absolute to provide peace and protection among citizens.
Social Contract: Act of giving up one's rights to someone else on condition that everyone involved also gives them up simultaneously.
Law of Nature: A general rule of reason that humans strive for self preservation and peace that is best achieved by contract.
State of Nature: An existence without government, civilization, laws, or power to restrain human nature. -"A war of all against all." Life in this nature is "nasty, brutish, and short." Important Terms The book 'The Leviathan' is about how the government and the church should be and how they should act. Author Thomas Hobbes begins by talking about the desires of man and how there is no greater good, even in the government. There is only a greater evil. If there was a someone who wanted to provide a greater good it would result in a civil war. Also, since there is no greater good, there is a "war of all against all". An example of this is, two men are not fighting but, there is no guarantee that the other will not try to kill him for his property or just because he felt he was being treated unfaily. He then moves on to talk about the common wealth and how it would initiate, run, etc.
It states that there are three different types of commonwealth, monarchy, aristocracy and democracy. Hobbes says that monarchy is the best on practical grounds but it is hard to have a succession. He also believed very much in equal taxing and support to those who are unable to maintain themselves through labour.
He later writes that we can only use one scripture to follow our religious ways or chaos could arouse. He also says that there are four causes of darkness (or ignorance in this case) and they are the misinterpreting of scripture, questionable practice of Catholicism, mixing scripture and greek philosophy and by mingling with both: false and uncertain tradition with uncertain history. All in all, this book questions a lot of things about the government then and how they did things. The End.
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