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Thomas Hobbes

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Sneha Advani

on 15 May 2013

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Transcript of Thomas Hobbes

THOMAS HOBBES Writer, Historian, Philosopher, and Scientist Social Contract Mechanical Materialism and Optics Thomas Hobbes Psychological Hedonism and Human Nature Power creates law - you get law from enforcing it
Government is the only way to ensure collective security and peace for the people - goal is order and stability
Citizens should make a contract to transfer their individual power to the leviathan (ruler) who will ensure their security
Authority still originates from the people
Contract needs to be enforced - hand power over to the "sovereign" to punish anyone who breaks contract - maintains justice Materialism - only material things are real
Everything is matter in motion
Researched optics a lot - claimed to have pioneered the subject
Most famous work on optics was "A Minute or First Draught of the Optiques" in 1646
Wrote about the nature of light, the transmission of light from the sun, and the way we see and perceive things Born April 5, 1588 in Westport, Wiltshire, England
Died December 4, 1679 in Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire 1588 Born 1608 Graduated from Oxford University 1679 Died 1655 Wrote De Corpore 1658 Wrote De Homine 1642 Wrote De Cive 1651 Wrote Leviathan 1640 Moved to Paris 1675-1676 Translated Odyssey and Iliad As a child, his father abandoned his three children, including Hobbes, to the care of his brother
Hobbes's uncle provided for his education
Already had been studying Latin and Greek when he went to Oxford at the age of 14 and got a traditional arts degree Tutored eldest son of Lord Cavendish of Hardwick (later known as Earl of Devonshire)
1610 - traveled with his student to France, Italy, and Germany
Went to London and met Francis Bacon, Herbert of Cherbury, and Ben Johnson
1628 - Cavendish son died
Found another pupil and traveled more
1630 - wrote "Short Tract on First Principles"
Argument had geometric form inspired by Euclid
1631 - began tutoring younger Cavendish son
Went to Paris and Florence; he met Mersenne, Descartes, Gassendi, and Galileo
Returned to England and wrote "Elements of Law, Natural and Politic" Went to France to escape civil war in England
Stayed for 11 years
Taught math to Charles, Prince of Wales
Disagreed with Descartes and wrote letters back and forth with him Inspired by unrest in England to write De Cive on society and government
Very controversial - people on both sides of civil war didn't like it
So controversial that it led to people being fired from Oxford University for being "Hobbits" De Corpore was published on matter and body
Had logical, mathematical, and physical principles 1656 - published detailed defense of Leviathan in "The Questions Concerning Liberty, Necessity, and Chance" Published De Homine about human nature to complete his trilogy
Since his works were so controversial, he was forbidden to publish anything about religion and many of his works were kept from publication Around 1668 - wrote "Dialogue between a Philosopher and a Student of the Common Laws of England"
1672 - wrote autobiography in Latin verse when he was 84 years old Wrote translations in Latin of the Iliad and the Odyssey
1675 - left London to live with Cavendish family in Derbyshire Psychological Hedonism - all of man's voluntary acts come from pleasure or self-preservation; humans and all of their actions are inherently selfish
Many argued with him about this; example: then why do people give money to the poor? response: it pleases the man to see the poor happy
Everyone is mentally and physically equal
We are prone to fight each other because of:
Competition over material good
General distrust
Glory of powerful positions
Human natural condition:
Perpetual war
Constant fear
Lack of morality
5 general principles of his 15 Laws of Nature:
Humans are selfish
Everyone is equal
3 causes of quarrel (material good, distrust, glory/power)
Natural state of war
Motivation for peace Government needs to protect people from their own selfishness
Believed democracy would never work because it gives too much power to the individual, who is only looking for their own self-interest
Theory influenced many other philosophers such as John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Immanuel Kant
Full transcript