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Unformatted text preview: Thomas Hobbes - Fear and Philosophy Hobbes – a background • Lived 1588-1679 • Considered himself a timid, frail man • Educated at Oxford • Lifelong relationship with the Cavendish family • Exposed to Euclid’s writings at age 40 • Traveled Europe and met with individuals including Galileo and Descartes • Quiet scholarly life – upset by the political crises surrounding him Political Context • Thirty Years’ War – fought over religion and territory • Civil War in England – Issue of Religious Freedom – Issue of unwritten English Constitution / Sovereignty – Position of the middle class in a society structured on feudalism – Violence and loss of life and property is the basis for Hobbes’ state of nature Hobbes’ Method • Scientific approach • Life is matter in motion • Laws of motion can describe social behavior • Does not believe that things such as the soul, truth or virtue exist • Creates a construct of the state of nature – something that never actually existed here on earth Human Nature • All men are equal in that they can kill each other (physical equality) • People are selfish • People are relatively equal in terms of intelligence • People naturally endeavor to destroy or subdue one another • Man fears being deprived of his life, liberty and/or fruits of his productivity Human Nature cont. • Three primary sources of quarrel – Competition – for gain – Diffidence – for safety – Glory – for reputation • Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short...
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- Winter '08
- Political Philosophy, sovereign power, sovereign authority, sovereign Sovereign, Sovereign Authority cont