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Unformatted text preview: Summary and Analysis of Book I: Introduction, Chapters 1-5 Summary Hobbes saw the purpose of the Leviathan as explaining the concepts of man and citizenship; he conceved of the work as contributing to a larger, three-pronged philosophical project that would explain nature in addition to these two phenomena. To begin his project, Hobbes argues that to understand the state we first need to understand mankind, since the state is nothing but an artificial man. To extend the metaphor, the sovereign of the state is like the soul of a man; the magistrates of the state like a man's joints; and the rewards and punishments doled out by the state like the nerves of man. According to Hobbes, the proper way to understand all men is to turn our thoughts inward and study one man (namely oneself), for to understand the thoughts, desires, and reasons of ourselves is to understand them in all mankind. The natural starting point for understanding the thoughts of man is sense , since "there is no conception in mans mind, which hath not at first, totally, or by parts, been begotten upon the organs of sense." In other words, all thought and knowledge is in some way derived from our sensing the objects and matter of the external world. Central to the idea of sense is motion , for as Hobbes has laid out previously in his work on nature, the external world is nothing but a series of motions where objects chaotically interact with each other. Human beings, ourselves parts of the external world, are no different than these objects and interact with the external world through such motion. Specifically, when we sense objects, we do so because the motions of an object "press upon" or interact with our sensory organs, which in turns sets off another set of motions within our body that eventually end at our brain, and leave us with a feeling of the object sensed being hot or cold, loud or quiet, light or dark, etc. The concept of motion explains how Hobbes goes from sense to what he calls " imagination " or " decaying sense ." According to the prevailing Aristotelian physics during Hobbes' time, an object's natural state was rest. Yet Hobbes argued exactly the opposite: objects are constantly in motion, or to put it in Newtonian terms (which was to be later formulated 1687), an object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. Now, after an object induces motion (and hence, sense) within us is removed, the feelings or impression it left us with do not automatically disappear. The motion set off by originally sensing this object gradually goes away, or decays, over time when...
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This note was uploaded on 03/29/2008 for the course POLI SCI 209 taught by Professor Claussen during the Spring '08 term at Wisconsin.
- Spring '08
- The Republic