phil- take home exam 2

phil- take home exam 2 - Susan Martinez June 3 2010...

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Susan Martinez June 3, 2010 Concepts of Human Nature Second Take Home Exam Section One: Hobbes argues in Chapter XV.5 of Leviathan that it is irrational to break a covenant even when it seems overwhelmingly to one’s advantage to do so. Is his argument a good one? Why or why not? Hobbes’ argument does not make sense in general. When he speaks of covenants and government he breaks it down to be able to describe the ideal. In his ideal he says that each system of government, or covenant, has many parts, and they work together in sync with each other in order not to harm itself entirely. This idea, Hobbes claims to be rational because inevitably the system as a whole will bring peace, and the idea of peace is desired by everyone because it can lead to happiness and so on and so forth. This claim he calls, “the law of nature”. The law of nature should tend to hold up because as humans we are rational beings with rational thought, and so we can establish a rational system, such as this one. However, this is where he goes wrong. By claiming that because we are rational beings, then we should be able to create a rational concept, such as a covenant. But if this is so, why would human beings feel the need to break a covenant. Here he says that the reason for breaking a covenant would be because of mistrust. If human beings are rational, there would not be a need for having mistrust. According to Aristotle and other philosophers, rational thought is the fuel to everything in life. Rational thought fuels wisdom, happiness, pleasure, justice, etc. So if rational thought is the catalyst to everything known to man, meaning that if one has rational thought they are also justified, and
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human beings are thought to be rational, then it would make no sense to not trust a human. Thus, the idea to break a covenant in this reality would never truly exist. Nevertheless, let us suppose that the other party is untrustworthy. Hobbes states that to make a covenant with someone who is disloyal would be irrational. This claim is also false because Hobbes’ first two claims are that covenants are rational and humans are rational. Now if these two claims prove to be true, then his third claim that making a covenant with someone that cannot be trusted is false because as rational beings, humans are opposed to irrationality; hence, they will not do something irrational, such as making a covenant with someone that could not be relied on in the first place. The thought of a rational being making an irrational error ceases to exist also because rational things can never become irrational. In addition, he adds onto the problem of why it would be advantageous to break a
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This note was uploaded on 02/15/2012 for the course PHIL 0010 taught by Professor Kim during the Summer '10 term at Pittsburgh.

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phil- take home exam 2 - Susan Martinez June 3 2010...

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