1 hobbes - 1 Hobbes I. Psychological claims of human nature...

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1 Hobbes I. Psychological claims of human nature a. Every human action is motivated either by the attainment of some object of desire—pursuit of good—or by the avoidance of an object of some aversion—avoidance of evil (p. 39) a.i. Desire for commodious living: the steady satisfaction of desires a.ii. Avoidance of death: the strongest motivation of all b. Power : one’s present means to obtain some future apparent good (p. 62) b.i. People are driven to seek out continual power b.i.1. “A general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual desire of power after power, that ceases only in death” (p. 70) b.ii. The desire for power arises because it is the means of satisfying all one’s desires b.ii.1. Natural power : eminence of mental and physical faculties b.ii.1.a. People are roughly equal in their natural power b.ii.1.b. Physically, for any two people, one of those people could kill the other b.ii.1.b.i. Even the weakest person could kill the strongest in his sleep or with poison b.ii.1.b.ii. Whatever physical inequalities there are, there’s not enough to immunize some against threats b.ii.1.c. Mentally, if you were to ask people to rate their own mental abilities relative others, everyone would put themselves in the upper end of the range b.ii.1.c.i. This means that every person is content with his or her own mental powers b.ii.2. Instrumental power: riches, reputation, friends and good luck b.iii. The problem is one of scarcity b.iii.1. The power of others inevitably subtracts from the power of your own power b.iii.2. People’s desires are independent of another b.iv. People are ceaseless in the pursuit of power because the only power that is effective is superior power in relation to others because inferior power is cancelled out by their power b.iv.1. Every person seeks to pursue superior power, which makes the quest for power endless c. Everyone has a roughly equal chance to satisfy their desires since every person has equal power to satisfy their desires c.i. But if people do not have the same desires, so this doesn’t meant they have equal chance of success c.ii. Hobbes assumes that people have the same desires c.iii. If we agree with these premises, then Hobbes concludes that there is an endless competitive struggle
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II. State of nature : a representation of the account of the pre-political condition of human beings, the period of time before the institution of government a. For Hobbes, the state of nature is not used as a literal, historical claim, but rather an analytical device b. The state of nature is a violent condition of a war of all against all b.i. “In such condition, there is no place for industry… no arts, no letters, no society…. The life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” (p. 89( b.ii. The state of nature is a state of war c. Sources of war in the state of nature c.i. Competition : for gain c.ii. Diffidence : rational anticipation of the invasion of others due to competition c.ii.1. This causes humans to engage in preemptive strikes even if they are not in present danger
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This note was uploaded on 02/22/2012 for the course PHIL 1305 taught by Professor Gordon during the Fall '08 term at Texas State.

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1 hobbes - 1 Hobbes I. Psychological claims of human nature...

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