Essay Title: 

Thomas Hobbes

April 3, 2016 | Author: | Posted in philosophy, social sciences


br Thomas Hobbes gave the world one of its most remarkable analyses of the working of human nature . Although it is now largely forgotten in many fields , his own times considered it very important . Hobbes divided his analysis of human behavior into two great categories : ’93ethical ’94 and ’93political ’94 Under the heading of ethical analysis he grouped his discussions about the nature of man . His political thought included his discussions about the nature of man when in society , because man had [banner_entry_middle]

to shape his behavior to the requirement of society . Absent any effective political authority — that is if man was in a state of nature which amounted to a state of war of all against all — man had the right to protect himself by doing whatever he deemed right for himself . If a political authority exists then man ’92s duty was to obey (Williams (2006 : Durant (1963 )

. 554 Strauss (1936 ) passim

To develop his view of human nature , Hobbes formulated what was for the time a very sophisticated psychological model . However , it is important to realize that he did so through a deductive reasoning process . This meant that instead of starting with observation and experiments , as modern psychologists do , Hobbes started with certain ’93first principles ’94 For Hobbes , there was no need to observe or experiment , because he believed that these first principles provided an absolute guide to understanding human nature . Hobbes asserted that he had drawn these first principles from careful self-examination , but most modern scholars see much more of the considerations of Hobbes own political circumstances and from his various scholarly efforts , the foremost being his translation of the historian Thucydides from Greek into English (Williams (2006

Hobbes regarded a human being as merely a sophisticated machine . This meant that every function in the body and the mind can be analyzed in terms of pure mechanics . He went so far as to reason that thought itself can be understood as an instance of the physical operation of the human body . The driving force in all this was sensation . Sensation provoked the various and numerous mechanical processes in the human nervous system , and the minds creation of thought was a reaction to various sensations by the brain which perceived them (Leviathan I 1 Williams (2006 Kemerling (2001 Durant (1963 )

. 553

Hobbes acknowledged that his view of human nature emphasizes the animal nature in man . If left to his own devices , free from any constraints involved with living with others , acting entirely out of self-interest and without regard to anyone else , man would be left in what Hobbes calls , a “state of war ” a way of life that would be ’93solitary poor , nasty , brutish , and short ’94 (Leviathan I 13 ) To escape this war of all against all , men entered into contracts with one other – ’97mutually beneficial agreements in which each person surrendered some individual interest to obtain the advantage of security that could… [banner_entry_footer]


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