Summary of "Self Love" - Thomas Hobbes Selection in Ethics: Theory and Contemporary Issues

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In this excerpt from Thomas Hobbes’s book, Leviathan, Hobbes starts off with an explanation of animals. There are two types of motion that animals perform. Naturally, animals have innate vital motions that continue throughout life, such as blood flow, pulse, breathing, and digestion. The second is animal/voluntary motions, such as moving and speaking, which are active, directed, and caused by what is seen, heard, etc. He then explains that one’s imagination and thoughts are the very beginning of the voluntary motion although there is no proof that there is any movement. Slowly, throughout this process, he goes from talking about animals to talking about humans. Next, Hobbes starts to indulge in how these motions before the walking and talking are known as endeavor.

Endeavor is now described in two different components: appetite and aversion. Appetite is the endeavor of yearning for something, associated with desire and love; and aversion is the endeavor of not yearning for something, associated with hate. Contempt is neither having an appetite nor aversion for something. Something can be anything such as food, people, places, etc. In the relationship of desire with love and aversion with hate, desire and aversion describe the absence of the subject; love and hate describe the presence of the subject. Endeavors can be either a born instinct or developed through experience. Through experiences, man correlates whether he believes something to be good, evil, or contemptible. Now that man is able to say what he loves or hates, he can now attempt to form his life around his loves and away from his hates.

It is not so simple. Nature has made man quite equal. One might say that a muscular man is not equal to a smaller man. A smaller man may be a smarter man and he may be able to create opportunities to beat a powerfully built man by inventing machinery or forming a group with others. Nevertheless, they are similar in a sense. However, not every man can accept that...
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