Thomas Hobbes Leviathan

Topics: Social contract, Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes Pages: 3 (801 words) Published: January 12, 2012
The true essence of Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan is a well-constructed story that examines human nature. Hobbes’ introduces Leviathan during a chaotic period filled with death and a voyage of human expansion, which leads to the creation of a logical and sustainable society. This society is the commonwealth and led by a sovereign. Upon first analysis, Hobbes’ explanation of the alteration to the commonwealth is questionable. Some weaknesses in Hobbes’ Leviathan can be easily found: the inconsistency of natural law with suicide and that of civil law to honor. Hobbes addresses some of these concerns head-on and seems to disregard others, however, he does tackle the most obvious protestation to his theory: the unrestricted and unstrained authority held by the sovereign. The creation of the commonwealth concludes in an agreement that awards the sovereign supreme power in imposing the civil laws of the state, but also places the sovereign’s position on a platform above the law. Does this hierarchal structure provide the solution to the ultimate goal of the commonwealth of peace and survival? Hobbes presents many compelling explanations illustrating why it will be complex, unproductive, and unworkable for the sovereign not to be in a position higher than the law. Hobbes presents the argument that turmoil and unrest are worse than any dictatorship.

In order to understand why Hobbes comes to this conclusion, the alteration from the state of nature to the commonwealth needs to be understood. The Leviathan begins with a discussion of human nature. Hobbes starts by tackling the thoughts of men, and defines them as “representation or appearance of an object…the original of them all is what which we call Sense.” (Hobbes 1994) He continues and illustrates about topics such as thoughts, recollections, remembrance, and communication where man’s promise as rational beings emerge:” The general use of speech is to transfer our mental discourse into verbal, or the train of our...
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