Leviathian

Topics: Political philosophy, Social contract, Sovereignty Pages: 1 (345 words) Published: January 28, 2014
“Leviathan”

In 1651, Thomas Hobbes, an English philosopher, published “Leviathan” -“arguably among the most important works in political philosophy ever written.” Hobbes believes the inquiry of human nature, the origin, limits and purpose of political power can provide the basis for peaceful and civilized political life; however, he was an advocate for absolute sovereignty. The most important component of this reflection is Hobbes’ description of the “natural condition of mankind,” more commonly known as “the state of nature.” According to Hobbes, the human condition is naturally a state of war, a war of all against all, [each to their own, if you will]. He also believes in the circumstances where there is no common power to settle controversies, the natural human condition is, thus, one of “continual fear and danger of violent death” in which human life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Hobbes states, man is driven by competition for scarce resources, fear, and glory. More precisely, it is the natural conflict in the human heart and mind between glory or pride, and fear that brings people to reason and consequently to the discovery of the need to surrender their natural liberty to a sovereign power, the great “Leviathan,” Hebrew word for “sea monster” appearing in the Bible (Job 41:34); “king over all the sons of pride.” Hobbes writes of those things that weaken, or tend to the dissolution of a commonwealth and labels “those things” as the diseases of commonwealth, that proceed from the poison of seditious doctrines. These seditious doctrines allow each man to be their own judge of good and evil actions, every man has an absolute propriety in his goods; such as excludes the right of the sovereign, sovereign power is subject to the civil laws, and sovereign power may be divided. Hobbes rejects these doctrines; his point of view was for absolute control governed by a ruler- such as a king or queen. Leviathan concludes that the purpose of...
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