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Hobbess Leviathan


view world materialistically. cp. empiricism of Machiavelli. cp. empiricism ... rational self-interest: cheat if you can. then everyone suffers. 26. solution ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Hobbess Leviathan

Hobbess Leviathan
  • Mark Bedau
  • Hum 210

  • metaphysics epistemology
  • materialism
  • consciousness
  • freedom
  • ethics politics
  • human nature
  • society

  • what kinds of things exist?
  • what is their nature?
  • what explains their behavior?

nutritive reproductive motive sensitive intellectu
consciousness sensation emotion desire motion repr
oduction growth
sensation emotion desire motion reproduction
  • monism everything is material
  • God a most pure, simple, indivisible, spirit
  • micro-mechanical universe
  • corpuscular picture
  • interaction of parts explains behavior of whole
  • Galileo, Descartes, etc.
  • Hobbes extends corpuscularism
  • mind and action
  • morality and politics

epistemology empiricism
  • knowledge comes only via senses
  • cp. rationalism of Descartes
  • Hobbes senses detect only material objects
  • view world materialistically
  • cp. empiricism of Machiavelli
  • cp. empiricism of Montaigne
  • apply reason to careful definitions
  • loved geometry

  • pro
  • empiricist theory of experience
  • micro-mechanical science
  • alternatives are mysterious
  • con
  • conscious experience
  • freedom

  • the qualitative aspects of experience
  • qualia
  • hurtfulness of pains, itchiness of mosquito
    bites, taste of lemon, smell of skunk, …
  • how does Hobbes explain sensory experience?

Hobbes on sensation
  • corpuscular, ballistic explanation
  • experience motion of bits of matter
  • purely mechanical definition of conscious states
  • ditto for rest of mental lives
  • imagination, dreaming, trains of thought, …
  • like Descartes w/o pineal gland
  • like contemporary view
  • brilliant materialistic move!

  • The cause of sense is the external body… which
    presseth the organ proper to each sense… which
    pressure by mediation of the nerves … continued
    inward to the brain and heart, causeth there a
    resistance, … or endeavor of the heart to deliver
    itself, which endeavor, because outward, seemeth
    to be some matter without. And this seeming … is
    that which men call sense, and consisteth, as to
    the eye, in a light, or color figured to the
    ear, in a sound… Neither in us that are pressed,
    are such sensible qualities anything else but
    divers motions for motions produceth nothing but
    motion. (i, 4)

challenge zombies
  • zombies physically identical but unconscious
  • behavior talks of dreams, cries in pain, acts
  • not Hollywood zombies
  • inside no conscious experience
  • zombies are logically possible
  • not claiming zombies exist
  • if Hobbes were right, zombies would be impossible
  • so materialism seems false
  • Q - any plausible materialist response?

materialism and freedom
  • materialism
  • all bodies subject only to physical forces
  • second problem
  • we think we have free will
  • free will seems impossible for materialism
  • puzzled Greeks, Romans, Scholastics
  • Renaissance dignity, fortune, predestination

problem of prior causes
prior material conditions
beliefs desires
  • this causal picture undermines freedom
  • Action is free only if causes within control of
    the agent
  • Ultimate causes are outside the agents control
  • So, no action is free.

Hobbess solution
  • a pseudo-problem
  • false presupposition freedom opposed to
  • truth freedom is a kind of causation
  • Liberty and necessity are consistent … the
    actions which men do voluntarily proceed from
    their will, proceed from liberty and yet,
    because every act of mans will, and every
    desire, and inclination proceedeth from some
    cause, and that from another cause, in a
    continual chain, whose first link is in the hand
    of God the first of all causes, proceed from
    necessity. (xxi, 4)
  • brilliant move!
  • compatibilism

freedom vs. unfreedom
  • internal vs. external causes
  • free actions result from deliberation (tussle
    between desires)
  • In deliberation, the last appetite or aversion
    immediately adhering
  • to the action, or the omission thereof, is that
    we call the will…
  • For a voluntary act is that which proceedeth
    from the will, and no other (vi)

challenge for compatibilism
  • lots of counterexamples unfree behavior caused
    by internal desires, not by external factors
  • brainwashing
  • compulsion
  • kleptomania
  • diagnosis the wrong kind of desires
  • Hobbess mistake key not internal vs. external
  • Q - any materialist solution?

interim summary
  • 2 challenges to corpuscular metaphysics
  • next what about corpuscular ethics?
  • society aggregation of people
  • explains formation of society, morality,
    property, laws …
  • what is human nature outside society?

three views of human nature
society is artificial, naturally good people are
corrupted by society
society is artificial, naturally selfish people
are controlled by society
society is natural, people are essentially social
Hobbess state of nature
  • … during that time men live without a common
    power to keep them all in awe, they are in that
    condition which is called war, and such a war as
    is of every man against every man. (xiii, 8)
  • rough equality of abilities
  • conflicting desires
  • actual fighting or threat of fighting
  • none of the benefits of society
  • chaos, insecurity, trauma

  • In such a condition there is no place for
    industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain,
    and consequently, no culture of the earth, no
    navigation, nor use of commodities that may be
    imparted by sea, no commodious building, no
    instruments for moving and removing such things
    as require much force, no knowledge of the face
    of the earth, no account of time, no arts, no
    letters, no society, and which is worst of all,
    continual fear and danger of violent death, and
    the life of man is solitary, poor, nasty,
    brutish, and short. (xiii, 9)

no morality, no property
  • To this war of every man against every man, this
    also is consequent that nothing can be unjust.
    The notions of right and wrong, justice and
    injustice, have there no place…. It is consequent
    also … that there be no propriety, no dominion,
    no mine and thine distinct, but only that to be
    every mans that he can get, and for so long as
    he can keep it. (xiii, 13)
  • morality and property are unnatural
  • artificial creation of collective human activity

create morality (xxiv)
  • Right of nature
  • the right to protect your life
  • Q - what is a right if there is no morality?
  • Law of nature
  • better phrase rational rule of self-interest
  • moral virtues
  • a pattern of behavior that protects your life
  • First law of nature
  • you should seek peace, seek to avoid the state
    of nature

how create peace?
  • rational self-interest causes state of nature
  • human nature
  • analogy prisoners dilemma
  • insufficient evidence to convict
  • convict on lesser charge
  • if both confess, moderate sentences
  • if one confesses and implicates partner, he gets
    light sentence and partner gets harsh sentence

prisoners dilemma
prisoner A
keep quiet confess
keep quiet prisoner B confess
3 yrs
1 yr
3 yrs
20 yrs
10 yrs
20 yrs
10 yrs
1 yr
prisoners dilemma
  • dilemma for rational self-interest
  • multiple person dilemma
  • tragedy of the commons
  • common grazing land
  • rational self-interest cheat if you can
  • then everyone suffers

  • everyone agrees to cooperate
  • 2nd law of nature
  • you should give up your natural rights to the
    extent that everyone else also does

more laws of nature (xv)
  • rational rules of self-interest theorems of
  • keep your promises
  • reciprocate gifts and kindnesses
  • be accommodating
  • pardon people
  • seek rehabilitation, not revenge
  • be friendly
  • …
  • settle factual disputes by impartial witnesses
  • Q - any left out? any not belong?
  • Q - method sound?

how to stop cheaters?
  • create mechanism to ensure compliance

create a sovereign
  • The only way to erect such a common power … is
    to confer all their power and strength upon one
    man, or upon an assembly of men, that may reduce
    all their wills, by plurality of voices, unto one
    will, … which is as much as to say, to appoint
    one man or assembly of men to bear their person,
    and every one to own and acknowledge himself to
    be author of whatsoever he that so beareth their
    person shall act, … and therein to submit their
    wills, every one to his will, and their
    judgments, to his judgment. (xvii,13)

corpuscular Leviathan
  • the sovereign derives authority from the people
  • individuals exist before sovereign
  • individuals create sovereign to curb human nature
  • individuals identify with sovereign

sources of moral authority
  • God
  • social contract
  • reason consent of governed human nature
  • Hobbes one morality
  • Cp. Machiavelli individual morality ? civic
  • Q - Why Hobbes and Machiavelli differ on this?
  • next century utilitarianism
  • reason overall good of everyone

corpuscular consequences
  • origin of property
  • The distribution of materials … is the
    constitution of mine, and thine … and belongeth …
    to the sovereign power (xxiv, 5)
  • no right of rebellion
  • the sovereign forms no covenant with subjects
    (xviii, 4)
  • no unjust laws
  • The law is made by the sovereign power, and all
    that is done by such law is warranted and owned
    by every one of the people. (xxx, 20)

  • materialism
  • problems consciousness freedom
  • solutions TBA compatibilism
  • social contract
  • artificial, rational (moral science)
  • basis selfish human nuture
  • polarity Hobbes vs. Rousseau
  • Hobbess outlook is substantially ours
  • we inherit his problems
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