Brief notes on Hobbes

Equality: people are similar both mentally and physically, such that no one is invulnerable or able to dominate others exclusively, which is why a state will not arise naturally, unless instituted by contract. Groups will rise and fall because of this principle of equality, and so will not be able to make any claim to statehood gradually.

-People shun death and wish to preserve their own lives
-People are partial to localities
-People have very limited benevolence
-People use good and bad to denote personal preferences
-Anxiety about the future leads to the adoption of religious beliefs
-In the state of nature, we have a natural right—to preserve self in whatever way is deemed necessary. This becomes a virtually unlimited right, thus continually functioning as a source of war and conflict.

Hobbes’ various normative theories are distinct from the crude subjectivism displayed by those in the state of nature. Whereas theirs is a morality based on ad hoc and arbitrary preferences, Hobbes’ theorems are based on deduction from geometric-like axioms. He does this to achieve a certain level of objectivity and certainty in his moral inquiry. This is meant to cure the intellectual defects inherent in the philosophies of past thinkers, as their systems amount to nothing more than an expression of preference to attain some sort of end in mind. Hobbes’ theorems, by contrast, are intended to encourage the submission of people to political authority, since they guide towards peace. While the state of nature is a state of perpetual war, he conceives of men as being rational in the sense that they know peace inhibits and obscures their own flourishing and so are encouraged to pursue the theorems which lead towards the institution of the sovereign.

-Hated Aristotle and the Scholastics and heaped ridicule on them.
-Was an ardent materialist
-His translation of the Peloponnesian wars by Thucydides clearly influenced his political thought
-Conflict between the supremacy of Parliament and the King
-King Charles I advocated the divine right theory of kingship and forced loans when Parliament ignored his request for finances to support his military campaigns against Spain, as well as a trade war with France.
-Religious tension with Puritans against Anglican dogma dictated by the state.
-Behemoth -> history of the English civil war
-Few scholars have examined the Biblical allusion Hobbes makes with reference to the Leviathan. In the book of Job, the Leviathan is portrayed as a King over the Children of Pride. By referencing the Leviathan, Hobbes communicates a clear picture to his religious readers exactly in what manner the sovereign will govern. Leviathan’s role is to put an end to the prideful passions of his subjects, which lead to endless wars.
-Prisoner’s dilemma -> the theorems lead us out of it
-Hobbes is a contractarian. The state is an artificial entity.
-No natural order
-We have a certain human nature (although he denies final causes)
-Three causes of quarrel: competition, diffidence, and glory
-Leviathan: The first general theory of politics in English
-A large portion is dedicated to commentary on psychology and religion