Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thomas Hobbes "The Leviathan"

Hobbes’s theories are very dubious to me. His observation of human nature was mainly from the evil side, or he believed the mankind is inherently bad, such as “three principal causes of quarrel, competition, diffidence, glory.” He even imagined “the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war.” Therefore, his felt “dominion over men being necessary to a man’s conservation.” But is that really the case? First, I don’t agree that man is naturally evil. Second, both in history and in reality, it’s proved that a common power could not keep people away from war. As far as what I learned from my logic class, Hobbes’s logic may be valid, but his statement may not be true.

The Commonwealth Hobbes supposed to construct is also “dangerous” from my view. The idea of Commonwealth is not bad, but the question is how to construct such a Commonwealth. According to Hobbes, “the multitude so united in one person is called a Commonwealth.” It’s pretty authoritarian thought, no matter how great the person is. Hobbes should have known that Chinese dynasties exactly followed his so-called commonwealth, which resulted in the destiny of a dynasty totally depend on the personal capability of the emperor.

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