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Uploaded by kayk00 on Feb 20, 2001

Thomas Hobbes wrote Leviathan as a testament on how to run a country. In fact, it is very comparable to Machiavelli and his works. Hobbes is a monarchist, and an absolutist as his works reflect. His work came about during political instability, as it was published in 1651. Though his philosophy of the universe is fairly elementary, his views on absolute sovereignty and commonwealths are brilliant.

The introduction states Hobbes’ belief that civil peace and social unity are best achieved by the establishment of a commonwealth through social contract. His ideal commonwealth is ruled by a sovereign power responsible for protecting the security of the commonwealth and granted absolute authority to ensure the common defense. In his introduction he refers to the commonwealth as an “artificial person” that mimics the human body.

The first three chapters explain Hobbes’ ideas on the mechanics of the human mind, the topics of sense, imagination, and train of thought. Hobbes finds that humans are in fact very closely related to nature. He feels that nature is all around us, yet we are part of it as well. He envisions the world as matter constantly colliding into each other. This, in turn, creates his philosophy that the universe eventually transfers into the skin, causing eyes, nose, tongue, and skin to physically move. His “sense” refers to this physicality and the messages sent to the brain, and the action of external bodies colliding with our sensitive organs. As stated above, matter cannot move itself. If an object is left lying on the ground undisturbed it will remain undisturbed forever. Likewise, if matter were left in motion it would remain in motion unless acted upon by other matter. Hobbes believes that the never-ending motion is responsible for “imagination.” He explains through an example of remaining vision after one has closed their eyes. His idea states that this is simply matter that has not left the body and has caused a new set of motions by which imagination is possible. Train of thought is likewise committed by a series of imagination. Hobbes sees everything as one internal sensation provoking the next.

Chapters four and five explain the necessity of speech, reasoning, and science. Speech, according to Hobbes, was invented in order to verbalize our thoughts. He also identifies four uses, and four abuses of speech. Science is reason, and reason is needed to explain the consequences of everything; its...

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Uploaded by:   kayk00

Date:   02/20/2001

Category:   Literature

Length:   4 pages (796 words)

Views:   1214

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