Leviathan (Leviathan, Book 1)

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By virtue of this fact, man would automatically return to the state of nature until a new contract is made. Summary from Wikipedia. Play I - Of Sense. II - Of Imagination. IV - Of Speech. V - Of Reason and Science. XI - Of the Difference of Manners. XII - Of Religion. XXV - Of Counsel. The two sides reflect the sword and crosier of the main figure — earthly power on the left and the powers of the church on the right.

Each side element reflects the equivalent power — castle to church, crown to mitre , cannon to excommunication , weapons to logic , and the battlefield to the religious courts. The giant holds the symbols of both sides, reflecting the union of secular, and spiritual in the sovereign, but the construction of the torso also makes the figure the state. Hobbes begins his treatise on politics with an account of human nature. He presents an image of man as matter in motion, attempting to show through example how everything about humanity can be explained materialistically, that is, without recourse to an incorporeal, immaterial soul or a faculty for understanding ideas that are external to the human mind.

Hobbes proceeds by defining terms clearly and unsentimentally. Good and evil are nothing more than terms used to denote an individual's appetites and desires, while these appetites and desires are nothing more than the tendency to move toward or away from an object. Hope is nothing more than an appetite for a thing combined with an opinion that it can be had.

He suggests that the dominant political theology of the time, Scholasticism , thrives on confused definitions of everyday words, such as incorporeal substance , which for Hobbes is a contradiction in terms. Hobbes describes human psychology without any reference to the summum bonum , or greatest good, as previous thought had done. Not only is the concept of a summum bonum superfluous, but given the variability of human desires, there could be no such thing. Consequently, any political community that sought to provide the greatest good to its members would find itself driven by competing conceptions of that good with no way to decide among them.

The result would be civil war. However, Hobbes states that there is a summum malum , or greatest evil. This is the fear of violent death. A political community can be oriented around this fear. Since there is no summum bonum , the natural state of man is not to be found in a political community that pursues the greatest good. But to be outside of a political community is to be in an anarchic condition. Given human nature, the variability of human desires, and need for scarce resources to fulfill those desires, the state of nature , as Hobbes calls this anarchic condition, must be a war of all against all.

Even when two men are not fighting, there is no guarantee that the other will not try to kill him for his property or just out of an aggrieved sense of honour, and so they must constantly be on guard against one another. It is even reasonable to preemptively attack one's neighbour. In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain, and consequently no culture of the earth, no navigation nor the use of commodities that may be imported by sea, no commodious building, no instruments of 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, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

The desire to avoid the state of nature, as the place where the summum malum of violent death is most likely to occur, forms the polestar of political reasoning. It suggests a number of laws of nature , although Hobbes is quick to point out that they cannot properly speaking be called "laws," since there is no one to enforce them. The first thing that reason suggests is to seek peace, but that where peace cannot be had, to use all of the advantages of war.

Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes (FULL Audiobook) - part (1 of 11)

Hobbes concludes Part One by articulating an additional seventeen laws of nature that make the performance of the first two possible and by explaining what it would mean for a sovereign to represent the people even when they disagree with the sovereign. The purpose of a commonwealth is given at the start of Part II:. THE final cause, end, or design of men who naturally love liberty, and dominion over others in the introduction of that restraint upon themselves, in which we see them live in Commonwealths, is the foresight of their own preservation, and of a more contented life thereby; that is to say, of getting themselves out from that miserable condition of war which is necessarily consequent, as hath been shown, to the natural passions of men when there is no visible power to keep them in awe, and tie them by fear of punishment to the performance of their covenants The commonwealth is instituted when all agree in the following manner: I authorise and give up my right of governing myself to this man, or to this assembly of men, on this condition; that thou give up, thy right to him, and authorise all his actions in like manner.

The sovereign has twelve principal rights: [13].

Part 1 Chapter 13 Summary and Analysis

Hobbes explicitly rejects the idea of Separation of Powers. In item 6 Hobbes is explicitly in favour of censorship of the press and restrictions on the rights of free speech should they be considered desirable by the sovereign to promote order. There are three monarchy , aristocracy and democracy :. The difference of Commonwealths consisted in the difference of the sovereign, or the person representative of all and every one of the multitude.

The 100 best nonfiction books: No 94 – Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes (1651)

And because the sovereignty is either in one man, or in an assembly of more than one; and into that assembly either every man hath right to enter, or not every one, but certain men distinguished from the rest; it is manifest there can be but three kinds of Commonwealth. For the representative must needs be one man, or more; and if more, then it is the assembly of all, or but of a part. When the representative is one man, then is the Commonwealth a monarchy; when an assembly of all that will come together, then it is a democracy, or popular Commonwealth; when an assembly of a part only, then it is called an aristocracy.

And only three; since unlike Aristotle he does not sub-divide them into "good" and "deviant":. Other kind of Commonwealth there can be none: for either one, or more, or all, must have the sovereign power which I have shown to be indivisible entire. There be other names of government in the histories and books of policy; as tyranny and oligarchy ; but they are not the names of other forms of government, but of the same forms misliked.

For they that are discontented under monarchy call it tyranny; and they that are displeased with aristocracy call it oligarchy: so also, they which find themselves grieved under a democracy call it anarchy, which signifies want of government; and yet I think no man believes that want of government is any new kind of government: nor by the same reason ought they to believe that the government is of one kind when they like it, and another when they mislike it or are oppressed by the governors.

The difference between these three kinds of Commonwealth consisteth not in the difference of power, but in the difference of convenience or aptitude to produce the peace and security of the people; for which end they were instituted.

Leviathan (Leviathan Series #1)

And to compare monarchy with the other two, we may observe: first, that whosoever beareth the person of the people, or is one of that assembly that bears it, beareth also his own natural person. And though he be careful in his politic person to procure the common interest, yet he is more, or no less, careful to procure the private good of himself, his family, kindred and friends; and for the most part, if the public interest chance to cross the private, he prefers the private: for the passions of men are commonly more potent than their reason.

From whence it follows that where the public and private interest are most closely united, there is the public most advanced. Now in monarchy the private interest is the same with the public. The riches, power, and honour of a monarch arise only from the riches, strength, and reputation of his subjects. For no king can be rich, nor glorious, nor secure, whose subjects are either poor, or contemptible, or too weak through want, or dissension, to maintain a war against their enemies; whereas in a democracy, or aristocracy, the public prosperity confers not so much to the private fortune of one that is corrupt, or ambitious, as doth many times a perfidious advice, a treacherous action, or a civil war.

The right of succession always lies with the sovereign.

Quick Facts

Democracies and aristocracies have easy succession; monarchy is harder:. The greatest difficulty about the right of succession is in monarchy: and the difficulty ariseth from this, that at first sight, it is not manifest who is to appoint the successor; nor many times who it is whom he hath appointed. For in both these cases, there is required a more exact ratiocination than every man is accustomed to use.


  • Leviathan (Books I and II).
  • Thomas Hobbes - Leviathan, Books & Life - Biography;
  • The best nonfiction books: No 94 – Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes () | Books | The Guardian.
  • The Brueghels (Temporis Collection).
  • Leviathan - Part 1 Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis!

Because in general people haven't thought carefully. However, the succession is definitely in the gift of the monarch:. As to the question who shall appoint the successor of a monarch that hath the sovereign authority Therefore it is manifest that by the institution of monarchy, the disposing of the successor is always left to the judgement and will of the present possessor.

And for the question which may arise sometimes, who it is that the monarch in possession hath designed to the succession and inheritance of his power. By express words, or testament, when it is declared by him in his lifetime, viva voce, or by writing; as the first emperors of Rome declared who should be their heirs.

Leviathan, by Thomas Hobbes

For the word heir does not of itself imply the children or nearest kindred of a man; but whomsoever a man shall any way declare he would have to succeed him in his estate. If therefore a monarch declare expressly that such a man shall be his heir, either by word or writing, then is that man immediately after the decease of his predecessor invested in the right of being monarch.

But where testament and express words are wanting, other natural signs of the will are to be followed: whereof the one is custom. And therefore where the custom is that the next of kindred absolutely succeedeth, there also the next of kindred hath right to the succession; for that, if the will of him that was in possession had been otherwise, he might easily have declared the same in his lifetime In Leviathan , Hobbes explicitly states that the sovereign has authority to assert power over matters of faith and doctrine, and that if he does not do so, he invites discord.

Hobbes presents his own religious theory, but states that he would defer to the will of the sovereign when that was re-established: again, Leviathan was written during the Civil War as to whether his theory was acceptable.

Or the Matter, Forme, and Power of a Commonwealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil

Thomas Hobbes also touched upon the sovereign's ability to tax in Leviathan , although he is not as widely cited for his economic theories as he is for his political theories. He advocated public encouragement of works of Navigation etc.

This immediately raises the question of which scriptures we should trust, and why. If any person may claim supernatural revelation superior to the civil law, then there would be chaos, and Hobbes' fervent desire is to avoid this. Hobbes thus begins by establishing that we cannot infallibly know another's personal word to be divine revelation:. When God speaketh to man, it must be either immediately or by mediation of another man, to whom He had formerly spoken by Himself immediately.

How God speaketh to a man immediately may be understood by those well enough to whom He hath so spoken; but how the same should be understood by another is hard, if not impossible, to know. For if a man pretend to me that God hath spoken to him supernaturally, and immediately, and I make doubt of it, I cannot easily perceive what argument he can produce to oblige me to believe it.