Posted On March 22, 2017
Throughout history rarely did many of the great philosophers have the same ideals. One of the most influential texts written on political philosophy which established the foundation within Western political philosophy, from the vantage point of the social contract theory, was written by Thomas Hobbes. Hobbes wrote on a variety of fields including history, geometry, physics, ethics and political science. He was a contributing factor within the field of philosophical anthropology, which encompassed the ideas of materialism. In his work entitled Leviathan Hobbes addressed the structure of society and legitimate government. The Leviathan is based upon the notion that within a common society the necessity of a strong central authority is key to ensuring that the evil of discord and civil war is eliminated. Hobbes suggests that life without government, a condition he refers to as ???state of nature??™, in which each person would have the right to everything in the world would inevitably lead to conflicts (civil war). Thus Hobbes assumes that the only way to eliminate conflicts would be to establish a civil society, in which the sovereign must control civil, military and judicial powers. Hobbes greatest fear within a society is the creation of a civil war. Hobbes argues that people seek peace based on the notion of fear, fear of each other??™s power is the only solution to the never ending circle of power struggles. This paper will examine the concept of fear, and the notion that Hobbes argues that fear is the root cause of believing in religion, and the cause and effect to the creation of a war. People believe in religion because they fear the unknown, everyone is in a constant state of fear from each other which thus creates a ???war of all against all???.
The term ???Leviathan??™ refers back to the Bible as it is defined as a sea monster, in demonology ???Leviathan??™ is one of the seven princes of Hell and its gatekeeper. Hobbes uses the
term within the Leviathan as his proper name for the Commonwealth, based on the social contract and the creation of an ideal state, within a society based upon a sovereign nation. Within the Leviathan Hobbes argues that the search for a civil society within a commonwealth is never ending and each man will do as they need to succeed. ???… therefore if any two men desire the same thing, which neverthelesse they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies; and in the way to their End (which is principally their owne conservation, and sometimes their delectation only,) endeavour to destroy, or subdue one an other.???
Hobbes states here that all men live in constant fear of what the other could and will do to one an other thus creating the concept of a civil war leading to anarchy. Anarchy is defined as an absence of government creating a society in which is in a state of lawlessness, which will ultimately creates chaos.
Hobbes states that an absence of government or of a higher power will lead to the deterioration of a what once was a ???civil society??™. Within a ???civil society??™ there must be a common power that creates and enforces laws to its community ensuring that all men are not against each other. Hobbes argues that the natural condition of mankind before society, government, and the invention of law can obstruct the view that war is a continuous effect based on violence, of death and of fear. Hobbes explains this throughout the Leviathan as the ???state of nature??™. Within chapter 13 of the Leviathan ??? Of the Naturall Condition of Mankind, as concerning their Felicity, and Misery,??? Hobbes describes that this is the actual possibility leading to the disintegration of pre-existing flawed civil societies based from a Hobbesian view that only
a civil society can rise above anarchy and thus create a commonwealth. ???Hereby it is manifest, that during the time men live without a common Power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called; and such warre, as if of every man, against every man???.
In this quotation Hobbes is explaining that within a community anarchy will spread like wild fire if there is no source of a ???common power??™ to ensure that laws are being followed. In this case, Hobbes argues that if there is no ???common power??™ within a nation then it will essentially become every man against every man.
Throughout this chapter Hobbes argues that if there were a war of such kind then nothing can be unjust. ??? To this warre 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. Where there is no common Power, there is no Law: where no Law, no injustice.???
Essentially Hobbes is arguing that if nothing can be unjust then there would essentially be no fear in oneself. Fear is defined as an emotional response to a perceived threat that is essentially triggered by the threat of danger. As Hobbes explains that when there is a potential threat of danger from ones enemies upon ones life, the object of fear has risen above all else. When fear takes the place of any other emotion, good or bad, the search for a resolution begins. ???The passions that encline men to Peace, are Feare of Death; Desire of such things as are necessary to commodious living; and a Hope by their Industry to obtain them. And Reason suggesteth convenient Articles of
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Peace, upon which men may be drawn to agreement.???
Hobbes explains this phenomena as the ???Lawes of Nature???.
In chapter 14 of the Leviathan ???Of the first and second NATURALL LAWES, and of CONTRACTS???, Hobbes defines the law of nature as a general rule that all men should abide by in ensuring that ones life does not self destruct itself. Within this chapter, the concept that every man has the right to everything is brought forth. Hobbes explanation of this is because ???every one is governed by his own Reason; and there is nothing he can make use of, that may not be a help unto him, in preserving his life against his enemyes; It followeth, that in such a condition, every man has a Right to every thing; even to one anothers body.???
Within a nation the concept that all men have the right to each others property and life can essentially lead to war. In the Leviathan the concept of civil war is eternally the worst that could happen within a nation, the ultimate deterioration of a nation is caused by fear. Although fear is a learned reaction, some part of fear can be traced back to ones human nature. The combination of fear and death are closely linked to ones aspiration to believe in religion. The fear of death motivates ones religious commitment, Hobbes argues that ???The Feare of the former is in every man, his own Religion: which hath place in the nature of man before Civill Society.???
This quote explains that each man has the right to decide what he shall believe in. Hobbes explains that men believe in religion as a back door to a fire that one will essentially create themselves.
Within chapter 14 Hobbes describes that the fear of an invisible power such as God can entirely lead to the agreement of men based on a civil power that essentially resides in all men, and not just one. All men fear God because his powers are unknown, however, because of this men also put their trust in God. ???And this with the Rites and Ceremonies, which every one useth in his own religion, that the feare of breaking faith might be greater.???
The fear of breaking faith as Hobbes states, is unlike any fear known to man. This fear not only makes men believe in God or such a higher power, but this fear can either lead to peace or war of a nation. Can the term injustice be linked to fear Can injustice be the foundation of a civil war Can fear essentially be the beginning and end of a civl war When thinking about the term fear, many of these questions come to mind, in Hobbes??™ Leviathan he states that fear is the result of which reason is made.
Hobbes view on injustice was that if one eliminated fear, either the fear of God or that of man, then all that would be left would be reason. ???But he questioneth, whether Injustice, taking away the feare of God, (for the same Foole hath said in his heart there is no God,) may not sometimes stand with that Reason, which dictateth to every man his own good.???
Hobbes states here that sometimes reason based on religion can result in the blurring of ones own notion of right and wrong, with that of faith. Hobbes portrays the concept of fear throughout the Leviathan as something that should not exist when creating a common power within a nation, and that fear of all else goes hand in hand with believing in religion. Religion within the Leviathan is seen as a common power or that of an ???invisible power??™ that manifests itself within the emotions portrayed
by men, specifically fear. Hobbes states that men fear the unknown, and believe in something that could essentially save one from the arms of death. Hobbes relates fear to death and war. His concepts of civil war within a nation, are that of complete fear. He explains that men do what they do as a result of fear, ???Bonds that have their strength, not from their own Nature, (for nothing is more easily broken then a mans word,) but from Feare of some evill consequence upon the rupture.???
He argues here, that men will only conclude ideas within a common ruling based on the notion of fear and not of reason. When fear takes the place of all else it is fear that now becomes reason, reason for war and reason for peace. Fear can also lead those to believe in a higher power, that of which they also fear. Hobbes??™ ultimate argument based on the concept of fear is that ???till the cause of such feare be taken away; in which while men are in the naturall condition of Warre, cannot be done.???
All else, just or unjust must be put in place by a coercive power, that all men will essentially fear.