Single Idea 7410

[catalogued under 22. Metaethics / A. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / j. Ethics by convention]

Full Idea

If men are their own judges of what conduces to their preservation, ..all men make different decisions about what counts as a danger, so (for Hobbes) the grimmest version of ethical relativism seems to be the only possible ethical vision.

Gist of Idea

Self-preservation is basic, and people judge differently about that, implying ethical relativism


report of Thomas Hobbes (The Elements of Law [1640]) by Richard Tuck - Hobbes Ch.2

Book Reference

Tuck,Richard: 'Hobbes: a very short introduction' [OUP 2002], p.74

A Reaction

This might depend on self-preservation being the only fundamental value. But if self-preservation is not a pressing issue, presumably other values might come into play, some of them less concerned with the individual's own interests.