Single Idea 8016

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / B. Contract Ethics / 4. Value of Authority]

Full Idea

Hobbes has such a limited view of human motives that he cannot provide any other explanation for the acceptance of authority than the fear of sanctions..

Gist of Idea

Fear of sanctions is the only motive for acceptance of authority that Hobbes can think of


comment on Thomas Hobbes (Leviathan [1651], Pt 1) by Alasdair MacIntyre - A Short History of Ethics Ch.10

Book Reference

MacIntyre,Alasdair: 'A Short History of Ethics' [Routledge 1967], p.138

A Reaction

There are two alternative views - the conservative view that people naturally welcome and even need authority, because they need to be led; or the Aristotelian view that people are naturally communal, and authority is part of community life.