Ideas from 'Leviathan' by Thomas Hobbes [1651], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Leviathan' by Hobbes,Thomas (ed/tr Macpherson,C.B.) [Penguin 1981,0-14-043195-0]].

Click on the Idea Number for the full details    |     back to texts     |     expand these ideas

1. Philosophy / F. Analytic Philosophy / 1. Analysis
Resolve a complex into simple elements, then reconstruct the complex by using them
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 5. Physicalism
Every part of the universe is body, and non-body is not part of it
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 4. Sense Data / a. Sense-data theory
Appearance and reality can be separated by mirrors and echoes
13. Knowledge Criteria / D. Scepticism / 5. Dream Scepticism
Dreams must be false because they seem absurd, but dreams don't see waking as absurd
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 1. Free Will / c. Free will critique
Freedom is absence of opposition to action; the idea of 'free will' is absurd
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 2. Free Will Theories / c. Compatibilism
Liberty and necessity are consistent, as when water freely flows, by necessity
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 1. Acting on Desires
The will is just the last appetite before action
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 3. Acting on Reason / a. Practical reason
Reason is usually general, but deliberation is of particulars
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 2. Values / c. Love
Desire and love are the same, but in the desire the object is absent, and in love it is present
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 2. Values / e. Self interest
All voluntary acts aim at some good for the doer
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / h. Expressivism
'Good' is just what we desire, and 'Evil' what we hate
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / j. Ethics by convention
Men's natural desires are no sin, and neither are their actions, until law makes it so
23. Ethics / B. Contract Ethics / 1. Contractarianism
If we seek peace and defend ourselves, we must compromise on our rights
The person who performs first in a contract is said to 'merit' the return, and is owed it
A contract is a mutual transfer of rights
Hobbes wants a contract to found morality, but shared values are needed to make a contract
23. Ethics / B. Contract Ethics / 3. Promise Keeping
In the violent state of nature, the merest suspicion is enough to justify breaking a contract
23. Ethics / B. Contract Ethics / 4. Value of Authority
Suspicion will not destroy a contract, if there is a common power to enforce it
Fear of sanctions is the only motive for acceptance of authority that Hobbes can think of
23. Ethics / B. Contract Ethics / 5. Free Rider
No one who admitted to not keeping contracts could ever be accepted as a citizen
If there is a good reason for breaking a contract, the same reason should have stopped the making of it
23. Ethics / B. Contract Ethics / 7. Prisoner's Dilemma
The first performer in a contract is handing himself over to an enemy
23. Ethics / B. Contract Ethics / 8. Contract Strategies
Someone who keeps all his contracts when others are breaking them is making himself a prey to others
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / c. Motivation for virtue
Virtues are a means to peaceful, sociable and comfortable living
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 3. Virtues / c. Justice
Injustice is the failure to keep a contract, and justice is the constant will to give what is owed
25. Society / A. State of Nature / 1. A People / b. The natural life
In time of war the life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short
25. Society / B. The State / 8. Religion in Society
If fear of unknown powers is legal it is religion, if it is illegal it is superstition
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 3. Social Equality / a. Grounds of equality
There is not enough difference between people for one to claim more benefit than another
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 4. Right to Punish / a. Right to punish
Punishment should only be for reform or deterrence
25. Society / E. State Functions / 2. The Law / c. Legal positivism
The legal positivism of Hobbes said law is just formal or procedural
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 3. General Causation / a. Constant conjunction
Causation is only observation of similar events following each other, with nothing visible in between
29. Religion / A. Religious Thought / 1. Religious Belief
Religion is built on ignorance and misinterpretation of what is unknown or frightening
29. Religion / E. Immortality / 1. Immortality
Belief in an afterlife is based on poorly founded gossip