Hobbes, Leviathan

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  • begins with automata, production of artificial life from artifice; compared then to the Leviathan, the Commonwealth (7)
  • reading; wisdom acquired not by reading books, but men; nosce teipsum, read thyself -- get to know men by reading mens actions and thoughts and comparing them to oneself; Hobbes says he is reading himself to better know mankind's nature

Of Speech

  • printing not as great of an invention as letters; but letters not as great as speech
  • "True and false are attributes of speech, not of things. And where speech is not, there is neither truth nor falsehood." (23)

absurdity: IV.13, V.5; "jingling of words" is "accounted folly" (VIII.10); speaking in tongues (VIII.27)

curiosity: VI.35, XI.25

not speech but body reveals passions (VI.56)

science is conditional knowledge, not absolute knowledge (VII.4); nature of belief (VII.5-7)

madness of the multitude (VIII.21, XI.20); against enthusiasm (VIII.25)

philosophical madness (VIII.27) -- like speaking in tongues

"Likewise there reigned a fit of madness in another Grecian city which seized only the young maidens, and caused many of them to hang themselves. This was by most then thought an act of the devil. But one that suspected that contempt of life in them might proceed from some passion of the mind, and supposing they did not contemn also their honour, gave counsel to the magistrates to strip such as so hanged themselves, and let them hang out naked. This, the story says, cured that madness." (VIII.25)

link between patronage economy and emergent capitalism seen in Hobbes' notion of honoring/dishonoring as the "value" of a man (see X.17-38); also X.50, honor of vestments is in the riches they're worth, not intrinsic to the garment

desire: XI.1

fundamental equality between men: XIII.1

notes from meeting

Hobbes: link back to Bacon; when Bacon died, he worked for the Cavendish's, took the younger Cavendish's on Grand Tour of Europe and therefore had access to the highest intellectuals of the period; when Civil War broke out, Hobbes went to Paris with the younger Cavendish; was then briefly tutor to young Charles II

in Paris, became convinced he needed a philosophical system as rational and coherent as geometry

while in Europe, published De Cive; got in arguments with Descartes and people around him

1651, brought out Leviathan, hated by the Royalists & became persona non grata with royalists in exile

understood that civil society, natural philosophy, opinion on vacuum are all related


begins with analogy between man and machine -- not homology; has to put together

"life is but a motion of limbs"; gets rid of Cartesian problem of how soul moves the limbs

still thinking in terms of 16th-century similitudes:

Hobbes --> Karl Schmidt --> Foucault --> Agamben: line of thinking on biopolitics

Hobbes wants us all to process information the same way, since we're all essentially the same machine; knowing the self is knowing others; Locke will change this

sets up analogy of body politic to body, with sovereign as soul: why hold onto the body? why not accept it as a thoroughly artificial construction?

consent was made by everyone; can't withdraw

Stuarts more insistant than Tudors on divine right of kings

Robert Filmer, Patriarcha -- circulated among Royalists, inspired Locke's Two Treatises

three ways of becoming a sovereign:

  • conquest
  • consent
  • inheritance

equivalent of creating a metaphysics that underwrites the authority of the sovereign, but not in GOD -- instead, in the contract

sovereign exception

defense of the nation is the biggest task of the sovereign

18c: if Hobbes is right, than we're all the same; if Locke is right, our experiences make us all different individuals -- liberal subjects comes from Lockean tradition

Filmer: you only have authority to the degree you inherit it

Locke: argues for individual households; arguing you don't have to wait for inheritance

Hobbes: both are wrong; real questino is how to protect ourselves/our property from danger

honor: merit associated with particular value; stripping magic from the blood

original contract that bound individuals to a sovereign; wants the metaphysics to be in the original contract, original merit

same epistemology in his attack