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Thursday, October 4, 2018

Thomas Hobbes and the social contract theory


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons, John Michael Wright


Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) was an English philosopher best known for the social contract theory. Political theorist John Rawls said,


"Hobbes's Leviathan is the greatest single work of political thought in the English language." (Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy, 2000)


Political theorist Adam Przeworski said,


"...Hobbes's first problem - how to avoid being killed by others - is logically and historically prior to his second problem - how to prevent people within the same community from killing one another." (Sustainable Democracy, 1995)


The rest of this post is some quotes form Hobbes.


Social contract theory


"The office of the sovereign, be it a monarch or an assembly, consisteth in the end for which he was trusted with the sovereign power, namely the procuration of the safety of the people, to which he is obliged by the law of nature." (The Leviathan, 1651)


"For by Art is created that great Leviathan called a Common-Wealth or State, (in latine Civitas) which is but an Artificiall Man; though of greater stature and strength than the Naturall, for whose protection and defence it was intended; and in which the Soveraignty is an Artificiall Soul, as giving life and motion to the whole body..." (The Leviathan, 1651)




"Understanding being nothing else, but conception cause by Speech." (The Leviathan, 1651)


"For it is not the bare Words, but the Scope of the writer that giveth true light, by which any writing is to interpreted..." (The Leviathan, 1651)




"...when we see how anything comes about, upon what causes, and by what manner; when the like causes come into our power, we see how to make it produce the like effects." (The Leviathan, 1651)


"Science is the knowledge of Consequences, and dependence of one fact upon another: by which, out of that we can presently do, we know how to do something else when we will, or the like, another time..." (The Leviathan, 1651)