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Thomas Hobbes and the Leviathan

The first parts of the Leviathan had provided us a fundamental view of Thomas Hobbes regarding the dynamics of the human mind and how we interact in the environment around us. Restating it briefly, Thomas Hobbes does not believe on the objectivity of human experience. Our perception of the world does not automatically equate to what the world is. In this sense, due to the difference of perception of different people and our inability to perceive things as what it is, the differences in opinions about things arise.

With this point established, Hobbes moved on by stating the necessity of an arbiter who shall act as the decision maker for naming and characterizing things. This new artificial body will guide all human affairs and will ensure the attainment and maintenance of peace from the misfortunes and war that may arise out of the differences in opinions and perceptions. Interpreting this new school of thought of Hobbes, we can clearly see how he disregarded the naturalistic school of thought that embraces the necessity to follow one’s nature.

For Hobbes, following one’s nature will result to destruction, with the scenario and rationale that were mentioned beforehand. In this sense, what he embraces is the establishment of an artificial body (that will be later referred as the Leviathan) that will become the sole measure of human affairs and actions. All people were adhered to follow to the decisions of this artificial body and every individuals are ought to disregard their personal opinions and perceptions. All of this is for the sole aim of the pursuit and maintenance of peace.

No one can argue against the consistency and validity of the arguments presented by Hobbes at least in these first chapters. In fact, we can clearly characterize his approach as somehow mathematical and geometrical in nature. Also, we cannot argue against the aim of Hobbes in presenting this kind of argument which is for the pursuit and maintenance of peace. However, despite these numerous good things we can attribute to his work, what remains shady is the application of his theoretical framework in the real world.

Hobbes talked against the concept of individuality and liberalism. Hobbes preferred a world wherein the entire population shall abide on the wishes of the artificial ruler. However, if we examine these frameworks in to new tests, there is a great chance that we may come up to a new conclusion. First, we can argue against the viewpoint of Hobbes against individualism and liberalism. The modern world today is characterized by this kind of theoretical framework which encompasses our political, cultural and social institutions.

Arguably, this kind of system had produced a good flow in the movement of goods, ideas and even peace. The acknowledgement of the differences of our opinions and presence of conflict among each group does not always equate to a war or conflict but can also be redirected to a constructive effort that can bring innovations and improvement. On the other hand, the existence of an all-powerful body such as the Leviathan that controls every human action can be interpreted by the modern world as some kind of fascism.

History had taught us that this kind of government had managed to bring conflicts with other system. What is worse than this is the capability or vulnerability of such system to induce rebellion to its people. The case of Nazi Germany or even the cases of Soviet Russia are good examples for this scenario. History had taught us that such systems does not always bring good in the practical realm despite it’s almost perfection in the theoretical realm.

In this sense, we can posit that though in the theoretical realm, Hobbes could win the debate, examining his arguments using practical grounds will result to a new conclusion. Works Cited Hobbes, Thomas (1660) Leviathan. Oregon State University. Web. Accessed 10 August 2010. Lloyd, S. A. (1992) Ideals as interests in Hobbes’ Leviathan: The Power of Mind over Matter. Cambridge University Press. Print. Accessed 10 August 2010.

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