On this episode of the podcast, we learn about Thomas Hobbes. We first ask ourselves what it would be like to live in a society with no laws or government, much like the scenario depicted in The Purge. Next, we question whether or not humans are inherently selfish and how this affects the way we relate to each other. Finally, we find out why society needs a quarterback, so to speak, and why it’s important that we follow his playbook even when we don’t understand the plays. All this and more on the latest episode of Philosophize This!
See the full transcript of this episode here.
If you were interested in what Thomas Hobbes had to say about the role of government and how coercive it has the right to be, consider checking out one of my favorite books on the state of modern American Politics: Republic Lost. If you are looking for a good book, I wrote a review of it.
Here is where you can learn about Republic Lost by Lawrence Lessig:
It’s a great book you can get for free by signing up for Audible through our link. Best of all, you help keep the show alive! 🙂
Here are the 19 natural laws that Hobbes lays out in Leviathan (surprisingly, Wikipedia has a very nice version. If anyone recognizes where these are sourced from, please send me an email):
- The first Law of nature is that every man ought to endeavour peace, as far as he has hope of obtaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek and use all helps and advantages of war.
- The second Law of nature is that a man be willing, when others are so too, as far forth, as for peace, and defence of himself he shall think it necessary, to lay down this right to all things; and be contented with so much liberty against other men, as he would allow other men against himself.
- The third Law is that men perform their covenants made. In this law of nature consisteth the fountain and original of justice… when a covenant is made, then to break it is unjust and the definition of injustice is no other than the not performance of covenant. And whatsoever is not unjust is just.
- The fourth Law is that a man which receiveth benefit from another of mere grace, endeavour that he which giveth it, have no reasonable cause to repent him of his good will. Breach of this law is called ingratitude.
- The fifth Law is complaisance: that every man strive to accommodate himself to the rest. The observers of this law may be called sociable; the contrary, stubborn, insociable, froward, intractable.
- The sixth Law is that upon caution of the future time, a man ought to pardon the offences past of them that repenting, desire it.
- The seventh Law is that in revenges, men look not at the greatness of the evil past, but the greatness of the good to follow.
- The eighth Law is that no man by deed, word, countenance, or gesture, declare hatred or contempt of another. The breach of which law is commonly called contumely.
- The ninth Law is that every man acknowledge another for his equal by nature. The breach of this precept is pride.
- The tenth law is that at the entrance into the conditions of peace, no man require to reserve to himself any right, which he is not content should be reserved to every one of the rest. The breach of this precept is arrogance, and observers of the precept are called modest.
- The eleventh law is that if a man be trusted to judge between man and man, that he deal equally between them.
- The twelfth law is that such things as cannot be divided, be enjoyed in common, if it can be; and if the quantity of the thing permit, without stint; otherwise proportionably to the number of them that have right.
- The thirteenth law is the entire right, or else…the first possession (in the case of alternating use), of a thing that can neither be divided nor enjoyed in common should be determined by lottery.
- The fourteenth law is that those things which cannot be enjoyed in common, nor divided, ought to be adjudged to the first possessor; and in some cases to the first born, as acquired by lot.
- The fifteenth law is that all men that mediate peace be allowed safe conduct.
- The sixteenth law is that they that are at controversie, submit their Right to the judgement of an Arbitrator.
- The seventeenth law is that no man is a fit Arbitrator in his own cause.
- The eighteenth law is that no man should serve as a judge in a case if greater profit, or honour, or pleasure apparently ariseth [for him] out of the victory of one party, than of the other.
- The nineteenth law is that in a disagreement of fact, the judge should not give more weight to the testimony of one party than another, and absent other evidence, should give credit to the testimony of other witnesses.
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