Hobbes lived during the emergence of men who challenged not only traditional tenets about political and religious authority, but also the wisdom of the past, especially that of Aristotle.
Around 1675 Europe was 'crowded' with brilliant minds. Descartes died 25 years earlier. Galileo was dead by then, but Hobbes had met him yet in person. Newton was in his thirties, Locke somewhat older. Then you had great minds like Spinoza and Leibniz on the Continent. Alot was happening in the 'mindscape' of that period.
Thomas Hobbes is mainly known because of his political philosophy, but there is so much more to say about his philosophical ideas, not only those on politics.
He denied the existence of a non-material reality, to begin with. He was vey much focused on the processes of cause and effect in the material world. He knew his classics, for instance the atomism of Democritus.
It was his opinion that in all areas of life you could observe causes and there effect, of in his words: science is "the knowledge of consequences". And not opinions , but science should be the guiding principle in life.
Due to his fundamental materialistic view, life as an endless chain of cause and effect, as a logical consequence he couldnt do anything else than to say that there was not such thing as free will.
Hobbes denied that there is any power in man to which the term "will" refers; what is commonly called will is but the last desire in deliberating. Futhermore, he argues, only man is properly called free, not his desires, will or inclinations.
And here we see one of Hobbes important contributions to philosophy: how to deal with the word "free"? You might say that he is paving the road for the later Analytical philosophy, which we will meet in the persons of Wittgenstein and Russell (about 1915).
I cant elaborate too much on this...it would need an extra lecture, but Hobbes had a very modern interpretation of language. He is one of the first who is studying the relation between meaning and reference.
To give you one example of what you'll see again reappear in modern Analytical Philosophy, his interpretation of a simpel statement as "man is a living body". In Scholastic term this would mean that this statement implies the existence of man and living bodies.
Hobbes says, there is no implication of real existence at all. This statement only means, that if there is a set of living bodies , then man is part of that set.
Also interesting is to see how he interprets the words "good" and "evil". They dont refer to metaphysical essences at all. These words are used by someone and only get their meaning in relation to the person who uses them. They dont refer to some intrinsic property of the object at hand.
The words "good" and "evil" name objects of our desires and aversions. We call a horse "good" for instance, because it is gentle, strong and carries man easily. The desire of the individual determine what qualities are selected to furnish the ground for saying that an object is good.
Our desires and aversions: a main issue in Hobbes' political philosophy too. What we desire is selfpreservation and what we fear is death. To preserve ourselves we are in constant war with eachother. Homo homini lupus.....man is a wolf for his fellowman.
But our fear of death also teaches us that only striving for selfpresrvation doesnt work. We only would be constantly knocking eachother on the head. So it is better to make peace with eachother and accept rulership over us.
Reason, declaring peace to be goodgood, it follows by the same reason that all the necessary means to peace are good also. Peace is somthing that man must desire both because of his fear of death and because of the other things he desires to do that a state of war would make impossible.
And so we see the emergence of a new political philosophy: the state, based on a convenat between people. And most important....authority in that state is derived from that convenant only, and not from some religion or god.
Again we see --after the new developments in the philosophy of science -- how the church is excluded also in Hobbes political philosophy. And that is a longterm historical development: in the beginning man sought explanations by refering to the actions and will of gods.
An other options was all kinds of magical and esoteric explanations of phenomena , but now we have entered a world in which science is the method of explaining things and gaining knowledge and in which social organisation is the result of a convenant between all men.
Before the lecture...
[12:59] Qwark Allen: merry Christmas!!!!!!!!
[12:59] Alarice Beaumont: Hi Gemma :-)
[12:59] Laila Schuman: yes they are great
[12:59] Qwark Allen: HI ALARICE
[12:59] Herman Bergson: You come to see me spinning, Qwark?
[12:59] Gemma Cleanslate: :-))
[13:00] AristotleVon Doobie: They are at Tombstone territory.
[13:00] Gemma Cleanslate: -,.-~*´¨¯¨`*•~-.¸ New Year- ,.-~*´¨¯¨`*•~-.¸
[13:00] Laila Schuman: no way
[13:00] Sofie DuCasse: Hi herman,, I just come from work ;o)
[13:00] Ze Novikov: lol
[13:00] Laila Schuman: wow
[13:00] Herman Bergson: Hello Dewcati..welcome..:-)
[13:00] Qwark Allen: NICE
[13:00] AristotleVon Doobie: Yes just accetpt the package.
[13:00] Dewcati Benelli: Hi Herman
[13:00] Alarice Beaumont: looking great Gemma!
[13:00] Laila Schuman: i will have to go check it out
[13:00] AristotleVon Doobie: Good.
[13:00] Gemma Cleanslate: how are you Al?
[13:00] Gemma Cleanslate: cute hat
[13:00] Herman Bergson: Hi Kerya
[13:01] Kerya Beresford: hi all
[13:01] Qwark Allen: NICE alarice
[13:01] Gemma Cleanslate: Aristotle
[13:01] Qwark Allen: ;-D
[13:01] Herman Bergson: Oh Lady Laila..:-)
[13:01] Alarice Beaumont: Hello Kerya :-)
[13:01] AristotleVon Doobie: Hello everone and Happy Holidays to all
[13:01] Laila Schuman: smiles... hello Herman
[13:01] Herman Bergson: Hi Aristotle..:-)
[13:01] Osrum Sands: wonderfull mood of merryment in here today
[13:01] Osrum Sands: good to see
[13:01] Herman Bergson: Hi Manfred...
[13:01] Herman Bergson: You dont need a sword here..:-)
[13:01] Manfred Pessoa smiles ... goodday all
[13:01] Gemma Cleanslate: ready for break!!
[13:01] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[13:02] Gemma Cleanslate: but I was good I came today
[13:02] AristotleVon Doobie: Then Santa will come see you Gem
[13:02] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:02] Gemma Cleanslate: :-)
[13:02] AristotleVon Doobie: Ho Ho Ho
[13:03] Herman Bergson: Maph isnt here again...I hope he is just on holidays..
[13:03] Gemma Cleanslate: he was on line yesterday
[13:04] Gemma Cleanslate: for a minute or two
[13:04] Herman Bergson: Ah...good to hear
[13:06] Herman Bergson: Today is our last lecture of the year...:-)
[13:06] Herman Bergson: 31 philosophers so far..
[13:07] Herman Bergson: First of all I want to thank you for the interest you have shown in this project...I appreciate it greatly...and it is highly motivating for me
[13:07] Herman Bergson: So I want to thank you for that
[[13:07] Gemma Cleanslate: good because we have 70 to go
[13:07] herman Bergson smiles
[13:07] Herman Bergson: Yes Gemma....
[13:08] Herman Bergson: and I get the impresssion that our blog is discovered too
[13:08] Osrum Sands: dont worry motivating for us as well
[13:08] Herman Bergson: our lecture and dicussions are viewed more than 160 times
[13:08] Gemma Cleanslate: I wonder if they laugh as much as we do at the discussions
[13:08] AristotleVon Doobie: :)
[13:08] Gemma Cleanslate: sometimes
[13:08] AristotleVon Doobie: They should participate.
[13:09] Herman Bergson: I guess a lot of readers arent in SL...so we are reaching more people than only SL inhabitants
[13:09] AristotleVon Doobie: That is good.
[13:09] Herman Bergson: let's begin with our lecture on Hobbes....
[13:09] Gemma Cleanslate: right
[13:10] Alarice Beaumont: yes... :-))
[13:10] Osrum Sands: Education for the unenligthened masses one could say !
[13:10] Herman Bergson: Open your history window if you want to read the text in your own pace....
[13:22] Herman Bergson: this ends the last lecture..:-)
[13:22] Herman Bergson: if you have any questions or remarks..feel free...
[13:23] Kerya Beresford: so he rejects Descrates?
[13:23] Kerya Beresford: sorry Descartes?
[13:23] AristotleVon Doobie: I understand that he avocated that the sovereign choose the religion of the people, how did that work?
[13:23] Herman Bergson: When he was in France he wrote a comment on the Meditationes of Descartes....
[13:23] hope63 Shepherd: u agree with the author ot encylopedia:... i suggest we might as well not have read Hobbes at all. and i think Ockham would have considered him a victim of the idols of tribe and cave and Bacon would have said: wishful thinking and rushing to conclusions
[13:24] Herman Bergson: and Decartes reply showed that he felt bitten..:-)
[13:24] Herman Bergson: oops..what do you mean Hope?
[13:25] Gemma Cleanslate: it looks like he made quite a few people angry with him during his like
[13:25] Osrum Sands: so you dont like the man
[13:25] Osrum Sands: then Hope?
[13:25] Herman Bergson: I guess it was more a political matter Gemma....
[13:25] hope63 Shepherd: reading encycopedia and wikipedia.. i find his philosphical basis for his leviathan is utterly unfounded..
[13:25] Kerya Beresford: was he really providing a philosophical manifesto for the dictatorship Of Oliver Cromwell?
[13:25] Gemma Cleanslate: yes i thought so
[13:26] hope63 Shepherd: his understanding of man is a prejudice of his time..
[13:26] Herman Bergson: Not for Cromwell I think, but for Charles I
[13:26] Kerya Beresford: wow
[13:26] Kerya Beresford: Interesting
[13:26] Herman Bergson: but he pleaded for a kind of dictatorship indeed
[13:26] Kerya Beresford: ok
[13:27] Herman Bergson: During the rule of Cromwell Hobbes was in France
[13:27] hope63 Shepherd: he seemed to support Cromell later.. he would have to. as the authority is not necessaryly a king..
[13:27] Kerya Beresford: ok
[13:27] Herman Bergson: yes Hope...his point was that we should obey authority
[13:28] AristotleVon Doobie: Didnt he say that the state only exists for the defence of the citizens?
[13:28] Kerya Beresford: Max Weber apparently came up with a similar argument in Germany after WW1
[13:28] Kerya Beresford: for a strong leader
[13:28] AristotleVon Doobie: I thought that he favore monachism.
[13:29] Herman Bergson: Abuse of power by a ruler would be regarded as non rational..
[13:29] AristotleVon Doobie: against natural law.
[13:29] hope63 Shepherd: strong leaders were looked for by the ancient greeks.. a tyrannis was in no way negative..
[13:29] Herman Bergson: yes indeed Aristotle...
[13:29] Kerya Beresford: can empiricism prove such a thing as natural law?
[13:30] Osrum Sands: natural law suggests that man does better living together in peace then existing in a state of war
[13:30] Herman Bergson: In those days there was a common vision that at the basis of man's conduct was natural law
[13:30] Osrum Sands: so no He was not against natural law
[13:30] AristotleVon Doobie: the right of man
[13:30] Osrum Sands: to live
[13:30] Osrum Sands: life
[13:30] Osrum Sands: etc
[13:30] Herman Bergson: No Hobbes even wrote extensively about Natrual law....
[13:30] AristotleVon Doobie: and do no harm
[13:30] Osrum Sands: shelter
[13:31] Osrum Sands: food
[13:31] Herman Bergson: I guess he formulated 19 laws...
[13:31] Osrum Sands: all the pre existing stuff for the human rigths agenda to emerge
[13:32] AristotleVon Doobie: his sense of equaity in regards to rights, rule of law and taxes is admirable
[13:32] Herman Bergson: In most publications Hobbes is mentioned as the father of modern political philosophy
[13:32] hope63 Shepherd: bush likes him ari lol
[13:32] Osrum Sands: I understand that Hobbs idea of strong leadership etc comes out of individual man rigths to self leadership
[13:33] Herman Bergson: but Hobbes had written a lot more...on logic and scientific method, psychology, philosophy of nature
[13:33] AristotleVon Doobie: bush? I doubt that a liar can be believed.
[13:33] hope63 Shepherd: athens 500 bc.. os
[13:33] Gemma Cleanslate: :-))
[13:33] Osrum Sands: when we give up particular rigths to the state we expect them to be looked after properaly
[13:33] Herman Bergson: most interesting for the future is his ideas about language
[13:33] Kerya Beresford: was his influence a bad one, so much political philosophy is so dry, lacking in imagination, always about conflict, providing a referee to resolve conflicting interests, not very aspirational?
[13:34] Kerya Beresford: Hobbes turns rapidly into game theory
[13:34] hope63 Shepherd: wel thought kerya.. his reasoning suited the rulers of the time.. and later..
[13:34] Herman Bergson: What is important to notice is that Hobbes explaines social organization as result of a social contract....
[13:35] Herman Bergson: that is really new....
[13:35] Kerya Beresford: yes
[13:35] Herman Bergson: it sets the tone for future political debate on democracy
[13:35] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:35] hope63 Shepherd: 600 bc we had a social contract with Solon.. and then the whole of the population could agree or not agree..
[13:35] Kerya Beresford: and meaning is socially constructed almost
[13:36] Herman Bergson: yes Kerya...his theory on languege shouldnt be ignored either
[13:36] Osrum Sands: Kerya - always has been socially constructed
[13:36] Kerya Beresford: so how can natural law be socially constructed?
[13:37] Kerya Beresford: if it is built into stuff?
[13:37] Osrum Sands: point
[13:37] Osrum Sands: thinking
[13:37] Herman Bergson: I dont think it was their idea about that....
[13:37] Herman Bergson: I think Hobbes saw natural law as something real
[13:37] Herman Bergson: part of nature
[13:37] Kerya Beresford: yes
[13:38] Osrum Sands: based on reason
[13:38] AristotleVon Doobie: so the trend is to write a book such as Leviathan or Utopia to spread your philosophy.
[13:38] Osrum Sands: and sense input
[13:38] Herman Bergson: I would say..reason was the means to understand natural law
[13:38] Kerya Beresford: yes
[13:39] Osrum Sands: exactly Proff
[13:39] AristotleVon Doobie: The audience being the masses.
[13:39] Kerya Beresford: so there is a conflict in his thought between socially constructed meanings and inherent' natural ones maybe
[13:39] Herman Bergson: the function of books in those days is amazing....
[13:39] AristotleVon Doobie: an awakening
[13:39] Herman Bergson: Hobbes had a big debate with Bisschop Ballham...
[13:40] Herman Bergson: they wrote books....as if they were exchanging letters.
[13:40] AristotleVon Doobie: for all the world to read.
[13:40] Herman Bergson: and more...the books made it a 'public' debate too
[13:40] Kerya Beresford: like a blog
[13:40] Herman Bergson: I wonder how that must have been.....
[13:41] Herman Bergson: yes, Kerya...
[13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: not availabel before this time
[13:41] Manfred Pessoa: let us not forget that only a small percentage was able to read
[13:41] Herman Bergson: How big were the editions....100 books..more?
[13:41] Manfred Pessoa: so no blog
[13:41] AristotleVon Doobie: yes increased literacy is crucial
[13:41] Kerya Beresford: i was joking
[13:41] Herman Bergson: Yes Manfred it was for the happy few....but the influential few
[13:42] AristotleVon Doobie: sure those who had a voice in the community
[13:42] Kerya Beresford: is there a covert calvinism in his thought?
[13:42] Herman Bergson: And here in this class we are spreading the word once again...:-)
[13:43] AristotleVon Doobie: yes a virus of knowledge
[13:43] Herman Bergson: covert calvinism....
[13:43] Herman Bergson: I dont know....
[13:43] Kerya Beresford: the doctrine of the elect
[13:43] Kerya Beresford: etc
[13:43] Kerya Beresford: puritanism
[13:43] Kerya Beresford: it is grim stuff
[13:43] Herman Bergson: but being a materialsit it is somewhat odd yet to believe in a god, as Hobbes did