July 17, 2011

Leviathan Book I: Of Man

Title: Leviathan
Author: Thomas Hobbes
Publisher: Public Domain Books
Genre: Philosophy

Our knowledge and experiences in this world originate from our senses.  External bodies colliding with our senses creates images, tastes, smells, pressures, sounds, etc.   The residual effect is our decaying sense or imagination.  Understanding and thought is the succession of one imagination in line with another line of imagination.  Speech is the transformation of mental discourse into verbal discourse.  Reason is inviting our experiences into our thought processes.

To reason is to be subject to our senses.  True individual reason cannot exist.  Senses and thought processes are different by each individual beholding.  True certainty based on individual reason cannot exist.  There must be an agreed upon definition of each word in order for reason to become somewhat homogeneous.  Science is putting lines of reason together and cannot be possible without well defined words.

The arrangement of the book is a philosophical stepping stone.  The first part leads into the second and the second bases its arguments and conclusions on the ideas of the first part and so on.  However, after science, appetites (good) and aversions (bad) are the motions that take place within us that create endeavor or action.  Some are born with us others are gained from experience.  Proceeding our actions is deliberation and our so called will.  Passion and fear are rooted in appetites and aversions.  To have no passion is to be dead; to have weak passion is to be dull; to have passions indifferent is to be irresolute; to have passions abound is to be mad. The same can be said for fear.  From our passions and fears arises the pursuit of  our desires and the avoidance of our fears.  Pursuit and avoidance are actions that will inevitably lead to conflict; placing men against each other.  In this system there is no liberty.  Contracts must be created in order to allow some sort of liberty without fear.

Hobbes believes to be able to have a philosophical method, the human nature must be understood.  His reasoning, deduced from sensual experiences, I am sure, is the reason the first part of his argument is dedicated to defining human nature and the human thought process. The second part, Of the Common-Wealth, will be a show of protecting man from himself.