“Leviathan Book 1” by Thomas Hobbes (1651) – Chapter 6 – Chapter 11

Sword, Scepter & Stache

“Leviathan Book 1” by Thomas Hobbes (1651) – Chapter 6 – Chapter 11

Chapter 6 – Of the Interior Beginnings of Voluntary Motions, Commonly Called the Passions; and the Speeches by Which They Are Expressed

  • 2 types of motion
    • Vital/involuntary – breathing, blood circulation, organs working, metabolic functions, etc.
      • Don’t need imagination or will
    • Animal/voluntary – movement, speaking, limb movement
      • Depends on precedent thought from the mind/imagination called endeavor
  • Endeavor has a goal in mind called appetite or desire
    • appetite usually refers to food or drink as in a hunger or thirst for something
    • When it’s a desire to get away from something it’s called an aversion
      • These can even have metaphorical desire or aversion to or from abstract things like love, hatred, etc.
    • They can be inborn – appetite for food, exoneration, etc.
      • Most desires or aversions are picked up because of our experiences with certain things & whether or not they bring us pain/unhappiness or pleasure/happiness
    • Good is what a man calls what he desires
    • Evil is what a man calls what he was an aversion to
    • Vile & inconsiderable is what he calls what he has contempt for
      • These aren’t absolutes, only in the eye of the person using the terms. There’s no common rules to define them – changes from person to person
  • Good & evil – words & descriptions can be used in 3 ways
    • 1 – Promising good or evil – “pulchrum” & “turpe” – fair, beautiful, gallant, amiable v. foul, deformed, base & nauseous
      • signifies mien or countenance
    • 2 – Good & evil in effect – “jucundum” & “molestum” – delightful v. unpleasant, troublesome
    • 3 – Good & evil as means – “utile” v. “inutile” – profitable, useful v. unprofitable & hurtful
  • Motions external to us continue in us in the effect they have on our senses & how those stir our imaginations, desires & aversions
    • Senses of these things stir delight or trouble of mind
  • Appetite & its appearance in delight or pleasure seems to go hand in hand with vital action by a helping mean called “jucunda” just as in “molesta” hinders & troubles vital motion
    • Pleasure is the appearance or sense of good & displeasure is the appearance or sense of evil
    • Some delights come from the pleasure of sense – pressure, sights, sounds, etc. may be pleasant
    • Some delights come from the pleasure in mind – how these senses have expectations, either fulfilled or things that follow as a consequences of things
  • Simple passions (appetite, desire, love, aversion, hate, joy & grief) get their names for various reasons
    • 1 – They get them from people & their attempts to get what they want
    • 2 – From the the things they want or don’t wnat
    • 3 – From grouping of these things
    • 4 – From the changes by or consequences of these things
  • Examples
    • Appetite with opinion in attaining – Hope. Appetite without an opinion in attaining – Despair
    • Aversion with opinion of hurt – Fear. Aversion with opinion to resist hurt – Courage
    • [Hobbes lists many definitions of descriptors with respect to desire & aversion, good & evil, various circumstances people get in]
  • Deliberation – when appetites & aversions, hopes & fears, etc. arise in opposition to one another we deliberate on what’s possible or impossible, if we desire it or avert it, hope for it or fear it, etc.
    • No deliberation in the past because it can’t be changed
    • Deliberation mulls over what the senses tell us, what our desires & aversions want & we form a will [even animals do this too]
  • Passions can be stated as indicative: “I love”, “I fear”, “I enjoy”, etc.
    • Deliberations are subjective: “If I did this, then this other thing will happen” – signifies suppositions
  • Language of passion is imperative (commands): “Do this”, “Watch out for that”, etc.
  • Interrogative (asking questions): “What time is it?”, “Where are you going?” (Trying to gather information)
  • Deliberation allows us to try to foresee good & bad consequences based on the way things seem (appearance)
    • Success in getting what you want, continually prospering leads to felicity

Chapter 7 – Of the Ends or Resolutions of Discourse

  • There’s a point or goal to all discourse – getting or giving
    • If it’s mental discourse, it will result in thoughts that a thing that will be, won’t be, has been, hasn’t been, etc.
      • If it breaks off before it’s finished, he’s left with possibilities of it being or not – all just opinion
    • With respect to appetite, deliberating good & evil, the final judgment is the will – if not complete, it’s doubt
    • You can never be absolutely certain because it all came from sense & afterwards, memory
      • If it’s knowledge of consequence, it’s science – not absolute because it’s based on the presumption of a thing before it & those can always be wrong
  • Real knowledge/truth comes from all suppositions being correct as well as logic based on those suppositions
    • If not following this method, all you get is opinion
      • If 2 men agree – they are conscious of the same thing – of the same mind
    • Discussing good & evil is usually where this breaks down because our views of good & evil are hardly ever the same
    • But belief can be just suspecting something or just not having enough evidence of something to “know” it – true with religion
    • Belief in God through scriptures but not having direct revelation from God himself
      • When believing in God, or a prophet’s words about God, understand that it all could be wrong & God shouldn’t be offended by that
      • We don’t believe everything written about Alexander or Caesar & their ghosts shouldn’t be offended about that

Chapter 8 – Of the Virtues Commonly Called Intellectual; and Their Contrary Defects

  • Intellectual virtues are virtues of the mind that men praise, value & desire, especially wit & ability is natural & acquired
    • Natural – not from birth,acquired from experience without method, culture or instruction
      • From quick imagination & steady direction
      • Not having this leads to dullness & stupidity
    • Men observe things not often seen by others are said to have a good wit. Those who see the differences have judgment & discretion. Men who can see how things conform to a design he’s made are said to have prudence
      • This applies to governance of a family & of men with different types of applications business, family, government
      • With dishonest or unjust means is crooked wisdom & pusillanimity. Magnanimity is contempt of unjust & dishonest means
    • Acquired with from reason, using right speech & leads to sciences
  • Cause of different between  wits is in passions & education
    • The temper of the mind, the senses lead to men sensing & different things & having different passions
    • This comes from desire for power, wealth, knowledge & honor. Really, all this comes down to power
      • Men without these desires don’t have fancy or judgment because it’s akin to being dead or at least dull
      • Too much of it is madness
  • Too much passion is harmful too
    • Pride leads to anger, which leads to rage & fury. Any excess of negative or positive leads to rage
    • Dejection leads to fear which leads to melancholy & madness
      • This madness leads to conflicts with others, including friends
  • Private spirit – opinion of inspiration in coming to a singular truth – may be wrong in doing so
    • Sometimes this is a result of passion couple with too much drink, coming to wrong conclusions or having your passions fly out of control
  • Cause of madness – passions or demons possessing a man
    • Greeks claimed gods did it, Jews claimed prophets were possessed by God – both used devils or demons

Chapter 9 – Of the Several Subject of Knowledge

  • 2 kinds of knowledge
    • 1 – Knowledge of fact – sense & memory – absolute knowledge, history, effects of nature – no dependence on a man’s will
    • 2 – Knowledge of consequences of one affirmation to another – science, conditional – civil history & philosophy

Chapter 10 – Of Power, Worth, Dignity, Honour and Worthiness

  • Power is the ability to get something in the future either on your own or indirectly
    • Can be through strength, eloquence, liberality, nobility or by money, friends, reputation or luck
    • The biggest power is the compounded power of many into one man – the state or a group
    • Reputation, popularity, fear, respect, affability, prudence, form, ability to create, ability to lead an army
    • Commanding honor – belief, gifts, dignity, flattery, praise, decency, paying attention, approval, imitation
  • Showing honor is natural even outside of government – all arguments of power, results of power
    • Good fortune over time is a sign of favor with God
    • Signs of success & respect lead to honor
    • Signs of failure & disrespect lead to dishonor
  • Honor & dishonor are independent of justice – the Greek & Roman gods did unjust things but were considered “honorable”
    • Pirates may have considered themselves honorable in their trade but nowadays they are illegal
    • Duels may be illegal but are matters of honor
  • Heraldry & coats of arms are symbols of privilege & honor from the Germans to show the family’s honor passed down through the generations in titles & land
  • Worthiness is different from merit or desert, or the value of a man or his particular power or ability
    • Worthiness of being a commander or judge, etc. is having the qualities to perform the job

Chapter 11 – Of the Difference of Manners

  • Manners are qualities of mankind concerning how men live together in peace & unity that felicity in life aims for
    • No such thing as “highest aim” or “greatest good”
    • Felicity is progress of desire from one object to another
      • Goal is to assure one’s desires forever
      • Voluntary actions & inclinations tend to procure & assure a contented life
    • May vary because men’s desires & passions vary
  • General inclination is increasing power as men can’t assure power without increasing it
    • Kings assure power by laws, wars, fame, conquest, admiration
    • Competition for wealth & honor leads to conflict & death
      • Desire for ease & fear of death, desire for honor, peace & leisure makes people obey power
      • Desire for praise & fame makes people do laudable actions
  • When a man receives more benefits than he can repay, he develops a false love & a secret hatred because he obliged to his benefactor& obligation is a form of slavery
    • If it can be returned, it is a genuine love
  • When a man hurts another more than he can be pardoned for, he hates the sufferer because he consults others wiser than him to improve his situation
    • Vainglorious men are more likely to be rash & less likely to see out safety
      • Also ambitious in government because they seek honor for their wisdom, which is why eloquent men look for glory in government – because their words make them look wise
    • Pusillanimous men aren’t resolute & miss out on good opportunities to act – they deliberate too much
  • Ignorance – makes men rely on others’ advice & authority
    • Lack of understanding makes them vulnerable to being fed a load of bullshit & accepting it as fact
      • They can’t distinguish between many individual actions & one action done by the whole
    • Ignorance of the foundation of laws & justice makes a man rely heavily on custom & examples/precedents
      • They switch between reason & custom as their interests require, & right & wrong are perpetually disputed
        • Makes men attribute all events to immediate & instrumental causes – the ones they can perceive
    • Ignorance of natural causes makes men believe in impossibilities & not believe in true but hidden causes
  • Curiosity causes men to attribute the unknown to God
    • Even though they fear the unknown, to them, it’s from God & they don’t look any further into it
      • Seeds of religion & superstition – very powerful

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