-The Materialist View of Human Nature
-Instead, he saw human beings as essentially machines, with even their thoughts and emotions operating according to physical laws and chains of cause and effect, action and reaction. As machines, human beings pursue their own self-interest relentlessly, mechanically avoiding pain and pursuing pleasure. Hobbes saw the commonwealth, or society, as a similar machine, larger than the human body and artificial but nevertheless operating according to the laws governing motion and collision.
-Believed that people were wicked,
selfish, and cruel and would act on behalf of
their best interests. "Every man for every
-In other words to define 'human nature' we have to think about what humans would have been like before society.
- natural man would be roving individuals; there would be no permanent relationships, but a "loose companionship"; there would be no love, no family, no morality, and no property; people would be free, but without knowledge, language, morality, or industry - they would be neither moral nor vicious: in a word - "innocent". (Berki)
-For Rousseau, then, the 'savage' in the state of nature was not selfish (as in Hobbes) nor even rational (as in Locke) - for these abilities, he argued, arose as a result of our interaction with others, and especially in 'civilisation'.
Rousseau's view of human nature (before society changes it) is that we all have two natural (pre-social) sentiments or feelings (sensibilité). Again, and most importantly, unlike the other Enlightenment thinkers, Rousseau does not attribute reasoning powers to us as 'natural' or pre-social... We have feelings first, and he identifies two such sentiments/feelings: amour de soi, and pitié:
-Thus the basic social contract of the commonwealth must vest power in one central, sovereign authority, with power to punish those who break the contract. Under the rule of the sovereign, men are impelled, by fear, to keep the commonwealth functioning smoothly.
-if viewed as a person, the soul is the concept of soverignty and the soverign himself is the person's head
-This artificial person, representing the state in its totality, is called the Leviathan
- Desiring to escape the state of the nature through contract, all persons erect a common power at the head of their commonwealth, whether one man or an assembly, and agree to submit to its will to escape fear of each other. The sovereign is charged with doing whatever necessary to defend the commonwealth.
-Commonwealths can be formed in two ways: through institution, or agreement; and through acquisition, or force.
-There are three possible forms of sovereign authority created by contract: monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy. Of these, Hobbes proclaims that monarchy is the best because it offers the greatest consistency and lowest potential for conflict, limiting the decision-making body to one.
-He also points out "birth defects" by which the Leviathan may be a dysfunctional body. The possible scenarios by which the Leviathan may be doomed and unhealthy include the sovereign lacking absolute power, subjects maintaining faith in the supernatural rather than submitting to the learned doctrine of the sovereign, matters of good and evil being decided by individuals rather than civil law, and civil and religious authority being divided and under different powers and imitating the governments of the Greeks and Romans.
-A healthy and stable commonwealth depends on absolute respect and abeyance of the one sovereign's will.
-therefore, as when there is a controversy in an account, the parties must by their own accord, set up for right Reason, the Reason of some Arbitrator, or Judge, to whose sentence they will both stand, or their controversy must either come to blows, or be undecided, for want of a right Reason constituted by Nature; and so it is also in all debates of what kind soever."
-Hobbes points out that there is no "right Reason constituted by Nature," again noting the ineffectiveness of employing nature as the foundation of knowledge. He also points out that the judge who will settle definitions--the definitions upon which everyone agrees to agree--is appointed by the participants "by their own accord." It is this judge (eventually revealed as "the sovereign" in Chapter 18) who then becomes the needed foundation of all knowledge.
-The process of science, Hobbes says, is reason, and "Reason . . . is nothing but Reckoning (that is, Adding and Subtracting) of the Consequences of generall names agreed upon."
-Each step of the reasoning process must itself be secure in its claims, like a carefully wrought object of perfect integrity: "The Use and End of Reason, is not the finding of the summe, and truth of one, or a few consequences, remote from the first definitions, and settled signification of names; but to begin at these; and proceed from one consequence to another. For there can be no certainty of the last Conclusion, without a certainty of all those Affirmation and Negations, on which it was grounded, and inferred." From this mathematical process of philosophical reasoning, with its language of arithmetic and its geometric accretion of consequences and conclusions, one arrives at proper science: "Reason is . . . attayned by Industry; first in apt imposing of Names; and secondly by getting a good and orderly Method in proceeding from the Elements, which are Names, to Assertions made by Connexion of one of them to another; and so to Syllogismes, which are the Connexions of one Assertion to another, till we come to a knowledge of all the Consequences of names appertaining to the subject in hand; and that is it, men call SCIENCE."
-Reason involves the logical relationships among defined terms. That is what Hobbes said in chapter five. Note also that there are no examples of practical reasoning, reasoning that concludes in action or a desire for action.
-Reason is identified by its output. Someone who desires self-preservation is rational; someone who doesn't is not.
-Man is by nature free, no one can be stripped of their freedom without their consent. This natural state of liberty is not a state of license.
-the natural state of man is a "state of perfect freedom" to order their actions and dispose of their possessions and persons as they see fit within the laws of nature
-He notes, however, that this liberty does not equal license to abuse others, and that natural law exists even in the state of nature.
-Locke starts Chapter 4 by defining natural liberty as a person's right to be ruled solely by the laws of nature, and social liberty as the right to be under no legislative power other than that founded by the consent of the commonwealth, functioning for the commonwealth's benefit.
-Locke disputes Filmer's definition of freedom, which states that all men can do what they want and not be subject to any laws. Under a government, freedom is actually characterized by a common law that all men are subject to; men retain their autonomy and free will as long as they do not violate the accepted law, and the authority should not act arbitrarily, erratically, or imprecisely.
-Locke starts off by defining war as a state of "enmity and destruction" brought about by one person's pre-meditated attempts upon another's life.
-State of nature and state of war not the same
-The state of nature involves people living together, governed by reason, without a common superior, whereas the state of war occurs when people make designs of force upon other people, without a common authority. In this case, the attacked party has a right to war. Want of a common judge or authority is the defining characteristic of the state of nature; force without right is adequate basis for the state of war.
-The difference between war in Society and war in Nature depends on when they conclude. In Society, war ends when the "actual force is over," because both parties can then resort to the common authorities for arbitration of past wrongs. In Nature, war does not end until the aggressive party offers peace and reparations for the damage done; until then, the innocent party has a right to try to destroy the aggressor. Locke notes that in the presence of a common authority that fails to act justly, the only possible state is a state of war, because the arbitrating power in place to stop war is itself in violation of the laws of nature and justice. Locke ends the chapter by noting that one of the major reasons people enter into society is to avoid the state of war, for the presence of a supreme power limits the necessity for war and increases stability and security.
-Locke bases his ideas about slavery on the idea that freedom from arbitrary, absolute power is so fundamental that, even if one sought to, one could not relinquish it; it is therefore impossible for one to enlist into slavery voluntarily. The only possible state of slavery is the extension of the state of war, between a lawful conqueror and a captive, when the captive has been forced into obedience. Locke notes that even in Exodus, the Jews did not sell themselves into slavery, but simply into drudgery, for their masters did not have full power over their lives, and therefore, did not have full control over their liberty.
-Slavery is no more than a state of war between a conqueror with absolute power and the conquered. The conqueror and the conquered can agree to form a compact where the conqueror accedes to limited rule and the conquered promises obedience; in this case, the state of war and slavery are over.
-legitimate gov is based on the idea of speration of powers
-legislative power as supreme in having ulitate authority over how the force for the commonwealth shall be employed; The legislature is still bound by the law of nature and much of what it does is set down laws that further the goals of natural law and specify appropriate punishments for them
-Executive power = charged with enforcing the law as it is applied in specific cases.
-Federative power = the right to act internationally according to the law of nature. Since countries are still in the state of nature with respect to each other, they must follow the dictates of natural law and can punish one another for violations of that law in order to protect the rights of their citizens.
- Moreover, Locke thinks that it is possible for multiple institutions to share the same power; for example, the legislative power in his day was shared by the House of Commons, the House of Lords, and the King. Since all three needed to agree for something to become law, all three are part of the legislative power ( 1.151). He also thinks that the federative power and the executive power are normally placed in the hands of the executive, so it is possible for the same person to exercise more than one power (or function). There is, therefore, no one to one correspondence between powers and institutions.
-The concept of an "appeal to heaven" is an important concept in Locke's thought. Locke assumes that people, when they leave the state of nature, create a government with some sort of constitution that specifies which entities are entitled to exercise which powers. Locke also assumes that these powers will be used to protect the rights of the people and to promote the public good. In cases where there is a dispute between the people and the government about whether the government is fulfilling its obligations, there is no higher human authority to which one can appeal. The only appeal left, for Locke, is the appeal to God. The "appeal to heaven," therefore, involves taking up arms against your opponent and letting God judge who is in the right.
-the legislators ends should be preserving freedom and equality
-ensures that the law supports the preservation of the state
-Because the populace often does not know how to pursue the common good, Rousseau asserts that there must be a guide to help the people in making the law. This guide, who Rousseau calls the "legislator," ensures that the law supports the preservation of the state. The legislator protects the law from being manipulated by private wills, and also aids the people in weighing the short-term benefits of a decision against its long-term costs. The legislator must thus be an extraordinary person in many respects. He must be extremely intelligent and able to resist the passions of the people while still taking an interest in their happiness. He must also be able to consider the present and future when making the law. The legislator is in a position to transform human nature, to substitute a moral existence for a physical one in the state of nature, and to strengthen the power of the state. Although the legislator is of a superior intellect, the people must approve his proposals before they become laws. The people cannot give up this legislative right, because only the general will can bind private individuals.
Because sovereignty remains with the people, the legislator must make the law comprehensible to the masses and must compel the people to obey the law without using violence. For this reason, lawgivers throughout history have referred to a divine authority to persuade people to support the law. Rousseau claims that religion and politics do not have the same purpose, but that in the beginning stages of a nation, religion can serve as a powerful political tool.
-People in democratic nations love equality much more than liberty. The most perfect form of equality requires complete freedom. Yet imperfect equality can allow for great despotism. Equality is so deeply ingrained in laws, social conditions, mores, habits and opinions that destroying it would be extremely difficult. Political liberty, on the other hand, is easily lost. In addition, the dangers of liberty are immediate and easy to see, but the dangers of equality are subtle and visible only in the long run. Conversely, the benefits of liberty can only be seen over time and exercising liberty requires sacrifice, while the advantages of equality are felt immediately and easy to obtain. In most modern nations, equality preceded liberty, and it is a more deep-seated passion. As a result, democratic peoples want equality even if it means losing liberty. - Natural Right is established on the principles of pity and self- preservation because for Rousseau they are the most basic impulses that exist in men independent of society.
-Natural right is very often linked to natural law. To many thinkers, natural rights are the claims or entitlements we have by virtue of being rational beings. We can have a natural right to do or to have something, such as the right to protect our own lives. The problem with such a definition, Rousseau argues, is that it emphasizes the role of reason, which may be a recent development. Instead, Rousseau founds his idea of natural right on the principles of pity and self-preservation, which, he claims, existed before reason. One of the aims of the reconstruction of human nature that Rousseau offers is to show that an idea of natural right was possible before man became social and created political institutions, and thus he claims that the state of nature was not the terrible place that some suggest. See pity, self-preservation, and natural law.