Thomas Hobbes (2)

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  • Thomas Hobbes
    • The Social Contract
      • Way out of the state of nature
      • Each must agree to hand over their right of nature to the sovereign with the right and power to enforce peace
      • People are now subjects in a 'commonwealth'.
      • Contract is between individual and right bearers, not directly the sovereign
    • The Sovereign
      • The sovereign is an office. an artificial creation of the people
      • Represents the people
      • Power is unlimited and undivided
      • Interprets and applies laws of nature
      • Sovereign can be multiple or a singular person
      • Hobbes thought a monarch was the most effective
    • Sovereign Rights and Duties
      • Rights: Choose own successor, control education
        • Rules about ownership and distribution of property
        • War and peace, source of justice, tax
      • Duties: To secure own survival and protect subjects
        • Refrain from peace threatening policies
    • Subjects Rights and Duties
      • Rights: Have only those rights granted by the sovereign
        • Unless sovereign fails to protect them. Can revert to rights of nature
        • No right of rebellion or civil disobedience
      • Duties: Obedience to an effective sovereign and his laws
        • Unless he attacks them etc. the sovereigns actions are irrelevant to disobedience
    • Some objections to Hobbes
      • 'A Hypothetical contract is no contract at all'
        • How can a contract we have not actually made affect our rights?
      • The 'communitarian criticism'.
        • Is his account excessively individualistic
          • 'Family bonds seem more artificial than natural contracts forged on the basis of protection
      • Excessively thin moral outlook?
      • When to rebel?
        • At what point do threats become serious enough?


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