Hobbesian Theory, Part 4 to blupete's Essay
"On Property Rights"
Thomas Hobbes wrote a book, which he called the Leviathan, a treatise on the origin and ends of government. While I deal with Hobbes and his work elsewhere, I am obliged to say a few words at this place. Leviathan was written during the time of the Puritan Commonwealth, and was a defence to "secular monarchy." To Hobbes "Good" and "evil" are inconstant names applied haphazardly by different people depending on what might attract or repel them. This egotistical psychology, according to the theory, made the life of man in a pre-social state of nature, "nasty, brutish and short, a constant war of everyman with everyman." Hobbes then draws an inference or comes to a conclusion which does not follow from the premise: non sequitur. Somehow, man -- nasty, brutish and unrational, as Hobbes thought he might have been -- became rational and enlightened, such that he put himself under government. Thus, for our purposes here, it is important to understand Hobbes' view that the first principle of human behavior was egoism, or self-interest; and it was this egoism, that was the root of all social conflict. Hobbes had a nauseating view of man in his natural state (a state which, I should mention in passing, lasted millions of years); men were no better, seemingly worse, than a bunch of animals.
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