Hobbes’s Leviathan – Chapters XI-XVI Options Menu: Forum

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These discussion questions are meant to serve as jumping-off points for wider conversation about the issues and questions raised in the text.

In this week’s reading, you’ve been introduced to the Hobbesian account of the state of nature and the natural law. You’ve already seen St. Thomas’s presentation of the natural law. Does the Hobbesian state of nature teaching necessarily follow from the physics and psychology he had previously discussed?
Do you think Hobbes is right that the state of pre-political/non-political society is a “war of all against all”? Is human life without effective government just “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”?
What do you make of Hobbes’s arguments for equality? How persuasive do you find them? What strengths and weaknesses do you see in them?
Lastly, how does Hobbes understand justice? Do you think he is right? Wrong? Partially both? How and why? Comparing his teaching on justice to the one you saw in Plato’s Republic, who seems to offer a more persuasive account of justice? Why?

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