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Part 1: Of Man 1-16 
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Post Part 1: Of Man 1-16
The First Part:

Of Man



Included:

Introduction
1. Of Sense.
2. Of Imagination.
3. Of the Consequence or Train of Imaginations.
4. Of Speech
5. Of Reason and Science.
6. Of the Interiour Beginnings of Voluntary Motions, commonly called the Passions; And the Speeches by which they are expressed.
7. Of the Ends or Resolutions of Discourse.
8. Of the Vertues, commonly called Intellectual, and their contrary Defects.
9. Of the Severall Subjects of Knowledge.
10. Of Power, Worth, Dignity, Honour, and Worthinesse.
11. Of the Difference of Manners.
12. Of Religion.
13. Of the Naturall Condition of Mankind as concerning their Felicity and Misery.
14. Of the first and second Naturall Lawes, and of Contract.
15. Of other Lawes of Nature.
16. Of Persons, Authors, and things Personated.



Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:33 am
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Post Re: Part 1: Of Man 1-16
Well I got to chapter 13, and still can make no sense of it. But this has helped with chapter 1
http://josephnobles.wordpress.com/2006/ ... chapter-1/


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Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:35 am
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Post Re: Part 1: Of Man 1-16
Wow. Go ahead and post some thoughts on what you've read! :)

I read that webpage. I've read elsewhere that passages in the book are a direct assault on philosophies - natural or otherwise. Aristotle in his Politics, I believe, echoed Plato in that our perceptions are flawed reality. I don't know what he said in his metaphysics but from what I heard, most of what is in that book is bunk. I think Aristotle needs to be forgiven though because of that period's lack of scientific tools of inquiry such as microscopes and so on. Besides, he was in a transitional period from a time when men reached truth through irrefutable discussion rather than irrefutable observed fact by controlled experimentation.

We have an attack on not only ideas themselves but on this culture's propensity to hold on to one idea while excluding all others - new or old. This is dangerous when truth is the goal. When Hobbes' refers to Christendom and its reliance on Aristotle - he's writing this in the 17th century! Aristotle died in the 4th century BC!!!



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Post Re: Part 1: Of Man 1-16
Suggestions from Dr. Steven Smith:

"A lot can be done simply with Hobbes’s Introduction to Leviathan (what does he mean by nature? How does the creation of a commonwealth imitate God’s creation? Why is the commonwealth described as an “artificial” body? What conception of human nature is being offered here?)

Chapter 13: the state of nature. Why is the state of nature a condition of war? What does he mean by war (this is more complicated than it might appear)? Why does TH believe this? What evidence does he provide?

Chapter 14: what is a law of nature? TH calls the pursuit of peace the first and fundamental law of nature. If the state of nature is a state of war, how does it come about that anyone should ever trust anyone enough to pursue peace? TH compares his first law of nature to the rule of Gospels. Is the law of nature based in religion?"



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Post Re: Part 1: Of Man 1-16
I thought it interesting that he claims that all thought comes from the senses. So if we had no sight, sound, touch, smell, etc? we would have no thoughts? But apparently not, because the workings of our body also cause sensations, and that our thoughts are actually clearer in dreams, because we are unaware of external stimulii. Except of course, we are. Am I making the tiniest bit of sense?


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Mon Jan 02, 2012 4:14 am
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Post Re: Part 1: Of Man 1-16
You're making perfect sense! I have just begun the book but I want to toss out there an idea that maybe he means that all knowledge is gained by way of the senses and so the reality that we know is only our own perception of it - and not the whole picture or 'truth'.

I feel like I've heard the dream thing before... sounds extremely Greek.

Dreams, it seems to me, are also products of the inputs we've received via our sensory perception organs of touch, sight, taste, smell, hearing. These mingle with our emotions such as desires or fears and the mind explores possibilities. Maybe what he means is that because we are not inundated with inputs - such as now... I'm watching myself type this; I'm listening to the news; my coffee smells and tastes good; and I'm conscious of my clothes on my body, the keys as I punch them, and so on... we can think more clearly. When we sleep, we're possibly more detached from our senses and are able to concentrate?

That we can think clearer in dreams doesn't make much sense, though, in the grand scheme of things if all we know is false because our sensory organs have failed to deliver us an accurate account of reality.



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Post Re: Part 1: Of Man 1-16
I'm going to tangle myself up in knots. Aren't used to discussing philosophical issues! But actually, when you think about it, a lot of people who have a problem to solve decide to stop fretting about it, and just 'sleep on it'. Whcih brings me to something else I often wonder about - is it possible to think without thoughts? Or at least conscious thought? I must say, that on the second reading of the first part, he is starting to make more sense, once you get used to the weird spelling, etc.
Hobbes also has interesting things to say about speech. He bel;ieves that 'without words, there is no possibility of reckoning of Numbers;'. I don't think that can be - because mathematics is in itself a language


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Post Re: Part 1: Of Man 1-16
It seems that Hobbes is saying in the beginning that all men are in a state of war with all other men, or were in a state of war until a commonwealth (government) was created. My question is how was it possible to create a commonwealth in the midst of a war of essentially everyone against everyone. He seems to be discounting (and this is not something I am sure of) something I have always thought that man is fundimentally a social animal. At what point and how these warring parties decided it would be in their best interest to cooperate with others is unclear. How could language ever have been created with a constant state of war of everyman against everyman? I can see how groups of men (tribes/clans etc) could create a language and a commonwealth (government), individual men could create a language, but it would be ineffective until they were able to teach it to others. I hope this makes sense, it seems to me that this war of everyman against everyman is the foundation of what he is trying to build. Looking forward to others thougts.



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Post Re: Part 1: Of Man 1-16
It's a good thing you guys are here.

I felt completely lost with Chapter 1 and I think I understood one or two sentences in Chapter 2. After reading your posts and skimming back over the chapters I think I now have at least a hint of what he's talking about.

I follow the theory of dreams being closer to reality due to the lack of confusing input from the senses. But isn't it having had the experience of sensations, and therefor the memory of sensations, that allows us to dream in the first place? I saw something the other day, I think it was on an Arizona Iced Tea cap, that every face you see in a dream is a face that you have once seen in reality and it has been implanted in your memory. If that's the case, and I really can't believe I'm citing the Arizona Ice Tea bottle when we're talking about Hobbes, then wouldn't that imply that we are incapable of imagining a human face that we have never seen in reality? Would Hobbes agree with that?

Heledd, I found that part about the mathematics and words interesting also. It seems to me that it conflicts with one of the basic tenets of mathematics which is that it is a universal truth. No matter where you are in the universe, whether you know it or not, whether you can put it in words or not, one plus one equals two. At least that's the best of my elemental understanding of mathematics. Is that not the case?


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Post Re: Part 1: Of Man 1-16
I'm just starting the section called OF MAN. Hobbes talks about the "body politic," using the metaphor of a human body to represent the Commonwealth. "Nature (the art whereby God hath made and governs the world) is by the art of man, as in many other things, so in this also imitated, that it can make an artificial animal." (pg. 7 of the Oxford edition). He goes on to identify the parts of the "artificial man." The sovereignty he sees as the soul, the magistrates and other officers as the joints, etc. Thus, Hobbes appeals to a sense of order which was being sought during this time of great political unrest when he wrote Leviathan.

Anyway, this metaphor of the body politic reminds me of the Great Chain of Being, a concept that was probably well known during this time. The basis for the Chain comes from the Greeks who supposed that existence is better than non-existence and over time this idea evolved into a hierarchal chain of being—God, the Supreme being, at the very top, on down to humans and animals and, finally, to lifeless matter, such as rocks and dirt (the nearly non-existent). Christians, of course, latched on to the idea to justify their own political hierarchy and gave humans a special place somewhere in the middle of this hierarchal chain, above the animals, but below angels.

Image

Everything has a place on the Great Chain of Being. For example, in the animal kingdom the lion is more noble than the dog, the dog more noble than the chicken, and so on. Among metals, gold was noblest and stood highest. Under the human hierarchy, the king is noblest and stood highest.

Similarly, it was supposed that the man stands at the head of the family, the woman and children under him. Just as a king ruled his subjects, the parent ruled the child, and the sun governed the planets.

So, you can definitely see vestiges of the Great Chain in Hobbes' Leviathan.

By the way, it may help to think of Leviathan as a scientific text at a time when the science wasn't very advanced. But I think Hobbes' instincts about the nature of Man and our state of war is mostly compatible with modern science. I'm seeing some amazing parallels to Dawkins' The Selfish Gene here. For example, Hobbes will go into the idea that even in our warlike state, we give special consideration to relatives. We now have a better understanding, or at least some plausible theories (gene-centrism and kin selection), that explains this apparent altruism. So I think Hobbes was right about a lot of things, even if he was right for the wrong reasons. Of course, he was right for the right reasons too. In Chapter I, he talks about the propensity of objects to stay in motion, anticipating Newton's laws of motions. "When a thing is in motion, it will eternally be in motion, unless somewhat else stay it." (pg. 10).

One last random comment. Hobbes uses the term "fancy" to mean sensing something, not wanting it. This was tripping me up at first. All of our perceptions are derived from the senses and that process is internal. Thus, when we see, or smell, or hear an object, we fancy it. It is the person's internal experience of an external object.


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Post Re: Part 1: Of Man 1-16
My Impression of the Intro:

I also read in the introduction the analogy of people as being like springs and cogs of a watch. Hobbes describes the state as an artificial man composed of citizens. The laws and equity are this being's artificial reason and will, and the wealth and riches of all the particular members are its strength. The Leviathan is born when men enter into the social contract.

Geo, that's a very interesting argument. I got a similar impression that you did from the Introduction but not to the degree you suggest. Although Hobbes was living in exile with King Charles II at the time he probably wrote this and was most likely written for his benefit, I don't think such a rigid hierarchical or Monarchic system is yet to be so firmly established. The degree of participation in government and law making, distribution of wealth, who rules and when, is not discussed. This can still be a rule and be ruled system.

That Man creates Leviathan for Man, is to exclude Divine right - a very important aspect of the Royalist argument.

Going back to the beginning of the Intro, I got the feeling from Hobbes' use of the word Automata and likening our existence within government to the inner workings of a machine to be rather dehumanizing. If we think in this way, which is the best or most noble part? If one gear or spring breaks, the mechanism ceases to function and is dead - Leviathan no more. There isn't a great organizer here. There is team effort... and he talks of a nation of laws yet fails to assign law making power.


I seemed to linger on this line for a while: "And though by mens actions wee do discover their designe sometimes; yet to do it without comparing them with their own, and distinguishing all circumstances, by which the case may come to be altered, is to decypher without a key, and be for the most part deceived, by too much trust, or by too much diffidence; as he that reads, is himself a good or evil man."

I still am very concerned by this statement. I tried to pick it apart a little and what I ultimately got was that it is an attack on people with book learning and no practical experience and possibly no right to it. I reached this opinion after thinking about:

1. man as an inadequate judge of himself
2. it's truly impossible to know another man's motives, reasoning, or goals but it's possible to gain a clearer idea through empathy and consideration of their circumstances
3. man's tendency to stereotype
4. Man's adaptation of instinctive behavior or threat aversion, and ability to recognize/relate/puzzle solve... and our laziness to want to reach conclusions quickly and move on.
5. If man is a bad judge of other men, how can one man be an adequate judge of man-kind?



Heledd: Hobbes and Descartes both accepted the sceptic's argument that we can have no direct and truthful experience of the external world. All we can perceive is the internal activity of our own brain (Tuck, 1992). Both dreams and perceptions are caused by the motion of external bodies. "Is it possible to think without thoughts?" Without these experiences of the motion of external bodies? I think that... yes, but you'd probably have nothing to think about beyond your emotions and desires (like hunger).



CW: "I follow the theory of dreams being closer to reality due to the lack of confusing input from the senses. But isn't it having had the experience of sensations, and therefor the memory of sensations, that allows us to dream in the first place?"

I agree with both statements. Limiting inputs helps us to think more clearly. Our flawed perceptions are what we dream about. We dream about our flawed perceptions more clearly when we're dreaming.

Your question about the dream is awkward. You asked if we are capable of imagining - not our ability to imagine or create while dreaming. I'm going to assume that this is what you meant. That the question is: Are we capable of creating an imaginary external body in a dream that we have not experienced while awake? And.... I have no idea. :D I'll ask someone and get back to you. I'll also ask if we have the ability to imagine at all.

I agree about the mathematics.


Dave: give me time to catch up and I'll respond at a later date. Please keep adding your thought on what you've read. That's the easiest way of remembering and then we'll all be able to discuss when we get to it.



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Post Re: Part 1: Of Man 1-16
I emailed some professors regarding the question of imagination but they haven't responded.

This comes from the book: "Wee have no imagination, whereof we have not formerly had sense, in whole, or in parts; so we have no transition from one imagination to another, whereof we never had the life before our sense."


Combining these imaginations into what we think of as imaginations is possible. You can imagine a combination of observed things like a human with a head on top of his head (a double header) because you have seen people and have seen heads. If you have seen a horn, you can then add that horn to your imagination and combine it to your double headed person.

Imagination is tricky here because what we think of as imagination and what Hobbes describes it as are two different things - even my explanations of it have mixed them up in this post. Hobbes' view of imagination is partly inclusive of what we commonly think of it to be. In his strictest definition, though, Hobbes says that imagination is "decaying sense". Therefor you would have to have sensed something to have imagination.

The idea that you can create new imaginations based on sensed imaginations is only briefly touched on through combinations and 'seeking' (if you had an axe - what you could do with that axe).

I probably edited this 10 times so far. I hope I got it right.



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Post Re: Part 1: Of Man 1-16
Hobbes suprised me when he states that whatever we imagine is finite, and that when we try and imagine the incomprehensible and unconceivable, we call it God. Would this have been heresy at the time he wrote? Incidentally, am really enjoying this discussion. Though I have a tendency to think that philosophy should be in the fiction category.


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Post Re: Part 1: Of Man 1-16
That jumped out at me too. My book's notes say that Hobbes added this paragraph later. Such an idea seems rather audacious for the time period, although it helps to remember that this is about 50 years after Shakespeare wrote Hamlet and well into a period called the English Renaissance.

Quote:
Whatsoever we imagine is ‘finite.’ Therefore there is no idea or conception of any thing we call ‘infinite.’ No man can have in his mind an image of infinite magnitude, nor conceive infinite swiftness, infinite time, or infinite force, or infinite power. When we say anything is infinite, we signify only that we are not able to conceive the ends and bounds of the things named; having no conception of the thing, but of our own inability. And therefore the name of God is used, not to make us conceive Him, for He is incomprehensible, and His greatness and power are unconceivable; but that we may honour Him.


I get a sense that Hobbes may have been more inclined to hold his tongue early in the writing of Leviathan than he was later. I think the extent of Hobbes' atheism is a matter of scholarly debate. Certainly his ideas during this time were considered unorthodox and blasphemous. But he's not simply trying to raise the hackles of the religious establishment and he doesn't seem to be an atheist in the modern sense of the word. This paragraph goes along with the idea that all ideas are "fancies" derived from the five senses. It follows that God would be incomprehensible to us being that he exists in an entirely different realm, outside of sensory perception. Hobbes always assumes the existence of God and says here we only name God so as to honor Him.

My book's notes indicate that the 'Whatever we imagine is finite' line is a "potentially devastating argument against making God the subject of any comprehensible or coherent statement whatsoever." (If you've read any of the ongoing religious discussions on BookTalk it seems that Hobbes was right.) If God exists than we would have no way of comprehending him and when we try we only diminish him. My book's notes go on to quote from another Hobbes' work: Thomas White's De mundo examined: ". . . the way in which God understands passes our understanding. Yet, we must believe [that he understands] as faithfully as we believe that he exists."


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Post Re: Part 1: Of Man 1-16
Religion thread has been made.



Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:01 am
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