I asked my teacher whether or not Hobbes was using a circulatory argument in his opinion, outlining the thoughts I have outlined above combined with some evidence concerning the Leviathans and their bellum omnium contra omnes; which I have left out here because it seems very superfluous.
First off: thanks for at least making a serious argument. I know all the official theories though so I am going to reply to some things in a fairly short way to get back to the point as soon as possible; namely the question if Hobbes uses a circulatory argument. I know I can be ground breaking without any consideration for the feelings of other philosophers so please do not feel discouraged in any way.
I would say the absence of a "rulebase" is the same as the state of nature where men are driven by their passions to act in ways that ultimately frustrate their future well being. The state of nature is not a "rulebase" but the raw material out of which the political philosopher works to bring into being the modern nation-state with its idea of a social contract. So I'm not sure where the locus of this circulatity is found, it appears to me to be a 'development,' a process which fashions a modern state out of raw passion.
I know that this is the way Hobbes is officially explained. I do not agree with it and think it is non-sense. I have a few good reasons for this:
1) Hobbes' state of nature is supposed to be a state in which no rules exist while in his own reasonings a value-based system does exist.
2) A social contract sets itself apart from laws by not being enforced.
3) I agree that Hobbes is describing a process; a development. The development he describes is the one leading from a social contract to a state of laws however. It is a justification of the enforcement of laws from a social contract where freedom exists (<-- unnuanced opinion,gneh).
If I understand it correctly Hobbes is attempting to fashion men's passions into a working order by giving them exactly what they desire. The fundamental premise of his social contract theory is that human beings should not be driven by the higher values of religion and honour but rather the more easily attainable ones of material self-sufficiency. He achieves this by offering men the possibility to satisfy their mortal appetites in the here and now; he replaces, as they say, the city of god with the city of man i.e. the modern nation-state.
I understand and appreciate your point. It was a point often used in ancient Greece (primarily by Aristotle). I hope that besides utalitarianistic
ethics you also know deontology
; or perhaps Kant's categorical imperative
. From these it is clear that when giving people "goals", or when people use "goals" a certain corruption takes place. When acting on the basis of "goals" one tends to disregard people who stand in its way or are otherwise deemed not "good". In this way Hobbes tries to validate the enforment of laws. He claims it is "good" and that people who feel differently should be forced to cooperate. Where the higher reasoning in this takes place I do not know. I do know, however, that the nation-state Hobbes describes is formed by luring people from a social contract into willing slavery by offering a certain "goal". (<-- again nicely unnuaced)
But there are of course two differing state of nature theories: one is Rousseau's and the other belongs principally to Hobbes and Locke. Rousseaus sees man as completed in the state of nature while Hobbes sees him as materially frustrated and in dire need of food and security. And so Hobbes would use the lower impulses, those of hunger and practical gain in order to fashion a workable society. There is no romance in Hobbes but there is selfishness.
I know Rousseau's theories as well as Hobbes'. I think that they are both speaking of the same thing, but in different terms.
1) Rousseau's "State of Origin
" is mentioned by Hobbes; but not addressed.
2) Rousseau's "social contract" is called "State of Nature" by Hobbes.
3) Rousseau's "state"
is called "social contract" by Hobbes.
My argument for the above assesment is that in a "state of origin" (I am using Rousseau's name consciously) no "rulebase" exists and therefore no bellum omnium contra omnes can exist; there being nothing of value to fight over. I realise that a time before value is a hard thing to imagine in actuality because, as you said, people value life. However to value life one needs to value "self" and therefore possess second order logic
. By use of this second order logic the "rulebase" in question has been formed. That constitues the absence of this state of origin.
p.s. The formation of this 2nd order logic is an entirely different discussion (albeit a ery interesting one) and suggests outward forces. If we were to debate it we might like a new topic.
Anyway, there is a clear difference between the condition of man at war with man over scarce resources in the state of nature on the one hand, and man cooperating with man in order to cultivate nature for the satisfaction of selfish desire in the social contract, on the other.
There indeed is a clear difference between the condition of man at war with man over abundant
resources on one hand and man cooperating with eachother to extort some others for selfish reasons. I hope you also see the distinction that I am trying to make and that Hobbes (thinking him a "good" man) did not make.
Not sure if this all helps, but it is obviously an extremely important subject.
I agree wholeheartedly. I would like to stress that this topic to me is not about what is being taught in schools. To me it is about what is real. What is it that Hobbes said, what is it that actually took place and where can we, in actuality, place Hobbes thoughts. My argumentation finds its proof in the fact that certain "rulebases" must have existed for Hobbes to be able to motivate the corruption of man through the selfish "goal" (a.k.a candy on a rope of a child molester). To me this proves that we should place Hobbes' reasoning in a different place altogether.