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2.13 Hobbes

In the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes (Westport, Ireland, 1588 – Hardwick Hall, Great Britain, 1679) we find the coexistence of ideas in my opinion very mature, along with others that instead prove rather crude. Let’s start by knowing those that show maturity.
First of all he is an anti-metaphysical; he wishes to specify that words are nothing more than human conventions, although he does not deny the possible existence of a supernatural world, which however must not be exploited to enslave people. He then warns us that there is no ultimate goal in the present life: man never ceases to desire, even after having obtained what he wanted. The maximum of goods is progressing without impediment towards ever new ends. In an attempt to explain the structure of the world, he adopts the Cartesian rationalism; from here he deduces, however, that there is no free will. The problems and contradictions arise from the moment when he establishes that even political questions must be faced with mathematical or geometric criteria, such as those of addition and subtraction. And here we come to the crudest ideas.
His affirmation, taken up by Plautus (250-184 BC), homo homini lupus, which means that every man is a wolf towards the other man, remains famous; that is, man is fundamentally bad, selfish, led to make war against the other. Here Hobbes resembles Machiavelli. But this is due, according to Hobbes, not to a mischievousness of a responsible soul, but to the structure with which we are formed: it is therefore not something of which we can be blamed, but precisely our constitutive being. Starting from this conception, he states that the only way to make a state formed by wolves is to apply the most exaggerated absolutism; for example, according to Hobbes, the absolute monarch or emperor must not only have full powers, but must not be obliged to observe any law, to which citizens must instead submit; he must not be prosecutable; a thing will be good or bad not for how it can be evaluated, but simply based on how the sovereign has decided; having power over everything, he must also have power over the Church and will also decide how we will have to interpret any word from the Bible. Thanks to this totality of powers, according to Hobbes all disputes, discords will be eliminated from the state and finally peace will reign. This is the “social pact” in Hobbes’ philosophy: it consists in the subjects’ decision to submit to the absolute sovereign, who however will be above that pact. Actually, Hobbes also lists 20 rules, which he calls “laws of nature”, which express common sense and a pursuit of respect; however, it is precisely for this reason that his thought is in many ways also contradictory.

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