This text, or the part of it we were assigned, is somewhat of a hit and miss on the readability scale. When it talks about laws and where they originate from, it is engaging and thought-provoking; when it talks about the applications of those laws and their various definitions, it is convoluted and akin to reading a dictionary. I took my time with the former and scanned through the latter at a rate of approximately 7 wps.
Content-wise, Leviathan is a great resource for political scientists. The talk of contracts, rights, and everything in-between is an excellent way of analyzing sociopolitical structures in my opinion, which might not be worth much considering that I’m not a political scientist. However, Hobbes makes two fundamental mistakes (imo) with concern to philosophy; the first I won’t say, but the second is that he is a total environmental determinist. Wait, looking that term up, I see that I’m not applying it correctly, so what I actually mean is that he believes in all nurture and no nature. No, those terms don’t work either…okay, what I truly mean is that Hobbes believes that we only exist in the physical realm. He made this quite clear when he said that dreams are derived from memories, maintaining that we are everything we can sense and nothing more. Now, this basis is perfectly functional when applied to political science, and he shows just how functional it is by deriving the three human laws from it. Many issues arise, however, when he begins to apply them to absolute concepts, which I won’t elaborate on since it would just turn into a convoluted mess. That aside, although I say that his physical determinism is flawed, the fact is that it’s the best mold from which to work out political science, as society itself is, in the end, an illusion. Hobbes does a good job of masking the issue, stating that every human has equal right to all things in existence, is equal to every other human in relation to the world, and are only able to lose that right by willingly forfeiting it. The first two points I agree with, but the third, unfortunately, is both the one most necessary for society and the one most false. For although a truly stable society can only be created through the transferring of rights, a human is not capable (i.e. does not have the right) of giving away their own right. The reason for this lies (1) in the falsehood of physical determinism and (2) in the structure of the space-time continuum. Hobbes masks this contradiction using the most popular way to do so (morality), and although his is certainly one of the best ethic codes I know, it is not…well…I’ll just leave it by saying that I consider moral philosophy an invalid term.