So I just finished reading from Hobbes. (I see why it’s called Leviathan now!) Although it was difficult to get past the first 40 pages of definitions, there were some things about what Hobbes had to say about commonwealths that struck me.
What most interested me is that Hobbes seems to argue that in the absence of commonwealth, concepts such as justice and the like don’t apply. Hobbes says: “Where there is no common power, there is no law, where no law, no injustice” It’s difficult to explain, but I find myself opposed to that assertion, as I find myself opposed to many other assertions made in the portion of the book that I’ve read.
I guess what I’m wondering is: where are the morals here?What role do morals play in determining justice? I find myself connecting justice and morals in a way that defines “justice” in a little bit of a different way that Hobbes does. I have a hard time separating morals from justice and/or injustice, whereas Hobbes treats them as entirely separate. If I was a wanderer, completely separate from any commonwealth, my actions, according to Hobbes, cannot be unjust, but I still feel as though I would view them as unjust due to morals.
One of the other things that struck me, is that Hobbes tends to see issues in black and white, so to speak. There’s either war or peace, justice or injustice, love or hate, honour or dishonour, etc. There seems to be no middle ground in such issues, which is not the way I’ve seen the world in my experience. I would tend to see a middle ground in a lot of these issues such as war and peace. So, in trying so hard to define the world, does Hobbes overlook a middle ground, or am I seeing a middle ground where it really doesn’t exist?
Is Hobbes writing as he does, and using the definitions he does only to describe concepts in relation to commonwealths, or is he trying to also describe the human condition? If so, is he doing it justice?