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Old 12-04-2004, 05:23 AM
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Well, actually it took some time because I ended up reading Locke for a few hours. Semi- colon galore! Spend one full stop, get fifty commas for free! Don't get me wrong, though. I enjoy deliberating on nonsense like this immensely.
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And I think Hobbes is a fool cause people are not all born greedy and selfish and will kil each other without a government. Actually the declaration of Independance actually agrees more with Locke than with Hobbes.
I don't know. To be honest, I've never thought about just exactly what Hobbes would've added to the declaration of independence that Locke didn't provide perfectly well on his own. Even if I keep seeing the founding fathers reading Hobbes' explanation about children: 'none can be so selfish and with such disregard for their own or other's safety in their desire to aquire than them; who did they learn that from?'. Then the founding fathers glance comprehensively at the map of the federation and then spontaneously agree that perhaps there is something to Hobbes natural state after all.

But one thing is that even if Hobbes says that man in his natural state will drive himself to destruction, or something similar, he will choose this point as the outset for his analysis on how government should work for a reason. Bleak, but accurate, some would say about his observation. Accurate, and strictly observed from reality I believe Hobbes would've said. So where he differs from Locke is that he is not motivated in his reasoning by presuming some unknown or abstract, "all people wish to be good", but a real situation. Why is this? He seems to agree with Locke that initially, man is born free and independent, so why would he base his outset on catastrophe rather than, say, optimism?

Hobbes mechanical world- view is the answer to that. He must admit that his hopes for a stable government and so on is born out of what he can see. Feelings and desires, he would say, are no doubt a result of what is observable. In fact, as only the senses can pick up impulses, the influences from outside always shape our ideas. Not the other way around, for instance. So it is no coincidence that the start of Hobbes' analysis is the war- state rather than the free and independent natural state. This is what he can see. After numerous civil wars, the removal of the Stuarts and the ensuing military rule, no huge effort would be needed to envision the natural state as a state of war. Strangely, there is some controversy about this. Some books, and some people clearly state that Hobbes invent the "natural state", and therefore claim that Hobbes' natural state and consequently his theory is of the same nature as the one Locke has. Isolated, this is correct, but the difference is where the influence initially comes from and what that means. In this sense, Hobbes' natural state is not invented as much as observed. Locke had greater difficulties with being absolutely certain that his ideas and experiences were all real.

From this outset Hobbes then conducts what some rabid admirerers (oops) would call a sobering chain of reasoning, and that it is 'as real as any mathematical proof'. It is in fact impressive how persistent and analytical Hobbes is, but from the previous point it is possible to discern just exactly what basis Hobbes is working from. Since he is only responding to outer influence to his senses, it is therefore inevitable that his motion of reasoning is reflecting real phenomena. Ultimately, due to his mechanical world- view, his solutions are absolute, as is the mechanisms he describes: ethical as moral, political and physical issues - there is no room for dischord. The trade- off(if my old teacher sees this, I'm going to get lynched), is that the world in general does not have any room for disagreement either. It is determined.. Hobbes believed that there was such a thing as God's will with everything, and he thought so very thoroughly.

I won't dare to guess at what ideas the founding fathers extracted from Hobbes, though. But passages from Hobbes' analysis, sober and accurate as it is, might've been scavenged at least.

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Old 12-04-2004, 12:12 PM
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I say hobbes made up a bunch of crap just to get famous. Locke's theory makes sense but in reality. He is also wrong. There are always some good people and there are always some bad people that are born. So I say both are right, or both are wrong. There should be another philosope who should be in the middle of Hobbes and Locke that believes that people are both evil and both kind and all. Because that is true. And it also depends on the situation. For example, some people become cruel even if they were born not like that. And some people born cruel and selfish become kind and caring afterwards. That is what I believe.
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Old 12-06-2004, 07:26 AM
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I say hobbes made up a bunch of crap just to get famous.
Well, it's possible. His works did not become widely appreciated in his time, though. He seems to have aimed for a middle ground between the two parties in England, but ended up pissing them both off. On the one hand he argues for the absolutist rule, but on the other hand he appreciates that this must be the people's choice. So, he would not please the anti- royalists, and he would not please the anglican church by his denying of the divine rule of the Kings. As far as I know, ever the reconciler as some call him, died a bitter man. He defended his mechanical world- view to the last, though. There apparently was a meaning with that too.
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There should be another philosope who should be in the middle of Hobbes and Locke that believes that people are both evil and both kind and all. Because that is true.
It is. About now, we would be sightseeing the quagmire the empiricists all had problems with escaping. Given the theory of the "blank slate" that the empiricists all held(whether Locke is an empiricist is questionable to a certain extent, btw. Both Hobbes and Locke, as well as Hume, Berkeley and Bacon would hold this belief to a certain extent, and would be branded together because of this. Their individual works should not be branded like that, though. They all have their own way of looking at it and "solving" the "problem".), evil and good are both very questionable terms. Because, if a human simply is the product of his experiences, how will he know if what he has been taught is good, or evil? What point is there in believing that it is in fact possible for every person to percieve the world in the same manner, as the empiricists' belief would seem prove, when we cannot ultimately trust anything else than that it is our experiences which dictate whether we see an act as good or bad? For instance, would it not be possible that a person's well thought out and righteous belief is nothing more to another than an elaborate ploy to exploit someone? Is it inevitable that such clashes exist? Is it inevitable that there is nothing but complete subjectivity? Several philosophers, before as well as after the british empiricists, would not accept this. Or, perhaps, grudgingly accept it anyway. Locke, for instance would in the end take a good look at his theories and possibly accept the notion that there exists such things as ideas that all people are born with. It may even be possible to suggest that Locke was not content with his initial theories and rather tried to disprove them than defend them (that is, while still saving the methaphysical, or without giving up the idea that there is, in fact, real knowledge of course. A problem worthy of a lifetime of thought, no doubt).

David Hume goes a few steps further. He says, there is no such thing as objective truth. He says, all right, maybe there exists an objective world, but there is no way to tell that. How could we, he argues, it is perfectly possible for man to percieve of such a thing as "God", an infinitely wise and good being, without ever witnessing it. He explains this notion by analyzing it down to an idea of wisdom and then of good, which would then be extended to infinity. What about a simpler thing, like a pillow? It is also only a series of simple notions, he would say(probably), soft, good to sleep upon, and so on. Yet, it is not what we see, of course. We know "pillow" and we know "God", rather than what we should've been seeing, if there was any order in the universe. It is, then, inevitable that our "real" notions are nothing but the machinations of the human psyche, and they are proof of the fallibility of our senses, as we now have shown that several notions can be changed from one perception to another. It is out of necessity, Hume says, that "real" terms exist, but they are not real at all, it is a deception.

It is said that in his youth Hume wrote a comprehensive explanation on life, the universe and everything, and he apparently saw that it was good as well as definitively absolute. Soon after, he burned all his papers. We know nothing of them other than that.

Is there anything at all that is certain, then? Of course, says Hume. Mathemathics, for instance. This is because it concerns the relationship between different perceptions, he further argues. Surely the perceptions, after being analyzed and separated properly, can be treated as arbitrary entities. Their relationships must therefore be certain, Hume concludes - oh, and this would also, you know, btw, explain that philosophy is also worthwile, indeed of the highest form of knowledge (Hume would be careful not to state that too loudly, though. Probably he used up his bravado elsewhere). It is in other words only possible to ascertain true knowledge only by that which the operations of thoughts, careful ones at that, are employed. Anyone, says Hume, that would claim to have certain knowledge about the physical, however, is a charlatan.

What would Hume migh have to say about morality, or about free will, then? We're talking about the self-proclaimed saviour of the methaphysical here, after all, obviously he must have something particularly interesting to say: Free will does not exist, says Hume. It is a misconception, a simple desire not to aknowledge the truth, something man never does in favour of what he finds pleasing. The truth is that an action is always followed after another, and that only our fabulous ineptitude at perceiving the world is the reason we cannot see the real chain of events. We are determined then, and not free to make our own choices. Have we no responsibility for our actions, for instance? Of course we do, Hume says, a complete determined chain of events is necessary for us to be compelled to make moral choices. Only then would we feel compelled to choose a responsible course of action. Alas, we cannot have such knowledge, so what is it that guides us? Feelings, says Hume. Desires to do something is the only thing. Our brittle perceptions then lend a hand in deciding what is the proper course in which we seek pleasure and avoid negative emotions.

In this way(well, perhaps not precisely word for word) Hume claims the title of saviour of the metaphysical world, as he explains how philosophy now can say something useful about the world for a change. Others would argue that unfortunately, now the world has become quite useless in return.

But, what is it Hume actually says? That we're automatons indiscriminately seeking to please ourselves, in whatever manner a subjective notion would suggest? It is not necessarily so. Perhaps there is in fact a very carefully thought out philosophy underneath the words that do undoubtedly defy any sense. For instance, to take one single example, free will. Hume says that we can in fact choose what we wish, but at the same time he submits that the world is determined. But is what he is trying to say perhaps that we cannot make moral choices without knowing the consequences and what happened earlier? It is perhaps his idea, then, that with careful analysis, and with the notion of cause and consequence, it might be possible to make responsible, and then ultimately moral decisions? Also, what he at the same time is doing is to insist, contrary to every other theory so far, that morality is not given by a sense of reason, or duty, or some incredible deductive power, or any other power for that matter. It is therefore a view that Hume is making a point that there is nothing but the actions and consequences which make a choice moral or not. Free will, to Hume, would therefore be evil because it is action without concern. In other words, there is no such thing as absolute right and wrong, but then, we do have absolute responsibility for our own actions...

Hume apparently had a lot of trouble because of allegations of atheism. Today most resort to condemning him for sacreliege, that is, referring to how he is using generally known terms.
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And it also depends on the situation. For example, some people become cruel even if they were born not like that. And some people born cruel and selfish become kind and caring afterwards. That is what I believe.
Excellent. Took me years to figure that one out, that it is what I believe that matters. Always remember: the old philosophers are dead, we are not.
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Old 12-30-2004, 07:03 AM
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In my opinion it's even more complicated than that. Not only people can change during life, but people can for example be extremely caring for their children, while at the same time killing and torturing anyone of a different believe, race, etc.

What I wonder about is the "created equal" bit. It is obviously not true (a girl is not a boy, etc.) and it seems like a statement easily abused to postulate some ideal human that we are all (supposed to be) equal to. If not, you are less than human, ...

We know where that leads.

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Old 12-30-2004, 12:15 PM
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I thought they should have been more honest and written "all man are created different... with certain inalienable rights" instead. But then again, that is an ambiguous statement too. There's probably not any easy way around that problem.
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Old 12-31-2004, 06:50 AM
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Much better, everyone the same rights, some of them inalianable, some not, everyone the same influence on deciding the latter.
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Old 01-01-2005, 01:16 PM
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the judeo-christian god
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Old 01-04-2005, 03:26 PM
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Any quote to affirm your statement?
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