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Hobbes’ Political Philosophy Regarding Human Nature Coursework

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Updated: May 28th, 2022

Hobbes asserts that human beings cannot understand the nature and power of God due to their limited thoughts. However, they can learn about God’s desires for them through dreams and visions. Hobbes gives an example of Marcus Brutus who communicated with God through a vision. Hobbes asserts that human beings can also learn about God through miracles, and he refers to miracles as God’s work (Watkins 27-35). On the same issue, he concludes that not all miracles are true because some of them are just tricks. Therefore, human beings must discern true miracles from false ones in order to understand how God is all-powerful.

Furthermore, Hobbes urges human beings to apply reason as opposed to religion, as a means of understanding God’s abilities and desires. He rejects the idea of an immaterial soul that is popular in many religions globally. In fact, he is more concerned with the profane nature of God and human beings, as opposed to the sacred nature. He rejects the Roman Catholic doctrines and the teachings of the Presbyterian Church. It is instructive to note with keen interest, that Hobbes’s philosophy focuses on the material things of the world and he rejects notions of things termed as sacred. He argues that human beings cannot understand what God does for them because God is just a spirit (Watkins 45).

This affects the desires of human beings because they look at things from the sacred point of view. Hobbes insists that God is material yet human beings have an inherent concern about sacred things.

Hobbes concludes that, in a state of nature, all people are free to do their own will. Therefore, one can exert power and control over others at any time. One can pick any property and use it at will because it is a society governed by liberty and not by law. Consumerism is a situation whereby people are free to buy and sell goods. This causes some people to buy more than they need, which leads to wastage (Gini 89). Hobbes would have supported such a society due to his view of the free nature of human beings.

His society is one of “war of all against all” or rather a competing society whereby people can murder, rob, and engage in servitude. Hobbes may not support buying of goods and services, although they are material things. He foreshadowed a society whereby people would get goods and services freely out of acquiring them fairly or through unjust means. In consumerism, the government comes in to set laws in the form of policies, to control trade. In Hobbes’s society, there must be a sovereign person or institution to put checks and balances on how citizens exercise their natural rights. Therefore, Hobbes would have suggested that this sovereign or absolute institution makes laws that regulate the number of goods bought by people. This happens in some countries when there is a shortage of commodities like sugar, and institutions limit people on the number of packets to pick at a time.

Hobbes would have concluded that people have a right to stay informed about the commodities they buy and a right to choose what, when and how much to buy. This should come before the sovereign states impose laws on consumers regarding what to buy and the quantity. Even though consumerism seems to be a form of greed, Hobbes would be contented with it because he sees his society as a society of chaos, one marred by social evils such as murder and theft.

Works Cited

Gini, Al. My Job, My Self: Work and the Creation of the Modern Individual. Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group, 2001. Print.

Watkins, John. Hobbes’s System of Ideas. London: Hutchison University Library, 1973. Print.

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