So one cannot discuss Buchanan at all without proving one’s thorough knowledge of Hobbes? As a larger principle, this would radically transform the writing of history, and lead to a sharp decline in publishing history boooks more generally.
Attempting to do an intellectual history of Buchanan without Hobbes is akin to trying to study Kant without Hume, or Aquinas without Aristotle. Hobbes is one of the primary political philosophers that Buchanan engages across his entire body of work. And he’s almost nowhere to be found in MacLean, even though she imports several unsavory characters who Buchanan never once even cited. To call the above an intellectual historian’s defense is a sad farce on the methods of intellectual history, and to call MacLean’s book an intellectual history is to accept a work that’s so careless in its analysis that it completely misses one of THE central influences upon Buchanan’s thinking.
According to the classical view, man is a rational and social animal who has a natural inclination to his proper end, happiness, which can be attained by the virtues or the perfections of mind and character. Classical natural law was therefore “teleological”: directed to the natural end of human beings and to the good life of virtue in a just political community. Hobbes rejects the teleological view of human nature as a false and dangerous illusion. Instead, he sees human nature as the restless striving for power after power that has no end and therefore no happiness or perfection. The rejection of end-directed motion underlies Hobbes’s revolution in thinking from classical natural law, and its perfectionist principle of virtue, to modern natural rights, and its minimalist principle of self-preservation.
()As Hobbes acknowledged, this account of human nature emphasizes our animal nature, leaving each of us to live independently of everyone else, acting only in his or her own self-interest, without regard for others.
Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679), whose current reputation restslargely on his political philosophy, was a thinker with wide-ranginginterests. In philosophy, he defended a range of materialist,nominalist, and empiricist views against Cartesian and Aristotelianalternatives. In physics, his work was influential on Leibniz, and ledhim into disputes with Boyle and the experimentalists of the earlyRoyal Society. In history, he translated Thucydides’ Historyof the Peloponnesian War into English, and later wrote his ownhistory of the Long Parliament. In mathematics he was less successful,and is best remembered for his repeated unsuccessful attempts tosquare the circle. But despite that, Hobbes was a serious andprominent participant in the intellectual life of his time.
Essentially arguing in favor of a sovereign monarchy, Hobbes writes in such a manner as to present these basic principles so they could apply to any political system, including that of a democracy....
Hobbes' Leviathan: Analysis of its Impact on the Framing of our Democracy Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan, written against the backdrop of the horrors of the English Civil War, in the mid 1600's, is a discussion about the principles of man's basic need for peace, unity, and security, in both nature and civilization.
Moreover, there is perhaps in Hobbes’s method something like themiddle step of regressus. For Hobbes, to know an effectthrough its causes is to know what the causes are and how they work:“We are said to know scientifically some effectwhen we know what its causes are, in what subject they are, inwhat subject they introduce the effect, and how they do it”(Hobbes 1655, 6.1). The requirement to know how the cause works, notjust what it is, is analogous to the Zabarellan requirement to havedistinct knowledge of a cause. Knowledge that the cause exists comesfrom the first step of regressus. Completeregressus, i.e., complete explanation, requires that you makea fuller investigation of the cause. For Hobbes, analogously, to getto scientia of the effect you need to understand, not justwhat the causes are, but how they work.
English philosopher Thomas Hobbes proclaimed that, “A state of nature is a state of war.” By this, Hobbes means that every human being, given the absence of government or a contract between other members of a society, would act in a war-like state in which each man would be motivated by desires derived solely with the intention of maximizing his own utility....
Due to this need for change, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke created two separate theories in which the concept of a social contract is used to determine the ways in which a government can govern without forfeiting justice....
This section tells a version of the first story. (For a helpful recentcritical discussion of such an approach, see Hattab 2014.) Still, oneshould note that Hobbes sometimes uses the language of mathematicalmethod, of analysis and synthesis, in describing his general method(Hobbes 1655, 6.1). Several commentators have seen this, together withhis clear admiration for the successes of geometry, as evidence of amore general use of mathematical notions in his account of method(Talaska 1988). And it might indeed be the case that both storiesabout Hobbes’s method (the Zabarellan and the mathematical) havesome truth to them.
Hobbes’s views about religion have been disputed at greatlength, and a wide range of positions have been attributed to him,from atheism to orthodox Christianity. This section focuses on twocentral questions: whether Hobbes believes in the existence of God,and whether he thinks there can be knowledge from revelation. Someimportant aspects of Hobbes’s approach to religion are leftaside. These include religion’s role in politics (Lloyd 1992),and the question of whether God plays some fundamental role inHobbes’s ethical system (see Warrender 1957 and Martinich 1992,but also Nagel 1959 and Darwall 1994).
The three reasons Hobbes uses are: the argument from contract, the argument from authorisation and the argument from weakness of mixed or divided sovereignty.