Home » The Leviathan . The seventeenth-century political philosopher Thomas Hobbes offered a justification of political authority by imagining what life…

The Leviathan . The seventeenth-century political philosopher Thomas Hobbes offered a justification of political authority by imagining what life…

The Leviathan. The seventeenth-century political philosopher Thomas Hobbes offered a justification of political authority by imagining what life would be like without it. In one of the most famous lines in the history of Western philosophy, Hobbes (in The Leviathan) described this “state of nature” as follows:

                       [During] the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe,

                       they are in that condition which is called war, and such a war as is of every man

                       against every man . . . In such condition there is . . . continual fear and danger of

                       violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

The solution, according to Hobbes, is a covenant according to which people give up their right to kill and maim other people in exchange for the right not to be killed and maimed, and which at the same time establishes an overwhelming power – a Leviathan (image in 1651 book below) – to ensure that people adhere to the terms of the covenant.  Game theory offers a new way to interpret the nature of this “war of all against all.” Select one of the games we discussed in class.  (b) then use the matrix to briefly explain how The Leviathan solves the problem that surfaces in the game of nature upon which Hobbes is focused.  

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