The Leviathan, by Thomas Hobbes, refers to fear as playing a major role in human action. The emotion of fear has effects on human nature and human interaction, especially regarding societal interactions. In The Leviathan, fear is integral because Hobbes uses it as a foundation for his support of authoritative governance of society and as a basis for his Social Contract. Hobbes points out that within the State of Nature, fear is a force that encourages a constant struggle against each other in a state of constant war. For Hobbes, the state of nature is a state of war. The prominent role of fear is evident in The Leviathan, “Life itself is but Motion, and can never be without desire, nor without fear, no more than without sense”. Needs Citation. The prominent role of fear is clear through its role as a passion, its usefulness in the implementation of the Social Contract, and the contribution it makes in maintaining society.
Topic Sentence. Hobbes considers all knowledge as being derived from motion. Knowledge is perceived from the effects of pressures from external bodies on our senses, and the Endeavouring we reply with. Endeavouring is “a solicitation or provocation either to draw near to the thing that pleaseth, or to retire from the thing that displeaseth” (Hobbes 1640, VII, 2). Fear is a passion – derived from endeavouring, and therefore reduces to motion. Fear is a form of aversion, or endeavouring from something with the expectation of displeasure, or evil. In this regard, fear may be thought of as the expectation of evil. Fear may also be out of ignorance according to Hobbes, “desires presuppose experience, fears do not …. While we can desire something only if we know it, we naturally fear something precisely because we do not know it” (Hobbes 1651, VI, 4). The origin of fear is significant because of the importance of the role fear plays in human actions and interactions. Simply, fear motivates human action – it is a form of willing; understanding the origins of fear contributes to understanding human nature. So what? What is the Leviathan?
Topic Sentence. The motivation of self preservation results in conflict, and unsociable tendencies between individuals. To assure self preservation, humans seek out power in various forms. Economic power, authority, and wealth all aide in securing individual self preservation. However, Hobbes also makes the observation that when power is sought, it creates another source of conflict. Evidence. The source of societies is mutual fear of the state of war, created by equality and the search for power. Equality being the ability of the weak to kill the strong. Evidence. It is this equality that defines the existence of a “”war of all against all” (cf. Hobbes 1651, XIII, 8). Because fear is the anticipation of evil (as discussed above), mutual fear causes mankind to build a state. The construction of the state ensures self-preservation, and satisfying the motivation every individual. Fear coinciding with reason forces mankind to be societal. “the passion to be reckoned upon is fear”, and it is what causes societies to form (Hobbes 1651, XIV, 31). It is what enables the state of nature – the state of war, to be escapable.
It is this fear, combined with a the struggle for power to assure self-preservation that creates the driving force for humans to pursue peace. The pursuit of peace is characterized as being a pursuit for the good of the individual through society. By accepting the interconnectedness of humanity, citizens also consent to the social contract presented by Hobbes. Explain the social contract. This contract is a morally, and socially binding agreement of between every individual. What does that mean? The contract calls for the creation of a Commonwealth, to be ruled by a single authority. Why a single authority? This authority should be an absolute sovereign, best embodied by a supreme monarch. Why? The authority is sanctioned by the citizens to rule through agreement to the social contract.
Topic Sentence. With the emergence of the state, the fear of punishment emerges. The fear of punishment is truly a fear of breaking the laws. These laws function to maintain social order and social obedience. This fear is important because of the social contract between each individual. The goal of the commonwealth is security, and the goal of obedience is protection. Protection is guaranteed within the state, and therefore laws must be followed. Hobbes claim that this is the requirement is not oppression. Firstly, because the citizens are bound by the social contract. Secondly, because under any form of government the freedom to disobey is always maintained. This makes “Fear and liberty are consistent”; “Generally all actions which men do in commonwealths, for fear of the law, are actions, which the doers had liberty to omit” (Hobbes 1651, XXI, 3). Hobbes also suggests that citizens must be educated in order to understand the need for obeying laws to further the common good. A “need to be diligently and truly taught; because they cannot be maintained by any civil law or terror of legal punishment” (Hobbes 1651, XXX, 4). Through education, fear is transformed into respect.
Contrary Opinion – Rousseau