Leviathan Leviathan question

Similar thinkers to Hobbes?
deleted member May 30, 2012 09:15AM
I really like Hobbes's view on life and human nature (life in the state of nature is nasty, brutish, and short). Are there any similar thinkers that I should read? I recently got e-book copies of the Prince by Machiavelli and Marx's Communist Manifesto, which I'll be reading once I finish Leviathan, but I wanted to know if there were any Hobbes-like thinkers and works that I could read as well. I'm also a huge fan of Nietzsche's Birth of Tragedy (and the whole Dionysiac/Apolline idea in general), so if you have anything similar to him, I'd love to read that too.

Although the list provided by Argento is excellent if you would like to gather a political culture, most of the "classics" of political philosophy as is understood today differ from Hobbes precisely in what you identified as your main interest: the notion that man is , if left to his own devices, one mean mothafucka.
In political theory this idea is referred under different names, most commonly "scarcity assumption", or more recently, following behavioural economist Samuel Bowles, "Machiavelli's Mistake".

Bowles traces the idea that men are to be expected (with or without reason) to act amorally to Machiavelli, so this might be the place to start: in addition to be, probably even more than Hobbes, the starting point of modern political theory, you will find in Machiavelli a similarly grim and pragmatic outlook, and a lot of biting wit! The Prince is quite an easy read (easier than Leviathan in my opinion) and definitely an enjoyable one!

Locke does adress the question of man's fundamental amorality (the famous "Fools and Knaves" passage) but on the whole Locke is a lot more utopian and grounded in christian values than Hobbes or Machiavelli. He's a great read if you want to explore further the question of politics as resulting from a contract between the people and the states.

Last suggestion - if you liked Hobbes and want to learn more about his ideas I recommend the reading of Quentin Skinner, a prominent Hobbes scholar, for example the great article here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10...


Walter (last edited Oct 17, 2012 03:53PM ) Oct 16, 2012 05:11PM   0 votes
Since you seem to have an interest in political philosophy, I would suggest the following classics:

"Two Treatises of Government" by John Locke. Most colleges/programs only have you read the second treatise, but you'll find some pretty tasty morsels on the first treatise as well.

Have you read "The Republic" yet? Witness as Plato builds a "city in speech" and see what happens. Many arguments are presented that are more than relevant to our times (censorship, the arts, eligibility for service/government, etc.)

How about "The Politics" and "Nicomachean Ethics" by Aristotle? Both are a must. Learn the meaning of virtue and its many faces.

Also, "On the Social Contract" by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Similar to Leviathan but much smaller in size.

"Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals" by Kant if you want to get more into Ethics.

These are for starters and I hope you find them useful. There's plenty more to keep you entertained once you finish these (some modern ones, Rawls, Amartya Sen, Nozick, MacIntyre, and Sandel to explain it all)

Well, I read The Prince and I can tell you by experience that is nothing like Leviathan. The Prince stands for a status of a-morality, I mean, it's not about what it's moral or not, not about what you SHOULD do, but about what has to be done in order to have the power and maintain the power. The society is only a mere appendix. It's not about human nature, like Leviathan is :)

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