The Leviathan

Throughout history rarely did many of the great philosophers have the same ideals. One of the most influential texts written on political philosophy which established the foundation within Western political philosophy, from the vantage point of the social contract theory, was written by Thomas Hobbes. Hobbes wrote on a variety of fields including history, geometry, physics, ethics and political science. He was a contributing factor within the field of philosophical anthropology, which encompassed the ideas of materialism. In his work entitled Leviathan Hobbes addressed the structure of society and legitimate government. The Leviathan is based upon the notion that within a common society the necessity of a strong central authority is key to ensuring that the evil of discord and civil war is eliminated. Hobbes suggests that life without government, a condition he refers to as ‘state of nature’, in which each person would have the right to everything in the world would inevitably lead to conflicts (civil war). Thus Hobbes assumes that the only way to eliminate conflicts would be to establish a civil society, in which the sovereign must control civil, military and judicial powers. Hobbes greatest fear within a society is the creation of a civil war. Hobbes argues that people seek peace based on the notion of fear, fear of each other’s power is the only solution to the never ending circle of power struggles. This paper will examine the concept of fear, and the notion that Hobbes argues that fear is the root cause of believing in religion, and the cause and effect to the creation of a war. People believe in religion because they fear the unknown, everyone is in a constant state of fear from each other which thus creates a “war of all against all”.
The term ‘Leviathan’ refers back to the Bible as it is defined as a sea monster, in demonology ‘Leviathan’ is one of the seven princes of Hell and its gatekeeper. Hobbes uses the
term within the Leviathan as his...