PHIL 332: Study Questions on Hobbes.
1. What is Justice? Does Hobbes believe that there is genuine moral motivation, as opposed to fear of punishment? Explain. [Note: There is evidence pro and con in the text.] Do the best job you can of reconstructing Hobbes's account of moral motivation and then critically evaluate it. As part of a critical evaluation of his position, you must make the best case you can in favor of his position, the best case you can opposing it, and then explain how you would adjudicate the disagreement.
2. Original Covenant. Hobbes's argument for an absolute sovereign is novel because he bases the authority of the sovereign on consent. Explain the role of consent in his account and explain why he believes that consent based on fear of death is morally binding. Critically evaluate his arguments.
3. The Fool. What is the Fool's Challenge to Hobbes's political philosophy? Critically evaluate Hobbes's response to it.
4. Hobbes's political
epistemology. Hobbes believes that
the law of nature is available to each person using only their own reason. However, Hobbes does not believe that
citizens in a commonwealth are permitted to act on their own understanding of
the natural law. Why not? Use the example of abortion in the
5. Is Hobbes's
Sovereign the only way out of the State of
6. The Three Kinds of Dominion. Explain what Hobbes means by paternal dominion, despotical dominion, and dominion by institution. Hobbes claims that the three kinds of dominion give rise to the same rights of dominion. [You should be able to cite the passage where he makes this claim.] Critically evaluate Hobbes's claim.