13. The Sovereign State: Hobbes' Leviathan

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Introduction to Political Philosophy (PLSC 114)

Hobbes' most famous metaphor, that of "the state of nature," is explained. It can be understood as the condition of human life in the absence of authority or anyone to impose rules, laws, and order. The concept of the individual is also discussed on Hobbesian terms, according to which the fundamental characteristics of the human beings are the capacity to exercise will and the ability to choose. Hobbes, as a moralist, concludes that the laws of nature, or "precepts of reason," forbid us from doing anything destructive in life.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Hobbes on Individuality
09:49 - Chapter 2. Hobbes' Skeptical View of Knowledge
14:11 - Chapter 3. The State of Nature
23:14 - Chapter 4. Pride and Fear: Passions that Dominate Human Nature
29:09 - Chapter 5. The Laws of Nature

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

This course was recorded in Fall 2006.