classis texts thomas hobbes leviathan two discussion questions
2 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
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Week 3A Discussion: Justice and Nature
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Discuss Hobbes’ understanding of justice in relation to the state of nature.
- Do you agree with Hobbes’ view that justice is not natural? Would we still be capable of knowing right from wrong if we lived away from civilization?
- What are the modern implications of these different views of justice? e.g. If justice only exists in society, is any type of behavior in war (where social norms have broken down) justified, or not?
Week 3B Discussion: Hobbes’ Commonwealth
Discuss Hobbes’ commonwealth and the degree of social control that it gives to the sovereign. Keep the following definitions in mind (you may have to look up dictionary definitions for a clearer idea).
Totalitarian: (a state where the government aims to have total control over every aspect of life, e.g. through propaganda/indoctrination, a secret police network, camps for punishing and “re-educating” anyone who disagrees with the government)
Authoritarian: a state which restricts freedom (e.g. of speech), compels obedience to the leader, and punishes activists who speak out against the government, but which may choose not to attack people or groups which do not vocally challenge it.
- Is Hobbes’ commonwealth a totalitarian one? Why?
- Is it authoritarian? Why?
- Could it possibly be either under different circumstances?