Where Law Ends Tyranny Begins?

Where Law Ends Tyranny Begins
John Locke on the idea that “wherever law ends, tyranny begins” (1689) – Locke’s view on the matter was simple – that without law, there can be no society, and without society, there can be no security or happiness. In other words, “wherever law ends, tyranny begins.” This is because in a state of nature, there is no authority to impose order and everyone is free to do as they please.

  • This may sound appealing at first, but it quickly leads to chaos and anarchy.
  • Eventually, people will tire of this disorder and look to someone to restore order.
  • And once someone assumes this position of power, they will have little incentive to give it up.
  • Thus, Locke believed that the only way to ensure liberty was through a government based on laws rather than individuals.

While Locke’s view may seem pessimistic, it is actually quite realistic. Throughout history, we have seen countless examples of tyrants who have risen to power in the absence of law. And even in societies that do have laws, there are always those who flout them and act with impunity.

This is why it is so important to have a strong rule of law – to prevent tyranny from taking root and flourishing. So next time you find yourself complaining about a silly rule or regulation, remember that it exists for a reason. It is there to protect our liberty and keep us safe from those who would abuse their power.

And that is something worth fighting for.

Who said if there is no law there is no liberty?

John Locke wrote that ‘the end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom.’ Where there is no Law, there is no Freedom. For Liberty is to be free from restraint and violence from others which cannot be, where there is no Law.

What did Hobbes say about tyranny?

The following views have been plausibly attributed to Hobbes: 1) Tyranny is an absurdity or an example of insignificant speech.2) Tyranny and monarchy are equivalent.3) Tyranny is nothing more than monarchy misliked.

What was Thomas Hobbes famous quote?

A man cannot lay down the right of resisting them that assault him by force, to take away his life.

What is the famous line of John Locke?

, (?) Quotes are added by the Goodreads community and are not verified by Goodreads. (Learn more) Showing 1-30 of 270 “Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.” ― John Locke “I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.” ― John Locke “New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not common.” ― John Locke “We are like chameleons, we take our hue and the color of our moral character, from those who are around us.” ― John Locke “Parents wonder why the streams are bitter, when they themselves poison the fountain.” ― John Locke “Education begins the gentleman, but reading, good company and reflection must finish him.” ― John Locke “Being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.” ― John Locke, Second Treatise of Government “To love truth for truth’s sake is the principal part of human perfection in this world, and the seed-plot of all other virtues.” ― John Locke “Revolt is the right of the people” ― John Locke “No man’s knowledge here can go beyond his experience.” ― John Locke “There is frequently more to be learned from the unexpected questions of a child than the discourses of men.” ― John Locke “So that, in effect, religion, which should most distinguish us from beasts, and ought most peculiarly to elevate us, as rational creatures, above brutes, is that wherein men often appear most irrational, and more senseless than beasts themselves.” ― John Locke “The Bible is one of the greatest blessings bestowed by God on the children of men.

  1. It has God for its Author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture for its matter.
  2. It is all pure, all sincere; nothing too much; nothing wanting!” ― John Locke “To prejudge other men’s notions before we have looked into them is not to show their darkness but to put out our own eyes.” ― John Locke “All wealth is the product of labor.” ― John Locke “The great question which, in all ages, has disturbed mankind, and brought on them the greatest part of their mischiefs,

has been, not whether be power in the world, nor whence it came, but who should have it.” ― John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding “For where is the man that has incontestable evidence of the truth of all that he holds, or of the falsehood of all he condemns; or can say that he has examined to the bottom all his own, or other men’s opinions? The necessity of believing without knowledge, nay often upon very slight grounds, in this fleeting state of action and blindness we are in, should make us more busy and careful to inform ourselves than constrain others.” ― John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding “Reverie is when ideas float in our mind without reflection or regard of the understanding.” ― John Locke “The acts of the mind, wherein it exerts its power over simple ideas, are chiefly these three: 1.

Combining several simple ideas into one compound one, and thus all complex ideas are made.2. The second is bringing two ideas, whether simple or complex, together, and setting them by one another so as to take a view of them at once, without uniting them into one, by which it gets all its ideas of relations.3.

The third is separating them from all other ideas that accompany them in their real existence: this is called abstraction, and thus all its general ideas are made.” ― John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding “A sound mind in a sound body, is a short, but full description of a Happy state in this World: he that has these two, has little more to wish for; and he that wants either of them, will be little better for anything else.” ― John Locke “Men being, as has been said, by nature, all free, equal and independent, no one can be put out of this estate, and subjected to the political power of another, without his own consent.” ― John Locke, Second Treatise of Government “One unerring mark of the love of truth is not entertaining any proposition with greater assurance than the proofs it is built upon will warrant.” ― John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding “Fortitude is the guard and support of the other virtues.” ― John Locke “I pretend not to teach, but to inquire; and therefore cannot but confess here again,–that external and internal sensation are the only passages I can find of knowledge to the understanding.

  • These alone, as far as I can discover, are the windows by which light is let into this DARK ROOM.
  • For, methinks, the understanding is not much unlike a closet wholly shut from light, with only some little openings left, to let in external visible resemblances, or ideas of things without: which, would they but stay there, and lie so orderly as to be found upon occasion, it would very much resemble the understanding of a man, in reference to all objects of sight, and the ideas of them.” ― John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding “New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.” ― John Locke “Whosoever will list himself under the banner of Christ, must, in the first place and above all things, make war upon his own lusts and vices.

It is in vain for any man to usurp the name of Christian, without holiness of life, purity of manners, benignity and meekness of spirit.” ― John Locke, Unknown Book 12380837 All Quotes | Add A Quote A Letter Concerning Toleration 3,116 ratings Open Preview

What is the main idea of tyranny?

CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS FOUNDATION Bill of Rights in Action FALL 2010 (Volume 26, No.1) Tyranny The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom | Plato and Aristotle on Tyranny and the Rule of Law | Nigeria Plato and Aristotle on Tyranny and the Rule of Law Nearly 2,400 years ago, the Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle explored political philosophy.

Aristotle concluded that “it is evident that the form of government is best in which every man, whoever he is, can act best and live happily.” In Philadelphia some 2,000 years after Plato and Aristotle’s time, a group of men was trying to write a constitution. George Washington, James Madison, and the other framers of the Constitution were dedicated to constructing a just government.

Americans had overthrown what they considered a tyrannous British government. The framers wanted to create a national government free of tyranny, governed by the rule of law. The new American nation was quite different from the ancient Greek city-states.

  1. Still, many of the framers at Philadelphia had studied and understood Plato’s and Aristotle’s political philosophies.
  2. And they were grappling with many of the same political questions.
  3. Tyranny and the Rule of Law Plato and Aristotle both developed important ideas about government and politics.
  4. Two of the many political subjects that these men wrote about were tyranny and the rule of law.

Tyranny occurs when absolute power is granted to a ruler. In a tyrannical government, the ruler becomes corrupt and uses his power to further his own interests instead of working for the common good. The rule of law is the principle that no one is exempt from the law, even those who are in a position of power.

The rule of law can serve as a safeguard against tyranny, because just laws ensure that rulers do not become corrupt. Athenian Democracy Both Plato and Aristotle lived in the democratic Greek city-state of Athens. In Athenian democracy, all male citizens directly participated in making laws and deciding jury trials.

Yearly elections decided who would fill important government positions. Citizens drew lots to see who would staff the remaining posts. Athens had reached its height in political power before Plato was born. Its decline began with a long war with Sparta, a rival city-state.

  • The war ended in 404 B.C.
  • With Athens’ defeat.
  • Athens regained its democracy, but shortly after Plato’s death, the city-state fell under the control of Macedon, a kingdom north of Greece.
  • The city remained, however, a cultural center.
  • Plato (c.428–347 B.C.) Plato was a student of Socrates.
  • Socrates taught by asking questions about a subject and getting his students to think critically about it.

Today, this is known as the Socratic method, used by many professors in law schools. Socrates’ questioning often led to criticism of Athenian democracy and its politicians. An increasing number of Athenians viewed Socrates as a threat to their city-state.

A few years after losing the war with Sparta, Athens put the 70-year-old Socrates on trial for not accepting the gods of Athens and for corrupting the young. Socrates denied the accusations, but he was found guilty and sentenced to death. When Socrates died, Plato concluded that democracy was a corrupt and unjust form of government.

He left Athens for a decade. Returning in 387 B.C., he established a school of higher learning called the Academy. Plato’s Republic Plato’s most important work on politics is his Republic, published around 380 B.C. Written as a dialogue among characters and set in a private home, the book describes a small group of Athenians discussing political philosophy.

The main character is Socrates, who voiced Plato’s ideas. (The real Socrates never wrote down his ideas.) The Republic examines the meaning of justice, looks at different types of government, and outlines the ideal state. It touches on many subjects, including law and tyranny. Plato looked at four existing forms of government and found them unstable.

The best, in his view, is timocracy, a military state, like Sparta, based on honor. But such a state will fall apart: The accumulation of gold in the treasury of private individuals is the ruin of timocracy; they invent illegal modes of expenditure; for what do they or their wives care about the law?,

  • And then one, seeing another grow rich, seeks to rival him, and thus the great mass of the citizens become lovers of money.
  • And so at last, instead of loving contention and glory, men become lovers of trade and money; they honor and look up to the rich man, and make a ruler of him, and dishonor the poor man.

An oligarchy, the rule of a few (the rich), leads to a city of the rich and a city of the poor, dwelling together, and always plotting against one another. will not be able to wage war, because of the necessity of either arming and employing the multitude, and fearing them more than the enemy, or else, if they do not make use of them, of finding themselves on the field of battle,

And to this must be added their reluctance to contribute money, because they are lovers of money. The poor will overthrow the oligarchy and set up a democracy, the rule of the people (the poor). Plato thought that democratic “life has neither law nor order.” An unquenchable desire for limitless liberty causes disorder, because the citizens begin to chafe impatiently at the least touch of authority and at length,,

they cease to care even for the laws, written or unwritten; they will have no one over them. Stressing moderation, Plato warned that “the excessive increase of anything often causes a reaction in the opposite direction,” such that the “excess of liberty, whether in states or individuals, seems only to pass into excess of slavery.” Like an oligarchy, a democracy pits the poor against the rich.

The poor see the rich plotting, and they seek protection: The people have always some champion whom they set over them and nurse into greatness. This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears above ground he is a protector. having a mob entirely at his disposal, he is not restrained from shedding the blood of kinsmen;,

he brings them into court and murders them, at the same time hinting at the abolition of debts and partition of lands. After a while he is driven out, but comes back, in spite of his enemies, a tyrant full grown. Plato deemed tyranny the “fourth and worst disorder of a state.” Tyrants lack “the very faculty that is the instrument of judgment”—reason. In a tyranny, no outside governing power controls the tyrant’s selfish behavior. To Plato, the law can guard against tyranny. In the Republic, he called the law an “external authority” that functions as the “ally of the whole city.” Plato stressed the importance of law in his other works.

  1. In the Crito, a dialogue between Socrates and his friend Crito, Crito offers Socrates a way to escape his impending execution.
  2. Socrates refuses, explaining that when a citizen chooses to live in a state, he “has entered into an implied contract that he will do as,
  3. Command him.” In Plato’s Laws, his last book, he summarizes his stance on the rule of law: Where the law is subject to some other authority and has none of its own, the collapse of the state, in my view, is not far off; but if law is the master of the government and the government is its slave, then the situation is full of promise and men enjoy all the blessings that the gods shower on a state.
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Plato’s ideal and just state is an aristocracy, the rule of the best. He believed leaders needed to be wise and trained in how to run a state, just as captains of ships are trained in how to run a ship. He divided his ideal state into three classes. The lowest and largest class is the producers: the farmers, craftsmen, traders, and others involved in commerce.

The next class is the warriors, those who defend the state. They are educated in sports, combat, and philosophy and tested by both terrifying and tempting situations. From the best of warrior class, the ruling class is drawn. Its members will study philosophy and be given government and military positions until age 50, when the best of them become philosopher kings.

Plato believed every human’s soul is divided into three parts: appetite, spirit, and reason. Each of his three classes matches one aspect of a person’s soul. The lower class is linked to appetite, and it owns all the land and controls all the wealth. The warrior class is spirited and lives by a code of honor.

  1. The ruling class is linked to reason and lives to gain wisdom.
  2. The philosopher kings will prefer seeking truth to ruling, but a law will compel them to rule.
  3. They will obey the law and take their turns as rulers.
  4. He truth is that the State in which the rulers are most reluctant to govern is always the best and most quietly governed, and the State in which they are most eager, the worst.

The warrior and ruling classes live in barracks, eat together, and share possessions. None has families. All children of these classes are brought up without knowing their parents. In this way, Plato tries to keep these classes from gaining wealth or producing family dynasties.

Plato concluded: Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one,, cities will never have rest from their evils, Aristotle (384–322 B.C.) Born in the north of Greece, Aristotle came from a family linked to the kingdom of Macedon.

His father worked for the king as a court doctor. When Aristotle grew up, he studied philosophy at Plato’s Academy for 20 years, leaving when Plato died. He traveled and then tutored the king of Macedon’s 13-year-old son, Alexander (the future Alexander the Great).

When Alexander became king of Macedon in 335 B.C., Aristotle returned to Athens to set up his own school, called the Lyceum. He studied, catalogued, lectured, debated, and wrote about every area of human knowledge. Although Plato had been his teacher, Aristotle disagreed with much of Plato’s philosophy.

Plato was an idealist, who believed that everything had an ideal form. Aristotle believed in looking at the real world and studying it. Aristotle spent many years teaching in Athens, which was under the control of Macedon. When Alexander the Great died, however, anti-Macedonians took control of Athens.

Linked to Macedon, Aristotle was accused of not accepting the gods of Athens, one of the same charges leveled against Socrates. Unlike Socrates, however, Aristotle did not stand trial. He fled to a home in the countryside, saying, as the story goes, that he did not want Athens to “sin twice against philosophy” (its first sin being the execution of Socrates).

Aristotle died the following year in exile. Aristotle’s Politics Like Plato, Aristotle, wrote extensively on the subjects of tyranny and the rule of law. He hoped that his Politics, a collection of essays on government, would provide direction for rulers, statesmen, and politicians.

  • In The Politics, Aristotle rejected Plato’s ideal state.
  • He said that it fails to address conflicts that will arise among its citizens.
  • He claimed Plato’s ideal state will contain two states in one, each hostile to the other,
  • Makes the guardians into a mere occupying garrison, while the husbandmen and artisans and the rest are the real citizens.

But if so, the suits and quarrels and all the evils which Socrates affirms to exist in other states, will exist equally among them. He says indeed that, having so good an education, the citizens will not need many laws,, but then he confines his education to the guardians. Unlike The Republic, The Politics does not depict an ideal system of government. Instead, Aristotle explored practical constitutions that city-states can realistically put into effect. His aim was to “consider, not only what form of government is best, but also what is possible and what is easily attainable.” He studied the different governments in Greece’s many city-states.

He identified six different kinds of constitutions, and he classified them as either “true” or “defective.” He stated that governments which have a regard to the common interest are constituted in accordance with strict principles of justice, and are therefore true forms; but those which regard only the interest of the rulers are all defective and perverted forms, for they are despotic,

“True” constitutions served the common interests of all citizens. “Despotic” constitutions served only the selfish interests of a certain person or group. The chart below shows the “despotic” and “true” constitutions. (Despotic is a synonym for “tyrannic.”) Tyranny perverts monarchy, because it “has in view the interest of the monarch only.” To Aristotle, tyranny is the arbitrary power of an individual,

  • Responsible to no one, governs,
  • With a view to its own advantage, not to that of its subjects, and therefore against their will.
  • Aristotle wrote, “No freeman, if he can escape from it, will endure such a government.” Aristotle believed that tyranny is the “very reverse of a constitution.” He explained that where the laws have no authority, there is no constitution.

The law ought to be supreme over all. Aristotle stressed that these laws must uphold just principles, such that “true forms of government will of necessity have just laws, and perverted forms of government will have unjust laws.” Aristotle held views similar to Plato’s about the dangers of democracy and oligarchy.

  1. He feared that both pitted the rich against the poor.
  2. But he recognized that these types of governments took many forms.
  3. The worst were those without the rule of law.
  4. In democracies without law, demagogues (leaders appealing to emotions) took over.
  5. For in democracies where the laws are not supreme, demagogues spring up.

his sort of democracy, what tyranny is to other forms of monarchy. The spirit of both is the same, and they alike exercise a despotic rule over the better citizens. The decrees of the correspond to the edicts of the tyrant, Such a democracy is fairly open to the objection that it is not a constitution at all; for where the laws have no authority, there is no constitution.

  • The law ought to be supreme over all,
  • Aristotle made the same argument about oligarchies. When,
  • The rulers have great wealth and numerous friends, this sort of family despotism approaches a monarchy; individuals rule and not the law.
  • This is the fourth sort of oligarchy, and is analogous to the last sort of democracy.

Aristotle stated that “the rule of law, is preferable to that of any individual.” This is because individuals possess flaws and could tailor government to their own individual interests, whereas the rule of law is objective. e who bids the law rule may be deemed to bid God and Reason alone rule, but he who bids man rule adds an element of the beast; for desire is a wild beast, and passion perverts the minds of rulers, even when they are the best of men.

  1. The law is reason unaffected by desire.
  2. Rulers must be “the servants of the laws,” because “law is order, and good law is good order.” In addition to law, Aristotle believed a large middle class would protect against the excesses of oligarchy and democracy: he best political community is formed by citizens of the middle class, and that those states are likely to be well-administered in which the middle class is large, and stronger if possible than both the other classes,

; for the addition of the middle class turns the scale, and prevents either of the extremes from being dominant. In fact, one of Aristotle’s true forms of government is a polity, a combination of oligarchy and democracy. This type of state arises when the middle class is strong.

  1. The U.S. Constitution Like Plato and Aristotle, our nation’s founders worried about tyrannical government.
  2. Recognizing that tyranny could come from a single powerful ruler or from “mob rule,” the founders wrote into the Constitution mechanisms to prevent tyranny and promote the rule of law.
  3. They separated the powers of government into three equal branches of government: the executive (the president), the legislative (Congress), and the judicial (the Supreme Court).

Each branch can check the other to prevent corruption or tyranny. Congress itself is divided into the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House, elected for two-year terms, is more likely to be swayed by the passions of the people than the Senate, elected to six-year terms.

The Constitution further limits the powers of the government by listing its powers: The government may not exercise any power beyond those listed. The first 10 amendments to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, protect people’s liberties and freedoms from government encroachment. In creating the judicial branch of government, the framers gave federal judges lifetime terms, thus ensuring that judges would base their decisions on the law and not on politics.

For Discussion 1. What is the rule of law? How can it help prevent tyranny? 2. James Madison, the “father” of the U.S. Constitution, wrote in The Federalist Papers #55: “Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.” What did he mean by this? Do you agree? Explain.3.

Which ideas of Plato might be useful in today’s society? Why? Which ideas of Aristotle? Why? 4. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874–1965) once said that “democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms,,” What did he mean? Do you agree? Explain.5. At the end of their lives, Socrates and Aristotle faced a similar situation.

In your opinion, who made the correct decision? Why? 6. What is a republic? Is Plato’s ideal state a republic? Explain. A C T I V I T Y Plato and Aristotle in Modern Times In this activity, students will examine and discuss political quotations from Plato and Aristotle.

  • Divide the class into small groups.
  • Assign one of the quotations to each group.
  • Each group should: 1.
  • Discuss and answer the following questions: a.
  • What does the quotation mean? b.
  • Do you agree with it? Why or why not? c.
  • How well does the American political system address or handle this issue? 2.
  • Be prepared to report your answers and reasons for them to the class.

If you have extra time, discuss another quotation. Quotations 1. he best political community is formed by citizens of the middle class, and that those states are likely to be well-administered in which the middle class is large, and stronger if possible than both the other classes,

  1. Aristotle 2.
  2. The best laws, though sanctioned by every citizen of the state, will be of no avail unless the young are trained by habit and education in the spirit of the constitution,
  3. Aristotle 3.
  4. F law is the master of the government and the government is its slave, then the situation is full of promise and men enjoy all the blessings that the gods shower on a state.

—Plato 4. If the poor, because they are more in number, divide among themselves the property of the rich—is not this unjust?, But is it just then that the few and the wealthy should be the rulers? And what if they, in like manner, rob and plunder the people—is this just? —Aristotle 5.

Where in the Bible does it say we are free from the law?

‘For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.’ — Romans 8:2.

Which principle says that nobody is above the law?

Main content More than 200 years ago, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay published a series of essays promoting the ratification of the United States Constitution now known as Federalist Papers, In explaining the need for an independent judiciary, Alexander Hamilton noted in The Federalist # 78 that the federal courts “were designed to be an intermediate body between the people and their legislature” in order to ensure that the people’s representatives acted only within the authority given to Congress under the Constitution.

The U.S. Constitution is the nation’s fundamental law. It codifies the core values of the people. Courts have the responsibility to interpret the Constitution’s meaning, as well as the meaning of any laws passed by Congress. The Federalist # 78 states further that, if any law passed by Congress conflicts with the Constitution, “the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents.” “Nor does this conclusion by any means suppose a superiority of the judicial to the legislative power.

It only supposed that the power of the people is superior to both; and that where the will of the legislature, declared in its statutes, stands in opposition to that of the people, declared in the Constitution, the judges ought to be governed by the latter rather than the former.

  1. They ought to regulate their decisions by the fundamental laws, rather than by those which are not fundamental.” The American democratic system is not always based upon simple majority rule.
  2. There are certain principles that are so important to the nation that the majority has agreed not to interfere in these areas.

For instance, the Bill of Rights was passed because concepts such as freedom of religion, speech, equal treatment, and due process of law were deemed so important that, barring a Constitutional Amendment, not even a majority should be allowed to change them.

Publicly promulgated Equally enforced Independently adjudicated And consistent with international human rights principles.

The courts play an integral role in maintaining the rule of law, particularly when they hear the grievances voiced by minority groups or by those who may hold minority opinions. Equality before the law is such an essential part of the American system of government that, when a majority, whether acting intentionally or unintentionally, infringes upon the rights of a minority, the Court may see fit to hear both sides of the controversy in court.

What does the quote an unjust law is no law at all mean?

An unjust law is no law at all, in Latin lex iniusta non est lex, is an expression of natural law, acknowledging that authority is not legitimate unless it is good and right. It has become a standard legal maxim around the world.

What does Hobbes say about law?

In Leviathan Hobbes defines law as a command ‘addressed to one formerly obliged to obey’ the commander. A command addressed to someone not obligated is not law. Nor is advice or counsel law, since its recipient is not obligated to follow it.

What did Hobbes think about laws?

Among the most-influential philosophers of law from the early modern period was Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679), whose theory of law was a novel amalgam of themes from both the natural-law and command-theory traditions. He also offered some of the earliest criticisms of common-law theory, which would be developed significantly by theorists in the 18th century.

For Hobbes, law was the primary instrument of a sovereign by which to serve the ends of government, which were principally peace and the personal security of all its citizens. Writing during and after the English Civil Wars (1642–51), he developed the idea that government which ruled effectively by law is the only bulwark against anarchy or, as he famously put it, “a war of all against all.” Hobbes’s philosophy of law is in part an account of what law must be like in order to serve that function.

Many scholars credit Hobbes as the founder of legal positivism, the dominant philosophical theory of law since the 17th century. The core ideas of legal positivism are that law is essentially a matter of social fact and that it bears at most a contingent connection with moral norms: many actions that are legally proscribed (or prescribed) can nonetheless be moral (or immoral).

  • Insofar as this was Hobbes’s view, it was because he was an adherent of the command theory of law already discussed.
  • In his magnum opus, Leviathan (1651), he wrote that “law in general, is not counsel, but command” and that civil (i.e., positive) laws are “those rules which the common-wealth hath commandedby word, writing, or other sufficient sign of the will” that certain actions are to be done or not done.
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Since laws are “signs of the will” of the sovereign, Hobbes placed particular emphasis on the requirement that those “signs” are sufficiently public and intelligible to ordinary citizens. Hobbes’s fundamental criticism of common-law theory was that the “immemorial customs” of the community, claimed to be the foundations of law, are not always easily discernible; they may in fact be deeply controversial, and so the common law may by nature fail to offer authoritative and final views of what its putative subjects ought to do.

Hobbes rejected Coke’s idea that coming to know the law required an exercise of “artificial reason” and “long study and experience,” arguing that if lawyers and judges were necessary intermediaries between sovereign and subject, then the law would again fail to guide the conduct of those to whom it applied.

He quipped that ordinary persons could dispense with the counsel of lawyers and master the contents of a legal system after about two months’ study. Although there are undeniable positivist elements in Hobbes’s theory, in positing an important connection between natural and civil law (i.e., between morality and positive law), he was also inspired by the natural-law tradition.

He claimed that natural law and civil law “contain each other and are of equal extent.” What Hobbes meant by that claim has been a topic of scholarly debate ever since; suffice it to say that he thought that there were modest but real moral limits on what the sovereign could legitimately demand of its subjects.

For example, a putative law that required people to act in ways that led to their own death would fail to be valid positive law because it would violate the natural law of self-preservation, which Hobbes thought was at the foundation of the purpose of government.

What was Thomas Hobbes famous theory?

The 17 th Century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes is now widely regarded as one of a handful of truly great political philosophers, whose masterwork Leviathan rivals in significance the political writings of Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, and Rawls.

  • Hobbes is famous for his early and elaborate development of what has come to be known as “social contract theory”, the method of justifying political principles or arrangements by appeal to the agreement that would be made among suitably situated rational, free, and equal persons.
  • He is infamous for having used the social contract method to arrive at the astonishing conclusion that we ought to submit to the authority of an absolute—undivided and unlimited—sovereign power.

While his methodological innovation had a profound constructive impact on subsequent work in political philosophy, his substantive conclusions have served mostly as a foil for the development of more palatable philosophical positions. Hobbes’s moral philosophy has been less influential than his political philosophy, in part because that theory is too ambiguous to have garnered any general consensus as to its content.

  • Most scholars have taken Hobbes to have affirmed some sort of personal relativism or subjectivism; but views that Hobbes espoused divine command theory, virtue ethics, rule egoism, or a form of projectivism also find support in Hobbes’s texts and among scholars.
  • Because Hobbes held that “the true doctrine of the Lawes of Nature is the true Morall philosophie”, differences in interpretation of Hobbes’s moral philosophy can be traced to differing understandings of the status and operation of Hobbes’s “laws of nature”, which laws will be discussed below.

The formerly dominant view that Hobbes espoused psychological egoism as the foundation of his moral theory is currently widely rejected, and there has been to date no fully systematic study of Hobbes’s moral psychology.

What is the famous line of David Hume?

David Hume Quotes: Philosophy For Life David Hume was an enlightenment philosopher, a historian and an essayist best know for his contribution to modern philosophy. Hume’s philosophy was grounded in scepticism and empiricism, a school of philosophy which suggests that knowledge can only come from what is experiences and observed.

  1. Hume argued that humans are not born with pre-conceived ideas about the world around them, and that we are all products of what we experience as we move through life.
  2. The practicality of Hume’s philosophy lies in his belief that people’s experience of life is dictated by the experiences they’ve had and the perceptions that have been formed as a result of those experiences.

This means 2 things:

The world around us doesn’t define how we experience life, the perceptions we have about it does. When we change the way we perceive the world around us we can change our entire experience for the better.

Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous. He is happy whose circumstances suit his temper, but he is more excellent who can suit his temper to his circumstance. When men are most sure and arrogant they are commonly most mistaken, giving views to passion without that proper deliberation which alone can secure them from the grossest absurdities.

  1. The identity that we ascribe to things is only a fictitious one, established by the mind, not a peculiar nature belonging to what we’re talking about.
  2. Epicurus’s old questions are still unanswered: Is he (God) willing to prevent evil, but not able? then he is impotent.
  3. Is he able, but not willing? then he is malevolent.

Is he both able and willing? then whence evil? If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No.

  1. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.
  2. I may venture to affirm of the rest of mankind, that they are nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity, and are in a perpetual flux and movement.

Be a philosopher; but, amidst all your philosophy, be still a man. The sweetest and most inoffensive path of life leads through the avenues of science and learning; and whoever can either remove any obstructions in this way, or open up any new prospect, ought so far to be esteemed a benefactor to mankind.

Heaven and Hell suppose two distinct species of men, the Good and the Bad. But the greatest part of mankind float between vice and virtue. It is an absurdity to believe that the Deity has human passions, and one of the lowest of human passions, a restless appetite for applause And while the body is confined to one planet, along which it creeps with pain and difficulty; the thought can in an instant transport us into the most distant regions of the universe; or even beyond the universe, into the unbounded chaos, where nature is supposed to lie in total confusion.

What never was seen, or heard or, may yet be conceived; not is any thing beyond the power of thought, except what implies as absolute contradiction. Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty.

  • One person may even perceive deformity, where another is sensible beauty; and every individual ought to acquiesce in his own sentiment, without pretending to regulate those of others.
  • To seek the real beauty, or real deformity, is as fruitless an enquiry, as to pretend to ascertain the real sweet or real bitter.

All sentiment is right; because sentiment has a reference to nothing beyond itself, and is always real, wherever a man is conscious of it. But all determinations of the understanding are not right; because they have a reference to something beyond themselves, to wit, real matter of fact; and are not always conformable to that standard.

  1. Men’s views of things are the result of their understanding alone.
  2. Their conduct is regulated by their understanding, their temper, and their passions.
  3. When I shall be dead, the principles of which I am composed will still perform their part in the universe, and will be equally useful in the grand fabric, as when they composed this individual creature.

The difference to the whole will be no greater betwixt my being in a chamber and in the open air. The one change is of more importance to me than the other; but not more so to the universe. In our reasonings concerning matter of fact, there are all imaginable degrees of assurance, from the highest certainty to the lowest species of moral evidence.

  • A wise man, therefore, proportions his belief to the evidence.
  • Does a man of sense run after every silly tale of hobgoblins or fairies, and canvass particularly the evidence? I never knew anyone, that examined and deliberated about nonsense who did not believe it before the end of his enquiries.
  • We make allowance for a certain degree of selfishness in men; because we know it to be inseparable from human nature, and inherent in our frame and constitution.

By this reflexion we correct those sentiments of blame, which so naturally arise upon any opposition. Nothing appears more surprising to those who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few, and the implicit submission with which men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers.

  • When we enquire by what means this wonder is effected, we shall find, that, as force is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion.
  • It is therefore, on opinion only that government is founded, and this maxim extends to the most despotic and most military governments, as well as to the most free and most popular.

The soldan of Egypt, or the emperor of Rome, might drive his harmless subjects, like brute beasts, against their sentiments and inclination. But he must at least have led his mamelukes, or Pretorian bands, like men, by their opinion. For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure.

  • I never can catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe any thing but the perception.
  • If any one, upon serious and unprejudiced reflection thinks he has a different notion of himself, I must confess I can reason no longer with him.
  • All I can allow him is, that he may be in the right as well as I, and that we are essentially different in this particular.

He may, perhaps, perceive something simple and continued, which he calls himself; tho’ I am certain there is no such principle in me. : David Hume Quotes: Philosophy For Life

What is the famous line of Plato?

Plato Quotes –

Plato is credited with coining several phrases that are still popular today. Here are some of Plato’s most famous quotes: · “Love is a serious mental disease.” · “When the mind is thinking it is talking to itself.” · “Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion and knowledge.” · “Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.”

· “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” · “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” · “Man-a being in search of meaning.” · “Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back.

What were 3 of Thomas Hobbes main ideas?

The State of Nature – Hobbes begins his discussion with a description of human passions and speech, our basic motions. Following this, Hobbes develops his account of the state of nature from the claim that human beings are naturally equal. By this he means that each individual possesses the natural right to preserve himself, and furthermore the natural right to claim all things, or seek all power, that he judges necessary to this end.

Moreover, Hobbes writes, in the state of nature we are, for practical purposes, equal in physical and mental capacity, since no one is strong or smart enough to defend himself with certainty against the threats that arise from the efforts of other individuals to preserve themselves. According to Hobbes, this rough equality of ability leads each person to have an equal hope of acquiring good things for himself.

As individuals strive to accumulate goods, they compete with each other, and consequently create an atmosphere of distrust. The attempt to acquire things, and to preserve them from the encroachments of others, causes us to try to dominate and control those around us.

  • Furthermore, Hobbes observes, some people care particularly to be known as that sort who can dominate—they are vainglorious or prideful individuals who are unhappy if they are not recognized as superior.
  • These three things—competition, distrust, and the desire for glory—throw humankind into a state of war, which is for Hobbes the natural condition of human life, the situation that exists whenever natural passions are unrestrained.

This state of war should be distinguished from wars as we usually experience them, for in the natural state of war every individual faces every other individual as an enemy; it is the “war of every man against every man.” The total absence of collaboration makes us miserable, and renders life “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Hobbes’s description of the state of nature proposes that what human beings want above all is to preserve their lives and their goods, and what they fear above all is violence at the hands of others.

What were the 3 beliefs of John Locke?

John Locke’s Views on Government – The “Two Treatises of Government” (1690) offered political theories developed and refined by Locke during his years at Shaftesbury’s side. Rejecting the divine right of kings, Locke said that societies form governments by mutual (and, in later generations, tacit) agreement.

Thus, when a king loses the consent of the governed, a society may remove him—an approach quoted almost verbatim in ‘s 1776, Locke also developed a definition of property as the product of a person’s labor that would be foundational for both Adam Smith’s capitalism and ‘s socialism. Locke famously wrote that man has three natural rights: life, liberty and property.

In his “Thoughts Concerning Education” (1693), Locke argued for a broadened syllabus and better treatment of students—ideas that were an enormous influence on Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s novel “Emile” (1762). In three “Letters Concerning Toleration” (1689-92), Locke suggested that governments should respect freedom of religion except when the dissenting belief was a threat to public order.

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What is the famous line of Immanuel Kant?

Immanuel Kant: Greatest Quotes Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher and an influential mind in the philosophy of Enlightenment. He promoted the idea that one should think feely and autonomously, without influence from authority or doctrine. One of Kant’s core beliefs was that reason is the ultimate source of morality and that what we perceive as beauty and desirable is subjective and dependent on the mind of the individual.

Ant also proposed that because of our lack of information and tangible evidence, it is impossible to know whether or not God, or an afterlife, really exists. He put forward the sentiment that people are justified in believing in God, despite not being able to know of it’s existence. The quotes below are some of his best.

We are not rich by what we possess but by what we can do without. Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end. All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason.

There is nothing higher than reason. Seek not the favour of the multitude; it is seldom got by honest and lawful means. But seek the testimony of few; and number not voices, but weigh them. Genius is the ability to independently arrive at and understand concepts that would normally have to be taught by another person.

Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one’s understanding without guidance from another. Two things fill my mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe, the more often and the more intensely the reflection dwells on them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.

Morality is not properly the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness. Rules for happiness: something to do, someone to love, something to hope for. The people naturally adhere most to doctrines which demand the least self-exertion and the least use of their own reason, and which can best accommodate their duties to their inclinations.

Our age is the age of criticism, to which everything must be subjected. The sacredness of religion, and the authority of legislation, are by many regarded as grounds of exemption from the examination of this tribunal. But, if they on they are exempted, they become the subjects of just suspicion, and cannot lay claim to sincere respect, which reason accords only to that which has stood the test of a free and public examination.

One who makes himself a worm cannot complain afterwards if people step on him. Skepticism is thus a resting-place for human reason, where it can reflect upon its dogmatic wanderings and make survey of the region in which it finds itself, so that for the future it may be able to choose its path with more certainty.

If the truth shall kill them, let them die. It was the duty of philosophy to destroy the illusions which had their origin in misconceptions, whatever darling hopes and valued expectations may be ruined by its explanations. Look closely. The beautiful may be small.

  1. Innocence is a splendid thing, only it has the misfortune not to keep very well and to be easily misled.
  2. As nature has uncovered from under this hard shell the seed for which she most tenderly cares – the propensity and vocation to free thinking – this gradually works back upon the character of the people, who thereby gradually become capable of managing freedom; finally, it affects the principles of government, which finds it to its advantage to treat men, who are now more than machines, in accordance with their dignity.

For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first. In all judgements by which we describe anything as beautiful, we allow no one to be of another opinion. How then is perfection to be sought? Wherein lies our hope? In education, and in nothing else.

Man must be disciplined, for he is by nature raw and wild. Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made. Space and time are the framework within which the mind is constrained to construct its experience of reality. Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind.

Nothing is divine but what is agreeable to reason. A man abandoned by himself on a desert island would adorn neither his hut nor his person; nor would he seek for flowers, still less would he plant them, in order to adorn himself therewith. It is only in society that it occurs to him to be not merely a man, but a refined man after his kind (the beginning of civilization).

  1. For such do we judge him to be who is both inclined and apt to communicate his pleasure to others, and who is not contented with an object if he cannot feel satisfaction in it in common with others.
  2. Again, every one expects and requires from every one else this reference to universal communication of pleasure, as it were from an original compact dictated by humanity itself.

Whereas the beautiful is limited, the sublime is limitless, so that the mind in the presence of the sublime, attempting to imagine what it cannot, has pain in the failure but pleasure in contemplating the immensity of the attempt. : Immanuel Kant: Greatest Quotes

What does Hobbes say about law?

In Leviathan Hobbes defines law as a command ‘addressed to one formerly obliged to obey’ the commander. A command addressed to someone not obligated is not law. Nor is advice or counsel law, since its recipient is not obligated to follow it.

What did Hobbes think about laws?

Among the most-influential philosophers of law from the early modern period was Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679), whose theory of law was a novel amalgam of themes from both the natural-law and command-theory traditions. He also offered some of the earliest criticisms of common-law theory, which would be developed significantly by theorists in the 18th century.

  1. For Hobbes, law was the primary instrument of a sovereign by which to serve the ends of government, which were principally peace and the personal security of all its citizens.
  2. Writing during and after the English Civil Wars (1642–51), he developed the idea that government which ruled effectively by law is the only bulwark against anarchy or, as he famously put it, “a war of all against all.” Hobbes’s philosophy of law is in part an account of what law must be like in order to serve that function.

Many scholars credit Hobbes as the founder of legal positivism, the dominant philosophical theory of law since the 17th century. The core ideas of legal positivism are that law is essentially a matter of social fact and that it bears at most a contingent connection with moral norms: many actions that are legally proscribed (or prescribed) can nonetheless be moral (or immoral).

  1. Insofar as this was Hobbes’s view, it was because he was an adherent of the command theory of law already discussed.
  2. In his magnum opus, Leviathan (1651), he wrote that “law in general, is not counsel, but command” and that civil (i.e., positive) laws are “those rules which the common-wealth hath commandedby word, writing, or other sufficient sign of the will” that certain actions are to be done or not done.

Since laws are “signs of the will” of the sovereign, Hobbes placed particular emphasis on the requirement that those “signs” are sufficiently public and intelligible to ordinary citizens. Hobbes’s fundamental criticism of common-law theory was that the “immemorial customs” of the community, claimed to be the foundations of law, are not always easily discernible; they may in fact be deeply controversial, and so the common law may by nature fail to offer authoritative and final views of what its putative subjects ought to do.

Hobbes rejected Coke’s idea that coming to know the law required an exercise of “artificial reason” and “long study and experience,” arguing that if lawyers and judges were necessary intermediaries between sovereign and subject, then the law would again fail to guide the conduct of those to whom it applied.

He quipped that ordinary persons could dispense with the counsel of lawyers and master the contents of a legal system after about two months’ study. Although there are undeniable positivist elements in Hobbes’s theory, in positing an important connection between natural and civil law (i.e., between morality and positive law), he was also inspired by the natural-law tradition.

He claimed that natural law and civil law “contain each other and are of equal extent.” What Hobbes meant by that claim has been a topic of scholarly debate ever since; suffice it to say that he thought that there were modest but real moral limits on what the sovereign could legitimately demand of its subjects.

For example, a putative law that required people to act in ways that led to their own death would fail to be valid positive law because it would violate the natural law of self-preservation, which Hobbes thought was at the foundation of the purpose of government.

Did Hobbes believe in tyranny?

The political ideology of Hobbes, formed by his times, may yet not be so strange to ours. – England saw one of its most turbulent periods in the seventeenth century. The religious settlement of Elizabeth I was being strained in every direction. Puritans were clamoring for further reforms in the Church of England to remove vestiges of “popery,” especially Calvinists.

  • Meanwhile, the increasingly unpopular Stuart monarchy was emphasizing its prerogatives, and endorsing rituals that many considered the thin end of a Catholic wedge.
  • The tension erupted into a series of civil wars, starting in 1642.
  • Before it all ended, Parliament had executed a king for treason—an act without precedent in English history.

The plague broke out again more than once that century, and a gigantic fire ruined much of London in 1666. It was against this background that Thomas Hobbes lived and worked. A philosopher, translator, and mathematician, he even served as a tutor to Charles II, the son of the executed king, who would return to England and restore the monarchy in 1660.

  1. Hobbes is a key figure in the transition from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment.
  2. He attempted to design a political philosophy that was as objective and axiomatic as geometry, rather than one entangled with history and culture.
  3. Like later Enlightenment thinkers, Hobbes upheld the social contract theory; however, he drew quite different conclusions, resembling autocratic political ideals popular during the Renaissance.

His principal work is Leviathan, subtitled The Matter, Forme, and Power of a Commonwealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil, He published it while more or less in exile in Paris, safely out of reach of Cromwell’s government. The name refers to one of the monsters from the book of Job, which God uses to taunt Job with his powerlessness.

The famous frontispiece, partly shown here in the image overlay, bore the Vulgate text of Job 41.24, meaning “There is no power on earth to be compared to him.” The gigantic figure of the monarch holds both a sword and a crozier, symbols of power over state and church alike. To begin with, Hobbes asserted that there was no summum bonum or greatest good, because people want too many different things.

There was, however, a greatest evil: death. The state of nature, before or without civilization, was one of total war for survival between every individual; he famously summarized life in the state of nature as being “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” The alternative was for men to come together into a commonwealth, exchanging their personal liberties to a sovereign, for protection from this horrible anarchy.

This sovereign might be democratic, monarchic, or aristocratic; Hobbes argued in favor of a monarchy on practical grounds, though it was not a theoretical requirement of his system. In the first place, I put for a general inclination of all mankind a perpetual and restless desire of Power after power, that ceaseth only in Death.

All this was a radical departure from Medieval and Renaissance political theory. A unified idea of human purpose and a summum bonum, and the responsibility of the state to promote the common good, were basic assumptions. Even his notion of the state of nature flew in the face of Aristotle, whose definition of man as “a political animal” (or as we might say today, a social animal) was all but universal.

  • Still, so far, this is none too unusual by later Enlightenment standards.
  • Even his preference for a singular monarch, rather than an assembly of some kind (whether noble or popular), was not so odd.
  • But Hobbes went further.
  • He claimed that, in order to achieve this security, individuals had to give up all of their liberties and rights absolutely to their sovereign.

He enumerated a multitude of powers that only the sovereign has: total authority over all laws; immunity to any attempt to change the form of government; authority to define religious doctrine; power to examine and censor all writing and speech; and immunity against any claim that he has acted unjustly.

  1. In fact, Hobbes argued that it was logically impossible for the sovereign to act unjustly, because the social contract presupposed total consent to anything the sovereign might do thereafter.
  2. Tyranny, by definition, could not exist—only rebellion, which the government had a right to put down by any means it chose.

Unsurprisingly, Leviathan was not popular with the Parliamentarian government that had executed King Charles I for treason. The English royalists, however, liked it no better: Catholics and Anglicans alike were infuriated by its secularism. The court-in-exile of Charles II shunned Hobbes, and he fled back to England only a few months after publishing it, fearing for his life.

Nevertheless, when Charles II reclaimed the throne, he showed favor to his former tutor, protecting him against certain legal dangers and granting him a pension. Hobbes’ legacy (other than indirect fame through a cartoon namesake!) is hard to discern. The philosophers of the Enlightenment tended to follow in his footsteps in affirming some version of social contract theory; but few of them agreed with his extremely dark view of human nature, and the authors of classical Liberalism—Locke, Rousseau, Voltaire, and the like—attacked royal absolutism and defended individual freedoms.

We see something like Hobbes re-emerge in the twentieth century, with the rise of fascism and its accent on a supreme, all-powerful leader. In that sense, the shadow of tyranny cast by Leviathan still lies over us. _ Every week, we publish a profile of one of the figures from the CLT author bank,

  • For an introduction to classic authors, see our guest post from Keith Nix, founder of the Veritas School in Richmond, VA.
  • If you enjoyed this post, take a look at this introduction to Sophocles, this three-part series on the role of the Classics in the history of Black education, or this piece on dealing with propaganda,

Published on 30th November, 2020.