20 June 2008
The Big Idea We Mistook: The Leviathan
Thomas Hobbes is known by many as one of the greatest philosophers to date. His work on the topic of political philosophy is both well known and much contested. One of his most famous works, the Leviathan, is referred to in the following arguments as challenging to connect to today. Although relevant in a broad sense, by relating his ideas to their applicability in modern society, we will find that they do not meet the requirements of a big idea.
To accurately establish the following arguments, we must first understand what makes a good big idea. For the purposes of this paper, a good big idea will be defined as ...view middle of the document...
Secondly, in addition to giving up those rights individuals accept that the sovereign runs the government therefore the sovereign rules the law. Although, in theory, they act on behalf of the people, the people cannot oppose the sovereign for they are always right.
Today, women play an integral role in our society. They not only have responsibilities in the home but also in the workplace. They are involved in business, law, politics, teaching and much more. In Hobbes’ Leviathan, women are, for the most part, left out of the equation. The only purpose they serve is that of a mother or caretaker. Although Hobbes claims equality, this statement is made clearly for men exclusively. At a time when decisions were being made to ensure peace, protection and equal representation politically, women had no voice. Therefore, in a world where the sovereign was ultimately to act for and as the people, women couldn’t possibly be properly represented. Society wouldn’t have been constructed with their ideas, rights, or needs in mind. This part of Hobbes theory does not apply to the modern day treating of women and does not accurately reflect their roles in society. Although it has not always been the case, today women’s choices and decisions are taken seriously and heard by all.
We recognize women as equals, and extend to them the same rights as men. If Hobbes’ theory were to account for the value of women even in a general sense, his idea would meet part of the definition, however, he neglects to do even that.
In the Leviathan, Hobbes makes the assumption that all those living in the state of nature want to get out, and given the opportunity to be part of a commonwealth they would surrender their rights and join. Making this assumption creates many problems for both those that want to be part of...