Kant: On Perpetual Peace

Among Immanuel Kant’s famous essays is his essay “To Eternal Peace” (alternatively titled “On Perpetual Peace”).  In this essay, published in 1795 right at the onset of the French Revolutionary Wars, Kant follows up on his philosophy of history by offering deep contemplation on the nature of unfolding history and constitutions to peace among nations.  … Continue reading Kant: On Perpetual Peace

Rousseau: The Second Discourse on Inequality

Rousseau’s second discourse on inequality builds from his first.  The second discourse contains his famous depiction of the noble savage, how man loses his freedom and equality through the establishment of property and society, and his ruminations about how reason corrupts human living and how knowledge is used as a tool of oppression and violence.  … Continue reading Rousseau: The Second Discourse on Inequality

Locke’s Law of Nature: Moral, Immoral, or Amoral?

One of the great debates of scholarship surrounding Locke is his “natural law” or law of nature theory.  There are those that argue he stands squarely within the Ciceronian-Augustinian-Thomistic tradition wherein the natural law is not only moral, but it will, at end, produce happiness for us.  There are others who claim otherwise – that … Continue reading Locke’s Law of Nature: Moral, Immoral, or Amoral?

Hobbes and Locke: On the Social Contract

It is customary to position Hobbes and Locke against each other.  In reality, most philosophers and political philosophers see themselves as two sides of the same coin, much like Plato and Aristotle (especially in the eyes of Plotinus and the Christian synthesizers of Plato and Aristotle).  So what does the social contract entail in Hobbes … Continue reading Hobbes and Locke: On the Social Contract

Hobbes’s Leviathan, Part V

In finishing the first part of Thomas Hobbes’s magisterial and path breaking work Leviathan, we are transitioning out of Hobbes’s anthropology and state of nature and toward the artificial construction that is the political.  The rise of covenant political theory is foundational to political liberalism, and Chapters 14-16 deal with what Hobbes means by covenant … Continue reading Hobbes’s Leviathan, Part V

Hobbes’s Leviathan, Part IV

Proceeding to reading Chapters 10-13 we hit the meat of Hobbes’s Leviathan.  We approach his famous commentary on the state of nature, wherein we are burdened by the “war of every man against everyman” or “war of all against all” (from the Latin edition: Bellum omnium contra omnes) and his bleak assessment that life in … Continue reading Hobbes’s Leviathan, Part IV

Introduction to Thomas Hobbes

Thomas Hobbes is one of the most consequential philosophers in history.  Some say he is the father of modern philosophy, and the father of liberalism, “If we may call liberalism that political doctrine which regards as the fundamental fact the rights, as distinguished from the duties, of man and which identifies the function of the … Continue reading Introduction to Thomas Hobbes