Study Questions on Hobbes' Leviathan
Selections in Cahn and Markie, eds., Ethics (2009)

by Dr. Jan Garrett

Last Updated July 23, 2010

1. How does Hobbes understand the difference between vital motion and animal motion? (216.1-2)

2. How does Hobbes conceive imagination? (217.1) endeavour? (217.1)

3. How does Hobbes conceive appetite? aversion? love? hate? (217.1)

4. Is Hobbes a materialist or a dualist with respect to human nature? (See 218.1.)

5. Does Hobbes recognize any other basic human motive than self-interest? (222.2 bottom)

6. What things does man consider good? evil? inconsiderable? (217.2 middle; see also 227.1) How does Hobbes explain the difference between good and beautiful? (217.2 bottom) Between pleasure of sense and pleasure of mind? (218.1-2)

7. How does Hobbes understand felicity? (218.2) Compare Hobbes' view on this with Aristotle's and Thomas Aquinas'?

8. What "general inclination" does H. attribute to "all mankind"? Why? (218.2-219.1)

9. How does Thomas Hobbes conceive humans (in their "natural condition")? (219.1-2)

10. What would happen, according to Hobbes, if humans lived "without a common power" over them? (220, especially 220.2 paragraph starting "Whatsoever…")

11. Can right and wrong, justice and injustice, and property exist before the formation of an organized society governed by a "common power"? (221.1 bottom)

12. What passions incline people to peace? (221.2 top)

13. How does reason lead people to enter a social contract? (See ch. xiv-xv; follow the numbered "laws of nature," observing their logical relationships.)

14. How does Hobbes understand "moral philosophy"? (227.2) How does he understand good and evil? Upon what do all men agree? (227.2) With what recent topic of discussion (ch. xv) are virtues like gratitude, modesty, equity, mercy, etc. associated for Hobbes? (227.2)