Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679): Matter & Society

It's Method
and Scope

Aristotle's Four Causes:
Final: the end sought

or purpose served
Formal: the pattern of 
its constitution
Efficient: the process
of its construction
Material: what it's made of

  1. The subject of Philosophy, or the matter it treats of, is every body of which we can conceive any generation, and which we may, by any consideration thereof, compare with other bodies, or which is capable of composition and resolution; that is to say every body of whose generation or properties we can have any knowledge.  . . .  Therefore, it excludes Theology, I mean the doctrine of God eternal, ingenerable, incomprehensible, and in whom there is nothing neither to divide nor compound, nor any generation to be conceived. (121)
  2. The principle parts of philosophy are two.  For two chief kinds of bodies, and very different from one another, offer themselves to such a search after their generation and properties; one whereof being the work of nature is called a natural body, and the other is called a commonwealth and is made by the wills and agreement of men. (121)
  3. But the knowledge of what is infinite can never be acquired by a finite inquirer.  Whatsoever we know that are men, we learn it from our phantasms; and of infinite, whether magnitude or time, there is no phantasm at all; so that it is impossible either for a man or any other creature to have any conception of infinite. (123)


Qualitative Identity
sameness in kind. 
Numerical Identity =
being one and
the same individual.

Ship of Theseus:
suppose all the 
planks & other
parts are replaced,
gradually, until,
finally all the originals
parts have been
Suppose someone has
retained all the parts 
removed and puts them 
back together to make
another ship. 
Question: Which
is the ship of

  1. "Matter [is] that which having no dependence on our thought, is co-extended with some part of space." (122)
  2. Concerning the world, as it is one aggregate of many parts, the things that fall under inquiry are few; and those we can determine none.  Of the whole world we may inquire what is its magnitude, what its duration is, and nothing else. (122)
  3. An entire cause is always sufficient for the production of its effect, if that effect be at all possible.  (124). 
  4. And seeing a necessary cause is defined to be that, which being supposed, the effect cannot by follow; this also may be collected, that whatsoever effect is produced at any time, the same is produced by a necessary cause. (124)
  5. Wherefore, all propositions concerning future things, contingent or not contingent, as this, it will rain tomorrow, or this, tomorrow the sun will rise, are either necessarily true, or necessarily false; be we call them contingent because we do not know yet whether they be true or false; whereas there verity depends not upon our knowledge, but upon the foregoing of their causes. (125)
  6. And first of all, it is manifest that no two bodies are the same; for seeing they are two, they are in two places at the same time; as that which is the same, is at the same time in one and the same place.  All bodies therefore differ from one another in number; namely, as one and another; so that the same and different in number, are names opposed to one another by contradiction. (125)
  7. The same body may at different times be compared with itself.  And from hence springs the great controversy among philosophers about the beginning of individuation, namely, in what sense it may be conceived that a body is at one time the same, at another time not the same as it was formerly. (125)
  8. But we must consider by what name anything is called, when we inquire concerning the identity of it. (126)
  9. Whensoever the name, by which it is asked whether a thing be the same it was, is given for the matter only, then if the matter be the same, the thing also is individually the same; as the water, which was in the sea, is the same which is afterwards in the cloud . . . (126)
  10. Also if a name be given for such form as is the beginning of motion, then as long as that motion remains it is the same individual thing; as that man will always be the same, whose actions and thoughts proceed all from the same beginning of motion, namely, that which was in his generation . . .  (126)

Humanity: Our
selves are
just matter
in motion.

Gap: "Why a 
motion should be
experienced as a
sensation at all, 
and why one 
motion is 
as middle C and 
another as red, are,
and remain, complete 
mysteries as far as
first philosophy 
goes" (Jones, 128)

  1. Whatsoever accidents or qualities our senses make us think there are in the world, they are not there, but are seeming and apparitions only: the thing that really are in the world without us are those motions by which these seemings are caused.  This is the great deception of sense. (129)
  2. [The great deception of sense] is by sense corrected: for as sense telleth me when I see directly that the colour seemeth to be in the object; so also sense telleth me, when I see by reflection, that colour is not in the object. (129)
  3. For after the object is removed, or the eye shut, we still retain an image of the thing seen, though more obscure than when we see it.  (130)
  4. This decaying sense, when we would express the thing itself, I mean fancy itself, we call imagination, as I said before: but when we would express the decay, and signify that the sense is fading, old, and past, it is called memory.  So that imagination and memory are but one thing, which for divers considerations hath divers names. (131)
  5. The imaginations of them that sleep are those we call dreams.  And these also, as all other imaginations, have been before, either totally or by parcels in the sense. (131)
  6. Not every thought to every thought succeeds indifferently.  Be as we have no imagination, whereof we have not formerly has sense, in whole, or in parts; so we have no transition from one imagination to another whereof we never had the like before in our senses.  (131)
  7. [Reasoning is] nothing but reckoning, that is adding and subtracting, of the consequences of general names. (133-134)
  8. No man can know by discourse, that this, or that, is, has been, or will be; which is to know absolutely: but only, that if this be, that is; if this has been, that has been; if this shall be, that shall be: which is to know conditionally; and that not the consequence of one thing to another; but of one name of a thing, to another name of a thing. (134)
  9. [S]alve the appearances. (135)
  10. And because going, speaking, and the like voluntary motions, depend always upon a present thought of whither, which way, and what; it is evident, that the imagination is the first internal beginning of all voluntary motion.  (137)
  11. [T]he whole sum of desires, aversions, hopes and fears, continued till the thing either be done, or thought impossible, we call DELIBERATION. (138)
  12. And although unstudied men do not conceive any motion  at all to be there, where the thing moved is invisible; or the spate it is moved in is, for the shortness of it insensible; yet that doth not hinder, but that such motions are. (137)
  13. The alternate succession of appetites, aversions, hopes and fears, is no less in other living creatures than in man; and therefore beasts also deliberate. (138)
  14. Will therefore is the last appetite in deliberating. (138)
  15. For these words of good, evil, and contemptible, are ever used with relation to the person that useth them: there being nothing absolutely so; nor any common rule of good and evil to be taken from the nature of the objects themselves; but from the person of the man, where there is no commonwealth; or, in a commonwealth, from the person that representeth it; or from an arbiter or judge, who men, disagreeing, shall by consent set up, and make his sentence the rule thereof. (137-138)
  16. Nature hath made men so equal, in the faculties of the body, and mind; as that though there be found one man sometimes manifestly stronger in body, or of quicker mind than another; yet when all is reckoned together, the difference between man, and man, is not so considerable as that one man can thereupon claim to himself any benefit, to which another may not pretend as well as he.  (140-141)
  17. Hereby it is manifest, that during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in tat condition which is called war; and such a war as is of every man, against every man. (141)
  18. In such a condition . . . [is] the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. (142)
  19. Fear of power invisible, feigned by the mind, or imagined from tales publicly allowed, [is called] RELIGION; not allowed [is called] SUPERSTITION. (144)

The State, the 
and the Need
for an 

  1. For seeing life is but a motion of limbs, the beginning whereof is in some principal part within; why may we not say that all automata (engines that move themselves by springs and wheels as doth a watch) have an artificial life?  For what is the heart, but a spring; and the nerves but so many strings; and the joints but so many wheels, giving motion to the whole body, such as was intended by its artificer. 
  2. For by art is created the great LEVIATHAN called a COMMONWEALTH, or STATE . . . which is but an artificial man.  (145)
  3. Of the voluntary acts of every man, the object is some good for himself. (146)
  4. And consequently it is a precept or general rule of reason, that every man, ought to endeavor peace, as far as he has hope of attaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek, and use, all helps and advantages of war. (146)
  5. From this fundamental law of nature, by which men are commanded to endeavor peace, it derived this second law: that a man be willing, when others are too, as far forth as for peace, and defense of himself he shall think it necessary, to lay down this right to all things; and be contented with so much liberty against other men, as he would allow other men against himself.  (146)
  6. [T]here must be some coercive power, to compel men equally to the performance of their covenants, by the terror of some punishment, greater than the benefit they expect by the breach of their covenant; . . . and such power there is none before the erection of a commonwealth. (147)
  7. The only way to erect such a common power . . . is to confer all their power and strength upon one man, or upon one assembly of men. . . . (149)

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