- 大阪大學文學部紀要 (ISSN:04721373)
- vol.14, pp.151-332, 1968-10-30
Thomas Hobbes, who lived an eventful life in the turbulent days of the Puritan Revolution, is a problematic philosopher; indeed, he had much concern about social and political affairs of those days. The present paper, however, aims to study Hobbes solely as a ture philosopher, and the reason for this concentration is, simply, that an accurate appreciation of his thoughts as a whole necessarily presupposes a full understanding of his philosophical foundations. The present study is mainly concerned with two basic problems in his philosophy. Hobbes names all objects of his philosophy 'corpus' (body). I should like to pay attention to this fact. What is meant by 'body', which is the sole object of his whole philosophy?-this is the first problem, i.e. the first point to be brought under examination. And then, how is his philosophy of man and common-wealth to be interpreted, on the basis of the result of that examination? This is the second problem. By his definition, philosophy (that is to say, science in general) is nothing but the correct ratiocination of reason, advancing from the diverse phenomena (natural or social ) or effects, to their causes, i.e. the things, and vice versa. Whenever an event unfolds itself before us, it is supposed that there must have been some things which have given rise to it. His philosophy intends seek after its causes. However, 'body', which his philosophy seeks, is neither the thing in itself nor its phenomenon, but just a being, such that it is ratiocinated and supposed by reason, which analyses this phenomenon with the view to finding its causes according to its own logic; or a being known by the names of'suppositum' and 'subjectum'. Suppositum or subjectum may be considered as a certain being supposed by reason under a phenomenon and, at the same time, in substitution for the thing in itself, so as to comprehend and account for that phenomenon. This is the true object of his philosophy, and here is a key to solve the riddles in his notorious materialism. According to this nature of body, we come to realize, therefore, that by the word 'man' is menat a body, to which some human 'accidentia' (accidents) are ascribed, and by 'common-wealth', literally, a body politic. There are, however, some notable differences between man and other natural beings. Man necessarily lives under certain social conditions, it is true, but he may, on occasions, endeavour to erect a desirable society working togather with their fellows. Man, in this sense, may be considered as a person. Now, 'person' is, in its original sense, a mask worn by an actor on the stage, and, in its transferred meaning, an actor himself, who personates himself or others and acts according to his assigned principles. If left in a state of nature, men must personate themselves, and act like wolves killing one another, from which state men necessarily hope to flee. They ardently desire to have a peaceful common-wealth set up, where they are expected to act as virtuous citizens. A common-wealth is, in his opinion, an artificial man established by the people, and a sovereign also is an artificial person, who, as an actor, stands for the citizens. The main contents of his philosophy of man and common-wealth are, in my opinion, composed of great dramas, depicting a progress of human beings from the state of nature to a peaceful state. We may find the original archetype of these dramas in the grand epic 'Exodus' in the Holy Scriptures. His philosophy of man and common-wealth, therefore, should be regarded, I conclude, as a philosophical theory of this great human emancipation. There still remain two problems, concerning which there have been no established theories as yet. The state of nature is described by him as 'Bellum omnium contra omnes' (a war of every man against every man). What does this description mean ? This is the first problem. To this there have been given several answers, indeed, but very few that are satisfactory. He thereby intends, I believe, to point out the radical evil of man, that is to say, the Original Sin of modern people. In spite of our belief in the modern rationality of the human behaviours, we ought to learn here about the irrational activities of man in modern times. And Hobbes has usually been blamed for his theory of Absolutism. What is meant by the aboslute sovereignty? This is the second point that remains unsolved. It is, of course, unreasonable to think that he did try to defend the Kings of those days in any way. We should rather say that his strange theory of the absolute sovereignty must be explicated as a logical consequence of the irrational activities of man mentioned above. A man, who shudders at the monster 'Leviathan', is really tormented by his radical evil that exists in himself. We should find here, in this point, the radical irrationality and other difficulties inherent in the modern state. The conclusion of this study is, in a word, that Hobbes was a true philosopher who had a deep insight into man and his relations in modern times. If we are to discuss the basic problems in modern philosophy and ethics more or less fundamentally, then we should remember that his philosophy, as the origin of these disciplines, deserves our snecial attention and is well worth our serious studies and re-examinations.