Machiavelli vs Hobbes and human nature

Machiavelli vs Hobbes and human nature
kevintran
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Posted Feb 13, 2007 - 8:53 PM:
Subject: Machiavelli vs Hobbes and human nature
Hi I just read The Prince and some parts of the Leviathan and I'm having a hard time differentiating between what Machiavelli's and Hobbes' views of human nature are. What are your opinions of the similarities/differences between how the two men see human nature?
Roland
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Posted Feb 14, 2007 - 8:25 AM:

My understanding is that Machiavelli realized that men tended to fall into evil. Hobbes' idea of human nature was consumate with Machiavelli's, but, since he was writing in the wake of civil war, he placed more emphasis on men being inherently brutal.
Thoughtless
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Posted Feb 14, 2007 - 8:38 AM:

Do your own homework. rolling eyes
Boondock Saint
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Posted Feb 25, 2007 - 2:55 PM:

kevintran wrote:
Hi I just read The Prince and some parts of the Leviathan and I'm having a hard time differentiating between what Machiavelli's and Hobbes' views of human nature are. What are your opinions of the similarities/differences between how the two men see human nature?


To understand precisely what Hobbes regards as being the natural pre-disposition of Man (and no, it isn't, in my opinion, that we're inherently brutal, or evil, etc.), you should refer to Bk.1 Ch.13 of a Leviathan collection - the chapter entitled "Of The Natural Condition Of Mankind As Concerning Their Felicity And Misery". The particular passage, in my opinion, which best characterizes the natural tendencies, and more to the point the elemental predicament, of Man follows:

And from this diffidence of one another, there is no way for any man to secure himself so reasonable as anticipation; that is, by force, or wiles, to master the persons of all men he can so long till he see no other power great enough to endanger him: and this is no more than his own conservation requireth, and is generally allowed.

Also, because there be some that, taking pleasure in contemplating their own power in the acts of conquest, which they pursue farther than their security requires, if others, that otherwise would be glad to be at ease within modest bounds, should not by invasion increase their power, they would not be able, long time, by standing only on their defence, to subsist. And by consequence, such augmentation of dominion over men being necessary to a man's conservation, it ought to be allowed him.



If you've read both works, then I would expect the contrast to be quite clear.
rorym
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Posted Mar 8, 2007 - 1:53 AM:

Isn't imposing your power or will over something else that is smaller or weaker than you, but growing to a size that you may find uncomfortable, a brutal and insecure action?
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