the teachings of Thomas Hobbes in his book Leviathan

Essay by trillinUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, April 1996

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Thomas Hobbes Paper - What is the difference between

obligations in foro interno and in foro externo, and when do we

have such obligations?

According to Thomas Hobbes, there are certain laws of nature which

exist in the absence of an organized government. These laws are extremely

cut throat, and place people in extremely dangerous situations where their

lives are in danger. Government is the answer to this dangerous situation,

but it is here that the question of obligation comes into question. Does

one have an obligation to take a chance and follow the laws set forth for

them, or should they only think of themselves, and follow the laws of

nature? This is a vital question which I will explore.

According to Hobbes, the overriding law of nature is kill or be

killed. Hobbes believed that, 'every man has a right to everything, even to

another man's body. And therefore, as long as this natural right of every

man to everything endureth, there can be no security to any man(how strong

or wise soever he be) of living out the time which nature ordinarily

allowith men to live.'

However he also believed, 'that a man be willing, when others are

so too as far-forth as for peace and defense of himself that 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.' The question now is, when do we have an obligation to strive

towards peace when it means giving up our natural rights?

According to Hobbes, we always have an obligation to work towards

peace, and have an obligation in foro interno, but not always in foro

externo. The difference between there two are that in...