What is the biggest disagreement between Hobbes and Peter the Great?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In answering this, we must first realize that Hobbes would say that Peter the Great could do whatever he wanted.  Hobbes believed in a government that held absolute power and could do whatever it wanted.  Therefore, even if Hobbes disagreed with Peter the Great, he would have acknowledged Peter's right to do as he pleased.

A major disagreement between the two would have been over the purpose of government.  Hobbes argues that rulers can do what they want, but he also says that they should try to act in ways that would benefit their subjects.  It is better for a monarch to pursue the public interest, Hobbes says.  But Peter the Great was less interested in the common interest than in his own glory.  He wanted to modernize Russia not to help his subjects but to make himself and his country more powerful.  Hobbes would say that this is not the best goal for a monarch to have.


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