Leviathan: Or, The Matter, Form, and Power of a Commonwealth Ecclesiastical and Civil

by Thomas Hobbes
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What does the Fool say to Thomas Hobbes in chapter 15 of Leviathan?

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Thomas Hobbes writes in Chapter XV of Leviathan:

The Fool hath said in his heart, there is no such thing as Justice.

This would immediately have recalled to Hobbes’s readers the words of the fifty-third Psalm in the Bible:

The Fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.

The wording therefore lends theological support to Hobbes’s indictment of the Fool at the same time as it suggests the divine nature of Justice, an identification Hobbes soon makes explicit by revealing that it is the same Fool who has denied both God and Justice. The Fool’s argument is everyone is “committed to his own care” and therefore breaks covenants when it suits him to do so. Even if people call it unjust to break covenants, it is still reasonable to do so if it works to one’s advantage and this injustice goes unpunished.

Hobbes refutes the Fool, first by pointing out that we cannot know the consequences of our actions. This is a deontological argument: that the consequences of an action have no bearing...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1039 words.)

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