Summery – Book Report/Review Example
Summary In his seminal book Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes purports that just as nature is an imitation of the art of man so is the great Leviathan d common-wealth or state. Hobbes compares the common wealth to the human body; it has a greater stature than the artificial nature and is governed by an artificial soul-sovereignty; the body parts of the commonwealth include the magistrates, reward and punishment, counsellors, equity, laws, reason and will (Hobbes 81). In analysing the nature of the artificial man, the author takes into account the matter, the artificer, the covenants that make the artificial man, the power of the sovereign, the concept of Christian commonwealth and the kingdom of darkness that affects the nature of the artificial man. In the first part of the book, Hobbes tries to elaborate on the thoughts of man and he highlights the importance of the senses by stating that the cause of sense is the external body or the object (Hobbes 85). However, one should be able to discern that the object is one thing while the image or fancy differ from the real object; in fact, real sense is an outcome of the original fancy that is caused by the motion of external things (Hobbes 86). Imagination comes next to the senses and for Hobbes imagination is nothing but “decaying sense; and is found in men, and many other living Creatutres, as well sleeping, as waking” (Hobbes 88). Even though the impressions of an object remain in one’s mind after viewing it one’s imagination is obscured by more present succeeding images. Imagination can be categorized into both simple and compound while dreams are the reverse of one’s waking imaginations. For Hobbes, understanding is common to both man and beast and understanding is the imagination that is raised in man by words or other voluntary signs (Hobbes 93). According to him, mental discourse occurs as a result of the ‘succession of one Thought to another’ and can be divided into constant (unguided) or inconstant (Hobbes 94). The author then goes on to explain how remembrance, prudence and experience of the past affect one’s thoughts. In the fourth and fifth chapter the author speaks about the various aspects of speech and reason; the origin of speech, its uses and abuses, the common and universal aspects of names, negative and inconstant names, and concepts such as right reason, errors and absurdities are also explained in these chapters.
Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan.