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Leviathan is considered
one of the most influential works in political science field. Thomas Hobbes
wrote this book at the age of seventy and it is still a highly controversial
discussion topic. When Hobbes was writing the Leviathan he managed to synthese
mathematics and political philosophy dexterously in the same pot. First, I will
touch upon the content of the book and philosophy and Hobbes then I will come
to the methodological part.

The best way to
understand the ideas of Hobbes and its magnum opus Leviathan it is needed to
take the historical era into account in which he used to live. Seventeenth
century was not the perfect time for England and the country was dealing with
unending wars and conflicts. On the top of this English Civil War broke out culminating
in beheading of King Charles I and replacement of English Monarchy with the
rule of Oliver Cromwell. These constant crises and conflicts have shaped the
thought of Hobbes in a huge way. The timeline which one lives in has undeniably
a huge effect on the people. Owing to these reasons Hobbes wanted to solve and
put an end to these conflicts.

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It is crucial to
understand that human nature has bad, brutal and nasty characteristics for
Hobbes and that point of view constitutes the key element of Hobbesian thought.
He also was one of the leading figures of realism movement in the field of
international relations. Realism contends that states are rational actors just
like humans and they share the same characteristics. Every state is on its own
and can never be sure of other states’ intentions I can explain this with an
example let’s suppose a person in the wild jungle and in this case this person would
definitely feel insecure and perceive his surroundings with suspicion and
angst. States are exactly like the person in this jungle according to realism.
Seeing that there is no Leviathan that would provide the security around the
world every state must protect itself and do whatever it takes for the
protection of its sovereignty. So Hobbes explained how a state (which he called
Commonwealth) has the best chance to achieve this. It is vital to know that
Hobbes along with John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau was one of the first
known advocates of social contract theory. He rejected the theory of divine
right of the Kings and argued that a sovereign must take his legitimacy from
the citizens and as long as the citizens give their assent to the sovereign then
he would exert absolute authority in the Commonwealth as the citizens accepted
his authority then his will would become their own will. In this case there
would be no reason to stand against the sovereign as long as he threatens the
lives of citizens directly. Basically Hobbes is against any sort of opposition
against the ruler because he argued that even the worst ruler is better than disorder
and chaos within the Commonwealth. John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau differ
from the ideas of Hobbes in some points arguing that the sovereign must respect
the rights (the right to live, right of property and freedom of religion) of
his subjects otherwise he would lose his legitimacy and the people would have
the right to stand against and elect a new ruler. Especially Rousseaus’ ideas
are important in this case since he wanted that people should not only elect
the leader but also scrutinize his actions. Differences over the ideas emanated
from different eras since Locke and Rousseau used to live relatively in
peaceful times whereas Hobbes experienced numerous wars and conflicts which
surely affected his way of thinking.

Nevertheless methodology
of Hobbes was quite a distinguished one in which he tried to connect
mathematics with political philosophy. It is worth mentioning that Hobbes was
also one of the prominent mathematicians during his time and his knowledge of
mathematics and geometry enabled him to think in a different way. Maths and
geometry are sciences that provide certain exact results and left no place for
for doubt and shadow that should be enlightened. That is what Hobbes was trying
to reach i.e. constructing a political theory whose outcomes supposed to
reflect exact and certain truth just like maths and geometry. For Hobbes
logical argumentation was essential to produce scientific knowledge and only
through logical reasoning one could come to correct outcomes. At this point it
is not difficult to criticize because logic would be prone to subjectivation
and as far as I am concerned it is not possible to reach absolute results in
social sciences which makes them distinguished from natural sciences and
mathematics. Duverger’s theory (some call it Duverger’s law) and democratic
peace theory are considered the most successful theories in the field of social
sciences, however, even they can be proven incorrect in some cases. Therefore
one could not argue that we will have exact absolute result by combining maths
and political philosophy due to the fact that they are two separate sciences
with different features. Basically we could criticise the ideas of Hobbes on a
certain level since his ideas do not reflect exact and unalterable results.
What Hobbes was trying to accomplish was the legitimization of the new system
after the execution of King Charles I. so that the everlasting conflicts and
wars in his country would finally come to an end. 

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