By Michael Oakeshott
Of Michael Oakeshott and his curiosity in Thomas Hobbes, Professor Paul Franco has written, "The topics Oakeshott stresses in his interpretation of Hobbes are...scepticism in regards to the position of cause in politics, allegiance to the morality of individuality rather than any type of collectivism, and the main of a noninstrumental, nonpurposive mode of political organization, particularly, civil association.". Of Hobbes's Leviathan, Oakeshott has written, "Leviathan is the best, probably the only, masterpiece of political philosophy written within the English language.". Hobbes on Civil organization comprises Oakeshott's 4 significant essays on Hobbes and at the nature of civil organization as civil organization relates to ordered liberty.
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Additional info for Hobbes on Civil Association
130. Introduction to Leviathan 30 tem of cause and effect and settle the generation of the parts of civil association. And secondly, we may expect it to settle the generation, in terms of an hypothetical efficient cause, of the artifact as a whole; that is, to show this work of art springing from the specific nature of man. But it may be observed that two courses lie open to anyone, holding the views of Hobbes, who undertakes this project. Philosophy, we have seen, may argue from a given effect to its hypothetical efficient cause, or from a given cause to its possible effect.
The first is History, which is the ordered register of past experiences. The second is prudence, which is the power to anticipate experience by means of the recollection of what has gone before. ” 20 A full, wellrecollected experience gives the “foresight” and “wisdom” that belong to the prudent man, a wisdom that springs from the appreciation of those causes and effects that time and not reason teaches us. This is the end and crown of experience. In the mind 17. 18. 19. 20. , p. 11. , I, 393. , p.
49 But, springing from these there is another set of movements in the brain, which may be called comprehensively the active 48. Man is a mechanism; but a mechanism may be considered at different levels of abstraction. For example, the working of a watch may be described mathematically in terms of quantities, or in the mechanical terms of force and inertia, or in terms of its visible parts, springs, and cogs. And to choose one level does not deny the possibility of the others. In selecting introspection as the sort of knowledge of man required in civil philosophy, Hobbes is doing no more than to choose what he considers to be the relevant level of abstraction.
Hobbes on Civil Association by Michael Oakeshott