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Biological Correctness: Thomas Hobbes' Natural Ethics

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This article argues that underlying Thomas Hobbes' prescription for concentrated power is system of ethics based on his understanding of human nature and the biological processes that govern natural human function. His thesis in Leviathan is not so much an argument for how rulers should rule as much as it is an argument for why individuals should allow themselves to be ruled in a specific manner. The justification for accepting rule comes from right reason which, in turn, comes to us from the dictates of the biological organism. If the biological organism is functioning correctly, it supports those processes and impulses which drive self-preservation. Anything that corrupts these natural processes and impulses are said to contravene right reason. Ultimately, the author believes that theoretical discourse concerning the essential interplay between political ethics and human nature should include consideration of Hobbes alongside Aristotle, David Hume, and others.


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