Thomas Hobbes as a proponent of natural science methodology considered behavior and human psyche subordinate to the laws of mechanics. Hobbes believed that simple sensations caused by external influence, like the motion of the atoms in the brain, lead to other psychological processes. The will was interpreted as a product of the basic sense of motives – desire and aversion, and the mind – as a kind of counting unit, whose actions correspond to addition and subtraction, and the account is not subject to the things, but the names. A man was regarded as a being endowed with the nature of the desire for self-preservation and self-benefit. Since initially, people lived individually, in a state of war against others, they in order to ensure their security and achieve civil peace, voluntarily agreed to limit the freedom of every one, by transferring the individual natural rights to the sovereign (the state, which holds absolute sovereignty). Considering the relation of the individual to society and the state, Hobbes was one of the first who highlighted this problem from the standpoint of psychology.
What is the nature of man? Hobbes’ answer is clear and unequivocal: people by nature are subject to greed, fear, anger, and the rest of the animal passions; they are looking for honor and benefits, act for the benefit or fame, i.e. for the sake of self-love, not the love to others.
According to Hobbes, natural laws that are the laws of morality, act as instructions or commands of the mind. They proceed from the human nature. And only the state, created in order to provide peace and security can guarantee compliance with the natural laws, giving them the character of civil laws. Thus, the state becomes the supreme judge in matters of morality. Hobbes also emphasizes that civil laws are the same in terms of content with the natural laws, and they differ from them only by the fact that they rely on the power of the government.
According to Hobbes, the appearance of state is preceded by the so-called state of nature, the state of absolute, unrestricted freedom of people equal in their rights and abilities. People are equal to each other in a desire to dominate and possess the same rights.
The concept of human nature includes selfishness, overwhelming desire to possess a thing, self-preservation, an overwhelming desire to save life and escape a violent death – these are two of the most true desires of nature of man, according to Hobbes.
Hobbes was among those distinguished philosophers, who began to look at the state through human eyes and deduce its natural laws from reason and experience, not from theology.
Thomas Hobbes as a proponent of natural science methodology considered behavior and human psyche subordinate to the laws of mechanics. Hobbes believed that simple sensations caused by external influence, like the motion of the atoms in the brain, lead to other psychological processes.