Hobbes has developed very materialistic and, I would say, quite pessimistic philosophy. Hobbes considered people to be merely bodies in motion driven by their sensations and desires. At his times, it was quite a revolution in philosophical thinking and definitely a big step away from the theological approach, according to which everything centers around the sole, not the body.
I find Hobbes’ philosophy very interesting, even though I strongly disagree with his views on human beings. I support Hobbes’ criticism, that we should not consider as absolutely equal our bodies, thoughts and emotions.
Hobbes denies any relation to God and considers human beings merely as material bodies. I think that human beings have both physical and spiritual beginnings. The actions of our bodies, feeling and thought do not always go together.
Theology offers sound criticism to Hobbes’ thinking. People who believe in God cannot accept Hobbes’ ideas, because according to religion (especially monotheistic) body is nothing, merely ashes and a human being is driven by the sole. Body is only a temporary dwelling for the sole. According to Christianity, ascetism is considered a virtue and such bodily pleasures as lust, adultery, over-indulgence of food are considered to be deadly sins. If we are merely what our body is, then why things that bring pleasure to our body are considered bad for our sole? People can be stronger then their physical desires and it is possible to conquer “animal” nature and desires inside oneself, which means human are more then merely physical bodies.
Sometimes human actions do not go along with human thought. Our body can feel good while our sole can feel repentance and remorse. There is a constant fight between material and spiritual parts of the humans.
According to Hobbes, everything we choose to do is strictly determined by the natural inclination to relieve the physical pressures that impinge upon our bodies. Hobbes thought, that human behavior is simply the determination of the will by the strongest present desire. Human action is similarly to be explained on Hobbes’s view. Specific desires and appetites arise in the human body and are experienced as discomforts or pains which must be overcome. Thus, each of us is motivated to act in such ways as we believe likely to relieve our discomfort, to preserve and promote our own well-being. But what about those people who act despite their physical discomfort? What about those people who help others while risking their life or donate money to the poor? What about people who volunteer to help animals? Their actions are not driven by physical desires, on the contrary they can bring physical discomfort and emotional pleasure.
In his writing, Hobbes emphasized our animal nature and dominance of material essence in us. His argument was that human beings live in this world independently from everyone else and act only in his or her own self-interest, not considering others – plants, animals, trees.
There are people who are physically handicapped, but have completely clear mind and people who have absolutely healthy body but seek mind. There are people who like violence, but we cannot say that this is desire of their body, but rather of their seek imagination. Some people are very strong physically, but have week spirit.
We cannot explain all human behavior an acts in purely mechanical terms. There is no equal sign between our body, emotions and thought. Material nature is only one of the components of the human essence. It does determine our behavior to some extent, but there is more in a human being then his body.
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