Lecture 19 - Contract & Commonwealth: Thomas Hobbes

author: Tamar Gendler, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: Feb. 19, 2014,   recorded: April 2011,   views: 1784
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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In the opening part of the lecture, Professor Gendler concludes her discussion of punishment by exploring how Alan Kazdin’s research on effective parenting provides insights about techniques for rehabilitating individuals who violate societal norms. She then moves to the third large unit of the course: the question of the legitimacy and structure of the state. One answer to the question of state legitimacy--that of Thomas Hobbes--is presented. Hobbes argues that life without a government, in a “state of nature,” would be “nasty, poor, solitary, brutish, and short” as a result of violent competition for resources. To avoid this situation, Hobbes contends that rational individuals should lay down some of their rights in order to receive the benefits of a centralized state, to the extent that others are also willing to do so.

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