Political Theory sample essay
Introduction While approaching the writings of major philosophical figures in the 16th century and the 17th century there emerges several weaknesses in addition to their political thought in their time. In his work, The Foundations of Modern Political Thought, Quentin Skinner’s emphasises the ‘textualist’ approach by the ones writing within the genre of political theory and further claim that they “rarely supplies us with genuine histories”. 1 Skinner seems to engage in a ‘historical’ approach to the writings of political thought, which goes hand in hand with the social and political context of the period the major works were composed.
Indeed, this proves fruitful for this analysis, and therefore it will be provided a narrow historical review of the period the works were written, in order to present the remarkable similarity between the causes of political thought. Accordingly, there will be implemented a comparison of the philosophers, Thomas Hobbes and Jean Bodin, focusing primarily of their concept of the state and the church and the differences between the two models of political thought.
In terms of the state, the focus will lie on the citizens and the sovereign rule; in terms of the church, an analysis of its place within the governmental framework will be provided. The primary sources used as a basis for this analysis is the work of Jean Bodin Six Books of the Commonwealth, translated by M. J. Tooley, and Hobbes On the Citizen, edited by Richard Tuck & Michael Silverthorne. In grasping the political works of Thomas Hobbes and Jean Bodin it is important to remember that their perception of the state was born in an age of crisis. As central themes of his political thought Hobbes was concerned with peace, security and order; however, religion was omnipresent throughout his experience of life and through his works.
For Hobbes the only valid proposition of a natural religion was that something must have created the world, but who or what is not for certain. 2 Most important he also believed that religious division was a significant factor for the origins of war. The basics of Hobbes theory was to add the will to avoid religious conflict and restore peace into one or a group of biological people that was to further secure the will of the state. Like Hobbes, Bodin was concerned with preserving order and his relation to religion is said to be complex. Although he was less familiar with the New political from his religious thought.
’3 However, entering deeper into the religious life of Bodin it is palpable that he never adhered to one true theological standpoint throughout his lifetime. 4 Another factor of correlation between the two political thinkers is their personal historical background containing the experience of war, which largely contributed as one of their causes for writing. Most known for his work and best-seller, Leviathan, the Englishman Thomas Hobbes was to be acknowledged as an important contribution to the philosophical field in his lifetime and all the way to the 21th century.
Hobbes was born in 1588 in Westport raised by his non-wealthy family, fortunately being paid for by his uncle to get an education when the time was right. 5 Entering the field of the enlightened, Hobbes at an age of 54 later produced his first claim to fame, De Cive (On the Citizen), published in Latin edition in 1642 which is characterised as one of the forerunners to his major work Leviathan. Here, it is important reconsider what is omnipresent throughout both, De Cive and Leviathan, namely fear: in order to understand his political thought.
Some tend to regard Hobbes as a synonym to the concept of fear even though this impossibly cannot be so, however it does not reject King’s argument that Hobbes had experienced disorder in society and therefore feared political chaos. 6 England during the 17th century can in be referred to as a period of transformation both in terms of politics and religion. Historically, throughout Hobbes lifetime (1588 – 1679) the political circumstances in the years of 1642 to 1651 prove to stand out painted in the colour of red. The Reformation left deep traces and was not yet to relinquish as its religious struggles was to turn into a fight of power between the King and the Parliament.
7 The English Civil war provided an environment such as extreme disorder and civil insecurity to be explanatory for the horrors it brought the 6? 7’8′? 9???????????????????????????????? #??????? “????? $? *:??????????????? )? “?? :?????? ;0?.?? /???? 1– 1? ’? :?!???? (??? 4 ?!!??????????? /? $????? ?? ?????????? @?? (?????? 5?? JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHICAL STUDIES,? ??? ‘? =???? ‘? 1? *9/? ‘?? ;6-.??? A=? B?? ;-?? HTTP://WWW. JSTOR. ORG/STABLE/3745504 0?????????? ,???????????????? $?????????? *3????? @???????? 3?????? 9????? )? +? 2????? ;A1.?? /???? =0 A? 8? ‘? 9’? C???????? D7???? @?????? %???????????? $E??????????????????????????? $????? ‘??????? ‘?? *??? ‘?? F;0.? //’? F?? B?? -1????? G/? HH222’I???? ‘??? H???!?? H?? 6;0-6 ????? 3???? 13 Political Theory country8. In a chaotic England, Hobbes had to face his own opponents after he had written the first outline of the philosophy of the state, Elements of Law, Natural and Politic, which created an unstable environment for him to live. Indeed, adversity was for Hobbes the reason he decided to flee and choose the life in exile crossing the national boarders to France. 9 When the Civil War was over, he returned home to the end of his life, still absorbed in scientific activity. A lesser-known philosopher yet one of the most ambitious and prolific French scholars, Jean Bodin, was born in 1529 or 30 in the French area of Angers. Although living in separate time periods Bodin is born three years after Machiavelli’s death (1469 – 1527) and died when Thomas Hobbes was eight years of age and therefore spans precisely between these two. 10 Throughout his lifetime he was, in resemblance to Hobbes, to experience war that provoked his political thinking which prospered into what was to be known as The Six Books of the Commonwealth (1955). Bodin was an admirable scholar and by the time he had to face his mortal destiny he made contributions to the area of science stretching from historiography to political economy. 11 Noticeable that he was among the more enlightened characters of his time, Bodin went to Paris in his youth for educational matters studying humanities. Further curious about the juridical nature of society he went to study civil law until the 1560s, and after he turned to a political career becoming a king’s advocate in Paris. A decade later he became a counsellor of the Duke of Alencon which secured him a seat at the table of the royal family, which ceased before 1576. He then further joined the Catholic League (sometimes referred to as the Holy League) which played a major part in the French Wars of Religion (1562–98) eradicating the Protestants also called the Huguenots. 12 Primarily, The Wars involved the Catholic crown attempting to impose religious uniformity upon the large F? >
What further divided the citizens in contemporary France was their support for various versions of the Christian faith that created a warfare of self-righteousness, which for Bodin, was an erroneous societal condition. What Bodin’s beliefs could be said to represent at the time is further dubiously, but as Summerfield argues, Bodin might have believed that “Catholicism was the best ‘civil religion’ for his countrymen”. 13 Further, Bodin supported religious diversity in that Catholics should have the opportunity to embrace their faith just the Huguenots without having intolerance towards each other.
By offering a narrow description of the historical period relevant to both Hobbes and Bodin and further suggest a biographical outlook of both philosophers, the main focus have been on the facts of importance for further analysis. Main section As discussed to some extent in Bodin’s case, it is applicable to both philosophers that they were living in a time where religion was inseparable from their political thinking. Today it may seem strange that politics of much importance was molded around religious beliefs, because we live in a time where each person is free to decide what to believe and which religion to adhere to.
During the period of discussion, the church and the state had too many common interests that a division between them seemed unthinkable. For Bodin, his thought behind his Republic was the hope to restore the splendour and serve the interest of the French Monarchy, which functioned as a cornerstone in his description of the commonwealth. 14 In accordance to Hobbes, much like in the case of Bodin, his impetus of his work De Cive lie primarily in providing a solution to the religious moral conflict prevailing in 16th, 17th century England.
Bodin and the family In this section, the discussion will point to Jean Bodin’s concept of the state at a micro level. – In Book I, chapter I of the Republic the first sentence acknowledge what Bodin understands to be the nature of the Commonwealth, namely its internal structure being organised around the ?6?
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