The psychological presuppostions of political philosophy : Hegel vs. Hobbes

Curran, Christopher Patrick. (1977) The psychological presuppostions of political philosophy : Hegel vs. Hobbes. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The doctrine that political philosophy has as its immediate prerequisite a psychology, or science of man, is as old as the Greeks. This study concentrates upon two philosophers who share this doctrine, viz. Hobbes and Hegel. For both these thinkers, though their doctrines vary in form and content, social and political institutions have their roots in and are the manifestation of principles which govern human nature. This study provides an examination of the psychologies of both philosophers; it is argued that Hegel's psychology obviates difficulties present in Hobbes's psychology of biological self-interest and thus that Hegel's psychology provides the more adequate ground for politics. The argument proceeds as follows: -- In chapter one the metaphysical foundations of Hobbes's doctrine are delineated. The manner in which Hobbes uses the principle of motion to elucidate human nature is presented; further, it is shown how, from his account of human nature, he demonstrates the necessity of the commonwealth. It is argued that the psychology which Hobbes provides is mechanico-naturalistic throughout and that it serves as the basis for a doctrine of prudential obligation. -- In chapter two a critical appraisal of Hobbes's doctrine is presented. It is argued (a) that the metaphysical principle which serves as the foundation of Hobbes's psychology is dogmatically naturalistic, and (b) that the politics which Hobbes derives from his account of man is limited by that account. -- In chapter three an examination of Hegel's psychology and politics is provided. The chapter concentrates upon two principles: (a) man as the transcendence of nature, and (b) man as free personality. An examination of both principles is given; it is argued that these principles enable Hegel to ameliorate and overcome difficulties present in Hobbes's doctrine. Hence, it is argued that Hegel's psychology provides the more adequate ground for political philosophy.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7689
Item ID: 7689
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 109-111.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Philosophy
Date: 1977
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Hobbes, Thomas, 1588-1679; Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, 1770-1831

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