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19. Contract & Commonwealth: Thomas Hobbes

Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature (PHIL 181) 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. 00:00 - Chapter 1. Punishment Concluded 13:48 - Chapter 2. Hobbes and Social Contract Theory 23:17 - Chapter 3. The State of Nature 36:23 - Chapter 4. The Laws of Nature Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: This course was recorded in Spring 2011.
Length: 46:28


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