Q.1) Hobbes is a materialist: What does this mean, exactly? Provide a sketch of materialism as exemplified by Hobbes, in which you include the following: The new scientific understanding of the world; Hobbes’ method of resolution and composition; his understanding of what constitutes ‘life’; ‘machines,’ ‘sensation,’ ‘motion,’ ‘matter,’ and ‘artificial life.’
Q.2) What is Hobbes’s understanding of human nature? Please take into consideration the following elements of his thought: the relationship between desire & aversion, pleasure & pain, and good & evil; the state of nature; the right of nature; the law of nature; the social contract; the essential, albeit controversial role and responsibility of the sovereign, especially in relation to the liberty of citizens.
Q.3) Does Thomas Hobbes present an appealing form of government? One’s response ought to take the form of a careful analysis of the political thought of Hobbes; to such an end, one would do well to include notice of the similar and differing ways in which the following concepts operate in the thinker’s philosophy: the role and power of the sovereign; monarchy; exploitation; social contract; rebellion; and freedom.
Q.4) Does Karl Marx present a more appealing form of government? One would do well to consider the ways in which the following concepts operate in his overall philosophy: the role and power of the sovereign; monarchy; exploitation; private property; social contract; communism; capitalism; rebellion; and freedom.
Q.5) Marx is a materialist: What does this mean, exactly? Provide a sketch of materialism as exemplified by Marx, in which you consider the following: Marx’s indebtedness to, and departure from, Hegel; alienation; the organic genesis of consciousness; ‘material reality’ and its intimate connection with ‘economic’ matters; “the first premise of all human existence”; and Marx’s unique account of the unfolding of all human history.
Q.6) What might one say of Marx’s notion of human nature? Does he understand human nature to be something fixed or malleable? Please take into consideration the following elements of his thought when crafting your response: humans as ‘active, productive, creative beings’; the relationship between a worker and what s/he creates; the way in which the Industrial Revolution potentially perverted human nature through alienating the worker from what s/he produces (the assembly line); systematic commodification of the workforce (‘wage slaves’); rebellion as a necessary means of restoring human dignity in the context of the bourgeoisie and proletariat; communism as seemingly requisite for human flourishing.