Descartes Hobbes And Pascal Essay Research Paper

Descartes, Hobbes And Pascal Essay, Research Paper

Artigas, Jorge Nelson.

History 2.

MW 11:15-12:50 PM.


Great Philosophers

During the 17th and 18th century, religion, religious beliefs and most of all the

religious leaders played a very influential role in the direction of politics. This was also a

time when religion and politics played a large role in the direction of what was accepted

as a result of the new discoveries in the natural sciences and in a time when there were

some very influential writers, philosophers, scientists and mathematicians. At the time,

these people were considered to be very radical and revolutionary because of some of

their beliefs and this often times led them to be highly scrutinized, criticized and

sometimes even punished by the legal system. Now in the 21st century, these views that

were considered to be radical and even ridiculous at that time are now considered to be

brilliant revelations written by ingenious individuals. It would be very interesting to see

how some of these individuals would feel about the progress of the planet in which they

helped to inspire and how they might feel about some more recent issues concerning the

direction of humanity in the late 20th century, as I shall further discuss in this paper.

In this class we have discussed about many philosophical writers of the 17th and

18th century and in this paper I shall discuss some of the opinions written about the

following document; Renee Descartes? Discourse on Method (1637), Thomas Hobbes?

Leviathan (1651), Blaise Pascal?s Thoughts (1670) and Jacques Bossuet?s Politics +

Scriptures (1679).

First I am going to talk about Renee Descartes and the subjects that he would

discuss at a dinner party hosted by me. Renee Descartes was the father of modern

philosophy, a great scientist and also a well known mathematician. He used the

Cartesian philosophy for his reasoning and in 1622, he wrote a great piece of literature

named Discourse on Method. In it, Descartes talks about the existence of the human

beings and the existence of God. He gets himself to doubt everything and then assumes

that doubt does exist. That is how he reaches to the conclusion of ?Cogito Ergo Sum?,

which means, ?I think, therefore I am?. He realizes that if he can think, then he also

exists, and he uses this also to prove the existence of God. He says that the body and the

mind are two separate entities and the only thing that unites them is God. Descartes was

very flattered to know how much people appreciate his writings and he assured that he

probably would have had a better time with the church nowadays because they are more

open minded. In the past, although Descartes believed in God, the Church did not like

him a lot and that really depressed him. He realized that nowadays, the Church is not as

strict as before because science has taken total control over the people and now is much

more respected than before. As we can see, as time has gone by, he continues, science

has divorced from the church and it seems that soon it will become like a separate

religion because he was amazed how much people believe in all of the science?s claims.

The next author that will talk about is Thomas Hobbes. As we all know, he was

the writer of the famous Leviathan, which was written in England on 1651. In his

writing, he presents us a bleak picture of human beings in the state of nature, where life

is nasty, brutish and short. This shows us how vulnerable people really are if they live in

the state of nature rather than under the law of nature. Therefore, the fear of a violent

death is the principal motive that causes people to create a state. But before anything is

possible, the people contract to surrender their natural rights and to submit to the

absolute authority of a sovereign if they want protection. The contract between the

people and the sovereign says that in order for the sovereign to remain in power, he has

to provide peace and protection for the people. The sovereign?s power is absolute and he

is not subject to any reviews unless he brakes the contract with his people. During the

dinner party, Thomas Hobbes was very happy to see that nowadays people can still walk

in the streets safely in most cities. The states that are created now, according to him, are

very sophisticated and there is definitely a better quality of life than that that there used

to be during my time. I wish that people could have the sense of security that you feel

today although in this period of the late 20th century, I have seen a lot of corruption

among the leaders that remain in power.

The next person of whom we will talk about is Blaise Pascal. He was the author

of Thoughts, which was written in 1662 near his death. Blaise Pascal was a very well

known mathematician, scientist and Christian thinker, and his main problem was that he

was torn between his passion and his beliefs. Although he was highly educated in math

and science, he could not overcome his beliefs about God which sometimes conflicted

with his scholastic knowledge. His book was written in an attempt to reconcile the

method of science with the content of religion because Blaise Pascal couldn?t deny God?s

existence. During the dinner party, Pascal was really disappointed to see how people in

the late 20th century had forgotten about God. He said that people were more interested

in the new technology that was arising rather than in living a life trying to fulfill God?s

will. Blaise Pascal believed that religion was essential for the human existence and that

this kind of attitude from the people would surely cause some conflict with God.

Another thing that shocked Pascal was the diversity of religions that existed nowadays.

He never thought that there could possibly exist so many religions and he commented

that as long as they believe in one God and they devote themselves to him, they will be

saved and live happily ever after in heaven. And before Pascal started crying because of

the people?s acts towards the church, he said that although science could try to prove the

nonexistence of God in many ways, the only way to understand God is through faith.

The last person of whom I will talk about is Jacques Bossuet. But oh boy, before

anything, let me tell you that this guy was really upset. Jacques Bossuet wrote Politics +

Scriptures in 1679 and he was a firm believer that monarchical government was the best

form of government. He said that monarchical government was the most natural and also

the strongest form of government out of all others, including democracy. He said that the

advantage was that the state was united under one ruler who had absolute power, unlike a

president in democracy who is subject to review for his actions. In his writing, he also

talks about how kings use their power in the right way although they are not subject to

reviews. They are naturally good kings because they are doing God?s will. They just

work as messengers and they are appointed kings because of divine intervention. He also

talks about the rights of a king to use force when it?s necessary. He argued that the way a

king ruled was more efficient than a president?s way of ruling because the king made all

the decisions and didn?t need anyone?s approval. One thing that surprised Bossuet was

the fact that most of the states enjoyed peace and prosperity. Usually during his time,

most of the states were in war trying to protect their boundaries or beliefs. He was also

very disappointed to see that people don?t believe in God as much as people used to in

the past. He knew that this was the worst thing about the 20th century because there is

no way for people to enjoy peace without God?s protection.

As you have read, all of these thinkers were great philosophers who still believe

what they were taught in their early years. All of them defended their point of view and

agreed that science was definitely changing the way people thought. This is a fact

because as the church and science have separated, everything changed dramatically. The

church lost a lot of power and science was the big gainer. It was really a pleasure to have

such great philosophers to see their views about the 20th century and hopefully we can

use their comments for us to live in a better future.


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