Nietzsche And Hobbes Essay Research Paper How

Nietzsche And Hobbes Essay, Research Paper How are the philosophies of Nietzsche and Hobbes different on topics of Christianity, Human Nature, and Morality. The philosophies of Nietzsche and

Nietzsche And Hobbes Essay, Research Paper

How are the philosophies of Nietzsche and Hobbes different on topics of

Christianity, Human Nature, and Morality. The philosophies of Nietzsche and

Hobbes? are radically different, Hobbes? philosophy is dominated by loyalty

to the crown, riddled with references to the Christian scriptures, and a belief

that life is ?nasty, brutish, and short?(Leviathan, 133); while

Nietzsche?s philosophy was dominated by the pessimistic Schopenhauer, a belief

that the human race was a herd, and that ?God is dead?(Thus Spoke

Zarathustra, S. 13). Hobbes and Nietzsche look at the world completely

differently. Hobbes was a Christian who defended the bible, while Nietzsche

called ?Christianity the one great curse?(The Anti-Christ, s. 62). On the

topic of human nature Hobbes thought life to be a ?warre…of every man,

against every man?(Leviathan, 232) while Nietzsche took a nihilistic approach

and declared that ? human nature is just a euphemism for inertia, cultural

conditioning, and what we are before we make something of ourselves…?(Human,

all to Human, 67). On morality these two philosophers have opposing views,

Hobbes views on morality were straight out of Exodus, while Nietzsche holds that

?morality is a hindrance to the development of new and better customs: it

makes stupid [people]?(Daybreak, s. 19). These two philosophers lived at

different times, in different locations, and their differing philosophies

reflect the lives that they lived. Thomas Hobbes was born into an English upper

class family in 1588, his father was the parish priest. Thomas was educated by

his uncle until he was fifteen, when he was sent to Oxford to continue his

studies. In 1608 he finished his formal education and took up with the son of

Lord Cavendish, they undertook an adventure which saw them travel across Europe.

Hobbes remained in England until the start of the English civil war when he fled

to France. The civil war took place from 1642 till 1649, this conflict had a

profound affect on Hobbes, particularly the execution of Charles I in 1649. All

his writings after this event reflect Hobbes? quest to find a peaceful, stable

form of government. Hobbes died in 1679. Fredrich Nietzsche was born into a

upper class family in Germany, on 15 October 1844, his father was tutor for the

royal family and also a priest. Nietzsche father died when he was twelve, this

had life-long impact on him. At age eight-teen he discovered the philosopher

Schopenhauer, the basis for much of his early work, and gave up Christianity. He

was educated at the University of Bonn, at the age of twenty-five Nietzsche was

appointed Professor of Philosophy at the University of Basle. He became close

friends with composer Richard Wanger, who?s work he enthusiastically

supported. Nietzsche most productive years were to be his last, he drove insane

by syphilis and died at the dawn of this century. Nietzsche declared in that

?modern Christian civilization is sick and must be overcome?(The

Anti-Christ, 156), Hobbes would have found that excerpt to be repugnant having

declared that ?God…when he speaks to any subject…he ought to be obeyed?

(Leviathan, 492). Hobbes was a Christian, while Nietzsche was a atheist, their

views on Christianity are completely opposite. Nietzsche held the belief

throughout his life that ?Christianity has taken the side of everything weak,

base, ill-constituted, it has made an ideal out of opposition to the

preservative instincts of a strong life; it has depraved the reason even of the

intellectually strongest natures by teaching men to feel the supreme values of

intellectuality as sinful, as misleading, as temptations,?(The Anti-Christ, S.

5) Professor Howard Rainer of Davis University states that ?Nietzsche was

uncompromisingly anti-Christian, for Christianity was the most potent force

against those values which he prized most highly.? Nietzsche felt that

Christianity would hinder the emergence of the ?overman?(The Will to Power,

546), a human being that follows their own path and not the herd?s. Hobbes

while being a Christian to the end, had a rather pessimistic view of it;

Professor Ian Johnston of Malaspina University states that ? Hobbes believed

the public religion of the artificial state must serve the need for security to

protect the selfish economic interests of the individuals composing it.?

Hobbes view of Christianity was quite radical for his time and he publicly

scorned for his belief that Christendom was nothing more economic security

blanket; Hobbes attacked the elements in the Christian church which profited

from religion. The times in which Hobbes and Nietzsche lived in were very

different, in Hobbes times ?Deadly religious wars were fought across the

European continent. It was in this climate the Thomas Hobbes proposed…[his]

philosophy.?(Howard Rainer, Lecture Notes) Nietzsche did not have to worry

about being hunted as a heretic if his ideas were not like by members of the

Christian community, Hobbes did. Hobbes makes references to the scripture quite

frequently in his works, he uses them to strengthen his ideas surrounding

philosophy; Nietzsche never quotes from the Bible but he make many references to

the parables of Jesus, he uses these in his critiques on modern Christianity.

Hobbes and Nietzsche views on Christianity could never be reconciled, Hobbes

died a Christian, while Nietzsche is reputed as saying ?let me go to my grave

a honest pagan?. Both Nietzsche and Hobbes share a pessimistic view of human

nature, Hobbes asserted that life was ?nasty, brutish, and short?(Leviathan,

278) while Nietzsche believed that human nature was akin to that of an animal

herd. Professor Howard Rainer of Davis University states that ?Nietzsche

thought that human nature was nothing more than cultural conditioning on a mass

scale. Nietzsche and Hobbes both shared the view that human nature changed

depending on the situations a person found themselves in. Hobbes ideas on human

nature were gloomy, in Leviathan Hobbes states ?in the nature of man, we find

three principall causes of quarell. First, Competition; Secondly, Diffidence;

Thirdly, Glory. The first, maketh men invade for Gain; the second for Safety;

and the third, for Reputation.?(Leviathan, 345) Most of Hobbes ideas were born

out of his experience with the English Civil War, Hobbes; ?attitude toward

man, whom he considered a wicked animal, knowing no restraint to his passions,

was, doubtlessly formulated in England during the turbulent years of the

Revolution.?(Ethics:Origins and Development, 172). Nietzsche thoughts on human

nature are revealed in this quote: ? It is not things, but opinions about

things that have absolutely no existence, which have so deranged

mankind!?(Daybreak, s. 563) Nietzsche held the belief that man had no such

thing as human nature to battle against, he belief that the idea of human nature

was fictitious creation of past philosophers who sought to explain life.

Nietzsche advanced the opinion that mankind has a ?Herd mentality [that]

overcomes master morality by making all the noble qualities appear to be vices

and all weak qualities appear to be virtues. Mediocre values are the values of

the herd.?(Helen Grayman, Lecture Notes). Nietzsche?s writings on human

nature, for the most part are an attack on the herd mentality, which he holds

great contempt for. Nietzsche put forth this idea ?Our entire sociology simply

does not know any other instinct than that of the herd, i.e., that of the sum of

zeros-where every zero has ?equal rights,? where it is virtuous to be

zero.?(The Will to Power, 33) Nietzsche believes that ?Not ?mankind? but

overman is the goal!?(The Will to Power, 519 ), this means that the goal of

the human race, in Nietzsche?s mind, should be the development of a class of

human beings that is not part of the herd, which hinders mankind?s

development. Both Hobbes and Nietzsche?s views on human nature were

misanthropic, Nietzsche held the belief that mankind was nothing more than a

herd, and Hobbes views on human nature can be summed up wonderfully with three

words: competition, diffidence, and glory. Hobbes and Nietzsche have differing

opinions on morality, Hobbes adhered to the Christian mores during his time,

Nietzsche would have found this funny because he was an atheist and also because

he did not beleive in any moral code. Nietzsche thought ?Morality makes

stupid.– Custom represents the experiences of men of earlier times as to what

they supposed useful and harmful – but the sense for custom (morality) applies,

not to these experiences as such, but to the age, the sanctity, the

indiscussability of the custom. And so this feeling is a hindrance to the

acquisition of new experiences and the correction of customs: that is to say,

morality is a hindrance to the development of new and better customs: it makes

stupid.? (Daybreak,s. 19), he believed that morality prevents people from

reaching their full potential in life, he uses the example of the head mentality

to show how people are controlled by their morals. Nietzsche believed that

morals are one of the root problems of society, Howard Rainer of Davis

University states ?Nietzsche felt morals destroyed the basic framework of

society.? Hobbes view on morals was affected by his fanatical belief in

Christianity, he basically referred back to the scriptures for all his idea on

morality; his greatest source for ideas on morality was the Book of Exodus.

?Many of Hobbes ideas concerning morality have there base in the Bible, which

he constantly refers to in his works.?(Howard Rainer, Lecture Notes) Hobbes

defends Christian morality in Leviathan, he believes that only a society with a

strong moral base is capable of keeping the wicked nature of man in check.

Hobbes was also a hypocrite, he believed that a King could violate God?s laws

if they were in the best interests of the state. Hobbes maintained that

everything must be done to protect the commonwealth, even morals could be tossed

aside for the advancement of the commonwealth. Nietzsche believed that

?Because we have for millennia made moral, aesthetic, religious demands on the

world, looked upon it with blind desire, passion or fear, and abandoned

ourselves to the bad habits of illogical thinking, this world has gradually

become so marvelously variegated, frightful, meaningful, soulful, it has

acquired color – but we have been the colorists: it is the human intellect that

has made appearances appear and transported its erroneous basic conceptions into

things.?( Human, all too Human, s.16) these morals compounded themselves over

the centuries making errors seem like truths, Nietzsche was against these

commonplace errors in our societies morals. Hobbes and Nietzsche have absolutely

nothing similar in the realm of morals. The beliefs of Hobbes and Nietzsche

contradict each other at every available opportunity, their philosophies are

totally different on almost every level. Nietzsche has a hatred of Christianity

which is unsurpassed, he believed that Christianity was one of the leading

reasons for a herd mentality in society; Hobbes embrace Christianity and uses

the scriptures as one of his main sources of inspiration. Only on the topic of

human nature do Hobbes and Nietzsche ideas come closer together, both of these

philosopher held a pessimistic view of human nature; Hobbes believed it was a

?warre…of every man, against every man?(Leviathan, 232), while Nietzsche

held the belief that the human race was a large herd. On morality Nietzsche and

Hobbes do not see eye to eye, Nietzsche did not belief in any sort of morals

while Hobbes used the Bible as his main moral cookbook, these two radically

different ideas do not match up whatsoever. In conclusion Nietzsche and Hobbes

are two philosophers with very different life philosophies.

Primary Sources: Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan. Toronto, 1985. Penguin Classics.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Toronto, 1982. Penguin Books.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Anti-Christ. Toronto, 1982. Penguin Books. Nietzsche,

Friedrich. Human, All Too Human. Toronto, 1986. Penguin Books. Nietzsche,

Friedrich. The Will To Power. Toronto, 1982. Penguin Books. Nietzsche,

Friedrich. Daybreak. Toronto, 1984. Penguin Books. Secondary Sources: Grayman,

Helen. Broward College. Lecture Notes. Johnston, Ian. Malaspina University.

Lecture Notes. Kropotkin, Peter. Ethics: Origins and Development. 1989. George

E. Harrap & Co.,Ltd. Rainer, Howard. Davis University. Lecture Notes.

Biography: Book of Exodus, The Bible. Hobbes, Thomas. The Citizen:

Liberty-Dominion-Religion. Toronto, 1981. Penguin Books Nietzsche, Friedrich.

The Gay Science. Toronto, 1982. Penguin Books Nietzsche, Friedrich. Twilight of

the Idols. Toronto, 1982. Penguin Books