Hobbes. In de schaduw van Leviathan / Red.: M. Adams en W. Lemmens pages:41-66
This chapter offers a systematic reconstruction of the moral psychology of Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679). To this aim, Hobbes’s moral psychology is, firstly, placed in the context of his ontological, methodological and epistemological assumptions (mechanistic materialism, geometric deductivism and empiricism) and, secondly, recognized as the fundamental presupposition of the well-known social contract theory in his ethical-political philosophy. Subsequently, the article presents a detailed interpretation of two central tenets of Hobbes’s moral psychology: (1) conative practical reason and (2) egoistic human nature. As against the Scholastic view, Hobbes gives a reductive and subjectivist analysis of practical reason in terms of the passions (conatus). And, as against a purely instrumental conception (e.g., a Humean one), Hobbes relies on an egoistically instrumental conception of reason in his theory of the contractual transition from the martial state of nature to the peaceful state of Leviathan’s reign. Finally, the article traces the influence of Hobbes’s moral psychology — especially his revolutionary redefinition of the relationship between rationality and the passions — on contemporary analytical philosophy and the social sciences.