Nietzsche Vs. Hobbes ANDREW LANGILLE GRADE 13 PHILOSOPHY COURSE, 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 Nietzsches 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, whos 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 herds. 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 c …