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Thomas Hobbes: Men as Machines

I can probably ascertain what you’re thinking at this very moment: this title is quite misleading because any competent person would know that these two variables are indeed mutually exclusive, where the latter is clearly more effective and efficient than the former. I regret to inform you that Thomas Hobbes did indeed think that man was, and still is, a machine, but not in the way you think where wires and cords embody/overtake us. Hobbes believed that not only man, but everything in nature was purely physical, arguing that all facets in nature elicit rudimentary, machine-like characteristics where there is a clear order and function to that respected entity in fulfilling its goal, and that the tools used in fulfilling that respected goal, are anything but incorporeally abundant. Put simply, what you see is what you get, he did not at all believe that any entity in nature possessed a ‘mind’ or ‘conscious’ rather, the exact opposite. Hobbes puts it this way ‘humans are nothing but flesh-blood machines’, where incorporeal aspects in him are nothing but a myth. Moreover, he calibrated his train of thought into a logical argument that unfolded as so: P1. Nothing without substance can exist P2. Everything in the universe is physical P3. A human being is therefore entirely physical C. Thus, man is a machine. For the many speculative minds out there, this logical argument doesn’t sit well with us because Hobbes utterly elbows out the intangible aspects that are tethered to, and that make us who we essentially are. Emotions, feelings, and consciousness (if they were to exist) would be inextricably linked to physical attributes in our bodies, where the root of all the former intangibles would be based in a purely tangible thing. Here arises a potent issue, if Hobbes thinks we are nothing but physical attributes, what differs us from potential technological versions of us? Since we are indeed curating our own successors, in due time there will be humans 2.0 that have all the physical attributes we do, but are far from being us. What distinguishes us from them is the intangible facet that Hobbes is adamant on overlooking. Alas, who we are ultimately stems from those virtues and to belittle them like this is not only unfair, but untrue.

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