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The Matter, Form and Power of a Commonwealth
Ecclesiastical and Civil

By Thomas Hobbes, Published April 1651

Chapter 6: Of the Interior Beginnings of Voluntary Motions, Commonly Called the Passions; And the Speeches by Which They are Expressed

(¶) Paragraph numbers added to assist referencing

(¶ 6.1) There be in animals two sorts of motions peculiar to them: One called vital, begun in generation, and continued without interruption through their whole life; such as are the course of the blood, the pulse, the breathing, the concoction, nutrition, excretion, etc.; to which motions there needs no help of imagination: the other is animal motion, otherwise called voluntary motion; as to go, to speak, to move any of our limbs, in such manner as is first fancied in our minds. That sense is motion in the organs and interior parts of man's body, caused by the action of the things we see, hear, etc., and that fancy is but the relics of the same motion, remaining after sense, has been already said in the first and second chapters. And because going, speaking, and the like voluntary motions depend always upon a precedent thought of whither, which way, and what, it is evident that the imagination is the first internal beginning of all voluntary motion. And although unstudied men do not conceive any motion at all to be there, where the thing moved is invisible, or the space it is moved in is, for the shortness of it, insensible; yet that doth not hinder but that such motions are. For let a space be never so little, that which is moved over a greater space, whereof that little one is part, must first be moved over that. These small beginnings of motion within the body of man, before they appear in walking, speaking, striking, and other visible actions, are commonly called endeavour.

(¶ 6.2) This endeavour, when it is toward something which causes it, is called appetite, or desire, the latter being the general name, and the other oftentimes restrained to signify the desire of food, namely hunger and thirst. And when the endeavour is from ward something, it is generally called aversion. These words appetite and aversion we have from the Latins; and they both of them signify the motions, one of approaching, the other of retiring. So also do the Greek words for the same, which are orme and aphorme. For Nature itself does often press upon men those truths which afterwards, when they look for somewhat beyond Nature, they stumble at. For the Schools find in mere appetite to go, or move, no actual motion at all; but because some motion they must acknowledge, they call it metaphorical motion, which is but an absurd speech; for though words may be called metaphorical, bodies and motions cannot.

Margin: Love Hate

(¶ 6.3) That which men desire they are also said to love, and to hate those things for which they have aversion. So that desire and love are the same thing; save that by desire, we signify the absence of the object; by love, most commonly the presence of the same. So also by aversion, we signify the absence; and by hate, the presence of the object.

(¶ 6.4) Of appetites and aversions, some are born with men; as appetite of food, appetite of excretion, and exoneration (which may also and more properly be called aversions, from somewhat they feel in their bodies), and some other appetites, not many. The rest, which are appetites of particular things, proceed from experience and trial of their effects upon themselves or other men. For of things we know not at all, or believe not to be, we can have no further desire than to taste and try. But aversion we have for things, not only which we know have hurt us, but also that we do not know whether they will hurt us, or not.

(¶ 6.5) Those things which we neither desire nor hate, we are said to contemn: contempt being nothing else but an immobility or contumacy of the heart in resisting the action of certain things; and proceeding from that the heart is already moved otherwise, by other more potent objects, or from want of experience of them.

(¶ 6.6) And because the constitution of a man's body is in continual mutation, it is impossible that all the same things should always cause in him the same appetites and aversions: much less can all men consent in the desire of almost any one and the same object.

(¶ 6.7) But whatsoever is the object of any man's appetite or desire, that is it which he for his part calleth good; and the object of his hate and aversion, evil; and of his contempt, vile and inconsiderable. For these words of good, evil, and contemptible are ever used with relation to the person that useth them: there being nothing simply and absolutely so; nor any common rule of good and evil to be taken from the nature of the objects themselves; but from the person of the man, where there is no Commonwealth; or, in a Commonwealth, from the person that representeth it; or from an arbitrator or judge, whom men disagreeing shall by consent set up and make his sentence the rule thereof.

(¶ 6.8) The Latin tongue has two words whose significations approach to those of good and evil, but are not precisely the same; and those are pulchrum and turpe. Whereof the former signifies that which by some apparent signs promiseth good; and the latter, that which promiseth evil. But in our tongue we have not so general names to express them by. But for pulchrum we say in some things, fair; in others, beautiful, or handsome, or gallant, or honourable, or comely, or amiable: and for turpe; foul, deformed, ugly, base, nauseous, and the like, as the subject shall require; all which words, in their proper places, signify nothing else but the mien, or countenance, that promiseth good and evil. So that of good there be three kinds: good in the promise, that is pulchrum; good in effect, as the end desired, which is called jucundum, delightful; and good as the means, which is called utile, profitable; and as many of evil: for evil in promise is that they call turpe; evil in effect and end is molestum, unpleasant, troublesome; and evil in the means, inutile, unprofitable, hurtful.

(¶ 6.9) As in sense that which is really within us is, as I have said before, only motion, caused by the action of external objects but in appearance; to the sight, light and colour; to the ear, sound; to the nostril, odour, etc.: so, when the action of the same object is continued from the eyes, ears, and other organs to the heart, the real effect there is nothing but motion, or endeavour; which consisteth in appetite or aversion to or from the object moving. But the appearance or sense of that motion is that we either call delight or trouble of mind.

(¶ 6.10) This motion, which is called appetite, and for the appearance of it delight and pleasure, seemeth to be a corroboration of vital motion, and a help thereunto; and therefore such things as caused delight were not improperly called jucunda (a juvando), from helping or fortifying; and the contrary, molesta, offensive, from hindering and troubling the motion vital.

(¶ 6.11) Pleasure therefore, or delight, is the appearance or sense of good; and molestation or displeasure, the appearance or sense of evil. And consequently all appetite, desire, and love is accompanied with some delight more or less; and all hatred and aversion with more or less displeasure and offence.

(¶ 6.12) Of pleasures, or delights, some arise from the sense of an object present; and those may be called pleasures of sense (the word sensual, as it is used by those only that condemn them, having no place till there be laws). Of this kind are all onerations and exonerations of the body; as also all that is pleasant, in the sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch. Others arise from the expectation that proceeds from foresight of the end or consequence of things, whether those things in the sense please or displease: and these are pleasures of the mind of him that draweth in those consequences, and are generally called joy. In the like manner, displeasures are some in the sense, and called pain; others, in the expectation of consequences, and are called grief.

(¶ 6.13) These simple passions called appetite, desire, love, aversion, hate, joy, and grief have their names for diverse considerations diversified. At first, when they one succeed another, they are diversely called from the opinion men have of the likelihood of attaining what they desire. Secondly, from the object loved or hated. Thirdly, from the consideration of many of them together. Fourthly, from the alteration or succession itself.

(¶ 6.14) For appetite with an opinion of attaining is called hope. The same, without such opinion, despair.

Aversion, with opinion of hurt from the object, fear. The same, with hope of avoiding that hurt by resistence, courage. Sudden courage, anger. Constant hope, confidence of ourselves. Constant despair, diffidence of ourselves. Anger for great hurt done to another, when we conceive the same to be done by injury, indignation.

Margin: Benevolence Good Nature

(¶ 6.15) Desire of good to another, benevolence, good will, charity. If to man generally, good nature.

Desire of riches, covetousness: a name used always in signification of blame, because men contending for them are displeased with one another's attaining them; though the desire in itself be to be blamed, or allowed, according to the means by which those riches are sought.

Desire of office, or precedence, ambition: a name used also in the worse sense, for the reason before mentioned.

Desire of things that conduce but a little to our ends, and fear of things that are but of little hindrance, pusillanimity.

Contempt of little helps, and hindrances, magnanimity.

Magnanimity in danger of death, or wounds, valour, fortitude. Magnanimity in the use of riches, liberality. Pusillanimity in the same, wretchedness, miserableness, or parsimony, as it is liked, or disliked. Love of persons for society, kindness. Love of persons for pleasing the sense only, natural lust. Love of the same acquired from rumination, that is, imagination of pleasure past, luxury. Love of one singularly, with desire to be singularly beloved, the passion of love. The same, with fear that the love is not mutual, jealousy. Desire by doing hurt to another to make him condemn some fact of his own, revengefulness.

(¶ 6.16) Desire to know why, and how, curiosity; such as is in no living creature but man: so that man is distinguished, not only by his reason, but also by this singular passion from other animals; in whom the appetite of food, and other pleasures of sense, by predominance, take away the care of knowing causes; which is a lust of the mind, that by a perseverance of delight in the continual and indefatigable generation of knowledge, exceedeth the short vehemence of any carnal pleasure.

(¶ 6.17) Fear of power invisible, feigned by the mind, or imagined from tales publicly allowed, religion; not allowed, superstition. And when the power imagined is truly such as we imagine, true religion.

(¶ 6.18) Fear without the apprehension of why, or what, panic terror; called so from the fables that make Pan the author of them; whereas in truth there is always in him that so feareth, first, some apprehension of the cause, though the rest run away by example; every one supposing his fellow to know why. And therefore this passion happens to none but in a throng, or multitude of people.

(¶ 6.19) Joy from apprehension of novelty, admiration; proper to man, because it excites the appetite of knowing the cause.

Joy arising from imagination of a man's own power and ability is that exultation of the mind which is called glorying: which, if grounded upon the experience of his own former actions, is the same with confidence: but if grounded on the flattery of others, or only supposed by himself, for delight in the consequences of it, is called vainglory: which name is properly given; because a well-grounded confidence begetteth attempt; whereas the supposing of power does not, and is therefore rightly called vain.

(¶ 6.20) Grief, from opinion of want of power, is called dejection of mind. The vainglory which consisteth in the feigning or supposing of abilities in ourselves, which we know are not, is most incident to young men, and nourished by the histories or fictions of gallant persons; and is corrected oftentimes by age and employment.

(¶ 6.21) Sudden glory is the passion which maketh those grimaces called laughter; and is caused either by some sudden act of their own that pleaseth them; or by the apprehension of some deformed thing in another, by comparison whereof they suddenly applaud themselves. And it is incident most to them that are conscious of the fewest abilities in themselves; who are forced to keep themselves in their own favour by observing the imperfections of other men. And therefore much laughter at the defects of others is a sign of pusillanimity. For of great minds one of the proper works is to help and free others from scorn, and compare themselves only with the most able.

(¶ 6.22) On the contrary, sudden dejection is the passion that causeth weeping; and is caused by such accidents as suddenly take away some vehement hope, or some prop of their power: and they are most subject to it that rely principally on helps external, such as are women and children. Therefore, some weep for the loss of friends; others for their unkindness; others for the sudden stop made to their thoughts of revenge, by reconciliation. But in all cases, both laughter and weeping are sudden motions, custom taking them both away. For no man laughs at old jests, or weeps for an old calamity.

(¶ 6.23) Grief for the discovery of some defect of ability is shame, or the passion that discovereth itself in blushing, and consisteth in the apprehension of something dishonourable; and in young men is a sign of the love of good reputation, and commendable: in old men it is a sign of the same; but because it comes too late, not commendable. The contempt of good reputation is called impudence.

Margin: Pity

(¶ 6.24) Grief for the calamity of another is pity; and ariseth from the imagination that the like calamity may befall himself; and therefore is called also compassion, and in the phrase of this present time a fellow-feeling: and therefore for calamity arriving from great wickedness, the best men have the least pity; and for the same calamity, those have least pity that think themselves least obnoxious to the same.

(¶ 6.25) Contempt, or little sense of the calamity of others, is that which men call cruelty; proceeding from security of their own fortune. For, that any man should take pleasure in other men's great harms, without other end of his own, I do not conceive it possible.

(¶ 6.26) Grief for the success of a competitor in wealth, honour, or other good, if it be joined with endeavour to enforce our own abilities to equal or exceed him, is called emulation: but joined with endeavour to supplant or hinder a competitor, envy.

(¶ 6.27) When in the mind of man appetites and aversions, hopes and fears, concerning one and the same thing, arise alternately; and diverse good and evil consequences of the doing or omitting the thing propounded come successively into our thoughts; so that sometimes we have an appetite to it, sometimes an aversion from it; sometimes hope to be able to do it, sometimes despair, or fear to attempt it; the whole sum of desires, aversions, hopes and fears, continued till the thing be either done, or thought impossible, is that we call deliberation.

(¶ 6.28) Therefore of things past there is no deliberation, because manifestly impossible to be changed; nor of things known to be impossible, or thought so; because men know or think such deliberation vain. But of things impossible, which we think possible, we may deliberate, not knowing it is in vain. And it is called deliberation; because it is a putting an end to the liberty we had of doing, or omitting, according to our own appetite, or aversion.

(¶ 6.29) This alternate succession of appetites, aversions, hopes and fears is no less in other living creatures than in man; and therefore beasts also deliberate.

Every deliberation is then said to end when that whereof they deliberate is either done or thought impossible; because till then we retain the liberty of doing, or omitting, according to our appetite, or aversion.

(¶ 6.30) In deliberation, the last appetite, or aversion, immediately adhering to the action, or to the omission thereof, is that we call the will; the act, not the faculty, of willing. And beasts that have deliberation must necessarily also have will. The definition of the will, given commonly by the Schools, that it is a rational appetite, is not good. For if it were, then could there be no voluntary act against reason. For a voluntary act is that which proceedeth from the will, and no other. But if instead of a rational appetite, we shall say an appetite resulting from a precedent deliberation, then the definition is the same that I have given here. Will, therefore, is the last appetite in deliberating. And though we say in common discourse, a man had a will once to do a thing, that nevertheless he forbore to do; yet that is properly but an inclination, which makes no action voluntary; because the action depends not of it, but of the last inclination, or appetite. For if the intervenient appetites make any action voluntary, then by the same reason all intervenient aversions should make the same action involuntary; and so one and the same action should be both voluntary and involuntary.

(¶ 6.31) By this it is manifest that, not only actions that have their beginning from covetousness, ambition, lust, or other appetites to the thing propounded, but also those that have their beginning from aversion, or fear of those consequences that follow the omission, are voluntary actions.

(¶ 6.32) The forms of speech by which the passions are expressed are partly the same and partly different from those by which we express our thoughts. And first generally all passions may be expressed indicatively; as, I love, I fear, I joy, I deliberate, I will, I command: but some of them have particular expressions by themselves, which nevertheless are not affirmations, unless it be when they serve to make other inferences besides that of the passion they proceed from. Deliberation is expressed subjunctively; which is a speech proper to signify suppositions, with their consequences; as, If this be done, then this will follow; and differs not from the language of reasoning, save that reasoning is in general words, but deliberation for the most part is of particulars. The language of desire, and aversion, is imperative; as, Do this, forbear that; which when the party is obliged to do, or forbear, is command; otherwise prayer; or else counsel. The language of vainglory, of indignation, pity and revengefulness, optative: but of the desire to know, there is a peculiar expression called interrogative; as, What is it, when shall it, how is it done, and why so? Other language of the passions I find none: for cursing, swearing, reviling, and the like do not signify as speech, but as the actions of a tongue accustomed.

(¶ 6.33) These forms of speech, I say, are expressions or voluntary significations of our passions: but certain signs they be not; because they may be used arbitrarily, whether they that use them have such passions or not. The best signs of passions present are either in the countenance, motions of the body, actions, and ends, or aims, which we otherwise know the man to have.

(¶ 6.34) And because in deliberation the appetites and aversions are raised by foresight of the good and evil consequences, and sequels of the action whereof we deliberate, the good or evil effect thereof dependeth on the foresight of a long chain of consequences, of which very seldom any man is able to see to the end. But for so far as a man seeth, if the good in those consequences be greater than the evil, the whole chain is that which writers call apparent or seeming good. And contrarily, when the evil exceedeth the good, the whole is apparent or seeming evil: so that he who hath by experience, or reason, the greatest and surest prospect of consequences, deliberates best himself; and is able, when he will, to give the best counsel unto others.

(¶ 6.35) Continual success in obtaining those things which a man from time to time desireth, that is to say, continual prospering, is that men call felicity; I mean the felicity of this life. For there is no such thing as perpetual tranquillity of mind, while we live here; because life itself is but motion, and can never be without desire, nor without fear, no more than without sense. What kind of felicity God hath ordained to them that devoutly honour him, a man shall no sooner know than enjoy; being joys that now are as incomprehensible as the word of Schoolmen, beatifical vision, is unintelligible.

(¶ 6.36) The form of speech whereby men signify their opinion of the goodness of anything is praise. That whereby they signify the power and greatness of anything is magnifying. And that whereby they signify the opinion they have of a man's felicity is by the Greeks called makarismos, for which we have no name in our tongue. And thus much is sufficient for the present purpose to have been said of the passions.

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