De Cive; Or, the Citizen

By Thomas Hobbes; Sterling P. Lamprecht | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
OF THE RIGHT OF PARENTS OVER THEIR CHILDREN, AND OF HEREDITARY GOVERNMENT

1. SOCRATESis a man, and therefore a living creature, is right reasoning, and that most evident, because there is nothing needful to the acknowledging of the truth of the consequence, but that the word man be understood, because a living creature is in the definition itself of a man, and every one makes up the proposition which was desired, namely this, man is a living creature. And this, Sophroniscus is Socrates' father, and therefore his lord, is perhaps a true inference, but not evident, because the word lord is not in the definition of a father: wherefore it is necessary, to make it more evident, that the connexion of father and lord be somewhat unfolded. Those that have hitherto endeavoured to prove the dominion of a parent over his children, have brought no other argument than that of generation, as if it were of itself evident, that what is begotten by me is mine; just as if a man should think, that because there is a triangle, it appears presently without any further discourse, that its angles are equal to two right. Besides, since dominion, that is, supreme power is indivisible, insomuch as no man can serve two masters, but two persons, male and female, must concur in the act of generation; it is impossible that dominion should at all be acquired by generation only. Wherefore we will, with the more diligence, in this place inquire into the original of paternal government.

2. We must therefore return to the state of nature, in which, by reason of the equality of nature, all men of riper years are

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