Leviathan

Hobbes and Foucault’s View on the Conception of Power College

The conception of power is a topic that has been pondered upon by philosophers for thousands of years. Generally, this refers to the distribution of power in a society and the subsequent structure that it forms; for example, how a ruler controls society and maintains order through the willing submission of the populace, or the accessibility of power to individuals. Both English philosopher Thomas Hobbes and French philosopher Michel Foucault contributed greatly to understanding the conception of power. Both philosophers believed that there are various forms of power, but their definition of power, views on who exercises that power, as well as the influence of that power on others, differ greatly. In his book, The Leviathan, Hobbes views power as a means to create an efficient society and identifies four different kinds of power: natural, instrumental, relative, and ceding powers. Conversely, Foucault, in a collection of his works, The Foucault Reader, focuses instead on the very nature of power in society and, to better understand its nature, classifies different types of power attainable in a society: sovereign power, disciplinary power, pastoral power, and bio-power. Both Hobbes and Foucault present convincing arguments when...

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