Hobbes` determination to avoid the “insignificant” (i.e. insignificant) discourse of scholastics also overlaps his admiration for emerging physical sciences and geometry. His admiration is not so much about the nascent method of experimental science, but rather about deductive science – a science that derives the workings of things from fundamental principles and true definitions of basic elements. Hobbes is therefore in favour of a mechanistic vision of science and knowledge, which is very strongly modelled by clarity and deductive force, which is shown in the evidence in geometry. It is fair to say that this prior report of science did not appreciate Hobbes`s time. This looks more like a dead end on the way to the modern idea of science based on patient observation, theory and experience. Nevertheless, Hobbes certainly had a method to follow when he set out his conceptions of human nature and politics. As the Leviathan shows, Hobbes seems to be building from the first elements of human perception and argument, through an image of human motivation and action, to the derivation of possible forms of political relations and their relative desire. Once again, it is questionable whether this method is important for the design of these ideas or whether Hobbes simply offers a unique way of presenting them. This is one of the default arguments, often sincerely invoked against the activities of people like the supporters of the Congress for Racial Equality, who have committed to amending laws they deem offensive by dramatically violating them. Such groups are often condemned to risk disorder and to spread contempt for the law when they are said to achieve their goals in a much more just and patriotic manner, by complying with the law and limiting themselves to courts and methods of peaceful conviction. So as long as people haven`t taught a form of government, they live in the state of nature of Hobbes.
Such a state could occur in the “early days” (see Hobbes` comments on 80 and Abel, Leviathan, xiii.11, Latin version only) or in “primitive” societies (Hobbes thought that American Indians lived in such a state). But the real point for Hobbes is that a state of nature might as well happen in the 17th century in England if the king`s authority were successfully undermined. It could happen tomorrow in any modern society, for example, if the police and army suddenly refuse to do their job on behalf of the government. If no effective authority has entered the king`s square (or the place of the army and the police and the government), Hobbes maintains that the result is doomed to be deeply terrible, nothing less than a state of war. Civil disobedience is not easy like other acts where men courageously defend their principles. This is a violation of the law. And the law cannot provide for any provision for its violation, except to make the offender punishable. That is why President Kennedy found himself in such a difficult situation during the Negro protests in Birmingham last spring. He gave many signs that as an individual he sympathized with the protesters` goals. As a political leader, he probably realized that these goals could not be achieved without dramatic actions that crossed the border into illegality.
But as chief executive, he could not give permission or authorization for such actions. Hobbes` contempt for school philosophy is limitless.