Don’t Play the “Fool”

As students, we are expected to uphold to Academic Integrity. For example, when taking our reading quizzes, we are expected to do the readings and then do the quiz. As Mika continuously mentions, he sometimes includes things on those quizzes to ensure that we are indeed doing the readings and not just looking up the answers on Google. In the reading, Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan, the fool is mentioned and his vision is seen as breaking contracts or covenants is your choice, which is based on your benefit. So the way I look at it is we are the fools in this situation.

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Thomas Hobbes

We essentially have the choice to do our readings and take the quiz, or look at the quiz and google the questions and hope that we chose the right answer. Each of these choices are essentially our own and are beneficial to us. Some of us won’t take the chance of cheating by using Google, and actually do the readings to be sure we get full credit on your quiz, and some of us will just take that chance and use Google. For the people who use Google, you are breaking your contract or covenant with the University and risking getting caught cheating, which in Hobbes’ opinion is still unjust, or morally wrong. In this situation your Professor and/or the University would typically agree with Hobbes in the fact that breaking covenants or contracts are unjust and you will reap the consequences if you are confronted about your choice to break your covenants or contracts; in other words, “Covenants without the sword are worthless“. Some students will argue that there should be no need for Academic Integrity, but I beg to differ because sometimes the knowledge of it being there is the only thing that keeps students from breaking that contract. Sometimes there are other elements that come in to play when determining what decision will best benefit you. It isn’t always so black and white as the fool made it seem. My advice to anyone thinking about breaking their Academic Integrity contract: think twice before you do it, and don’t just act on instinct because sometimes we do that and don’t think about the consequences, which is Hobbes’ way of calling us the fool.

One thought on “Don’t Play the “Fool”

  1. I think you make an extremely interesting connection between social contracts and academic integrity. I agree with Hobbe’s claim that “covenants without the sword are useless.” I think that academic integrity here at the University of Michigan is imperative. Part of the reason that this institution is so prestigious is because it is honorable and the people here can be trusted that their work is their own.


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