Writing in the 1650’s, Thomas Hobbes sought to address the prevalent problem of war by seeking to obtain those rational principles that will aid the construction of a “civil polity that will not be subject to destruction from within.” Hobbes employs the idea of a “social contract” to resolve that seemingly intractable problem of war and disorder. He begins by imagining how people were in their natural condition i.e. before the emergence of a civil society. According to Hobbes, in that natural condition all men are equal and all possess the power of rationality. However, they are also “fundamentally selfish '' each person’s desires are for his (or her) own survival and reproduction.”
As people increase in number, they will start competing for resources, glory and love and since in that condition there is no law to put into check human behavior, there will inevitably emerge a state of war. As Hobbes puts it, “…during that time men live without a common Power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called Warre; and such a warre, as is of every man, against every man...And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short”
The remedy of such a situation is only possible because all people possess rationality which, as Hobbes argues, will necessarily lead them to “create a government run by a sovereign holding absolute power, because only absolute power is sufficient to resolve disputes that otherwise would precipitate conflict dissolving the commonwealth and threatening the lives of all.” Put simply, Hobbes’ Leviathan theory contends that the state should have absolute power and no one should be able to overthrow it.
It took forty years and the person of John Locke, in his Second Treatise of Government, to point out the grave problems presented by the Leviathan Idea. Locke’s scathing attack on the Leviathan idea takes a two-fold approach. Firstly, it addresses what he observes as an incorrect... [continues]
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(2009, 04). A Possible Explanation Why John Locke Is Such an Aggressive Critique of Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan Idea. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 04, 2009, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/A-Possible-Explanation-Why-John-Locke-203255.html
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