The concept of state of nature was developed by Hobbes in his famous work, Leviathan, in which he also set out his doctrine of the foundation of states and legitimate governments which was based on his social contract theories. Leviathan was written during the English Civil War, so much of his theory concentrates on the need for the presence of a strong central authority within society in order to avoid the evils of rebellion and civil war. Hobbes developed his state of nature by contemplating what life would be like without any governing political authority, i.e. a state of anarchy. Hobbes wrote that "during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war as is of every man against every man" (Leviathan, ch. XIII). Hobbes described this concept with the Latin phrase “bellum omnium contra omnes”, in his work, de Cive.
Hobbes identified three reasons why the state of nature would be a state of war of “all against all”, by which he means not constant fighting but a constant readiness to fight. First, without government there would be little or no industry and so resources would be very limited. People must attack for gain in order to take whatever possessions others had managed to acquire. Second, individuals would try to pre-empt these attacks, and get their defence in first. This Hobbes calls ‘diffidence’. Third, people would realize the advantages of a reputation for strength and attack others simply for glory. These natural causes of quarrel are how Hobbes concluded that the natural condition of humans is a state of perpetual war of all against all, where no morality exists, and everyone lives in constant fear. Hobbes believes that humans have three motivations for ending this state of war; the fear of death, the desire for better living conditions, and hope for a means to achieve those conditions.
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