Hobbes Human Nature

Topics: State of nature, Political philosophy, Thomas Hobbes Pages: 4 (1422 words) Published: April 25, 2006
Essay Question
Compare Hobbes’ and Rousseau’s assumptions about human nature. In each case what follows from these assumptions? Who do you agree with, and why?

Throughout history, many philosophers have discussed the term ‘state of nature’ which is used to describe the natural condition of mankind either in the absence of a common authority or the lack of laws. In the book The Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes one of most important political philosopher, examines the state of nature in detail and makes hypothetical arguments, which do not base itself on any historical evidence of such a state having ever been formed by humanity. Another significant political philosopher, Jean Jacques Rousseau who also discussed the natural state of mankind, disputed the arguments of Hobbes about human nature. This essays aims to examine the differences between the views of both Hobbes and Rousseau and their assumptions about the human nature. In Leviathan, firstly, Hobbes analyses the natural condition of mankind when there isn’t a common power to keep them in awe or to tie them by fear of punishment. In a such circumstance as it is called state of nature, Hobbes argues that in the nature of man, there are three matters which drag them into a quarrel, firstly; competition, secondly; distrust towards each other and thirdly; glory (The Leviathan, ch.13, p.2, § 5). Because as Hobbes explains, people in the state of nature, mostly have the same ends and aims, and if two men desire the same thing, which they could not share or enjoy together, inevitably, they will compete and try to destroy or surpass each other for the sake of their ends. Consequently as Hobbes underlines anybody attacks to anybody to seize not only their possessions but also their life or liberty sometime to stay alive, for conservation, sometime to be satisfied, for pleasure. (The Leviathan, ch.13, p.1, § 3). Not surprisingly, Hobbes highlights in such conditions people continuously...
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