Hobbes vs Hume

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Prathyusha Guduru

In the history of philosophy, two of the most prominent philosophers were Hobbes and Hume. Both made important contributions to the world of ethics. One of the main important things they differed on is reason. Hobbs felt that reason is way to seek peace but Hume felt the reason is only a slave to passions. In the following paragraphs, you will see how Hobbes and Hume explain their different views on reason the theories of the two philosophers are analyzed in depth, so that we can have a comprehensive understanding.

Thomas Hobbes, an English philosopher published his masterwork, the Leviathan, in 1651. This book influenced western philosophy with its view on the Social Contract theory. A social contract theory is an act by which individuals agree to establish a government by the people who unite to achieve some goal. This contract importantly binds people into a community that exists for mutual protection and preservation. In this condition everyone is involved in making the contract together to gives up their rights. People who agree to the contract retain only those rights over others that they are content for everyone else to retain over them. In his moral psychology, one of the important areas discussed was the innate selfishness of humans. The theory of psychological egoism in which our actions are selfishly motivated held that some of our actions are caused by selfish desires even if an action seems selfless. If, for example, if somebody is volunteering at a local hospital or donating to charity it may have an underling selfish motive like to get references to get into med-school or to get rid of guilt respectively. Likewise, according to Hobbes “the true doctrine of the Laws of Nature is the true Moral philosophy” (pg 66). He says in his laws of nature that human beings live in a miserable state of nature and where everyone is at war with one another. When everybody is fighting, basic needs are not met. So we all should...
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