On Why Hobbes Is More Reasonable Than Locke

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keOf all the social contract theories that have been put forth, the most influential perhaps have been John Locke’s and Thomas Hobbes’. While both are Natural Law theorists, they have completely different views of man’s state of nature. John Locke thinks of man in a natural state as a peaceful, social being while Thomas Hobbes thinks of man as an aggressive and greedy man. Both theorists also showed that man doesn’t live in a state of nature, social contracts will be formed to govern the populace. It is, however, the reasons for the formation of these social contracts that are of relevance to this essay. I believe that neither of these theories are accurate depictions of man but Hobbes seems more practical in his theory than Locke. In a state of nature, as perceived by ALL these theories, each man will live a solitary life. Therefore, when resources are scarce and each man is trying to get the best out of the environment, there has to be a way to resolve the conflict that is bound to occur. A social contract has to be made. Thomas Hobbes

Thomas Hobbes lived in an era when wars were being waged all over Europe. Hobbes saw Spanish Armada, 30 Years War, First & Second Bishops’ War, Scottish invasion of England, Irish Rebellion and English Civil War. It is no wonder, then, that he has such a dim view of mankind. Locke starts off by proposing, in his treatise On the Citizen that all men are born with more or less equal faculties of body and mind. There are no natural disparities so great as to give one man exclusive claim to some benefits. People, egoistic as they are, will always try to make their life as comfortable as possible. In a state of nature, it is possible for everybody to live a comfortable life in a certain society. This, however is in the event that the natural resources are too vast to be exhausted. When resources are scarce, which was the case in Europe at Hobbes’ time, men will resort to force to get what they want. The stronger man will live the...
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