“In the state of nature, the life of man would be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”. Discuss. In philosophical terms the phrase “state of nature” translates to mean the state at which man would be without authority (laws etc.) The quote which has been set to discuss is a rather famous one said by the great philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, who argued that in order for there to be peace and harmony everyone needed to co-operate through a social contract. Hobbes believed that there were 4 major factors which affected the state of nature. These were; equality, self-interest, limited resources and vulnerability. This therefore leads into a greater philosophical debate of “What is human nature?” After reading some of Hobbes’ work he believed, without a common power among men our state of nature would cause us to be at war with one another. Inevitably this therefore leads to an unfair hierarchy as every mans “natural” self-interest would poses us to gain power and, of course, the constant fear of danger even death as there is no control. If there is no authority to keep men in order we would take take and take until we got what we wanted without any real consideration for the morality of our actions. These constant egoistic acts are what would cause society to fall, however Hobbes believes this would be down to psychological egoism – not physical. The difference being that psychological is how men act egoistically without an authority and physical being the conscious actions of a man selfishly. It is this psychological egoism that causes the life of man to be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. In more depths of this statement by Hobbes the solitary life would be due to no man having the ability to trust another therefore being forced to live a lonely life. Secondly is poor, personally I interpreted this relating to the quality of life and not the wealth as that would only apply to the weaker of men. By having a poor lively hood it means that...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document