Thomas Hobbes vs. John Locke

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Thomas Hobbes vs. John Locke

Thomas Hobbes and John Locke were to philosophers with opposing opinions on human nature and the state of nature. Locke saw humanity and life with optimism and community, whereas Hobbes only thought of humans as being capable of living a more violent, self-interested lifestyle which would lead to civil unrest. However, both can agree that in order for either way of life to achieve success there must be a sovereign.

Hobbes was a philosopher who saw humans as a purely physical being. He believed that all human actions can be explained through the motions in our bodies. According to Hobbes all feelings and emotions are a result of phantasms, our perception of the objects around us. This perception is a motion within our bodies and each person perceives these phantasms differently causing love, hate, desires, and what we think is good and bad. Every feeling that comes from ones perspective has a physical feeling, such as desires can cause certain pains and it is only human nature that one does whatever is needed in order to relieve those pains. Hobbes therefore sees humans as being able, by their state of nature, to take or do whatever necessary for themselves even if it shows no regard for the other people their actions may harm. This inevitably would end up in a fight for survival or “the war of all against all”. In order to prevent such a war from happening Hobbes thought it necessary that the individuals must promise each other to give up their right to govern themselves to the sovereign for the mutual benefit of the people. This sovereign then has absolute power to rule with no questions asked and not to only act on behalf of the citizens but to completely embody their will. In summation, Hobbes believed that society could only exist under power of the sovereign and that life in the state of nature is violent, short and brutish, as all men act on self-interest.

Locke on the other hand, saw man by human nature as a social...
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