Hobbes vs. Rosseau vs. Paine

Topics: Government, Political philosophy, Thomas Hobbes Pages: 4 (1380 words) Published: February 1, 2013
Great Ideologies Stemming Out From Chaos

Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Thomas Paine, three great political philosophers, all view the nature of man and society as anarchical, which is a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority, making it “war of all against all”. The utopian society of individuals enjoys complete freedom without government, wherein there is a display of a lack of morality for most of the time. In the Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes presented the political state as a Leviathan—a sea monster. As a metaphor for the state, it is described as a replica of a person whose body is made up of all the bodies of its citizens, who are the literal members of the Leviathan's body, and placing the sovereign as the head. In order for them to escape this natural condition, the people in the state constructed the Leviathan through social contract wherein they give up certain natural rights and transfer them to another person of authority. In turn, the power of the Leviathan protects them from the abuses of one another. The source of inequality comes from the scarcity of resources. If one looks around at other animals—Hobbes specifically notes ants and bees—they appear to live harmoniously with one another without any sort of state or society. If they can do so, then why can't men who are, after all, “animals” themselves? Hobbes discussed several reasons as to why men cannot live this way: the main one being that men are rational creatures. If we lived in some pre-societal concord with others, reason would always devise ways for us to cheat and make ourselves better off than others in order for us to survive. Furthermore, as we humans possess speech, we are able to mislead one another about our wants and desires. Hobbes also claims that animals naturally agree with one another while humans do not, and the reason for this essentially is because man is competitive in nature and therefore views everyone around him...

References: (n.d.). Rights of Man. Retrieved December 20, 2012, from http://www.enotes.com/rights-man
SparkNotes Editors. (n.d.). SparkNote on Discourse on Inequality. Retrieved December 20,
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