Hobbesian State of Nature

Topics: Government, Political philosophy, State of nature Pages: 4 (1367 words) Published: May 1, 2008
Thomas Hobbes attempted to justify the existence of a state by describing what life would be like without one in his book Leviathan. The central argument in the book describes the conditions that would exist in a state of nature—at a time where there would be no organized government or no laws to influence human behavior. Throughout the book Hobbes attempts to justify his claims about what a state of nature would be like with arguments that are false when examined closely. According to Hobbes, life would be “ war of every man against very man” (Hobbes 106) lived in “continual fear and danger of violent death” (Hobbes 107) where there would be “no knowledge” (Hobbes 107), no society, and no culture. In sum, Hobbes’ argues that life in a state of nature would be “ solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” (Hobbes 107). Hobbes’ argument is structured in a Modus Ponens form, with his main premise being that humans’ inborn qualities drive them towards competitiveness, fearfulness, suspiciousness, arrogance, increasing their power, and attempting to glorify themselves (Hobbes 106). Another premise is that men are naturally “equal in the faculties of the body and mind” (Hobbes 104) since “the difference between man and man is not so considerable that” (Hobbes 105) one man is at a huge disadvantage to another man. His last main premise is that if people were equal, competitive, fearful, suspicious, arrogant, power hungry, and glory seeking, the state of nature would be a state of constant war as he had stated. Therefore, the state of nature is as Hobbes has described it.

Although the argument presented is valid, it is not sound. Hobbes’ main premise is that all men are naturally competitive, suspicious, arrogant, power hungry, and glory seeking. To support this claim, Hobbes brings up the fact that men do not walk to places alone and regularly lock their doors because they are suspicious and fearful of being attacked by others even though there is a government in...
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