Is Any Account of the Condition of the Mankind in the State of Nature Convincing?

Topics: Political philosophy, John Locke, Social contract Pages: 3 (891 words) Published: April 11, 2013
Is any account of the condition of the mankind in the state of nature convincing?

The state of nature is a term used in political philosophy when describing social contracts. The state of nature refers to the metaphorical reality used to describe a time period in which there is no authority in the form laws placed by those in charge of the state such as a form of government or a monarchy to restrict the 'natural' human behaviour. The political philosophy community often questions whether we could successfully revert back to the state of nature, a time of primitive state untouched by civilisation leaving behind a social contract we have created to form the state of society.

Philosophers such as Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau all have a different view on the points within the state of nature such as the behaviour of pre-governed man, the social contract itself and how much power the monarch and the people each get.

Writing at the time of the English civil war fought between parliamentarians and Royalists, Thomas Hobbes witnessed the horror and devastation of war between to groups of people that share such similar morals and religious values however claimed human nature comes from ‘self-analysis’ meaning that they act in there self interest. According to Hobbes in the state of nature we are all equally free to do whatever we feel, as there aren’t anyway duties in which we must comply with. Due to this freedom and the fact human beings are ‘self interested’ his idea of the state of nature would be one of chaos as everyone would be acting with the mind set to ‘do whatever pleases them’ this mind set would lead to actions such as stealing from those richer than you, committing acts of violence to those who have crossed you and claims ‘there is no industry, no culture and no society’

However we can go on to criticise Hobbes by saying his attitude towards nature human behaviour is too pessimistic. In his book Leviathan Hobbes claims we must give up all our...
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