“Life in a State of Nature Would Be Awful.” Assess and Evaluate This View.

Topics: State of nature, Political philosophy, Thomas Hobbes Pages: 3 (1094 words) Published: February 2, 2013
A state of nature; a life where no governable state exists and no one possesses political power. ‘Why do we not live in a state of nature?’ some may ask. Why must we be under the government’s power? The first step in understanding why we have something, like the government, is to consider what life would be like without it. There has been many different concepts over time as to what a ‘state of nature’ really is and if life really would be awful without it. Initially, Hobbes believed that in a state of nature, all men would turn ‘nasty and brutish’ and life would turn into a never-ending cycle of crime and war as there would be no one there to stop us. On the contrary, Locke believed that man would be content in a state of nature, that life would be the opposite of awful and we would act morally towards each other due to the social contract. Thirdly, Rousseau thought that if we ever found ourselves in a state of nature, men would turn to savages, but would be happy with it. In actual fact we are very unlikely to experience a state of nature in our lifetime, so the most we can do is to just imagine. In support of Hobbes’s view, no one, no police would be there to stop us from doing whatever it takes to experience total happiness. For example, if we desperately needed money, no one could stop us from committing fraud or robbing a bank in order to get what we want. However, it may work when we think about it in our own perspective, but imagine what you would do in a state of nature, and times it by 7 billion. The imagery you now have in your head is most likely chaotic and out of control. This is the exact reason why Hobbes was so against a state of nature. In Hobbes’s most famous piece of work, ‘the leviathan’, he wrote that in a man’s natural state, “the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short...The condition of man...is a condition of war of everyone against everyone.” This leads us to believe that life in a state of nature, with no rules, morality...
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