THE UNIVERSITY OF ZAMBIA
SOCIAL OF HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
INSTITUTE OF DISTANCE EDUCATION /DEPARTMENT OF DEVELOPMENT STUDIES
: SELVAC HANG’ANDU
: PH 101
: POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
QUESTION : List and explain six differences and six similarities between the political philosophy of John Locke and that of Tomas Hobbes.
Thomas Hobbes and John Locke were philosophers from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The two men both had very strong views on freedom and how a country should be governed. Their view points are famous for contrasting one another. Hobbes has more of a pessimistic view on freedom while Locke’s opinions are more optimistic. This paper will attempt to examine six differences and six similarities between political philosophy of John Locke and that of Tomas Hobbes. To appreciate this paper ,will first define political philosophy which will be followed by a discussion of differences and similarities between political philosophy of John Locke and Tomas Hobbes.The paper will then end with a conclusion of the issues identified and discussed It is difficult to formulate a precise definition of political philosophy because it seems to have no subject matter of its own ,It main tasks are in part to describe past and existing social organization ,in which respect it seems to duplicate the findings of Economics ,Political science ,anthropology ,biology and sociology;and in part to evaluate these organization, in which respect it is like ethics. We can further characterize political philosophy by dividing it like ethics, into classical and modern theories.Classical political theoriesmay be defined, roughly as those which offer advice for achieving an ideal society.Modern theories on the other hand are primarily devoted to what we have called philosophical analysis i.e. the purpose of clarifying the meaning of this advice and of the terms we use in political discussion. (Introduction to political philosohhy: p2). John Locke and Tomas Hobbes were both political philosophers who theorized about the nature of human kind and the proper political system that would meet the needs of humans as each saw them. For the present purpose of Hobbes social thinking lies in his famous concept of the state of nature as the war of all against all. Hobbes is almost entirely devoid of normative thinking. He sets up no ideal of what conduct should be but merely investigates the ultimate condition of social life. Men, he says is guided by a plurality of passions. The good is simply that which any man desires (Thomas Hobbes: 24) but unfortunately there are very severe limitations on the extent to which these desires can be realized, limitations which according to Hobbes lie primarily in the nature of the relations of man to man. Man is not devoid of reason ,but reason is essentially a servant of the passions .It is a faculty of devising ways and means to secure what one desires .Desires are random, there is no common rule of good and evil to be taken from the nature of the objects themselves(ibid). Hence since the passions, the ultimate ends of action are diverse there is nothing to present their pursuit resulting in conflict. In Hobbes thinking the reason for this danger of conflict is to be found in the part played by power .Since all men are seeking to realize their desires they must necessarily seek command over means to this realization. The power a man has in Hobbes own words simply his present means to obtain some future apparent good (ibid, p: 43).One very largest element of power is the ability to command the recognition and services of other men. To Hobbes this is the most important among those means which in the nature, of things are limited. The consequences are that what means to his ends one man commands another is necessarily shut off from. Hence power as approximate end is inherently source of division between men. In the absence of...
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