Thomas Hobbes and John Locke

Topics: Social contract, Political philosophy, State of nature Pages: 4 (1468 words) Published: November 5, 2008
Thomas Hobbes and John Locke were two of the great political theorists of their time. Both created great philosophical texts that help to describe the role of government in man’s life, as well as their views of man’s state of nature. Even though both men do have opposite views on many of their political arguments, the fact that they are able to structure their separate ideologies on the state of man in nature is the bond that connects them. Both men look toward the creation of civil order in order to protect not only the security of the individual, but also the security of the state. For Hobbes, the state of nature is a very bleak, dreary place. He believed that people in this state were not guided by reason, but instead were guided by our innate primal, animalistic instincts. Hobbes believed that moral concepts such as the ideas of good and evil did not exist in the state of nature, and that man could use any force necessary in order to protect his life and goods around him. Hobbes called this condition “War” which meant “every man against every man.” Hobbes also described the state of nature as having no benefits that people in modern society take for granted: “No commerce, no agriculture, and no account of time, no arts, no letters, and no society.” Men in this state live with an overbearing sense of fear and grief, always on the defense in order to protect themselves, and their possessions. Hobbes relates man’s wanting to escape from the state of nature and war by looking towards peace, which allows man to dissolve his incessant feeling of fear. In order to obtain peace, he looks to man using reason, which enables man to respond to what Hobbes calls “The Laws of Nature”. It is through these laws that man can seek peace and to enable man’s natural right to all things, providing that others will do the same. Hobbes labeled this mutual transferring of rights between men a “contract”. Hobbes beloved that there still must be some common power in effect in order...
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