Thomas Hobbes: What Is the Difference Between Obligations in Foro Inte

Topics: Government, Natural law, Political philosophy Pages: 3 (880 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Thomas Hobbes: What Is The Difference Between Obligations In foro interno and In foro externo, and When Do We Have Such Obligations?

According to Thomas Hobbes, there are certain laws of nature which exist in the absence of an organized government. These laws are extremely cut throat, and place people in extremely dangerous situations where their lives are in danger. Government is the answer to this dangerous situation, but it is here that the question of obligation comes into question. Does one have an obligation to take a chance and follow the laws set forth for them, or should they only think of themselves, and follow the laws of nature? This is a vital question which I will explore.

According to Hobbes, the overriding law of nature is kill or be killed. Hobbes believed that, "every man has a right to everything, even to another man's body. And therefore, as long as this natural right of every man to everything endureth, there can be no security to any man(how strong or wise soever he be) of living out the time which nature ordinarily allowith men to live."

However he also believed, "that a man be willing, when others are so too as far-forth as for peace and defense of himself that he shall think it necessary to lay down this right to all things, and be contented with so much liberty against other men, as he would allow other men against himself." The question now is, when do we have an obligation to strive towards peace when it means giving up our natural rights?

According to Hobbes, we always have an obligation to work towards peace, and have an obligation in foro interno, but not always in foro externo. The difference between there two are that in foro interno means inside you, or you believing in something. In this case, it would mean that inside you, you would want to strive for peace because it would mean an end to worrying about your life. No longer would you have to walk around in a state of nature where any one...
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