Aristotle 's Claim That The State Of Nature Essay

Aristotle 's Claim That The State Of Nature Essay

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Compare Aristotle’s claim that man is a ‘political animal’ with Hobbes’s claim that the state of nature is a state of war. How would you summarize their respective views of the relation between nature and politics? Which is the more persuasive and why?
Fundamentally, Aristotle’s and Hobbes’s principles represent two contradictory interpretations of the philosophy of human nature and why men gather and constitute government. For Aristotle, man is naturally a social and political animal, structured toward living in a community; whereas for Hobbes, it is natural for man to live for himself, and the state is an artificially created concept to prevent war. In the following essay, I will argue that Hobbes’s claim that the state of nature is a state of war is a more persuasive and logical argument than Aristotle’s claim that man is a political animal. Humankind is naturally in a state of war and men artificially created politics to protect their rights and achieve a state of equilibrium and freedom from external domination. I will support this thesis by arguing that the equality between men and their goals of self-preservation render the state of nature as every man for himself and politics as an artificial creation.
Aristotle interprets man’s nature as one that consists of social and political characteristics (Aristotle, The Politics, Book 1 Part 1, 1253a1, pg. 59). This interpretation carries some weight. One factor that supports this argument is the obvious fact that all men live in a society and are not born and raised in solitude. “Anyone who by his nature and not simply by ill-luck has no state is either too bad or too good, either subhuman or superhuman” (Aristotle, The Politics, Book 1 Part 1, 1253a1, pg. 59).What Aristotle mean...

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...the government are man-made concepts. There is no authority that exists naturally in the environment as all men share natural rights to self-preservation.
As seen in the above arguments, it is clear that Hobbes’s assertion that man is in a state of war and that politics is artificial is a significantly more persuasive claim than Aristotle’s argument that man is by nature a political animal and that politics exists as a natural culmination. This conclusion is based on man’s equality in nature and their innate desires for self-preservation.

Aristotle, The Politics, T.Sinclair (transl) T. Saunders (revised) Book 1 Part 1
Hobbes, The Leviathan, C. Macpherson (ed.) 1651
The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Baumeister, Roy F.; Leary, Mark R. Psychological Bulletin, Vol 117(3), May 1995, 497-529

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