Human Behavior In The State Of Nature, By Thomas Hobbes

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In the Leviathan, Hobbes explicitly sets out his moral and political philosophy with regard to human behaviour as a social animal in the State of Nature – the natural condition of men without a civil society. It is fundamentally necessary for his construction of a political theory to analyse the conceptions of State of Nature.

His justification for the existence of a government entirely relies on the purported fact that, without a governing political authority, there would be complete anarchy and total insecurity on the part of each individual as there is no limit to how much power can someone acquire. Without an over-arching power and absence of law enforcement to effectively constrain the actions of men, we would be in the state of nature.
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These natural laws lead us to see a means for exiting the State of Nature. There are three such laws that are crucial to the eventual formation of a civil state. 1st Law of Nature: First and foremost, the passions that we come to have from being in the state of nature: the fear of death, leads us to endeavor peace. Hence, we must find a way to live in peace as long as there is hope of obtaining it. 2nd Law of Nature: The problems in the State of Nature spring from equality and the Right of Nature which gives each of us a right to everything. If one claims full rights to all things, then conflict will be inevitable; if one has no liberty, given that rights are defined as liberty, then one will lose all rights to everything. Therefore, in the state of nature, the claim to the Rights of Nature is self-refuting. Hobbes argues that the best course of action is for one man to be willing to lay down his right to all things so that others are inclined to do so as well. If people gave up only some of their rights, granting the sovereign limited power, anarchy would rapidly return. Hobbes held that one must reach an agreement to give up all their other natural rights; only then would one be obliged to follow the law. 3rd Law of Nature: A covenant is crucial to the formation of a commonwealth. Hobbes says that unless there is some power that keeps us in “terror” we will not keep our promises or contracts with each other. Once we come together to form a commonwealth, we will need to keep our covenants because the commonwealth will create judges and rulers who have the authority to punish us. It is this fear of punishment that makes us keep our promises. Hobbes previously said that, in the State of Nature, there are no such things as justice and injustice. This is because, in the State of Nature, no one is bound to keep their covenants and the act of breaking a
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