Human Nature And Thomas Hobbes: The State Of Nature

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What is the state of nature? And what will that variation lead to various ideal forms of governments? Modern social theorists attempted to dig deeper the question between human nature, human organization, and the legitimate political structure. Thomas Hobbes, one of the earliest modern theorists, sees human nature as self-interest driven yet rational. Jean-Jacques Rousseau evaluates that humans are physically equal while polluted by comparisons, division of labor and properties. Emanuel Kant, however, defines humans as rational while competitive, a group of people on the way to enlightenment. These different characteristics of the human nature yield out multiple interpretations of governance. Hobbes, in his famous quote, “Covenants without…show more content…
In his state of nature, humans are driven by appetites and desires. Human beings enter into a state of competition when they fight for what they consider the greatest good. Given the situation that variability of desires, a scarcity of resources, and an unavoidable fulfillment of human desires (felicity), violent and unpredictable outcomes constitute a state of war. Thus, when humans follow the natural laws, namely the seeking of peace and an allowance of liberty, fear and hope drive them into a covenant, in which humans give up their right to the authority now called “sovereign.” This sovereign power, the “sword,” is “one person, of whose acts a great multitude, by mutual covenants one with another, have made themselves every one the Author, to the end he may use the strength and means of them all, as he shall think expedient, for their Peace and Common Defence.” By praising a one-ruler monarchy, Hobbes puts faith in that the sovereign is imbued with the powers of all who agree to form the covenant. If humans could uphold the laws of nature without a common source of power to keep them in awe, Hobbes would say it is a “peace without subjection.” The sovereign authority, monarchy, unites private and public interests most closely, and it shows consistent leadership and direction in which civil unrest is impossible. When Hobbes defines liberty as an absence of opposition, monarchy solves the problem by not being challenged, because a challenge to the authority is a challenge to the subjects themselves who select the Leviathan. Therefore, a covenant with a sword, signifying absolute monarchy, protects the subjects best, and responds to the state of nature by eliminating the oppositions and
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