Human Nature In Thomas Hobbes: The State Of Nature

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Are human beings naturally good, or are they simply animals driven by needs and desires. If so, then what are these desires? Are they satiable, so that when man has what he desires he is content, or does man have unquenchable thirst for more? In the state of nature do humans actually desire cooperation and community, or are they naturally solitary, based on indifference, or fear of others? Thomas Hobbes believed that man’s desires can never be truly sated and that he has a “restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death.” (Hobbes, p. 1) Jean-Jacques Rousseau would have claimed that in the state of nature man is naturally solitary and lived an almost animalistic life where, “His desires do not go beyond his physical needs.”…show more content…
He compares the state of nature to a state of constant war, long term community was impossible. (Hobbes p. 3) In this state men would fight each other because of competition over resources, fear and self-preservation, as well as for personal glory. (Hobbes, p. 3) According to Hobbes, even though man desires things like praise, in the state of nature “men have no pleasure (but on the contrary a great deal of grief) in keeping company where there is no power able to overawe them all.” (Hobbes. P 3) Without some greater power to enforce order, there can could be no trust in the state of nature, and therefore no community; man would live in a state of isolation. Hobbes wouldn’t say that all men couldn’t be trusted. He simply believed that there were different types of man. Some men desire knowledge, ease or, sensual delight and are more disposed to peace, but there are other men who desire competition and glory which can lead to conflict, “because the way of one competitor to the attaining of his desire is to kill, subdue, supplant, or repel the other.” (Hobbes, p.1) Due to this, man in Hobbes’s state of nature lives in constant fear. He does not know whether other men wish him harm, and therefore long-term community is nonexistent; man lives in fearful isolation while in this
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