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John Locke And Thomas Hobbes: The Age Of Reason Or Enlightenment

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The 17th and 18th centuries in Europe are often known as The Age of Reason or Enlightenment. Characterized mostly by the rise of empiricism and scientific awakening, this period and its literature also explored themes of social upheaval, personal status, political satire, geographical exploration and the comparison between the states of men in a civilized society, the last being done extensively through the work of philosophers, particularly John Locke and Thomas Hobbes. Although both were from England came early during the enlightenment, Hobbes and Locke took very different approaches in their political philosophies (Bristow). Our first individual, Thomas Hobbes, wrote many books about history, geometry, the physics, theology, ethics, and philosophy; however, the one that made him known as the father of political science and one of the great philosophers of all time is the book Leviathan. In it Hobbes sets out his doctrine of the foundation of a legitimate government that would basically fit human sin by creating an objective view of morality. Now to more easily understand his perspective, one has to keep in mind that Leviathan was written during the English Civil War and so, much of the book was influenced by it. Leviathan is occupied with demonstrating the necessity of a strong central authority to avoid the natural human evil that caused wars like the one he witnessed. Hobbes believed that all people are intrinsically motivated to provide themselves with as many resources as possible. Because resources in the world are limited, people thus become greedy in their competition for these resources. Hobbes also believed that men don’t take any pleasure in the other’s company when there’s no power capable of keeping all with respe... ... middle of paper ... ...ty to contribute to their governance, but in such a way that found compromise and kept any one individual’s wants from crowding out the others. This system of ideas was very influential and was eventually adopted by many countries, most notoriously: the United States. Soon then, the U.S. differed from other states with its federalism, a republican government with Locke’s democratic ideas (Roberts 84). “As the 18th century drew to its inevitable close, the calls for social reform and a utopian egalitarian society quieted down substantially” but the legacy of the enlightenment can be see today, everywhere(The Enlightenment). In political side of things, the ideas of Locke and Hobbes are alive and massively used, with people still debating them. It does seem that Locke’s democracy has been and will continue to fight against Hobbes idea of authoritarian government.
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