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Thomas Hobbes And Jean Jacques Rousseau And The State Of Nature

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Thomas Hobbes and Jean Jacques Rousseau were both influential philosophers with two completely different theories about the nature of human beings. While Hobbes’s’ theory was based upon the assumption that human nature was naturally born competitive, violent, and seeking power, Rousseau viewed human nature as good and pure, only until society corrupts it. Although Hobbes and Rousseau both viewed the state of nature quite differently, both their theories were similarly based on the image of how society was, before political government existed. The argument I would like to make is the idea that Hobbes’s vision and beliefs of human nature from the State of Nature is profoundly more logical and realistic than of Rousseau’s. To be human is to desire…show more content…
According to Hobbes, neither of these men has more of an advantage than the other. Given the facts, Hobbes says that they are both equal and because both men have the same desire to have the apple, it will create competition and conflict. "And therefore if any two men desire the same thing, which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies; and in the way to their end endeavour to destroy or subdue one another" (Hobbes-76). Since the state of nature lacks any central power or authority, the people are free and allowed to do whatever they thought necessary or in their best interest in order to survive. This includes invasion, assault, robbery, and even murder. If one man wanted to kill the other to ensure that he gets the apple, there is no law that states he cannot do so. These actions could occur at anytime, following no consequence, which is the reason nobody is safe in the state of nature. The “continual fear and danger of violent death,” is the worst feature of human nature, however, the continuous intervention between the emotion of fear and hope, is the “defining principle of…show more content…
Rousseau theorized that the “savage” in the state of nature was not selfish, like Hobbes idea, but rather it arose as a result from the person’s interaction with society. He argued that people naturally have compassion for others who are suffering and that the civil society encourages us to believe we are superior to others. Therefore, the thought of being more powerful will cause us to suppress our virtuous feelings of kindness and instead change us into selfish humans. Both philosophers agreed that humans are naturally self-interested, however, Rousseau fails to understand the concept that there are insufficient resources for every human and that brutal competition is part of survival. When discussing Rousseau’s theory on the corruption of society, an interesting question arises. If humans are naturally so good, then how could society be so evil? Hobbes would argue that society is what keeps human nature stable by the use of sovereign power, laws, and the authority to regulate people’s actions. Without society, corruption would continue and people would have absolute freedom to do what they please, which would cause more fear. According to Hobbes " The notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice, have there no place. Where there is no common power, there is no law; where no law, no injustice" (Hobbes-79). Ultimately, life is better when humans are a
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