Thomas Hobbes and the Social Contract

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Thomas Hobbes was the first philosopher to connect the philosophical commitments to politics. He offers a distinctive definition to what man needs in life which is a successful means to a conclusion. He eloquently defines the social contract of man after defining the intentions of man. This paper will account for why Hobbes felt that man was inherently empowered to preserve life through all means necessary, and how he creates an authorization for an absolute sovereign authority to help keep peace and preserve life. Hobbes first defines the nature of man. Inherently man is evil. He will do whatever is morally permissible to self preservation. This definition helps us understand the argument of why Hobbes was pessimistic of man, and called for a social contract theory. This is the only way to keep peace and preserve life. These points will lead to why Hobbes called for the citizen to give consent to absolute rule. Prior to issuing the social contract, Hobbes in Leviathan has to define the state of man. In Chapter 8 of Natural Condition of Mankind, as concerning their felicity and misery Hobbes notes the individualism of man. He states how man has no obligation to other people, and that they are the center of the universe. He defines how man’s inalienable right is for self preservation. He detours from traditional logic and reasoning stating that man is emboldened to need god to attain his end means. This is a secular theory that has never been presented before. The fact is that man lives by only one rule: to preserve the right to preserve. Man lives to kill or be killed. Every man acts as a singular body that has the duty to preserve his own successful end means. Freedom is an obligation to preserve and defend yo... ... middle of paper ... ... These ideas Hobbes presents explain why his account of human nature is deeply pessimistic of man. His successful argument of the need of a social contract is shown by defining his pessimistic theory of why man exists. He defines men as savages. Men who are willing to kill at their own free pleasures. These are the reasons Hobbes calls for an absolute sovereign authority. He first defines the definition of man, and then states that man is embolden to seek peace. To do so man must come into agreements with other man. And to make a league of contract holders, there must be an absolute sovereign authority. Then all man must relinquish his rights to the sovereign, and adhere to his laws. These are the necessary ways to keep peace and preserve life. Work Cited Hobbes, Thomas Of the Natural Condition of Mankind as Concerning Their Felicity and Misery. 1994
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