Essay about The Hobbes ' Construction Of A Political Theory

Essay about The Hobbes ' Construction Of A Political Theory

Length: 1957 words (5.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In the Leviathan, Hobbes explicitly sets out his moral and political philosophy with regard to human behaviour as a social animal in the State of Nature – the natural condition of men without a civil society. It is fundamentally necessary for his construction of a political theory to analyse the conceptions of State of Nature.

His justification for the existence of a government entirely relies on the purported fact that, without a governing political authority, there would be complete anarchy and total insecurity on the part of each individual as there is no limit to how much power can someone acquire. Without an over-arching power and absence of law enforcement to effectively constrain the actions of men, we would be in the state of nature. He refers to this understanding as pre-societal existence, which according to Hobbes will inevitably dissolve into a state of universal war of all against all. This conclusion is essential in Hobbes’ construction of a political theory. He argues that the best way to escape that terrible state, guarantee social order and enjoy peace would be for people to invest their power in an absolute sovereign. In other words, a peaceful and stable society is dependent upon the presence of a common power until such a civil society is created the state of nature will be in a state of war.

In arguing that life in the state of nature will inevitably result in a state of universal war, Hobbes theorized what would happen in those conditions. In the natural condition of men, people are roughly equal in their physical and mental capabilities. In the state of nature, people are equal in their bodies in the sense that if one man is stronger than another, the former can join with others to overpower the other. T...


... middle of paper ...


...reedom we have in the state of nature to a more restricted freedom whereby we benefit through peaceful living.

Without a civil government, violence would reign on earth. It is upon this assumption that Hobbes bases his idea of man’s willingness to relinquish his absolute liberty, through pure self-interest, in favour of a system by which he will be satisfied with as much liberty against men, as he would allow them to take of him. Man, thereby, forms a covenant amongst himself to surrender his this right to an absolute sovereign who is the ultimate arbiter in all cases. The greatest power, says Hobbes, is that which is invested in one person, by all people. Hobbes maintains that the necessary and sufficient condition, which must be satisfied in order for man in to escape the state of nature is to recognise the rule of the sovereign as the legitimate source of power.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Thomas Hobbes and Rene Descartes: The Science of Man Essay

- In this paper I intend to examine the political philosophy of Thomas Hobbes and Rene Descartes, in particular their ideas relating to the science of man, and attempt to explain why their ideas prove that it is not possible to construct a science of man. I will also briefly mention the philosophy of Donald Davidson in regards to a science of man. The theories of Hobbes and the contemporary socio- biologists attempt to recognize how man works and on that basis build a society. "Hobbes wished to be seen as the inventor of the science of politics" (Sorell, p45) He went about this by looking at the psychology of man and discovering that man is a mechanism....   [tags: Descartes vs Hobbes]

Strong Essays
1407 words (4 pages)

Essay on Thomas Hobbes And Jean Jacques Rousseau

- Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau sought to create new political theories which would deal with the issues of their time. Both authors have had their works interpreted and applied to the international realm. Many international relations scholars have taken the theories developed by Hobbes and Rousseau as being indicative to the “realists” school of thought. However, an understanding of the realism school of thought will provide us with a means by which we can measure and better understand the two authors place within the paradigm....   [tags: Political philosophy, Jean-Jacques Rousseau]

Strong Essays
1317 words (3.8 pages)

Essay on Thomas Hobbes And Jean Jacques Rousseau

- Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau both sought to create new political theories which would deal with the issues of their time. Both authors have had their works interpreted and applied to the international realm. Many international relations scholars have taken the theories developed by Hobbes and Rousseau as being indicative to the “realists” school of thought. However, an understanding of the realism school of thought will provide us with a means by which we can measure and better understand the two authors place within the paradigm....   [tags: Political philosophy, Jean-Jacques Rousseau]

Strong Essays
1318 words (3.8 pages)

Essay about Hobbes and Absolute Sovereignty

- Hobbes and Absolute Sovereignty Introduction A state is sovereign when its magistrate owes allegiance to no superior power, and he or she is supreme within the legal order of the state. It may be assumed that in every human society where there is a system of law there is also to be found, latent beneath the variety of political forms, in a democracy as much as in a absolute monarchy, a simple relationship between subjects rendering habitual obedience, and a sovereign who renders obedience to none....   [tags: Government Politics Political Essays]

Strong Essays
3652 words (10.4 pages)

Hobbes And Rousseau 's Theory Essay

- Hobbes and Rousseau were different in many ways. The two men had polar opposite thoughts on the world, and their theories are both sensible. Hobbes lived in fear of the parliament, because he strongly believed in a monarchy government. Rousseau believed in a self-government, or a democracy. He believes that a man is born free and society and the government ties the free man down. Hobbes believes that “humans are selfish egoist, life is tragic, and morality and strong government are necessary to constraint humans and provide a deterrent against mischief” (Pojman, 110)....   [tags: Political philosophy, Government, Thomas Hobbes]

Strong Essays
1798 words (5.1 pages)

The Philosophy of Thomas Hobbs Essays

- ... Hobbes wrote many political philosophy such as Nature and Political Elements of Law, Philosophical Rudiments Concerning Government and Society, the English Leviathan Published in 1651 . Understanding his political philosophy his works are also very important and mostly history of the Civil war. (Sreedhar) Advantages of Hobbes Philosophy: During his life, Hobbes biography is related to the political events in England and Scotland. We follow Hobbes philosophy because of two major aspects to the human nature and human power of judgment for which Hobbes tremendously skeptical....   [tags: notorious political thinkers and philosopher]

Strong Essays
1747 words (5 pages)

Thomas Hobbes ' View Of Free Will And How It Impacted His Theory Of Government

- ... The state of nature was a place lacking things such as: rights, justice/injustice, as well as property. These conditions caused humans to not trust one another because they were constantly trying to gain power over one another in an attempt to control the environment. Living in these conditions for an extended amount of time resulted in man being more inclined to want peace, because of constantly being on the defense from others as well as their surroundings was physically and mentally exhausting....   [tags: Thomas Hobbes, Political philosophy]

Strong Essays
960 words (2.7 pages)

Plato And Leviathan By Plato Vs. Hobbes Essay

- There is a diverse amount of themes that could be compared in Republic by Plato and Leviathan by Hobbes. Through these books the two authors each construct a system in which their ideal state can thrive. Both writers agree that government is necessary for the good of the people, however what that government entails drastically differs. Their images of a utopian society are largely based on their perception of human beings. Seeing as how their views on human nature are quite opposite from the other’s, it is understandable that their political theories have many dissimilarities....   [tags: Political philosophy, Thomas Hobbes]

Strong Essays
966 words (2.8 pages)

Aristotle, Machiavelli, And Hobbes Essay

- Theories of human nature, as the term would ever so subtly suggest, are at best only individual assertions of the fundamental and intrinsic compositions of mankind, and should be taken as such. Indeed it can be said that these assertions are both many and widespread, and yet too it can be said that there are a select few assertions of the nature of man that rise above others when measured by historical persistence, renown, and overall applicability. These eclectic discourses on the true nature of man have often figured largely in theories of political science, typically functioning as foundational structures to broader claims and arguments....   [tags: Political philosophy, Thomas Hobbes, Government]

Strong Essays
1286 words (3.7 pages)

Plato Vs. Thomas Hobbes Essay

- ... Also recognized as “The Philosopher,” Plato contributed to a variety of studies, including rhetoric, the arts, epistemology, and the justice system. In fact, he participated in the evolution of our society. Unfortunately, Plato encouraged a dangerous manifestation of government in society in The Republic. Henceforth, he proposed a legislature of chosen individuals, christened the “guardians.” Accordingly, an extensive processing would ensue to discover who the exclusive group of autocrats might include, but Plato does not particularly expound on it....   [tags: Thomas Hobbes, Political philosophy, Philosophy]

Strong Essays
1133 words (3.2 pages)