Hobbes 's Views On The State Of Nature And The Social Contract Essay

Hobbes 's Views On The State Of Nature And The Social Contract Essay

Length: 1024 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Thomas Hobbes has a primary emphasis on the state of nature and the social contract. Hobbes’s theory is categorized in several different ways. First, he is considered a pseudo natural law theorist. This is because he bases many of his premises on natural law. Additionally, Hobbes is referred to as a social contract theorist because he initiated the philosophical concept of the social contract. Finally, Hobbes can be categorized as a justice theorist, since many of his writings deal with justice and the state.
Hobbes’s exclusive focus in on political power. He believed that the principle of human self-motion was desire. Essentially, he argues that there are two basic principles of voluntary action. The fist he called appetites. Hobbes argues that the appetites are attractions to motion or to what enables motion. The second principle of self-motion Hobbes called aversions. Aversions are repulsions from rest or from what least to rest. Hobbes categorized good as any object of appetite and evil as any object of aversion. For Hobbes, death was the worst of all evils because it was the end of all motion. Thus, the first principle of Hobbes’s political theory is that people fear death.
John Locke does support the social contract theory. He believed that the social contract obliges government to carry out the will of the majority. The government is established only as a definite way of carrying out the will of the majority and thus securing the common good of the community. Locke also stated that the social contract depends upon the consent of the governed. “But to conclude, Reason being plain on our side, that Men are naturally free, and the Examples of History shewing, that the Governments of the World, that were b...


... middle of paper ...


...of good and evil. This was unfortunate to say the least in Nietzsche’s mind. Spurred by a deep hatred of aristocratic ways they could not emulate, the masses of humanity, often supported by religious leaders, indulged in a revenge-motivated negation of the qualities of an aristocratic life. He saw things, “the good” of the good-evil distinction had emphasized equality, selflessness, meekness, humility, and other qualities of weakness. It had criticized the noble, aristocratic qualities. Qualities like self-assertion, daring, and desire for conquest were deemed as evil. The prevalence of this concept of evil is responsible for weakness and mediocrity among those in dominant positions. It has annihilated the qualities that are essential for democracy.


Downs, Jennifer. "Chapter 1 – A Brief History of Ethics." A Brief History of Ethics. 2012. Web. 02 May 2016.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Essay about Hobbes ' Theory Of Human Nature

- Hobbes ' theory of the social contract is based on the hypothetical State of Nature. In his book, Leviathan published in 1651, Hobbes has created a theory of human nature that gives a particular view of morality and politics. Hobbes sought to provide a theory of human nature that would equal the discoveries being made in the sciences during the Scientific Revolution. His psychological theory is produced by mechanism where everything in the universe is created by matter in motion. Hobbes views this theory of mechanism to extend into human behavior as well....   [tags: Social contract, Political philosophy, John Locke]

Better Essays
970 words (2.8 pages)

Thomas Hobbes and John Locke's Varying Presentations of the Social Contract Theory

- Both Thomas Hobbes and John Locke are well-known political philosophers and social contract theorists. Social Contract Theory is, “the hypothesis that one’s moral obligations are dependent upon an implicit agreement between individuals to form a society.” (IEP, Friend). Both Hobbes and Locke are primarily known for their works concerning political philosophy, namely Hobbes’ Leviathan and Locke’s Two Treatise of Government. Both works contain a different view of a State of Nature and lay out social contracts designed to neutralize the chaos inherent in that state....   [tags: nature, representation, government]

Better Essays
1505 words (4.3 pages)

State of Nature and Freedom: Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes Essay

- State of Nature and Freedom In the Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes places limits on the freedom of individuals in the social contract, as well as individuals in the state of nature. Hobbes writes that in the state nature, “the liberty each man hath to use his own power as he will himself for the preservation of his own nature; doing anything which, in his own judgement and reason, he shall conceive to be the aptest means there unto” (ch. 14, ¶1). An individual’s will is only free when there is no extraneous obstacles and his rapacious disposition and self preservation will be guided by his reason....   [tags: social contract, liberty]

Better Essays
1437 words (4.1 pages)

Hobbes ' Version Of The State Of Nature Essay

- 1. Describe Hobbes ' version of the State of Nature. English philosopher Thomas Hobbes version of the state of nature is the condition of mankind and their natural sense. He argues that we are by nature equal in body and in mind. These equalities along with other human traits cause everyone to naturally and willingly fight; thus also reacting in a manner to band together in order to protect themselves from one another. Hobbes compared this behavior of the “state of nature” to the civil war. Hobbes is best known for his theory of political and social order in how we as humans can live amongst one another in peace while also avoiding the fears and dangers of civil conflict....   [tags: Political philosophy, Social contract]

Better Essays
857 words (2.4 pages)

Hobbes And Jean Jacques Rousseau On Self Preservation And Fear Of The State Of Nature

- The emergence of society from a pre-political state of nature can be explained by the concept of the social contract. Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau have contrasting social contract theories. Hobbes’ social contract is founded on self-preservation and fear of the state of nature. It aims to establish one’s security, peace, and a system of justice by all voluntarily agreeing to a third party ruler or state. In comparison Rousseau’s social contract aims to find an association that will defend and protect an individual with common effort, established on one’s freedom in the state of nature....   [tags: Political philosophy, Social contract]

Better Essays
1573 words (4.5 pages)

The State Of Nature By John Hobbes Essay

- It is uncontroversial to declare complete equality is a basic feature of most (if not all) accounts of the state of nature. Not only that, but that this complete equality is what the state of natural ultimately comes down to. Like Hobbes, Locke agrees with this point in his Second Treatise of Government: “To understand political power right, and derive it from its original, we must consider, what state all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom…” (2.8). Although Locke’s description of the state of nature won’t turn out to be as dire as Hobbes’, it rests on the same notion that humans are born equal in the state of nature....   [tags: Political philosophy, Government, Social contract]

Better Essays
944 words (2.7 pages)

Thomas Hobbes State of Nature Essay

- ... Basing his argument on a Deist perspective, Locke believed that the state of nature is a more peaceful community, where people were governed by a Natural Law set forth by a Creator. One such natural law is the ability to reason, but a much more different view of it than Hobbes’. Locke believed that reason is what tells those in the natural state not to murder or offend anyone’s right to life, liberty and property. John Locke stated that this Natural right is inalienable, meaning that it becomes a great injustice to violate it....   [tags: social, contract, war, ruler, rights]

Better Essays
1138 words (3.3 pages)

Essay about Thomas Hobbes And The State Of Human Nature

- Thomas Hobbes (1588—1679), an English intellectual and political philosopher, laid the groundwork for the formation of classical liberal ideology by constructing a theory on the state of human nature and outlining how an ideal government should function in conjunction with human nature. Hobbes, author of Leviathan, utilizes a thought experiment to support his conception on the state of human nature. In this thought experiment, Hobbes proposes a hypothetical situation in which government, and all other forms of presiding authority, are completely nonexistent, therefore allowing humans to exist in a state of absolute freedom (Ball & Dagger, 2011)....   [tags: Political philosophy, Social contract, Liberalism]

Better Essays
821 words (2.3 pages)

Essay on Thomas Hobbes And The Hobbesian Social Contract

- A John Locke Response to the Hobbesian Social Contract In recent times, I have read Thomas Hobbes ' proposal of what he deems a fair and secure social contract. In leaving the uncertain, insecure State of Nature, both Thomas Hobbes and myself have developed two forms of life beyond this state, in which, we may give up some liberties in order to maintain security and assurance. To what one may surrender their rights granted in the State of Nature, would be a governed society ruled by one of many forms of government through acceptance of the social contract by the subjects of that society....   [tags: Political philosophy, Government, Thomas Hobbes]

Better Essays
1368 words (3.9 pages)

Force, Morality and Rights in Thomas Hobbes and John Locke's Social Contract Theories

- Force, Morality and Rights in Thomas Hobbes and John Locke's Social Contract Theories Throughout history, the effects of the unequal distribution of power and justice within societies have become apparent through the failure of governments, resulting in the creation of theories regarding ways to balance the amount of power given and the way in which justice is enforced. Due to this need for change, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke created two separate theories in which the concept of a social contract is used to determine the ways in which a government can govern without forfeiting justice....   [tags: Social Contract Hobbes Locke Essays]

Better Essays
1630 words (4.7 pages)