The Leviathan By Thomas Hobbes Essay

The Leviathan By Thomas Hobbes Essay

Length: 1056 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Humans are social creatures. We are motivated when other humans praise us or reward us. In other words, we have an appetite for love. Conversely, we feel fear when other humans threaten to take away our rights. We are motivated to change our circumstances to avoid this feeling of fear. In The Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes examines how humans forge social contracts in order to build societies that will protect themselves from fear.
Hobbes theorizes what humanity would be like in the state of nature, “where every man is enemy to every man”. The state of nature is also a state of war because without the security that comes from the mutual exchange of human rights, every human is essentially living in fear of everyone else. There would be no laws to avoid or fear, and people would do wicked deeds to achieve their desires. Hobbes continues by explaining that “men live without security, than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them with all”1. Without the aid of a secure society, all humans would be forced to use their own resources to survive. There would be no laws to force people to actually carry out agreements, and there would be very little mutual human co-operation. Therefore, some humans would struggle to survive without the option to form mutual contracts with other humans. Conversely, there would also be no laws to stop humans that desire power and resources from acting violently towards other humans. Hobbes then says that “in such a condition, there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no culture of the earth”1. If there were no laws to govern contracts, there would be nothing to stop any human from stealing goods produced by an industry. Therefore, the go...


... middle of paper ...


...equally” (3, 75) to carry through their contracts, and therefore to keep society out of a state of war where life is “brutish and short”1. Consequently, the coercive power, or sovereign, uses the threat of punishment that is greater than the benefits from the contract to keep his or her subjects from disrespecting contracts. In a commonwealth, humans should fear the idea of breaking the sovereign’s laws rather than fearing other humans as they would in a state of nature. Therefore, to maintain a condition of peace, a human must compromise and give up some of his or her rights in order to ensure that every citizen within a commonwealth is equally subject to the sovereign’s leadership.
Overall, in order to protect humanity from regressing to a state of nature, Thomas Hobbes believes that society must enforce and protect the social contracts that bind humans together.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan Essay

- Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan Above anything else, Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan is a creation story and an investigation of human nature. The story begins in a time of chaos and death and through a journey of human development culminates in the establishment of a sustainable and rational society—the commonwealth—led by a sovereign. At a first casual glance, Hobbes’ reasoning of the transformation from the state of nature to the commonwealth is not airtight. A few possible objections can be quickly spotted: the contradictions of natural law with suicide and the civil law to honor even harmful covenants....   [tags: Hobbes Thomas Leviathan Essays]

Better Essays
1937 words (5.5 pages)

The Leviathan By Thomas Hobbes Essay

- Humans are social creatures. We are motivated when other humans praise us or reward us. In other words, we have an appetite for love. Conversely, we feel fear when other humans threaten to take away our rights. We are motivated to change our circumstances to avoid this feeling of fear. In The Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes examines how humans forge social contracts in order to build societies that will protect themselves from fear. Hobbes theorizes what humanity would be like in the state of nature, “where every man is enemy to every man”....   [tags: Political philosophy, Thomas Hobbes]

Better Essays
1056 words (3 pages)

Essay about The Leviathan By Thomas Hobbes

- In the Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes clearly depicts a state of nature that necessitates the existence of a strong government to create order and a liveable society. The state of nature illustrated by Hobbes is marked by chaos and individualism. Humans within the state of nature are brutal, self interested beings that are propelled by their natural drive to create good for themselves at the expense of others. This results in power struggles that cannot be rectified due to the equality of humans within nature....   [tags: Social contract, Political philosophy, Leviathan]

Better Essays
1661 words (4.7 pages)

Leviathan, by Thomas Hobbes Essay

- Thomas Hobbes undertakes the endeavor, in his writing, to constitute a state of order and peace. In his book Leviathan—where we find the foundation of the ideas we have studied by Hobbes—Hobbes attempts to build an understanding of what is the purpose of the state, civil society, and the nature of every one with in it. Hobbes was born in England during a time when English society thrived in discord —both civil and international wars engulfed England in that point in time. So it is almost as if Hobbes’s war time experience has led him to his attempt to constitute a state of order and peace....   [tags: Leviathan Essays]

Better Essays
733 words (2.1 pages)

An Analysis of Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan Essay

- In his book The Leviathan Thomas Hobbes begins with bringing to the readers attention that despite the fact that all men may not be deemed equal that they were created equal. He backs up this statement by saying, "For as to the strength of body, the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest, either by a secret machination, or by confederacy with others, that are in the same danger with himself. In saying this, Hobbes illustrates that physical strength is not really an issue or a major factor....   [tags: Thomas Hobbes' Philosophy]

Better Essays
2075 words (5.9 pages)

Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan Essay

- Thomas Hobbes begins Leviathan with Book 1: Of Man, in which he builds, layer by layer, a foundation for his eventual argument that the “natural condition” of man, or one without sovereign control, is one of continuous war, violence, death, and fear. Hobbes's depiction of this state is the most famous passage in Leviathan: [D]uring the time men live without a common Power to keep them all in awe, they are in a condition which is called Warre; and such a warre, as is of every man, against every man....   [tags: Thomas Hobbes' Philosophy]

Free Essays
670 words (1.9 pages)

Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan Essay

- Thomas Hobbes wrote Leviathan as a testament on how to run a country. In fact, it is very comparable to Machiavelli and his works. Hobbes is a monarchist, and an absolutist as his works reflect. His work came about during political instability, as it was published in 1651. Though his philosophy of the universe is fairly elementary, his views on absolute sovereignty and commonwealths are brilliant. The introduction states Hobbes’ belief that civil peace and social unity are best achieved by the establishment of a commonwealth through social contract....   [tags: Leviathan Essays]

Free Essays
799 words (2.3 pages)

Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan Essay

- A state of nature is a hypothetical state of being within a society that defines such a way that particular community behaves within itself. English philosopher Thomas Hobbes proclaimed that, “A state of nature is a state of war.” By this, Hobbes means that every human being, given the absence of government or a contract between other members of a society, would act in a war-like state in which each man would be motivated by desires derived solely with the intention of maximizing his own utility....   [tags: Leviathan Essays]

Better Essays
1044 words (3 pages)

Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan Essay

- Born during a period of medieval philosophy, Thomas Hobbes developed a new way of thinking. He perfected his moral and political theories in his controversial book Leviathan, written in 1651. In his introduction, Hobbes describes the state of nature as an organism analogous to a large person (p.42). He advises that people should look into themselves to see the nature of humanity. In his quote, “ The passions that incline men to peace, are fear of death; desire of such things as are necessary to commodious living; and a hope by their industry to obtain them,” Hobbes view of the motivations for moral behavior becomes valid because of his use of examples to support his theories, which in turn...   [tags: Leviathan Essays]

Better Essays
979 words (2.8 pages)

Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan Essay

- Hobbes; Leviathan Hobbes wrote the Leviathan and divided it into four different sections. For sake of brevity, I will only discuss the second book in, which Hobbes discusses the Commonwealth. He, like Rousseau, holds up the idea that the people of a society are better off by joining the social contract, which all humans are unintentionally apart of. In Book II, Hobbes asserts that there must be some form of leadership, which holds the people together and keeps them from following their natural instincts to gain power and use it in a malicious way....   [tags: Leviathan Essays]

Free Essays
629 words (1.8 pages)