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. Residing in the state of nature without extraneous obstacles signifies an individual’s convictions of freedom are endless, there is however very little, apart from oneself, to preserve the individual in the pursuit of their freedoms.
During this state of nature in which all individuals are free and equal there exist apparent boundaries to the gratification with the freedoms. The principal challenge that withholds an individual from benefiting from his freedom is the "Fear of oppression" (ch. 11, ¶9). In this paper, I will argue that men do not always have to go from power to power, always trying to subjugate all beneath them. I will raise and support two objections against Hobbes theory on man in the state of nature and freedom, and argue that John Locke’s theory on the state of nature and freedom is rational, as it applies to man.
Hobbes presents an argument that all men are equal in their natural facilities, that there is no natural inequalities so great as to give a benefit to one, that another cannot claim as well. Hobbes construes the state of nature as a continual war of all against all, where a man can do what ever he can get away wi...
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...ving” (sec. 95). This jointing of men with others, creating a community, is identified as the social contract. Men give up rights they would otherwise have in the state of nature for the promise of safety, while suffering only the acts of the majority of this community. However, there is a natural law that the law making body of the community must conform to, much like the law of nature, that it must preserve society and every person as much as preservation of the society will allow it. In this community men combine the power to make and enforce laws under favor of the majority. The drive of men in the state of nature is not different that what drives them out of it, the preservations of self. Once man has entered into society through expressed consent, self preservation may also drive him to leave and separate himself from society as his self preservation dictates.
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