State of Nature and Freedom: Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes Essay

State of Nature and Freedom: Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes Essay

Length: 1437 words (4.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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. 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...


... middle of paper ...


...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.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

The Leviathan By Thomas Hobbes Essay examples

- Thomas Hobbes is the most well-known philosopher of his time, especially with his unique idea of the Leviathan. The leviathan, from my understanding, is the way Hobbes describes the nature of humans and the way we actually are. I believe Hobbes is stating that as individuals, we are each our own person, but we all have different opinions. However, one thing that we all share is being selfish, as humans will do anything possible to get what they want. In this passage Hobbes talks about man and war but even if we are not in literal war, we as humans are always in a war mind set which is a kill, kill, kill, type of mind set....   [tags: Political philosophy, Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes]

Powerful Essays
1308 words (3.7 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]

Powerful Essays
1661 words (4.7 pages)

Philosophy - Impact of the Leviathan in Hobbes's Leviathan and the Book of Job of the Holy Bible

- The Impact of the Leviathan in Hobbes's Leviathan and the Book of Job Throughout the early chapters of his Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes employs metaphorical devices from such diverse fields as mathematics, mechanics, and even the biology of the human body to describe his political community. In reference to the inception of the body politic, Hobbes compares its artificial origins to the Leviathan, a monster in the Book of Job: "For by art is created that great LEVIATHAN called a COMMONWEALTH, or STATE" (Hobbes 3).1 A biblical monster may initially seem to be an implausible metaphor for Hobbes to choose as a means of advocating his political regime....   [tags: Hobbes Leviathan Essays]

Powerful Essays
1474 words (4.2 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]

Powerful Essays
979 words (2.8 pages)

Thomas Hobbes 's ' Leviathan ' Essay

- Thomas Hobbes creates his view of the perfect society in his book “Leviathan”. In it, he explains that the perfect “commonwealth” is ruled by a sovereign with complete power. In Leviathan, Hobbes creates a human machine with the citizens of the state as the body and the sovereign as the head controlling the entire contraption. Hobbes’s overall belief in people is not that they are evil, but rather they are moved by passions that control their behavior. Therefore, they need a sovereign with absolute power to dictate them....   [tags: Political philosophy, State of nature]

Powerful Essays
883 words (2.5 pages)

Essay State Of Nature By Thomas Hobbes

- State of Nature – Paper Four In his famous book, Leviathan, English scholar Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) describes to readers the “state of nature”, a depiction where mankind exists in an uncivilized, lawless society where fear of eminent death reign. In his words the state of nature represents a “war of all against all, in which the life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” (Shafer-Landau 197). In order to escape such a life man must band together into a commonwealth where they trade unlimited freedom for the prospect of cooperation and increased quality of life....   [tags: Thomas Hobbes, Political philosophy]

Powerful Essays
1216 words (3.5 pages)

Plato 's The Republic And Thomas Hobbes Essay

- Plato’s The Republic and Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan are key texts within the conservative tradition. They each explore the human condition and its relationship to society at large. The two theorists recognize the need for a hierarchical form of government to maintain order; however, they differ in their account of the effect of desires, and emotions on political order and hierarchy. Plato asserts that desires lead to the ultimate corruption of society, whereas Hobbes believes that certain innate desires can contribute to peace....   [tags: Thomas Hobbes, Political philosophy, Leviathan]

Powerful Essays
1376 words (3.9 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 's ' Leviathan ' Essay

- Thomas Hobbes At the end of the ensanguined English Civil War, Hobbes wrote his book Leviathan, published in 1651. As he was witnessing the excessive violence and cruelty in his surroundings, he was made aware of the brutality that humans are capable of and developed a pessimistic view of the world. This translated into his belief that the State of Nature is a state of war where every person is against each other (80). Hobbes insists that such a condition results in a life of destitute because of the severe lack of morality and constant fear experienced by the members....   [tags: Political philosophy, John Locke, Social contract]

Powerful Essays
1465 words (4.2 pages)

Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan Essay

- In his book Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes describes the nature of man as functioning solely upon the pursuit of desire for power and of war. Every emotion is a variation of desire, and these desires motivate us to act. He describes the natural condition in which humans are being without political authority. Living in a chaotic and unjust society where every man lives by his own desires, Hobbes argues that humans must use reason and follow the laws of nature. According to these laws, which I will explain further in depth, reason will cause individuals to search for peace, and cause people to appoint a sovereign, a “leviathan”, to administer peace....   [tags: nostalgia is great, story analysis]

Free Essays
593 words (1.7 pages)