Thomas Hobbes And John Locke Essay

Thomas Hobbes And John Locke Essay

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The philosophers, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke had very different ideas as to what type of government would best suit a society leaving the state of nature. The two not only differed in their perceptions of the state of nature, but they stemmed their philosophies from radically dissimilar pictures of human nature. Despite a few partial-similarities, Hobbes’ and Locke’s theories are mainly contrasting. When it comes to human nature, Locke believed that all men are altruistic and inherently good in the state of nature. Their reason stems from their morality and all men are born equal, unless God says otherwise. Self-love corrupts a person’s ability to reason in Locke’s state of nature because the bias one may feel hinders his or her comprehension of reason rationally. Hobbes interpretation of human nature is mostly opposite from that of Locke’s. In the state of nature, people are inherently evil and egotistical; they only act out of interest of self-preservation and self-protection. Desire is the controlling factor, rather than morality or reason, in Hobbes’ opinion. The desire for self-preservation creates an inherent competitiveness throughout the state of nature, one that drives the feelings of distrust and fear, and perpetuates the glory-seeking nature of all men. Even if a person seems like he or she is performing a good deed for someone else, their purpose is not to aid another, it is self-serving in the sense that it will make him or her feel and look good. Like Locke, Hobbes also believes that all men are equal, not because they were born equal, but because they can kill each other, which makes no one life worth more than another. These drastically different idea’s of human nature result in two distinct theories of the stat...


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...ct, and the laws that exist are not based off of the Law of Nature, instead they are civil laws created by the sovereign for one purpose: to create peace by whatever means necessary. Overall, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke are two very distinct thinkers that influence the workings of the modern world. Although they may seem drastically different, they agree on a few things: that all men are equal, all men have the right to life, that there is no government in the basic state of nature, and that in order to obtain some government protection, men have to give up their rights. Other than those few comparisons, Hobbes and Locke are opposites. Based on their respective Social Contracts, Hobbes’ ideal government would be communist, absolutist, totalitarian, or a monarchy; while Locke’s would be a representative government, a republic democracy, or a constitutional monarchy.

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