Essay on Thomas Hobbes And John Locke

Essay on Thomas Hobbes And John Locke

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Thomas Hobbes and John Locke both have theories of human nature, but have very differentiating views of what life is like for humans in this state of nature before any civil society or government authority. Hobbes has a very negative view of human nature while Locke has a very positive outlook on human nature. The two different views have lead to many critiques about which theory may be stronger.
Thomas Hobbes has a pessimistic view of human nature. He believes that without outside laws or government (in the sate of nature) humans are awful and destructive creatures. He theorizes that in a natural state men are essentially created as equals, even if one man may seem more physically fit or more mentally capable than another. He believes that as a rule of reason men naturally seek peace, and when they cannot reach peace that is when a state of war emerges. By this reason humans learn how to live in a peaceful society by following the rules of natural laws. Hobbes first natural law describes how men seek peace to preserve their one and only right, which is their right to life and self-preservation (Leviathan, 79).
Peace is where everyone agrees to respect others and their possessions; its actively acknowledging others rights. But the problem with seeking peace in a natural state is that one will not know if they can trust everyone else. Men don 't know right from wrong in the state of nature since there is no law to govern their actions. With out an common power to fear humans live in a state of constant fear for their lives (Leviathan, 77). Hobbes views the conditions in the state of nature, which is ultimately a state of war, as, “Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” (Leviathan, 77). In this state of nature humans have a ...


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...re not infringing on their rights then they have no right to harm any of our rights according to Locke’s theory. Innocent people get harmed everyday by others for no apparent reason in some circumstances. Like Hobbes says in his theory, we cannot trust the word of others in a state of nature, with out any law enforcement, if we can’t trust the word of people with law enforcement and punishment for breaking the law.
In conclusion, Hobbes and Locke do not see eye to eye in their opposing views on human nature and reason within human nature. Hobbes’s argument is overall stronger than Locke’s argument of human nature and reason because still in todays society we are taught to not trust strangers and we don’t give people the benefit of the doubt. As a society we believe others are thinking only about how they can benefit their lives and not the lives of the common good.

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