Thomas Hobbes And John Locke Essay

Thomas Hobbes And John Locke Essay

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Humans have lived in a world of political governance where law and order is distributed and administered upon us for hundreds of years, and if we were ever caught disobeying the law we would be punished. Social and political philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke referred to this authority as the state, and in their separate accounts wished not to argue whether humans have lived in a state of nature (without a state), but that whether it is possible and what it would be like. In general, the state of nature is a hypothetical state that existed prior to the development of societies, or humans in a more contemporary state. John Locke and Thomas Hobbes roughly originate from the same era (mid 1600’s), however their views and arguments with regards to the state of nature differ greatly. In this paper, I will compare and contrast differences in the theories of philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke with respect to the state of nature, and discuss why I believe Thomas Hobbes has the more persuasive account. Locke proposes a respectable idea of the state of nature, but where I think he goes wrong is in his use of religion to defend his opinion of human morality, whereas Hobbes forms a principle that can be easier pertained to all people. The differences I will address are how humans behave in the state of nature, the main principles of the state of nature, and the outlook of natural law in the different states of nature speculated by the two philosophers.
The two theorists are alike in that they both speak of the state of nature as a place where man lives without an identified government, however where their interpretations go in contradictory directions is in their justification of whether man would be able to sustain li...


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...lve this is with the establishment of civil government (Wolff, 24). As we commonly see in today’s societies, civil government and democracy does not necessarily mean peace among men. We still see conflict and unlawful practices everyday in many different states/societies such as civil wars, uprising militias, and routine crime, proving Locke’s solution to conflict in the state of nature to be rather weak compared to the absolute monarch or “Leviathan” proposed by Hobbes. Hobbes sees the Leviathan as the best and only way to get out of the state of nature, because it is a sovereign ruler that can allot maximum justice and punish those who disobey the laws, as well as protecting from external threats to its people (Wolff, 16). As long as this supreme leader speaks for the people and does not implement tyranny upon them, I presume this to be the best option in terms of

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