Essay on Thomas Hobbes And The Hobbesian Social Contract

Essay on Thomas Hobbes And The Hobbesian Social Contract

Length: 1368 words (3.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

A John Locke Response to the Hobbesian Social Contract
In recent times, I have read Thomas Hobbes ' proposal of what he deems a fair and secure social contract. In leaving the uncertain, insecure State of Nature, both Thomas Hobbes and myself have developed two forms of life beyond this state, in which, we may give up some liberties in order to maintain security and assurance. To what one may surrender their rights granted in the State of Nature, would be a governed society ruled by one of many forms of government through acceptance of the social contract by the subjects of that society. As theorists, we have provided our own versions of the contract which have many differences as far as: the purpose of a government, where sovereignty lies, limits on governmental power, and the dissolution of that power. Where Hobbes is mistaken in his terms, I shall counter with my own terms to show how society is better defined under a contract with a more constitutional, limited government.
Before I refute his erroneous view of sensible conditions of the social contract, it is necessary to begin with the purpose of this contract and where his argument, ultimately, begins. Hobbes ' view of the state of nature, "during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe," is a time of war "and such a war as is of every man against every man". In this war, Hobbes finds it is a condition where war is permissible for the sake of survival for the individual, and murdering one another is essential to maintain this survival. It is in his Leviathan where his laws of nature describe the premise of this war between all individuals. It is the first law, of which, men ought to seek peace, and, secondly, defend themselves in order to maint...


... middle of paper ...


...ommonwealth, by means of a social contract. However, Hobbes seems to believe we have come to this because powerful government- similar in nature to the dominant Leviathan who is incapable of defeat- would protect us from our natural selves. However, government secures our natural rights by upholding natural laws and executes power as it is originally agreed upon by the subjects of the covenant. It is too much of a risk to place civil rights and liberties in the hands of one ruler who is not held to the standards of the government, but gains an indefinite amount of power from it. Nor is it expedient to give such power to a government who requires strict obedience. For if government is limited in power by upholding to the powers designed by the covenant, the legislature will not forfeit the obedience of the people and will, therefore, maintain a prosperous government.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Conceptions of the Social Contract Theory Essay

- Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean Jacques Rousseau were political philosophers who formulated their own version of the social contract theory. The social contract theory is a treaty or an agreement that developed a set of laws, organized a functional society, and created the need to be governed. It was put into place when man realized that there was no law. Mankind eventually sought the desire for security and order. To receive security and order people shall voluntarily give up all their rights and freedoms and be obedient to some sort of authority....   [tags: political philosophy, socioeconomics]

Better Essays
936 words (2.7 pages)

Social Contract Theory Essay

- The political world is one that impacts nearly every aspect of our day-to-day lives. Whether it be through its enforcement of laws, protection of the public, or use of taxpayer-raised monies to carry out its myriad tasks, the government makes a mark on its people. The actions of the government, while frequently ridiculed or vilified, are the result of the people themselves, operating within our system of government. So while many people may disapprove of the job Congress is doing or the direction the president is leading us in, the status quo remains the same....   [tags: politics, tax payers, public]

Better Essays
1436 words (4.1 pages)

Analysis of Leviathan by Thomas Hobbles Essay

- ... I believe that there is no way man can exist without government. I believe that even in our natural state we assert some type of government. I do see that man may have chaos but order would naturally be restored because people naturally rise to power and eventually get it. Not everyone is born a leader but more importantly not everyone is born a follower. I believe that it is in our natural state that we can only see what type of person we really are. Hobbes’ assertion of the Leviathan almost asserts the idea that man is not capable to control their own natural inhibitions....   [tags: natural, state, skill, government]

Better Essays
978 words (2.8 pages)

Reflecting on the Statement: The Psychopath is Not Mentally Ill, He is Evil

- Within this essay I will reflect upon the statement “The psychopath is not mentally ill; he is evil. “by corresponding this with my understanding of mental illnesses and its repercussions. Secondly I will reflect upon understanding of Evil by applying the Christian values I witness when I was little , and secondly the philosophical thought of Thomas Hobbes in comparison to psychopaths The first half of statement “The psychopath is not mentally ill” made me realize that I didn’t truly understand what it meant to be mentally ill, however I thought that a good starting place would be to firstly understand what it meant to be “healthy”....   [tags: Hobbesian and Catholic frameworks]

Better Essays
1861 words (5.3 pages)

Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan Essay

- In Leviathan, arguably one of the most transcendent political pieces written in the English language, Thomas Hobbes vindicates that state sovereignty, and the suppression of the brutish state of nature, is best achieved through the monopolization of power. This “common power” (Hobbes, 109), commonwealth, or Leviathan, may either be exercised by “one man, or upon an assembly of man”, which is where Machiavelli’s division of republics and principalities may be drawn in. The definitions are limited as such: a principality is a state ruled by an individual, and a republic is one ruled pluralistically....   [tags: novel analysis]

Better Essays
1098 words (3.1 pages)

Comparison of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke: Human Nature Essay

- Amidst the bloodshed of the English Civil War, Thomas Hobbes realizes the chaotic state of humanity, which gravitates towards the greatest evil. Hobbes’ underlying premises of human nature–equality, egotism, and competition–result in a universal war among men in their natural state. In order to escape anarchy, Hobbes employs an absolute sovereignty. The people willingly enter a social contract with one another, relinquishing their rights to the sovereign. For Hobbes, only the omnipotent sovereign or “Leviathan” will ensure mankind’s safety and security....   [tags: Hobbes vs Locke]

Better Essays
1373 words (3.9 pages)

Essay on Thomas Hobbes ' Theory Of Social Contract Theory

- Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines a social contract as an actual or hypothetical agreement among the members of an organized society or between a community and its ruler that defines and limits the rights and duties of each. Social contract theory is rightly associated with modern moral and political theory and is given its first full exposition and defense by Thomas Hobbes. Thomas Hobbes defends the claim that it is never rational to behave unjustly. According to Hobbes, our human nature prevents us from naturally living at peace with one another....   [tags: Political philosophy, Social contract]

Better Essays
1044 words (3 pages)

The Social Contract And The Leviathan By Jean Jacques Rousseau And Thomas Hobbes

- The Social Contract and the Leviathan by Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Thomas Hobbes, respectively, contextualizes man’s struggle to escape a brutish, short life within the state of nature. Man is confined in a lawless world where the words mine and thine are interchangeable, and where there is no regard for private possession; this indifference even extends to the right over someone’s body. And while there are those who revel in freedom from the synthetic chains of law, the reality of life in the state of nature- a life of constant war and distrust for one’s neighbor- trumps any short lived joys or monetary gains....   [tags: Political philosophy, Social contract]

Better Essays
1688 words (4.8 pages)

Essay on The Social Contract and Its Impact on the Government

- The Social Contract and Its Impact on the Government The “Social Contract” was a theory written in the 17th and 18th century. This theory argued four important main points. These main points said that the state existed to serve the will of the people, that people were the only source of government power, that the people were free to withhold power of the government, but also had the ability to give power to the government, and finally it stated that the ideas in this document limited government, individual rights, and popular sovereignty....   [tags: Social Contract John Lock Thomas Hobbes Essays]

Better Essays
1136 words (3.2 pages)

Force, Morality and Rights in Thomas Hobbes and John Locke's Social Contract Theories

- Force, Morality and Rights in Thomas Hobbes and John Locke's Social Contract Theories Throughout history, the effects of the unequal distribution of power and justice within societies have become apparent through the failure of governments, resulting in the creation of theories regarding ways to balance the amount of power given and the way in which justice is enforced. Due to this need for change, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke created two separate theories in which the concept of a social contract is used to determine the ways in which a government can govern without forfeiting justice....   [tags: Social Contract Hobbes Locke Essays]

Better Essays
1630 words (4.7 pages)