Locke State Of Nature Essay

Thomas Hobbes and John Locke on Natural Rights Essay

929 Words4 Pages

Hobbes and Locke on Natural Rights

According to the natural right theory, the state of nature is the original condition of human beings in regard to any common authority. In the state of nature, according to Thomas Hobbes, each individual has a right to everything, even the body/life of the other. The state of nature can lead to the state of moral chaos. Moral chaos produces physical chaos or war, thus the state of war, the war of all against all. The reason this is because no one has any connection to the other, everyone has the right to everything, just to satisfy his or her appetites. There is no rational rule to resolve conflict, in order to get around this you have to get an agreement, thus the need for a social contact.…show more content…

To get out of the state of nature we need to retain our natural rights, the rights to liberty (self-preservation and preservation of others) and the right to property. The same rules that apply to liberty also apply to property for Locke. Property rights are prior (in principle) to government, you have a right to life and property without government. It's settling your disputes that may make it hard to do without government. The state of nature becomes the state of war when enforcement problems occur, disagreements; thus the reason for government is to preserve pre-existing rights. To get out of the state of nature government can exist only by consent and you cant consent for anyone else, unless of course they are children. There are two major elements of Locke's social contract. Phase #1 is the bare agreement to agree. People have to realize the need for government, the need for something to solve problems of the people. For Hobbes this is like a bare leap into government. For Locke, there must be societies were people agree to communicate and talk in order to unanimously agree on a government. And if someone decides that they don't want to join, well,

you cant do any harm to them, or compel them to join your society. Unlike Hobbes, for Hobbes if you don't join the society and agree to the establishment of a sovereign then everyone else has the right to either force you to join your social contract or they

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The State of Nature and its Implications for Civilization in Hobbes and Rousseau

1639 Words7 Pages

The State of Nature and its Implications for Civilization in Hobbes and Rousseau

In his Leviathan Thomas Hobbes expresses a philosophy of civilization which is both practical and just and stems from a clear moral imperative. He begins with the assertion that in the state of nature man is condemned to live a life “solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.” It is in the interest of every man to rise above this “state of nature” and to give up certain rights so that the violent nature of the human animal can be subdued. Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s vision of the state of nature parallels that of Hobbes but for its more optimistic tone: “I assume that men reach a point where the obstacles to their preservation in a state of nature prove…show more content…

Hobbes argues for the rule of a monarch for his peace centered civil society. He believes that a monarch who understands the basis for the covenant, who adheres to it and truly recognizes the importance of justice for all of humanity, is the most efficient and trustworthy method of transcending the state of nature. For Hobbes the most important aspect of justice is keeping the peace through adherence to the natural law. Peace reigns supreme in his vision of civilization and a strong ruler who can pass laws to ensure that his subjects respect the covenant is needed. Although such a government might be granted a dangerous amount of power, nonetheless an overarching sovereign with knowledge of the natural laws is needed to keep in line those who would abuse the liberties granted them through the covenant, thus threatening the society with a return to the state of nature.
Rousseau, in contrast, sees a true transcendence of the state of nature as including more than simply peace. His goal is more ambitious than Hobbes’s. Because in Rousseau’s philosophy humans in a state of nature are not suffering as directly as Hobbes suggests, their goal is more than just the peace described in Leviathan: “How to find a form of association which

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