Through Locke, Hobbes indirectly influenced the founders of the United States, who, in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, proclaim a new kind of politics based on equality and consent, in which government serves relatively limited and popular aims. Philosophy has often been concerned with identifying what constitutes and drives human nature and with determining whether human nature is essentially good or evil. Too often, he thinks, we are too much concerned with what others think of us, or inflamed by religious doctrine, or carried away by others' inflammatory words. The first is to say that Hobbes first hand experience gave him greater insight into the realities of the state of nature. Natural philosophers such as Francis Bacon and Robert Boyle believed that natural philosophy should derive inductively the workings of nature from natural history.
The social contract theory is the concept by which individuals, by nature free and equal, voluntarily choose to surrender part of their natural liberty by entering into civil society, which constitutes political authority. There is strength in numbers. Hobbes likens the obedience a subject owes the sovereign to that of a monk to the pope. Under the Hobbesian theory, these actions go unexplained. We simply have the desires and impulses that we have, are the sort of creatures we are. One reason for these different conclusions lies in their opposing understanding of human nature, with, in the most crude sense, Hobbes seeing man as a creature of desire and Locke as one of reason.
What is certain, and more important from the point of view of his moral and political thought, is that he tries extremely hard to avoid any metaphysical categories that don't relate to physical realities especially the mechanical realities of matter and motion. Underlying this most basic argument is an important consideration about insecurity. Every individual must also surrender his private opinion about public issues to the sovereign—for to have sufficient power to safeguard the contract, the sovereign must have the authority to decide what is necessary to keep it, and what constitutes a transgression of it. Relatedly, they seem to contain not one jot of loyalty. The result is the Leviathan. Thomas Hobbes and John Locke were to philosophers with opposing opinions on human nature and the state of nature.
The people would then submit their wills to the will of their ruler who would in turn assure their self-preservation, giving the ruler absolute control over his or her subjects. This is that law of the gospel: Whatsoever you require that others should do to you, that do ye to them. I refer to the assertion, that all men are equal in the state of nature; meaning, by a state of nature, a state of individuality, supposed to have existed prior to the social and political state; and in which men lived apart and independent of each other. Conflict is still present, but a very mild one, and only if necessary. Recalling the essential facts of this comparative analysis, the state of nature is criticized by Hobbes and Locke as firstly, it is synonymous with war, and secondly, this state of nature is characterized by impartial justice.
His arguments that sovereignty - the power to judge moral and political matters, and enforce those judgments - cannot be divided are not only weak; they are simply refuted by the relatively successful distribution of powers in modern liberal societies. The first was entitled The Elements of Law 1640 ; this was Hobbes's attempt to provide arguments supporting the King against his challengers. Both philosophers underlined the bellicoseness of the human nature! Leviathan expands on the argument of De Cive, mostly in terms of its huge second half that deals with questions of religion. Conflict will be further fueled by disagreement in religious views, in moral judgments, and over matters as mundane as what goods one actually needs, and what respect one properly merits. Ungoverned spaces are often occupied by what Cheng calls Extralegal Groups, whom provide important state-like functions in absence of the state, in times civil war or when states are failing. Political legitimacy depends not on how a government came to power, but only on whether it can effectively protect those who have consented to obey it; political obligation ends when protection ceases.
Specific desires and appetites arise in the human body and are experienced as discomforts or pains which must be overcome. Kraynak, Colgate University For many centuries, natural law was recognized as a type of higher law that spelled out universal truths for the moral ordering of society based on a rational understanding of human nature. Hobbes therefore sees humans as being able, by their state of nature, to take or do whatever necessary for themselves even if it shows no regard for the other people their actions may harm. Second, promises carry a huge moral weight for Hobbes, as they do in all theories. The first step is for individuals to decide to seek peace and to make the arrangements necessary to attain and preserve it. To Hobbes, government only has the right to rule through contract Warburton, 2001, P64.
But even with this problematic area the state of nature is still far from a state of war. Consequently, our ability to gratify our desires, what really interests us, is limited and we are always more or less vulnerable to one another because no one is strong enough or clever enough - has a sufficient competitive advantage - to reliably and consistently capture and hold onto the things he wants. If we have the same tangible desire and that object is in scarcity then we will be on a path to confrontation. Some have suggested that Hobbes's mechanical world-view leaves no room for the influence of moral ideas, that he thinks the only effective influence on our behavior will be incentives of pleasure and pain. Yet a human is a rational being and there is a drive to get rid of this fear, one of the rights that Hobbes brings up is the right of self preservation and the fact that a man must not bring harm to himself. For Hobbes was writing at a time of civil war, a time when fear of violent death was prevalent, the state of nature was a close reality. It may be one containing a few rogues and be occasionally guilty of the misapplication of justice, but man is still primarily rational rather than a desire seeking species.
By establishing a commonwealth, contends Hobbes, we essentially remove the structural causes of conflict and foster the conditions for humankind to prosper under its own benevolence through mutually beneficial agreements. These acts, however, can be explained in terms of survival. Those intellectual abilities, and his uncle's support, brought him to university at Oxford. Our rationality tells us to take no more than we need, to go beyond self sufficiency is not required and so we need not be at war over resources just as we need not be at war over fear of violent death, both of which contrast with the argument of Hobbes. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Michel de Montaigne, and Thomas Hobbes all differ on their ideas of human nature… 1387 Words 6 Pages the book, Thomas Hobbes describes the state of nature in which men, driven by appetites and aversions, are constantly in a state of competition and conflict with one another.