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Comparing John Locke And Thomas Hobbes

1232 words - 5 pages

Thomas Hobbes and John Locke are two political philosophers who are famous for their theories about the formation of the society and discussing man in his natural state.
Their theories are both psychologically insightful, but in nature, they are drastically different. Although they lived in the same timeframe, their ideas were derived from different events happening during this time. Hobbes drew his ideas on man from observation, during a time of civil strife in Europe during the 1640's and 1650's. Locke drew his ideas from a time where Hobbes did not have the chance to observe the, glorious revolution. In uncivilized times, in times before government, Hobbes asserted the existence of continual war with "every man, against every man." On this point, Locke and Hobbes were not in agreement. Locke, consistent with his philosophy, viewed man as naturally moral.

Many people have different views on the moral subject of good and evil or human nature. It is the contention of this paper that humans are born neutral, and if we are raised to be good, we will mature into good human beings. Once the element of evil is introduced into our minds, through socialization and the media, we then have the potential to do bad things. As a person grows up, they are ideally taught to be good and to do good things, but it is possible that the concept of evil can be presented to us. When this happens, we subconsciously choose whether or not to accept this evil. This where the theories of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke become interesting as both men differed in the way they believed human nature to be. Hobbes and Locke both picture a different scene when they express human nature.

Even though they both believed that men naturally have to some extent equality and freedom, what makes their concepts differ is the presence or absence of the natural law. In Hobbes' theory, men at their natural state are at constant war, the war of all against all. Another Hobbes' belief is that most people are selfish and tend to do everything for their own reason. To Hobbes humans are driven to maximize personal gains so in a world where there are no rules humans are in constant fear of each other as they each try to get as much as they can, enough is never enough. Men act in basically the same ways to get what we desire and if two men desire the same things then they inevitably become enemies, no compromises, simply enemies. Hobbes relies on the premise that humans are primarily motivated to do anything that improves their personal situation. This convention holds in our society and is revealed through in everyday items such as keys. We lock our cars and houses so that others are physically prevented from having access to what is ours, an observation Hobbes himself makes. Control, security and limitation are encountered in each person?s daily life. Behind this control is politics. In our society, authority decides what is right and wrong, good and evil; essentially what we are...

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