John Locke Vs Thomas Hobbes Essay

688 words - 3 pages

Locke versus Hobbes

Locke and Hobbes were both social contract theorists, and both natural law theorists, but there the resemblance ends. All other natural law theorists assumed that man was by nature a social animal. Hobbes assumed otherwise, thus his conclusions are strikingly different from those of other natural law theorists.
What would life and human relations be like in the absence of government? Thomas Hobbes was the first to attempt to illustrate this condition using an intellectual device- a "thought experiment", known as the "State of Nature". For Hobbes, the state of nature was not an actual period in history, but rather a way of rationalizing how people would act in their most basic state. He believed that everything in the universe was simply atoms in motion, and that geometry and math could be used to explain human behavior.
According to his theories, there were two types of motion in the universe: Vital (involuntary motion such as heart rate), and Voluntary (things that we choose to do). Voluntary motion was then broken into two categories that Hobbes believed were mathematical equations-Desires and Aversions. Desires were things one was moved to or that were valued by the individual, while aversions were fears or things to be avoided by the individual. Hobbes further believed that an individual's appetite constantly kept him or her in motion, and that in order to remain in motion, everyone needs a certain degree of power. Thus the pursuit of power is the natural state of humans. Hobbes then says that nature ahs made men basically equal. He also says that people were constantly in a struggle for power and above all else, they wanted to avoid a violent death.
In the state of nature, people were always at war with one another, a war of all against all. Every person had the right to do anything they pleased. Hobbes thought that this would go on until people discovered that they could prevent their demise by avoiding doing things that would purposely endanger their lives.
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