Justification Of Political Authority Umass Lowell/ Philosophy Final Essay

1592 words - 7 pages

Justification of Political Authority 
The overall aim of this essay is to explain and discuss the political philosophy of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke in relation to human nature and government. To achieve this, the essay aims to look at significant pieces of political thinking, namely Hobbes writings in the Leviathan and Locke’s Second Treatise of Government. I will begin this essay by addressing four key areas, firstly the philosophical concept of the state of nature? where I shall also include a brief outline of how human nature is defined, secondly natural laws, thirdly the social contract theory and finally government. The final aspect of this essay is to offer a critique of the arguments, which will lead on to a concise conclusion. 
Looking at the works of Thomas Hobbes, a political thinker and philosopher who was greatly influenced by Galileo and fascinated by geometry, Hobbes thought that these logical arguments could be used to produce a political philosophy. In Hobbes view of human nature, often referred to as psychological egoism, though it is mechanistic and deeply cynical. Hobbes sees that human beings are inevitably selfish and ruthless, so any attempt to make moral beings of them is a complete waste of time, as when left to their own devices within the state of nature, they would inevitably kill each other. Therefore life for everyone within a state of nature would be very pessimistic, consisting of individuals who would be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. Hobbes account of the state of nature is what he termed a thought experiment, designed to clear up the limits of political obligations. The state of nature is a condition of perpetual war, with every man for himself. The state of nature comprises of scarce resources, which are essential to human survival, for example it is sensible for individuals to mount pre-emptive strikes upon others, to whom they feel are or would threaten their own resources and existence. Hobbes accounts that even if there is no violence, the state of nature is still a state of war, as there is a continual threat of warfare and violence breaking out. Hobbes notes that even in the state of nature there are natural laws. These natural laws are the principles by which any rational individual are bound. Hobbes lists many natural laws, but also states that within the state of nature, everyone has the right to everything. Yet, to Hobbes it is rational for those within the state of nature to yield their absolute freedom in exchange for the promise of the security offered through a social contract. Those within the state of nature, have to right to self-preservation, this right continues, even if other rights have been yielded in the social contract. Hobbes in a desperate attempt to stop individuals being murdered in their beds, Hobbes advocates for the selfish and brutish to make a reciprocal social contract with one another. Once entered into the social contract, certain freedoms are yielded to a...

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