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State Of Nature And Freedom: Leviathan By Thomas Hobbes

1793 words - 8 pages

State of Nature and Freedom
In the Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes places limits on the freedom of individuals in the social contract, as well as individuals in the state of nature. Hobbes writes that in the state nature, “the liberty each man hath to use his own power as he will himself for the preservation of his own nature; doing anything which, in his own judgement and reason, he shall conceive to be the aptest means there unto” (ch. 14, ¶1). An individual’s will is only free when there is no extraneous obstacles and his rapacious disposition and self preservation will be guided by his reason. Residing in the state of nature without extraneous obstacles signifies an individual’s convictions of ...view middle of the document...

8¶13). Hobbes believes that in the state of nature a state of war is always raging and that force and fraud are the cardinal virtues here. Thus, the difference in opinion between Locke and Hobbes is not the idea of the controlling superior power (i.e. government) being absent, but that men act with differing cognitive process to achieve self preservation. Within the state of nature Hobbes give laws concerning men living in it. The first law of nature “is the liberty each man hath to use his own power as he will himself for the preservation of his own life” (ch. 14¶1), meaning that a man can do anything within his own judgments and reason to further his own preservation. Hobbes states that men have the right “to master the persons of all men he can” (ch. 13¶4), subjecting persons to his self preservation until there is no other power able to aggress against and take what he has.
The security of society is necessitated by man, in part, to preserve freedom. Although individuals in the state of nature are entirely free to do as one wishes, the state of war presented in the state of nature simply cannot allow them to enjoy it. Individuals tend to seek peace because it can allow the enjoyment of specific rights. Hobbes believes peace, together with entering into a society becomes another obstacle to an individual’s freedom, in consideration that individuals are expected in society to “be contented with so much liberty against other men as he would allow other men against himself” (ch. 14, ¶5).
Individuals possessing equality in the state of nature are by nature content with each other, given that the individuals strive for identical goals. Anyone is able to search for every advantages in acquiring their self preservation; if anyone and their physical body will facilitate the individual to achieve it, it then is within their proper reason to subject one to their will. Because of the “fear of oppression it disposeth a man to anticipate or to seek aid by society; for there is no other way by which a man can secure his life and liberty” (ch. 11, ¶9). Resulting in an apparent constraint to an individual’s liberty, through the subjugation to another's arbitrary will, without shared consent on their behalf.
One objection to Hobbes’ theory of freedom in the state of nature is the idea of bringing others into your power, reasoning that we are not made for one another’s uses and may not, as Locke states, “impair the life, or what tends to the preservation of the life, the liberty, health, limb, or goods of another” (sec. 6). Locke writes that all men have no more power or jurisdiction than the next; that all men are “promiscuously born to all the same advantages of nature, and the use of the same faculties” (sec. 4). Even with regards to our mental capabilities we are given an even greater equality. While some men receive formal educations and are educated in science, arts or math, all men gain prudence.
Hobbes reasons that because all men are created...

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