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“State Of Nature And Social Contract”

1636 words - 7 pages

Hobbes and Locke are the founders of social contract theory, Hobbes’ Leviathan was the first political philosophy to discuss social contract theory and the state of nature followed by John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, both of their theories are distinct form each other but yet related. Hobbes and lock are both considered the first classical liberals, they differed from other classical philosophers because of their individualistic society, rather than a communal society that promotes the moral way to live one’s life. According to classical liberalism the government should not promote morality, rather to only protect people’s rights to pursue their desires. They both believed that man was born free and equal, and has the right to choose who governs them. Hobbes believed in a minimalist government that promotes the rights of individuals to life and freedom of movements, while Locke also believes in an even more limited government that promotes life liberty and property.
Lock and Hobbes differ in their conception of social contract but they both agreed on the central idea that in the state of nature people “would willingly come together to form a state”, but they disagreed over the government’s extent to implement order and liberty. Hobbes saw the sovereign as a beneficiary in a mutual agreement between the citizens, while Locke believed the sovereign himself is a party to the contract. Hobbes believed that the government must be very strong, to keep order and set strict laws that would prevent people form doing evil things. Locke believed in limited government and gave people the benefit of the doubt of not entirely being evil, he has an optimistic view of state of nature and that people can be peaceful if people follow the laws of nature but he sees government as a necessary evil because people are self motivated for their own interest and might not follow the laws of nature which will lead to the breakdown of society.
Hobbs’ social contract is between the members of the commonwealth, where they agree to elect the sovereign and let him make the rules, make decisions, punish subjects and have absolute power in their commonwealth. since the sovereign was elected by the subjects in the commonwealth, they may not rebel against the ruler, and he can not be accused of injustice or corruption because he was elected to hold absolute power. Hobbs believes that people resort to this social contract because they are driven to it by fear. Hobbs concentrates on the state of nature, and how the behavior of human nature would be like absent government, he notes that “humans are constantly moved by appetites and aversions”. These constant needs of humans are problematic because they are never satisfied and will always struggle with each other for more power.
In such a state of nature one would believe that it would be survival of the fittest, but Hobbs believes that every one is equal in powers in the state of nature, "the weakest has strength...

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