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The Rise Of The Berlin Wall

1554 words - 6 pages

PY1104WHAT ROLE DOES THE STATE OF NATURE PLAY IN HOBBES' POLITICAL THEORY?CHRISTOPHER DAVIES040005571TUTOR: ENZO ROSSIIn Leviathan, Hobbes explicitly sets out his moral and political philosophy with regard to human nature, - that is how humans behave amongst each other as a social animal - the state of nature - the natural condition of human interaction as a result of their nature - and thus his political theory - that of an absolute sovereign in whom the power of the people is invested. Of these steps, (1. Human Nature; 2. State of Nature; and 3. Political Theory) for Hobbes, it is fundamentally necessary that the preceding occurs for the proceeding to come about, and thus, the state of nature is essential in Hobbes' construction of a political theory. In order to prove this, the following will, firstly, analyse Hobbes' conceptions of human nature and as a result the state of nature; secondly, discuss whether this necessarily leads to Hobbes' political theory; and thirdly, if so, does his argument, in its entirety, prove to be both valid and true.The single most important argument as regards to Hobbes' conception of human nature is that of its pessimism, as it is this pessimistic view that brings Hobbes to his conclusion that the state of nature is as objectionable as his view describes it to us. Hobbes argues that every man is characterised by his view that, despite a few who, through mutual recognition or admiration, he believes to be his equal, he is endowed most liberally with the faculty of wisdom. In this way, contends Hobbes, all men are equal in that they all believe the same of themselves, and thus, their equal stature fosters an equality in desires and their ability, in their own minds, to realise them. The result of this is that where men desire what they cannot both have, they become mistrustful, and through this, enemies. Life according to Hobbes is an egoistic quest for the satiation of desires, and on the way to this end, men will endeavour to 'destroy and subdue' one another, a factor which is instrumental in establishing Hobbes' account of the state of nature. It is, however, not only for the augmentation of currently enjoyed powers that men pursue this egoistic course of self-help, but also merely as means of conservation - "the cause of this is not always that a man hopes for a more intensive delight than he has already attained to… but he cannot assure the power and means to live well… without the acquisition of more." In this way, because all men desire conservation, where they can't all have it, they anticipate that those who desire it along with them will try and take it away. Consequently, man will, through any means possible, attempt to gain power over as many men as he can, until his power is so great that he cannot see any other who could harm him. Men also seek glory, however, and it is inherent in their nature to do so. Hobbes distinguishes men from other types of social animals, in chapter 17 for...

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