The State Of Nature And Its Implications For Civilization In Hobbes And Rousseau

1648 words - 7 pages

The State of Nature and its Implications for Civilization in Hobbes and Rousseau

In his Leviathan Thomas Hobbes expresses a philosophy of civilization which is both practical and just and stems from a clear moral imperative. He begins with the assertion that in the state of nature man is condemned to live a life “solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.” It is in the interest of every man to rise above this “state of nature” and to give up certain rights so that the violent nature of the human animal can be subdued. Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s vision of the state of nature parallels that of Hobbes but for its more optimistic tone: “I assume that men reach a point where the obstacles to their preservation in a state of nature prove greater than the strength that each man has to preserve himself in that state.” In general, Rousseau’s words prove reasonably less severe than Hobbes’s.

According to Hobbes the bestial rights that a man is forced to give up must also be given up by every other man if civilization is to quell the state of nature. This surrendering of rights then forms covenant of peace which mankind has agreed upon collectively to rise above the state of nature. Hobbes argues that it is human reason that has necessarily led men to embrace this covenant: “And Reason suggesteth convenient Articles of Peace, upon which men may be drawn to agreement . . . .” These Articles of Peace Hobbes calls “Laws of Nature” and argues that while they do not exist in a state of nature they are nonetheless natural laws which potentially exist there. “A Law of Nature (Lex Naturalis,) is a Precept, or generall Rule, found out by Reason, by which a man is forbidden to do, that, which is destructive of his life, or taketh away the means of preserving the same; and to omit, that, by which he thinketh it may be best preserved.” That is, a natural law is a result of a reasoning which commands that each man protect his own life.

With the state of nature as terrible as Hobbes describes it, it is reasonable for a man to wish to put an end to it, as he then has a greater chance of protecting his own life. Without certain agreements between individuals they interact in a manner in which they are all a constant threat to one another. Therefore Hobbes arrives at the first fundamental law of nature: “That every man, ought to endeavour Peace, as farre as he has hope of obtaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek, and use, all helps, and advantages of war.” Hobbes suggests a natural desire for peace arising out of reason, but he is wise enough to recognize that this desire is still a self-serving one, and that men are still required to defend themselves when others show no sign of attempting peace.
Hobbes argues for the rule of a monarch for his peace centered civil society. He believes that a monarch who understands the basis for the covenant, who adheres to it and truly recognizes the importance of justice for all of humanity, is the most...

Find Another Essay On The State of Nature and its Implications for Civilization in Hobbes and Rousseau

Hobbes and Rousseau's view on a "State of Nature"

529 words - 2 pages Why should people try to avoid returning to a ?state of nature?? Critically compare Hobbes? and Rousseau?s answers to this question.?Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.? This quote gives us an idea of Two very important philosophical terms are freedom and authority. These are two terms that affect the human nation all over the world. Our cities and countries are run under the laws of a political body. The famous philosophers Thomas

Thomas Hobbes' Idea of the State and Its Relation with the Citizen

1578 words - 6 pages person is a metaphor for the state in total, and Hobbes names this artificial person "Leviathan." Hobbes's description of the construction of the Leviathan draws upon the conclusions made in Book I about the state of nature and repeats its images: The only way to erect such a Common Power, as may be able to defend them from . . . the injuries of one another . . . is, to conferre all their power and strength

The Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes: The State of Nature as an Exemplum

1648 words - 7 pages against other people, and "a war of all against all" (Lloyd 25).Hobbes proclaims that the state of nature is a state of war, where men "through vanity, or comparison, or appetite, provoke the rest" to violence (Hobbes 78). The three natural causes of conflict between people are competition, diffidence, and glory. People in the state of nature will compete for resources; they will distrust one another, and they will seek glory because of their

An Examination of Thomas Hobbes' Moral Philosophy with an Emphasis on the Escape from the State of Nature.

996 words - 4 pages of Hobbes. He ventures that no person can guarantee his or her own safety by their own strength and wit alone, and will have a far better chance to satisfy the myriad desires of life if one is not always attending to matters of immediate, personal safety. This vague promise to "seek peace" is worth little on its own, however, and is merely one step in escaping the State of Nature.The Second Law of Nature states that, since the central problem of

Re-Interpreting Internet Activism: A Study of its relationship with the nature of State Introduction

1226 words - 5 pages because it is ultimately under the regulation of the state, it will be insightful to think of the internet and its power, in relation to the state, its regime type and the political will of the people. Considering the political climate and the nature of public participation before and after the advent of internet activism, this paper suggests that there is a strong correlation between the nature of the state (comprising of the ideologies of the

analysis Thomas Hobbes?s claim ?a state of nature is, or would be, a state of war of everyone against everyone.?

1422 words - 6 pages rather simple desire. Hobbes did not see desire as a harmful feeling, which must be avoided. He rather thought of it as a positive part of human nature, which could drive a person to achieve more and more.      Hobbes had a definition of happiness closely connected to desires. Hobbes defined happiness as a “continual successe in obtaining those things which a man from time to time desireth” He used the phrase “felicity” for

The Natural Ways of Locke, Hobbes, and Rousseau

1382 words - 6 pages in a state of war. This is why the state of nature, according to Hobbes, is in a state of perpetual warfare, which only an absolutist monarchy could control. Hobbes’s sovereigntist attitude shines through in his natural man, who needs a strong authority figure to regulate society. This need for unified control differs significantly from both Locke’s and Rousseau’s arguments. John Locke mainly concerns himself with proper political institutions

Locke, Hobbes and Rousseau

2084 words - 8 pages What is common in Locke, Hobbes and Rousseau is state of nature. In the state of nature all people are equal – although they have different talents they are equal, because having different talents doesn’t prevent equality - and have same rights but in time they try to command each other and make domination upon them. Hobbes associate this desire with the effort to dispel the insecurity which is caused by equality between people. According to

Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Machiavelli

2342 words - 9 pages level. Hobbes felt that morals (right and wrong) were also created, but by the rulers. By doing this, he justifies every action of the state, good or evil. This is one reason why Hobbes was so widely criticized in his day - he left no room for God. "For him, the state was a human invention organized by human beings to deal with a human problem, and its legitimacy and power rested purely on human authority." Whatever is done is just because

Comparison of Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau

1269 words - 5 pages . According to Hobbes, the fundamental law of nature, or the general rule of reason, “that every man, ought to endeavor peace, as a farre as has hope of obtaining it; and when he cannot obtain it, that he may seek.” (190) For Hobbes, we must seek peace for civilization because it is civilization that saves us from ourselves. For Rousseau, in order to obtain peace we must regain the goodness from our primitive state that was deprived from us once we

Comparison of Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau

1147 words - 5 pages Rousseau’s is correct, one or the other can be considered sounder by their logic and reasoning. The view that Hobbes takes on the matters of human nature, the state, and inequality is sounder and more logical than that of Rousseau. Rousseau believes that humans are not naturally wicked and that in nature humans could work together for one greater good. This idea of pity is mainly supported through human’s characteristic of pity. Rousseau says that

Similar Essays

It Compares Hobbes, Locke And Rousseau In Regards To Social Contract, The State Of Nature And Each Of Their Ideal Governments.

1843 words - 7 pages together and protect themselves from other men.He finds the source of political authority in the people's intention to escape from the state of nature. The consent and social contract between the people, who would like to live without threat to their lives, establishes the absolute state. Therefore, in developing his ideal government, Hobbes leaves no room for God's intervention. Hobbes clearly states that God is excluded from the covenant between

Augustine And Rousseau And The State Of Human Nature

2422 words - 10 pages only purely for reproduction purposes. In Rousseau's original or natural state of human being, we are born pure in heart, and free of the evils and darkness of this world. However, due to the introduction of civilized society, though its properties, grandeurs, and laws it has shaped man into what he is now. Rousseau states that society has changed a man's positive self-love in the state of nature to a false sense of love, which is what we call

Thomas Hobbes' State Of Nature In Leviathan

841 words - 3 pages passage is thus significant in setting the foundation for this notion of a Social Contract, which further allows for the juxtaposition of Hobbe’s political and moral stance to Rousseau’s. The development of the selected passage into discussion about the need for a ‘social contract’ expresses how ultimately Hobbes saw society as being the only solution to the state of nature. This is in direct contrast to Rousseau who in claiming that ‘Hobbes was

Thomas Hobbes' State Of Nature In Leviathan

1799 words - 7 pages , it is a beautiful logic that Hobbes puts forth. In moving from a state of equality to his laws of nature one can not only see how he arrives to the conclusion that he does but also how some of these laws would create a more progressive system than even our modern world has provided us with. A part of the genius of so many philosophers is that their philosophy allows for progress and implication they themselves may not have seen or intended. While