Thomas Hobbes Essay

1557 words - 6 pages

When one examines the maxim of Thomas Hobbes as set forth in Leviathan it becomes obvious that Hobbes believes the nature of man to be bad. According to Hobbes, if we as men were left to exercise our own private judgement regarding our affairs we would most assuredly collapse into a state of war. He believes that when there is no singular, ever-present power to keep man in awe, and to control man by fear of punishment from that singular power, that man will break his agreements and act in his own self-interest. "For the Lawes of Nature (as Justice, Equity, Modesty, Mercy, and (in summe) doing to others, as wee would be done to,) of themselves, without the terrour of some Power, to cause them to be observed, are contrary to our natural passions, that carry us to Partiality, Pride, Revenge, and the like. And Covenants, without the Sword, are but Words, and of no strength to secure a man at all." (Hobbes, pg.117) The laws that are enacted are contrary to our self-interest, so without the terror of some ever-present power to instill fear in all man, we would abstain from no measure in order to preserve our own well being. In a state of war man is in "a Continual fear and danger of a violent death; and the life of man (is) solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." (Hobbes. Pg. 107) The only way to prevent entering a state of war is to erect one common power, which is known as a commonwealth or sovereign, who is "One person, of whose Acts a great Multitude, by mutuall Covenants one with another, have made themselves every one the Author, to the end he may use the strength and means of them all, as he shall think expedient, for their Peace and Common Defence."(Hobbes, pg. 121) With this definition comes the role of the sovereign. It is the role of the sovereign to enforce the laws of nature and to promote laws that are necessary for a peaceful and commodious life among men. In order for this to take place fluidly, it is necessary that all men agree that, "I Authorise and give up my Right of Governing my selfe, to this Man, or to this Assembly of men, on this condition, that thou give up thy Right to him, and Authorise all his Actions in like manner."(Hobbes, pg.120) If this indeed occurs, the sovereign is able to enforce laws that give the people an assurance that they are not in any danger because of the consequences that will follow if they disobey the sovereign.In order to fulfill his role, the sovereign must retain certain powers that enable him to do so. These powers are as follows in no particular order; First, subjects cannot change the form of government because they entered into a covenant willingly and being bound by that covenant they cannot lawfully make a new one without permission. Second, the sovereign retains the right to make laws, and in making these laws he has the right to punish and reward people as he sees fit so as to preserve the Lawes of nature. Third, the sovereign's power can never be fortified because he made a covenant...

Find Another Essay On Thomas hobbes

Life of Thomas Hobbes Essay

1720 words - 7 pages 1"Life of Thomas Hobbes"Joe RovelliPolitical SociologyProfessor AbramsFall "06"1Thomas Hobbes was born in London in 1588. He received his college education at Oxford University in England, where he studied classics. The contributions he has made to philosophy is remarkable to say the least. Hobbes became interested and spent a great deal of his life trying to figure out why people allowed themselves to be ruled and what would be the best form of

Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan Essay

2488 words - 10 pages In Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes contends that government should highly restrict individual liberty. Readers find it difficult to determine why Hobbes thinks government should restrict so much individual liberty. On the surface, it seems that Hobbes believes that individual liberty engenders revolt against the government, threatening the stability of the government and preventing the government from protecting its people. However, a closer

Thomas Hobbes politcal theory

1521 words - 6 pages Thomas Hobbes's was an English Political philosophy who wrote during the seventieth century. He wrote during a time of civil war in England. This led to his worldview of security as the most important thing in life even above freedom or liberty. Hobbes thus formulated that the best form of government was an elected absolute monarchy.Hobbes felt that society resembles a state of nature. In the state of nature, human beings are equal. By being

Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan

1035 words - 4 pages A state of nature is a hypothetical state of being within a society that defines such a way that particular community behaves within itself. English philosopher Thomas Hobbes proclaimed that, “A state of nature is a state of war.” By this, Hobbes means that every human being, given the absence of government or a contract between other members of a society, would act in a war-like state in which each man would be motivated by desires derived

Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan

976 words - 4 pages Born during a period of medieval philosophy, Thomas Hobbes developed a new way of thinking. He perfected his moral and political theories in his controversial book Leviathan, written in 1651. In his introduction, Hobbes describes the state of nature as an organism analogous to a large person (p.42). He advises that people should look into themselves to see the nature of humanity. In his quote, “ The passions that incline men to peace, are

Thomas Hobbes Leviathan

1867 words - 7 pages eradication of Aids and poverty, or the John D. Rockefeller's and Andrew Carnegie's of yester year not disprove Hobbes view of Human nature? How would Thomas Hobbes explain the sacrifice of ones own life for a just cause or belief like those paid by the great abolitionists John Brown and Saint Thomas More? Is not the preservation of ones own life Hobbes main premise for choosing a life with a sovereign as opposed to living in the state of

Thomas Hobbes - Leviathon

1810 words - 7 pages In Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan, theory of the state of nature serves as a justification, legitimizing and arguing for the authority of the state, by providing the logic behind sovereignty. The theory illustrates the point that without government, man is in, Hobbes believes, an awful state of nature, where peace, order and liberty are impossible. It is difficult to interpret, however, exactly whether Hobbes' posits a pessimistic or optimistic view

Thomas Hobbes' View on Government

736 words - 3 pages Thomas Hobbes' View on Government         Thomas Hobbes in his controversial work, the Leviathan, declares that such       a government based on the rule of the common people, would result in       anarchy and total pandemonium.         But before one can understand Hobbes' view on government, it is important       to understand how Hobbes feels about people. Hobbes has a very       materialistic view on

John Locke versus Thomas Hobbes

1303 words - 5 pages Change is in the inevitable byproduct of society. As societies evolve they change according to the life style of the people who inhabit them. Without change, society would never progress and thus would be frozen in a single moment in time. Thomas Hobbes and John Lock were two English philosophers who observed tremendous changes in English politics between the years of 1640 and 1690. In closely examining the views of both of these philosophers in

Thomas Hobbes' Ideas on Monarchy

1264 words - 5 pages Assessment on Hobbes' Ideas on Monarchy Thomas Hobbes was a proponent of the monarchal system and in this paper I will prove that Hobbes was right in supporting the monarchal system of government, I will also show the opposing school of thought, and finally, I will give you my opinion on the monarchal system. Thomas Hobbes lived from 1588-1679 and throughout most of his life there was violence going on all around him. The biggest case was

The philosophy of thomas hobbes

1199 words - 5 pages any kind of ruler is better than no ruler at all. His views are somewhat skewed with my views and the views of people around me but one must remember when he wrote his philosophy and what was going on at the time. But many of his ideas although they were created from his time, they can be translated and compared to the world we live in today. Human nature is the same except for the extreme violence and literal bloodshed I see many similarities. It's a man eat man world out there where only the strong survive which I see Hobbes explaining in his theory.Works Cited:-Hobbes, Thomas, Leviathan, N.Y. Penguin Books, 1968

Similar Essays

Thomas Hobbes Essay

1482 words - 6 pages Thomas Hobbes, 1588-1679, was an English philosopher of the Enlightenment period who had a very harsh view on human nature and severely doubted our ability to make decisions for the good of society. Hobbes was born on April 5, 1588 in London, England to impoverished parents, so it was his wealthy uncle who provided the funds for his education. His advanced intellect as a child was recognized and he received training in Greek and Latin classics

Thomas Hobbes Essay

1627 words - 7 pages Thomas Hobbes was born in 1588, and was the son of an English man who fathered three children with his wife. Thomas was reading and writing at age four, acquired functional knowledge of Latin and Greek at age six, and went off to study at Oxford at the age of fifteen (Ebenstein & Ebenstein, 1991). Hobbes studied at Oxford for five years, and it is said that he was nonchalant about the course of study which he thought was "arid and old

Thomas Hobbes. Essay

673 words - 3 pages Thomas Hobbes was the philosopher who supported the ideas of legal positivism that untangled morality from law. The divine right is a tool in which the government used to exercise power over the masses with an eternal threat of death. He wasn't really a believer in God, he believed in natural law but deviates from the idea by leading to ordinary conclusions. One of those ordinary conclusions he discusses in his book entitled The Leviathan was

Thomas Hobbes. Essay

1598 words - 6 pages the relationship between this rule and subjection. What is more, whilst exploring the relationship between rule and subjection we will pay specific attention to the concept of consent, an idea that was first forwarded by the British philosopher, Thomas Hobbes. Herein it will be possible to make links to the analysis of political and social theorists such as Jean Jacques Rousseau, and Emile Durkheim whose concepts of democracy and social