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Thomas Hobbes' Laws Of Nature Essay

807 words - 3 pages

Thomas Hobbes: What Is The Difference Between Obligations In foro interno and In
foro externo, and When Do We Have Such Obligations?

According to Thomas Hobbes, there are certain laws of nature which exist
in the absence of an organized government. These laws are extremely cut throat,
and place people in extremely dangerous situations where their lives are in
danger. Government is the answer to this dangerous situation, but it is here
that the question of obligation comes into question. Does one have an obligation
to take a chance and follow the laws set forth for them, or should they only
think of themselves, and follow the laws of nature? This is a vital question
which I will explore.
According to Hobbes, the overriding law of nature is kill or be killed.
Hobbes believed that, "every man has a right to everything, even to another
man's body. And therefore, as long as this natural right of every man to
everything endureth, there can be no security to any man(how strong or wise
soever he be) of living out the time which nature ordinarily allowith men to
However he also believed, "that a man be willing, when others are so too
as far-forth as for peace and defense of himself that he shall think it
necessary to lay down this right to all things, and be contented with so much
liberty against other men, as he would allow other men against himself." The
question now is, when do we have an obligation to strive towards peace when it
means giving up our natural rights?
According to Hobbes, we always have an obligation to work towards peace,
and have an obligation in foro interno, but not always in foro externo. The
difference between there two are that in foro interno means inside you, or you
believing in something. In this case, it would mean that inside you, you would
want to strive for peace because it would mean an end to worrying about your
life. No longer would you have to walk around in a state of nature where any one
can come and take your life. Hobbes believed that a person always has an
obligation to strive towards peace in foro interno because every man wants one
thing more than any other, and that is to live.
However, Hobbes did not believe that you always had an obligation to
work towards peace in foro externo. The reason for this, simply put, you can not
trust other men to do the same unless you can be sure that they...

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