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Thomas Hobbes' State Of Nature In Leviathan

841 words - 3 pages

According to the view Thomas Hobbes presents within the selected passaged in the Leviathan, we live in a narcissistic society where man’s condition is primarily driven by ego and where the achievement of personal goals is deemed paramount. Within the State of Nature that is, outside of civil society we have a right to all things ‘even to one another’s body’, and there would be no agreed authority to ensure the moral grounds of our decisions. Therefore since there are no restrictions and no shared authority; man is naturally un-guarded and prone to conflict and each individual is deemed a potential threat to our resources.

From this concept Hobbes deduces that the state of nature is thus primarily a state of war, which leads to the establishment of the ‘Laws of Nature’: Theorems that we inaugurate to sanctify and aid our self-preservation. This particular passage and what leads on from it preaches that we as rational beings should recognize the imperative to seek and secure peace. From the positioning of the first law in this passage Hobbes progresses to the second law of nature in which he preaches that the only way the first law of nature can be achieved is if man forfeits his ‘right to all things’ and submits to the authority of an established sovereign.

Therefore the location of the passage within the body of the text is especially significant because these core concepts inspire the development of his idea of establishing contracts in Part 2 of Leviathan. Progressing through his text Hobbes concludes that through a contract there should be a common sovereign authority. In upholding a contract Hobbes further embraces the establishment of a ‘commonwealth’ to escape the state of nature and to provide a common defense for humankind. The positioning of the 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 taking socialized persons and simply imagining them living outside of the society in which they were raised’ saw society as the problem and being in a state of nature as the solution. Rousseau however didn’t completely disagree with Hobbe’s concept of man as described in this passage as being selfish and egotistical, rather he illustrates his image through the argument that society is the driving force transforming the...

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