ReviewEssays.com - Term Papers, Book Reports, Research Papers and College Essays
Search

John Locke V Thomas Hobbes

Essay by   •  December 20, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,775 Words (8 Pages)  •  2,297 Views

Essay Preview: John Locke V Thomas Hobbes

Report this essay
Page 1 of 8

Locke and Hobbes both had detailed accounts as to what the state of nature is. I will start with Hobbes and what he felt the state of nature is made up of. Hobbes believed in defining the state of nature as what it is instead of what it ought to be. So he focused in on the nature of people and came to a very descriptive conclusion as to how survive in this particular state of nature. He stated that man was equal in ambition, cruelty, and treachery, which in turn makes humans equal in the ability to kill each other. This is important because he believes that people can not live in peace in the state of nature because of those reasons. Also because of this he states that there are three principals of quarrels; competition, diffidence, and glory. Hobbes feels that because of human nature these three reasons to fight would take over and make the state of nature a state of war.

Locke also has an opinion to the state of nature. He feels that men would respond to things and people around them with reason and rationality. Therefore he feels that a state of nature for the most part peaceful and pleasant. He also states that the natural law would guide humans in a state of nature. He thinks that people know right from wrong and are capable of doing both but it is upon the individual to carry out these values.

In order to deal with the state of nature each of the two suggests a social contract. Whatever the contract is should be the obligations placed upon the people. They both believe in this particular agreement they just differ as to who it should be between. Hobbes speaks of the Leviathan and believes that the contract should be between the ruled and the ruler. He states that a strong ruler is the only way to enforce the social contract. He says that all me are born with three rights: the right to property, liberty, and life. He believes that the only important right is the right to life because without that right you cannot have a chance to enjoy the other two. So his contract consists of the subjects giving up the other two to the leviathan so that he can ensure the right to life.

Locke's social contract differs in many ways. One of them is Locke does not believe that individuals should not give up liberty, but instead give up the right to punish people who commit wrongdoings and leave that up to a overwhelming force, in this case the popular sovereignty. His belief of the state of nature which is that man would use their reasoning and be rational when dealing with other people. So his contract is between the elected and the people.

Locke and Hobbes social contract may be different but in ways they are similar. They both believe in revolt if the contract is broken, but they state it differently. Hobbes believes in the monarch so the revolt against him would be different then Locke's society of popular sovereignty, but in short it both of them called for persecution in such case. Still the case that called for persecution would naturally be different because of the different types of governments these men called for. For example Locke says it is time to revolt when a ruler tries to get absolute power of the people; but Hobbes states that the leviathan needs to have absolute power and the only time to revolt is if the monarch is not able to protect the people he rules over.

Hobbes explains the relationship between the subjects and ruler as do what you told and you will not be killed. This means that these people could not say anything about the way the sovereign is running the kingdom or you are subject to death. This is so in the way Hobbes looked at it because the only way to control the people is a state strong enough to persecute someone for this particular reason. The monarch that Hobbes feels is the only way to govern should not be questioned by anyone as so long he is able to protect the people of the land.

Locke's view of the relationship is really different. Based on the concept of popular sovereignty the sovereign are the people; so the relationship is more give and take or democratic. This is a very important concept to Locke's ideas because this is what differs him the most from Hobbes. His democracy is broken down into three branches; executive, legislative, and federal. The elected officials in these positions are an extension of the people so the people who make up the state serves the people until the people are tired of them.

What Hobbes and Locke say about people moving into a political society from a state of nature is pretty similar and all most the same. Both say that contracts between people were necessary, but the dilemma in that is that in a state of nature there is no one to enforce the contracts between people. Both of them thought about this concept and figured that in order to move in to a political society someone was needed to enforce these contracts. Hobbes believes that the only one strong enough to force contracts is the monarch. Locke believes the same thing about someone being strong enough to force the contracts but he thinks it should be the elected doing so.

Locke's two treatises limited sovereignty more so than it has

...

...

Download as:   txt (8.6 Kb)   pdf (101.5 Kb)   docx (11.5 Kb)  
Continue for 7 more pages »
Only available on ReviewEssays.com