Leviathan And Rousseau's Analysis

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The Leviathan by Hobbes and Discourse on the Origin of Inequality by Rousseau both focus on the effect of the natural world on individuals, however they fiercely disagree on what effect the natural state actually has. Rousseau’s famous disagreement over the influence of the natural world on people provides readers with great insight to the reason for their dichotomy of beliefs on the role of hierarchy and power in their present societies. Their main philosophical difference is best understood through the role that nature plays on individuals. In both texts it becomes apparent that the natural world dictates the actions of individuals, in particular how they treat one another. Furthermore, because the natural world has such a strong influence…show more content…
Hobbes essentially comes right out and says as much when he states: “Considering what value men are naturally apt to set upon themselves; what respect they look for from others; and how little they value other men; from whence continually arise amongst them, emulation, quarrels, factions, and at last war, to the destroying of one another…it is necessary that there be laws of honor…and that there be force…to put those laws in execution (Hobbes 120).” In much simpler terms, Hobbes essentially means that because men are so inclined to quarrel and fight because of the natural world’s influence on their minds and souls, it is imperative that society creates a power structure that can hold this brash and wild nature in check. As a result of this, governments or other power structures are created to legally bind individuals to certain acceptable interactions to attempt to avoid nature’s strong effect. Simply put, the natural world is not only the root of our personalities but the root of our power structures and is responsible for their organization. While Rousseau disagrees over the effect of the natural world on humans, he too takes this position by stating “in all the nations of the world, the progress of the understanding has been exactly proportionate to the wants which the peoples had received from nature (Rousseau 61).” Both philosophers agree that the natural world influenced how people created society and organized their social hierarchies and power structures. It is common knowledge that individuals come together to better their position and because the people of Earth are so heavily influenced by the natural world, it is logical that power structures would be organized around this. That said, while Hobbes
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