Differences Between Locke And Hobbes

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Response to the 3rd question Since their beginnings, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke have set new courses in the field of political philosophy. Although their writings overlap in some areas and follow a similar logical sequence in the layout of arguments, there are certain points of disagreement. This essay will elaborate on three of the several points of disagreement which concern their perceptions and takes on the State of Nature, absolute monarchies and liberty. It will argue that the differences between their stances are caused by the opposite assumptions they start with – Hobbes argues that men are led by their passions and that the resources he has access to are limited, while Locke argues that men are led by reason only and that they live…show more content…
Building on the previous point made about his perception of human passions being the main tool in the decision making process, Hobbes argues that individuals’ decision to enter society and ensure security is based on the ultimate aversion. It is more predominant than the ultimate appetite, so the fear of death is greater than the greed for power and a social contract is made where all men lose some of their individual power and submit their rights to the sovereign who therefore has the ultimate power in the society. This vast amount of power given to him by the people is very effective in making laws by which he doesn’t abide. In a society, everyone has to only obey and fear the sovereign now, which provides security to the people by protecting them from each other and creating a sense of trust among them. Since all decisions are made by one sovereign, this kind of structure enables immediate decision making and resembles an absolute monarchy, the most effective government regime according to…show more content…
Locke’s assumptions that humans are rational and led by reason, and the abundance of resources allowing private ownership of land, give a higher purpose to the government in a society than just physical security. Government, on all its levels, is protecting individuals’ property and creating and enforcing laws that will apply to everyone, even the sovereign. The “levels” of government embody a new idea proposed by Locke – the separation of powers. He argues that in order for the government not to be corrupt, it has to have separated legislative, executive and juridical powers which operate independently from each other’s influences. Therefore, he directly opposes Hobbes’ argument for absolute power: an absolute monarchy would be worse than the State of Nature since the sovereign holds the whole power of the people and now it is impossible to defeat him as an individual, which would not be the case in the State of Nature where everyone was equal. Additionally, the reason why he opposes absolute monarchies specifically is the fact that the sovereign is not bound by the civil law and has the means to create mistrust and fear without the people being able to resist, which Hobbes fully
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