Political Philosophy: Thomas Hobbes And John Locke

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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…
In the State of Nature, one is able to understand and abide by the Laws of Nature which, like Hobbes’, promote self-preservation, but also the preservation of mankind and just enforcement of the laws by every individual. Locke assumes an abundance of resources, meaning that there is plenty of land, for example, for all humans, so there is no need for the violence which is the motivator of Hobbes’ argument. He states that the land is given by God to all humans in common, but that one may appropriate a piece of land to oneself. Individuals are not in competition as they are in Hobbes’ model, however, there is always a potential for conflict when exercising the right to enforce the laws and set a just punishment for a crime. Locke states that if the punishment is unjust and exceeds the weight of the crime, the State of War is going to arise. “Force without Right, upon a Man's Person, makes the State of War, both where there is, and is not, a common Judge.” (Locke 1689) He doesn’t equate the State of Nature and State of War like Hobbes does, which highlights the main difference between Hobbes’ and Locke’s approaches to decision making and consequently the State of Nature – Hobbes’ passions and Locke’s…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

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