Thomas Hobbes: The Three Laws Of Nature

751 Words4 Pages
A ‘law of nature’ is a general rule that is discovered through reason. This law supports the claim for human self-preservation and condemns destruction of humanity. It does not need to be written down because it is natural and made known to all by mental faculty, reason or philosophy. In Leviathan, Hobbes presents, what he thinks, are the three most important laws of nature. He sees them as important because he believes that, these laws will create a state of peace, in a state where humans are constantly at war against each other. It is noted, that Hobbes called these laws, “theorems”, rather than actual laws, as he understood them to be moral recommendations which people should follow in order to live in a peaceful society. The first and…show more content…
This, according to Hobbes, is a contract or a moral obligation. For the sake of peace, people should give up their rights only if others do the same. However, Hobbes states that, the right of self-preservation is the one right that can never be given up because it is the right on which the contract is formed, “By all means we can, to defend our selves." (Hobbes, 1996). Ryan states that, “it appears we must renounce all our rights, save only the right to defend ourselves” (Ryan, 1996). Hobbes then continues to derive other laws from these two fundamental laws of nature and forms his third…show more content…
But because humans desire power, there is always a reason to break the contract, despite the logic behind this law and the natural need to preserve our rights. Other natural laws must come into play in order to preserve this third law. Ryan states that, “Hobbesian man is obliged to keep his agreements unless it is intolerably dangerous to do so,” (Ryan, 1996). Hobbes writes that humans must make agreements and must follow them, not only because they see some advantage in them, but unless and until a threat comes, must they follow
Open Document