Laws Of Nature

1622 Words 7 Pages
First, the end of the commonwealth is the maintenance of peace and the protection against a common enemy. Hence, it is explicit in the purpose of the commonwealth that subjects covenant for the sake of their self-preservation. It follows that covenants that disallow the subjects from protecting their bodies are void (Chapter 14, 29). Second, the commonwealth being a purposive institution, the Sovereign’s management of the polity must align with its end. The Laws of Nature are general precepts meant to guide the Sovereign in his tasks put a better definition of what the laws of nature are and why the sovereign is not bound by them. However, the Sovereign is not bound by law or obligation to follow these tenets. The means used by the sovereign …show more content…
Even though, the sovereign is devoid from accountability and licensed in action, unrestrained morally or legally, by allowing the subjects to retain an inalienable right, Hobbes has given the subjects a measure by which to evaluate the capabilities of the sovereign. Therefore, the lack of an institutional mechanism to bind the sovereign to abide by the laws of nature coupled with the subjects’ right of self-defence might lead to instances of rebellion, though prohibited and unjustifiable, would not be prevented and even provoked.
Since the goal of the commonwealth must ensure the means for self-preservation, Hobbes broadens the concept of self-defence to incorporate normative, reputational, psychological, and corporal precautions. Hence, even though he is advocating for an indivisible, undivided, and unlimited sovereignty, he inadvertently allows the subjects to make private judgements about whether the commands of the sovereign endanger their wellbeing. This translates into a
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Firstly, the Sovereign is the sole Judge and Legislator, he has the right to determine all rewards, punishments, and honours (Chapter 20, 3). The absence of a common arbitrator in the state of nature to resolve disputes and reinforce their obedience by the backing of a sword is an impetus for the institution of the commonwealth. Yet, Hobbes also argues that the subjects can chose whether or not to submit to the punishment. He grants the sovereignty the right to command punishments and the subjects the right to disobey the command by virtue of self-defence. Hence, the sovereign power is limited because he is not the final arbiter in the decision-making of the subject. Second, according to Hobbes, the right of self-defence does not justify the emergence of rebellions. In fact, Justice is the keeping of covenant which renders all insurgencies, unjust and illegitimate. However, even though the initiation is prohibited, the right of self-defence permits the perpetuation of rebel activity in the commonwealth. Subjects that have committed a capital crime and expect death can join together and defend one another (Chapter 21, 17). The right of self-defence does not extend to the defense of others in the commonwealth, however, it is prudent for guilty men as well as innocent, in the state of nature, to defend one another to ensure their survival. Hence, after disobeying the punishment commands of the sovereign,

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