Hobbes State Of Nature Analysis

1600 Words 7 Pages
The state of nature refers to human nature, where there is naturally liberty and no external impediment to human behaviour. Hobbes pessimistic portrayal of life in a hypothetical state as “solitary, poore, nasty, brutish and short” hinges on the assumption of self-interested and competitive individualism. He indicates his preference for unadulterated absolutism by an artificially appointed sovereign because by nature, then, our method of knowing the world is solipsistic. His arguments are centred on egoism and self-preservation under the state of nature and how it ultimately leads to a state of war.
Firstly, Hobbes argues that under the state of nature, human beings are egoistic individuals who continually seek to satisfy their desires. There
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This ‘inconvenience’ is much preferred as the “perpetual warre of every man against his neighbour, are much worse.” This brings about the emergence of the social contract, where there is either mutual agreement of free individuals under the state of nature to submit themselves to a sovereign or the fear of the power of an existing sovereign. Sovereignty must be unconditional but there is however a contradiction and lack of justification since Hobbes has put forth the argument that there is natural equality of power the state of nature. The ‘first mover’ will only be willing to forgo liberty if others are also willing to do likewise but since Hobbes claims that human beings are egoistic and mistrustful of one another, it is therefore not a rational and viable option under the state of nature. This brings in the need for a second social contract which is the commonwealths by conquest, in which the superior force is used to command obedience to create a new political society. This is illustrative of Oliver Cromwell’s rule where there is de facto authority, in which ‘might makes right’. Hobbes’s theory of obligation states that ‘Covenants without the sword are but words and have no strength to secure a man at all’ , and thus it is justifiable for a coercive authority because the alternative to conquest is war and since “war is directly traced to ubiquitous egoism” , humans will choose to obey rather than experience violent death. His theory grounded political obligation in

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