Hobbes, The State Of Nature, And The Sovereign Essay

2491 Words Oct 25th, 2016 10 Pages
Prompt #5
Hobbes, Locke, the State of Nature, and the Sovereign The state of nature describes the foundation of government through a world in which there is no government. Thomas Hobbes and John Locke offer dichotomous conceptions of the state of nature in Leviathan and The Second Treatise of Government, respectively; Hobbes conceives the state of nature as a violent state of war in contrast to Locke’s peaceful, yet insecure conception. Hobbes’s conception of an absolute sovereign is more persuasive because he creates a logical chain of why such a sovereign is needed out of the state of nature by clearly defining reason as an instrument of logic in his arguments and desire as the driving force behind human behavior in the state of nature.
Hobbes creates a negative conception of the state of nature, portraying it as a violent state of war. The Hobbesian state of nature is not a pleasant place to live. It is one of constant terror wherein men commit acts of violence based on their appetites and aversions. Hobbes describes the state of nature as “a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man [...] and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” (76). Man is in a constant state of war with man as there is no greater power to prevent them from acting in such a way. In the state of nature, men are free to pursue self-interest and often do so through violent means.
Men’s common fear of a violent death compels a desire to leave the state of nature.…

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