Human Nature In Locke, Hobbes And Rousseau

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The truth of human nature The state of nature is a concept that depicts what human nature may be without the existence of government and societies. Great philosophers and thinkers throughout human history have pondered and debated on what might be the interaction human nature and the state of nature. Political theorists such as Locke, Hobbes and Rousseau all comment upon this interaction in their works. My stance on human nature is that people, predominantly, are selfish and need a governmental body to preserve and protect the lives of the constituents residing within their reach. John Locke, a 17th century British philosopher, has commonly been referred to as “the father of modern day liberalism”. Locke was primarily concerned with maximizing …show more content…
In my opinion Hobbes hits the nail right on the head that people, in general, are inherently selfish. In Dan Carnegie’s novel How to win friends and influence people he states, “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity.” He, like Hobbes, believes that people are motivated by a longing to feel important. Even when people do charity work or any form of philanthropy it is motivated by individuals wanting to feel appreciated. This is a form of vanity that we as normal human beings cannot avoid. Just like any other animal, whether we realize it or not, are driven by our own self interests. Thomas Hobbes could not be more right about his perception of human beings. Although it is incredibly pessimistic, it is completely true. Carnegie also states, “Talk to someone about themselves and they 'll listen for …show more content…
As an early 16th century thinker, Rousseau was in a unique position to critique both philosophers. He attacked both thinkers stating that liberalism was the philosophy of the bourgeoisie. Rousseau believed that using reason to advance liberty undermines both community and equality. Also that the enlightenment fostered a civil society that equated the rule of law with materialism and greed. To him people have license to purse their personal happiness, while foregoing the civic virtue associated with the common good. This line of thinking was more similar to ancient philosophers who insisted that civic virtues, rather than incessant talk of business and money, will benefit individuals. This differs greatly from Hobbes and Locke. In his interpretation of the state of nature people is that people are motivated by the urge of power. Although he saw the evil in man he saw a reason to constrain that evil. He once stated, “No man has any natural authority over his fellow men.” Like many contemporary political thinkers, Rousseau takes on political inequality. Once man creates industry and lives in cities, to him, class warfare breaks out. This creates a complete loss of civic virtue. Money then becomes the most important good and all attention is riveted to the profit and loss sheet. This can only be counter acted by individuals putting their country first, resulting in a benefit for the greater good. Rousseau does not

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