Thomas Hobbes Leviathan Summary

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In his work Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes discusses his view points on the nature of man and how man’s nature leads to the need for a social contract. Hobbes writes “…that during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war is of every man against every man” (2). And according to Hobbes, when man lives in this constant state of “war”, there is no society, culture, industry, arts and knowledge among other things. Ultimately, there is “continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man [is], solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” (Hobbes 2). To overcome this way of life Hobbes believes that there needs to be a social contract in which people give …show more content…
Hobbes writes, “To this war of every man against every man, this also is consequent; that nothing can be unjust. The notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice, have there no place. Where there is no common power, there is no law; where no law, no injustice” (3). Now, if Hobbes is referring to law as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary which states that law is “a binding custom or practice of a community: a rule of conduct or action prescribed or a formally recognized as binding enforced by a controlling authority” (Merriam-Webster) then he is correct: if there is no common power, then there is no law and therefore no injustice. However, I do not think that there needs to be a common power or written law for a person to feel that there was an injustice done against them. For example, there is no written law saying that you can’t speak over someone else who is already speaking, it’s just simply considered being rude. But, if you are the individual who has something to say and another person talks over you then you may feel that an injustice was done against you because you didn’t get to say what you wanted to say. And you may feel like an even greater injustice was done if you felt that what you had to say was very important. To expand upon this idea, the person who spoke over you may have done so without realizing it and doesn’t have any mal intent towards you (although this doesn’t negate the fact that you feel like this wasn’t a just situation). Furthermore, there doesn’t have to be a third-party present who has some sort of authority to say that X speaking over Y was wrong. Basically, injustice doesn’t require an overarching common power or law because it is based on one’s individual perception. And to suggest that injustice can only happen when there is common power and law, suggests that man has the inability to determine what is just

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