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In political philosophy, “state of nature” is a common term used to illustrate the theoretical conditions that lead governments. These hypothetical issues major on the foundation of every government and the time before their establishment in the society. In these theories, only freedoms and no rights exist in “state of nature” hence the need for privileges and obligations.
During the 17th century, Thomas Hobbes proposed the idea the idea of “state of nature” in his writings called the leviathan (Aaron, 1971). In his writings, Thomas Hobbes presents a series of psychological concepts that people used during the era of anarchy.
In his work, Thomas argues that life in itself is at its worst and the state should intervene and provide security for everyone. Applying the laws of conservation in motion, Thomas proposes that man is continuously searching for something.
This perpetual search has always caused him to be at war with other human beings. Thomas further proposes that any individual in the state of nature has the right to fight for his or her survival despite the consequences because life is spiteful, rough, and short-lived.
According to Thomas, the state of nature allows a society to have no laws hence nothing is considered injustice in the lawless society. However, he exempted certain natural conditions from this rule.
These were that every individual is supposed to strive for peace so long as he can obtain it and that a man should be willing to fight for his peace as long as he can defend himself. This illustrates that an individual has to abide by the laws of nature as long as his or her fellow humans abide by it (Aaron, 1971).
In my opinion, Thomas Hobbes was justified in his suggestion that the human aggressiveness is driven by the desire to acquire something. The aspects of human activities illustrate this observation. For an individual to work effectively, the desire to achieve something must be driving him or her.
In this regard, if all humans were completely satisfied with all their needs and wants, the world could be a peaceful place as resources, which are the main source of conflicts in the society, could be in abundant.
This is because a lawless society will enhance conflicts among individuals. The lack of laws in the society will result in some people taking advantage of the situation and directly or indirectly inflict pain on the vulnerable members of the community.
This will fuel enmity between individuals in the society because there are no justice systems to deal with such offenders. Thomas attempts to portray a state where all the individuals are at war and warns the current government systems that the greed for power may lead to such states.
Moreover, He asserts that within the laws of nature, all human beings are equal in all aspects of live. In this regard, the human population possesses equal skills, strengths, and weakness. Similarly, Hobbes noted that humans in a state of nature are enthused by gain, safety, and glory to attack fellow human beings.
He emphasised that these factors are the main cause of the human conflicts in every society. In my opinion, the idea of equality is acceptable as all the individuals in given society are to be considered as equal. Therefore, we should strive to identify on our strengths and skills, and attempt to improve on them to attain equality.
Moreover, this idea boosts the morale of people with low self-esteem in the society. Through this concept, they should realise that we are all equal and no one is suppose to be viewed or treated as special. However, the idea of equality can be controversial regarding the physically disabled because their challenges prevent them from being termed as physically equal with the rest of the population.
In such instances, some of the handicapped members of the society will be neglected when such notions become extreme, as they will be perceived to be equal and normal to other people in every aspect.
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Eventually Hobbes managed to differentiate the individual from group consistency. He noted that the divergence of individual and group consistency leads to reduce collaboration. This means that an individual can be compelled to harm another individual to satisfy his or her needs.
In the “second treatise on civil government,” john Locke illustrated his views concerning the state of nature in 1680. Locke’s views were different as compared to those of Hobbes. He contradicts Hobbes by asserting that in “state of nature,” all men are free.
Through this suggestion, all humans possess perfect freedom and can do as they wish within the natures’ aspects. Locke considers the theological and ethical aspects in his ideas asserting that one god creates all mortals who should protect one other.
Concerning liberty, Locke points out that human beings have the freedom to do whatever they consider morally right. In this regard, he obviously contradicts with Hobbes’ ideas of permitting everyone the right over everything including other people’s lives (Locke, 1988).
However, both philosophers’ ideas correspond in several distinct ways. First, their ideas concur that the concept of law within the state of nature must consist of a law enforcer.
Law enforcement policies will mandate power to an individual who will oversee the creation of a state hence the establishment of a government. In this regard, Locke and Hobbes agree on the existence of a government and perceive it as the basis of order in every society.
Locke’s ideas concur with the common believe of self-defense and suggest that governments should set up laws to protect individuals. This illustrates his support of the punishment of all offenders. In my opinion, Locke was more realistic and practical compared to Hobbes as his ideas on justice concur with most of the people’s expectations.
Through his writings, Locke justifies the ownership of private property. He illustrates that it will be inappropriate for a human being to request from other human beings the access to the earth’s resources and notes that in such a situation man will definitely starve.
In Locke’s ideas, the limited resources and the invention of money contributed significantly to the formation of states. This was due to the man’s need to control and manage his scarce resources.
Through the creation of states, governments were formed. Similarly, Locke suggested that the creation of monetary as a means of exchange considerably increased man’s yields. In this regard, man accumulated more wealth and material things (Nozick, 1974).
In my opinion, Locke’s ideas regarding “state of nature” are more reasonable compared to those of Hobbes. First, Hobbes’ ideas advocate for a violent approach in solving community based issues while Locke advocates for peace and the accommodation of the all the individuals in the society.
Secondly, Locke’s ideas are more applicable than Hobbes’ ideas. Hobbes provides though choices to an individual than Locke. Therefore, in the modern society set up, Locke‘s ideas are significantly acceptable.
Aaron, R. I. (1971). John Locke, (3rd ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Locke, J., & Laslett, P. (1988). Two treatises of government (Student ed.). Cambridge [England: Cambridge University Press.
Nozick, R. (1974). Anarchy, state, and utopia. New York: Basic Books.