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Thomas Hobbes and John Locke in Social Contract Theory - Essay Example

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This theory mainly suggests the formation of a stable society is influenced by people’s moral responsibilities, which rely on their collective agreement. These two…
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Thomas Hobbes and John Locke in Social Contract Theory
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"Thomas Hobbes and John Locke in Social Contract Theory"

Download file to see previous pages In these two books, Locke and Hobbes’ views on the social contract can be studied. Although Locke and Hobbes differ in their arguments and perceptions of social contract, they both agree that, in the state of nature, people will be more willing to choose state protection over their liberty. This is the core of social contract theory (Morris, 1999).
In the social contract theory, both Hobbes and Locke argue that the state of nature is more likely to experience chaos. However, Locke views the state of nature and natural law from a more positive perspective as compared to Hobbes. Hobbes on the other side argues that highly egoistic people, whose probability of initiating war is very high, inhabit the state of nature. The function of Hobbes and Locke’s social contract theory was to serve as a way of citizens’ rights protection. However, these two differed on the manner in which this could be conducted. While Hobbes thought that a central authority could be responsible for the protection of citizens’ rights, Locke thought that division of power was necessary so that all citizens, including those in authority are held accountable to the law in society (Mack, 2009).
Hobbes and Locke similarly address the roots of civilization using their concept of the state of nature. This is a term in political philosophy, which refers to the society without the emergence of the government system. Hobbes describes the state of nature as devoid of rule of war and inhabitants live in fear of death, and in brutality. He links brutality in the state of nature to the lack of rights, including property rights. Therefore, in this state, enmity between people crops from the competition for resources, as there are no rules that determine the legitimacy of property ownership by people. However, Locke’s view on the state of nature sharply contrasts Hobbes’ view. Locke thought that a central authority is not responsible for ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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