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Hobbes and Locke - Philosophy Paper - Essay Example

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(1) In his most prominent work "Leviathan", Thomas Hobbes explains the concept of the "state of nature". Thomas Hobbes supposed that the "state of nature" is especially evident in the exercise of power. So far as human beings are concerned the acquisition and exercise of power is inevitably connected with an agent's having some view of the good and an intention to bring it about…
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Hobbes and Locke - Philosophy Paper
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Download file to see previous pages The "nature of state" is that this desire can only be kept under control by the supreme power of the sovereign. In Chapter X Hobbes describes that "the nature of state" cannot be applied to all situation of human behavior.
Although Hobbes thought "the nature of state" could be limited in time or scope, when people authorize a sovereign to order, they make him their unlimited representative. Whatever the sovereign does is authorized and binds them; consequently every effective government represents. Thomas Hobbes described life in a state of nature as "solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short." (Hobbes), but certainty could be created artificially, if men agreed not to exercise their rights in the cases where it was uncontentiously obvious that they were already under attack, and to hand over the power of defending themselves to a sovereign, who would make the appropriate judgment about difficult cases.
Hobbes sees people naturally impelled into the war of all against all. Each will be an enemy to all the rest, not because people are 'sinful' by nature - Hobbes insists that people are not - but because people are both timid and competitive. Fear impels people to strike down their competitors before they can strike humans.
(2) Hobbes sees the emergence of "civil society" as a dramatic improvement, because it brings law and authority to people. "Civil society" is contrasted with paternal authority and the state of nature. These changes afforded comfort and decency to civilized and intelligent persons, and a law-abiding political order comprised a satisfactory and progressive state of human affairs.
Government was necessary because people were often too short-sighted to realize that their interests were best served by adhering to the rules of justice. It arose less by deliberate decision than through people coming to see that it was to their advantage to support any authority that enforced the rules effectively. The limitation of "civil society" is inability to keep humans genuinely moral. Under morals Hobbes, meant: "mankind that concern their living together in peace and unity" (Hobbes, Chapter XI). It shows the people necessity for strong power, and the lengths at which a person will go to save his life.
(3) In the "Letter Concerning Toleration", Lock's principle argument is the claim that religious belief, because it requires consistencies assent, cannot be subjected to effective external coercion; also, the contention that the proper function of the state was to maintain public order and security and that therefore religious toleration was justified only when necessary to achieve that end.
Lock created a concept of a "church-society" explaining that all people are born free, but, on the other hand, they starts to share religious believes and values. The move from the state of nature to political society is seen as a response to problems of covetousness, conflict, and ethical uncertainty caused by the development of money and the growth of inequality. Though Locke presents a gradualist account of the actual development of political institutions, the process is described abstractly in terms of state-church relations. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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