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Can we apply Hobbes argument about the state of nature to international relations - Essay Example

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Hobbes is regarded as one of the originators of international relations theory and his argument regarding the state of nature is predominant in political philosophy. Since the description of the state of nature was introduced, debate has been rife among scholars concerning its…
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Can we apply Hobbes argument about the state of nature to international relations
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Download file to see previous pages In this regard, the state of nature considers men to be in a competition with each other for resources that include food, for example. As a result, they tend to distrust and fear one another thus instigating a pre-emptive attack due to the quest to maximise their own interests at the expense of other people. On the other hand, difference, emanates from the desire for natural equality and the fear factor that eventually leads to war. On this note, the state of nature suggests that, the alternative option for removing the contributory factors to conflict is to embrace the state by surrendering sovereignty to the Leviathan in order to enjoy security and order. According to Hobbes, the international sphere exists in a form of the state of nature (1985, p.37). This paper explores whether Hobbes argument about the state of nature can apply to international relations. While international relations emphasises a peaceful co-existence between sovereign states, the Hobbesian view focuses on the defensive character of states. This makes it difficult to apply the Hobbesian argument in international relations because; it discards the moral principles that guide the relations among states.
Hobbes advances five conditions for the state of nature that includes equality, competition, and the existence of two types of people, non- universal egoism and uncertainty. With regard to equality, Hobbesian view reiterates that people possess almost equal mental and physical capabilities. As a result, those regarded as weak also have enough power either mental or physical to destroy the strongest. The competition caused by scarcity of resources also creates a situation where everyone grapples for the same unlimited resources. The Hobbesian view further associates the scarce resource with power since not everyone can amass power. In this sense, power is often a preserve for a few individuals in the society who tend to maximise it for their own self-interest (Hampton, 1987, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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