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State Of Natures Essay, Research Paper

Question: Taking the views of Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau into account why and how do you think man moved from the State of Nature to a Civil Society?

Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, all in common discuss men s movement from the State of Nature to a Civil Society and an agreement that made man accepting the Civil Society called Social Contract theory which is the view that morality is founded solely on uniform social agreements that serve the best interests of those who make the agreement.

Hobbes version of the State of Nature and the Social Contract theory is much more impressive of all three philosopher and it is the most unusual of the three because of defending the authority of the ruler in other words, the absolute authority.

The State of Nature defined by Hobbes as the Natural condition of mankind was not natural to men , it was a condition of unprecedented rigour and fear of death and injury which lacks any kind of development such as culture and industry. According to Hobbes man, has desires and he can satisfact his desires if he has power . One of the reasons that made man to move from State of Nature to a Civil Society is the restless desire for Power The Power of a man is his present means, to obtain.

…I put for a general inclination of all man kind a perpetuall and restlesse desire of power after power, that ceaseth onely in death.(Leviathan p 150,161)

It can be understood from the quotation that man is by nature tries to maximise his power. Men are power seekers this cause a political predicament, a chaos, because for someone power can mean power over someone else. This makes human life a struggle for power in a State of Nature. In addition to that there is one other aspect : The equality of body and mind.

…Nature hath made men so equal, in the faculties of body and mind; as though there bee found one man sometimes manifestly stronger in body, or quicker mind than another… …From this equality of ability of hope in the attaining of our ends. And therefore if any two men desire the same thing which neverthless they cannot both enjoy they become enemies; and in the way to their end,… endeavour to destroy or subdue one another.(Leviathan 183-184).

The Natural relation of men is because of this competition has no natural limit and their relations consist fear. This fear is the fear of destruction by rivals and enemies, leading to anticipation which is attack is the best form of self defence Therefore according to Hobbes competition and diffidence makes the State of Nature a condition of war of every man, against every man. From the Hobessian point of view this is a reason why people moved from a State of Nature into a Civil Society.

One other reason that caused such a movement from a State of Nature to a Civil Society is the lack of the definition of just and unjust. Because a right to get everything you can get and do everything you can do in a war of everyone against everyone, nothing can be unjust. The notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice are not valid. There is good and evil but man call what he desires good and calls what he hates evil . The definitions are subjective; changes for every individual. This was the condition of men and it was the consequences of their natural liberty and equality it was inevitable for them to leave this condition and entering a civil society, which is harmonious and would be desired by every individual in the State of Nature.

Men are full of passion but they have reason as much as they have passion. Hobbes thinks that some passions force man to have peace. These are forexample things such as an ease and comfortable life and an industrial society can have it. These reasons and in addition to that the fear of death forced them to make convenient articles of peace, by which man can have better conditions. These articles are called The Laws of Nature . These laws were general rules, which were found by reason by which people were restricted to do things, which are destructive to their lives. These laws fit to the self-interest and also common interest of men and this is how according to Hobbes people moved to the civil society.

In conclusion to Hobbes point of view, men for the sake of peace, made a contract to renounce their natural liberty , and people depending on promises accepted the social contract.

In Lockean perspective of the State of Nature, the condition is not a war. He defines the State of Nature as men living together without a common judge having authority over them. But this State of Nature of peace, good will , mutual assistance, and preservation (Second treaties chapter 2). Locke mentions that the State of War once begin will continue and that escaping from this State of War is why people moved from this State of Nature to a Civil Society.

One significant thing that is absent in Locke s State of Nature and differs it from the civil society is the absence of a common power: which is according to Locke is a common judge.

Locke s State of Nature is made up with a set of Natural Laws and Natural Rights, which can provide peace if people respect to them. People moved to civil society because they didn t respect to these Natural Laws and Natural Rights. People do not respect to these laws because there isn t punishment when not respected therefore everyone judges and punishes everyone. Locke mentions that:

That in the State of Nature every one has the executive power of the Law of Nature (Second Treaties Chapter 2 part 13)

But every one judging and punishing everyone doesn t help to maintain peace many people are self-biased in their judging and in their punishments rarely execute correct punishment. Man has to give up the executive power of the Law of Nature in order to enter the civil society .Locke in contrast with Hobbes does not claim that man have to transfer any rights to the civil society he simply says that man they have good reason to do it. As Locke says, all men are by nature free and independent.

…till, by their consent, they make themselves members of some politic society (Second Treaties chapter 3)

Another reason that made people moving from the state of nature to a civil society is the protection of their property because in a State of Nature things you own were under no guarantee of a power somebody stronger than you can come and take what you own. In contrast in the civil society your properties are under the guarantee of governments, that s why people moved into a civil society.

In conclusion to Lockean point of view to the movement of man from the State of Nature to a Civil Society is because Natural rights and liberties are not respected in the State of Nature.

Rousseau s version of the state of nature differs from that of Hobbes s. Rousseau does not mention fear which Hobbes believed controlled man s life in the state of nature, he describes the condition as pleasant and peaceful. He described the people in this primitive state as living free, healthy, honest and happy lives , and man was timid. According to Rousseau , people in the State of Nature with an act of free and rational agreement called first agreement entered into the Civil Society.

To find a form of association that defends and protects

the person and possessions of each associate with all the

common strength, and by means of which each person,

joining forces with all, nevertheless… …. such is a

fundamental problem to which the social contract furnishes

the solution.(social contract p 92)

Because it was the only way to legitimate subsequent political decisions.(Social Contract pg 91 chapter 5) the in the State of Nature there is natural liberty and by entering the Civil Society and accepting the Social Contract you exchange natural liberty with right, right is defined as the rule of the sovereign body in which each citizen has an equal share and shows the general will. Men in order to enter the civil society by exchanged some characteristics and manners. For example man in State of Nature had instinct, physical impulse, appetite, natural liberty, possession, limitation of strength of individual and was slave to appetites and men exchanged it for justice, duty, right, ownership, strength of general will and moral liberty. Shortly what man loses by the social contract is his natural liberty and an unlimited right to everything he tries to get and succeeds in getting; what he gains is civil liberty and the proprietorship of all he possesses. The reason why people entered the civil society is .Entering a society that defends and protects the person and goods of each associate with common force, and by which every one is the sovereign of himself and remains free.

” I assume men to have reached the point at which the obstacles to their

preservation in the state of nature has a resistance greater than the forces

each individual can use to maintain himself in that state…(Social Contract Page 92)

In conclusion to Rousseau, men entered a civil society by act of free and rational agreement called first agreement because civil society defends and protects the person and goods of each associate with common force, and by which every one is the sovereign of himself and remains free.

Amongst these three philosophers description of how and why man moved from the State of Nature to a civil society I found Hobbes description the most plausible and I think that if I was going to create a story of how man moved from the State of Nature to the civil society It would probably be similar to Hobbes . Because others descriptions I found more unrealistic than that of Hobbes I think men moved from the State of Nature because of the rigour and fear of death and injury which lacks any kind of development such as culture and industry and man is by nature tries to maximise his power to satisfy his desires and in the State of Nature there is many definitions of just and unjust, good and evil, besides that men are reasonable creatures and by reason they know that peace is needed to have a more comfortable life and they agreed on a social contract called The Laws of Nature.

Locke s description of such a movement I didn t find plausible because he says that State of Nature is harmonious, peaceful. If it is that good then why people wishes to have a civil society. May be weak men may want it but why would the strong men enter the civil society. In addition to that if people have good reason to enter a civil society then why this good reason of people does not operate in a State of Nature that they do need such a contract to enter a civil society.

Lastly I would like to criticise Rousseau s description. He says that everyone voluntarily will accept the contract and gives his possessions. If some people do not want to give their possessions or even do not want to enter the civil society would any one force them to do that or would they be considered out of the civil state? I don t find Rousseau s description plausible because like Locke he also defines the State of Nature as a peaceful condition and the reason for entering a civil society is to be more politic(having political rights).In addition to that Rousseau mentions that men forgives some manners and characteristics by entering the civil society such as instinct, impulse which are found in the nature of men and found in born besides him and abandon him after death.








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