Analyzing the Ideas of Locke and Hobbes on the State of Nature

704 Words3 Pages
One of the long pondered debates among political philosophers concerns the state of nature concept underlying much of social contract theory, with the esoteric term being used to describe the hypothetical human condition which logically preceded the institution of organized government. Engaging in a rigorous deconstruction of this hypothetical condition, one defined by a societal structure in which man's rights are not protected by the power of the state, provided political philosophers like Thomas Hobbes and John Locke with ample opportunity to indulge their faculties for elevated thought, with Hobbes's Leviathan and Locke's Second Treatise on Civil Government standing as enduring testaments to this philosophical conundrum. Both Hobbes and Locke applied clinical logic and objective analysis, diffused through their distinctly disparate worldviews, to elucidate stirring but separate visions of the state of nature and man's place within it. Whereas Hobbes grounded his writing on the state of nature in a pragmatic appraisal of humanity's craven nature, Locke viewed the notion as the embodiment of man's promise and potential. A critical analysis of the works of Hobbes and Locke can be used to refine one's own conception of the state of nature, because each philosopher offered a uniquely informed perspective on a query which is common to all of us. According to Gregory S. Kavka's comprehensive essay on Hobbes and the state of nature, entitled Hobbes's War of All Against
Open Document