Compare And Contrast Hobbes And John Locke Social Contract

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Thomas Hobbes and John Locke both share the common vision of the role of a social contract to maintain order in a state. However, their philosophies were cognizant of a sharp contrasting concept of human nature. This essay aims to compare and contrast the social contracts of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke in respect to their definition of natural law. This essay will first analyze the pessimistic Hobbesian approach to the state of nature, the inherit optimistic approach of Locke, and then observe how their definitions directly affect their social contract.
The state of nature is the idea of life without society, government, state, or laws. John Locke and Hobbes both agree that the state of nature is equivalent to a state of perfect freedom and equality, although they both understand these terms differently. Hobbes argues that equality leads to inequality in the state of nature. Inequality arises from the idea of man having the right to pursue their self-interest, with no duties to each other. Without duties to each other when, “Any two men desire the same thing, which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies” (Hobbes 184). In the Hobbesian natural state, man is made up of diffidence and lives with no security other than what he can provide himself (Hobbes 185). By virtue, men will enter a continuous state of war for self-preservation because it is man’s natural right to act on what he thinks is necessary to protect himself.
On the contrary, Locke argues that
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