In both theories of human nature by Karl Marx and Thomas Hobbes respectfully, each provide their own perspective on the fundamental point of human nature. Marx makes the argument that that humans are inherently cooperative and the capitalist system creates a state of nature where humans are competitive. In opposition to Marx’ argument, Hobbes may say that humans are inherently competitive and the social contract is what makes humans cooperate within the capitalist system. In response, Marx might say that the social contract is redundant because the social contract has no effect on the competition that resembles the state of nature within the capitalist system.
Darwin and Evolution are inextricably linked in the minds of most people who have had the opportunity to study them in basic biology. However, Darwin's theories of selection and survival of the fittest have been applied to moral, economic, political, and other cultural aspects of society. Dennett briefly touched on some of the political and social ramifications of Darwin's theories in the final chapter of Darwin's Dangerous Idea. Other philosophers and thinkers have also adapted Darwin's evolutionary ideas, in order to apply them in a societal or cultural context. One great example of this adaptation of the biological concept of evolution, is the appearance of Social Darwinism during the 19th century.
In the beginning, there was a darker side to the preservation of life. Man lived a life of kill or be killed, without any regard for other than his own. Life was solitary, poor, brutish and short. This barbaric and primitive state is what Thomas Hobbes believed to be the State of Nature. Practical reason dictates that when threatened you either act, give up your property, or anticipate for a sign of weakness to act. This means that all have a right to everything so long as it can be attained. People cannot be trusted to follow the Golden Rule, or the ethic of reciprocity, seen in many religions as stating that one must do unto others as one would like to be treated themselves.
Human nature and its relevance in determining behaviors, predictions, and conclusions has caused dispute among philosophers throughout the ages. Political philosophy with its emphasis on government legitimacy, justice, laws, and rights guided the works of the 17th and 18th century philosophical writings of Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Through Thomas Hobbes world-renowned publication Leviathan and Rousseau’s discourses on basic political principals and concepts, each man validated their thoughts on human nature and what is required for a successful society within their respective government confines. The distinct differences between Hobbes and Rousseau’s opinions on the natural state of man frame the argument of the different
Hobbes and Smith are at odds about the idea of how power plays into social order creation. Hobbes believes that in the state of nature, man has no power to control others, and because of this, everyone is aggressive towards one another, as no one can trust another. Because of this, social order is necessary to give man incentive towards cooperation and trust, by selling your individual rights to freedom in order to gain social rights of security and safety. The role of the social order is to combat man’s aggressiveness, man’s power to hurt one another and direct this towards positive social ends instead of destructive.
Thomas Hobbes describes his views on human nature and his ideal government in Leviathan. He believes human nature is antagonistic, and condemns man to a life of violence and misery without strong government. In contrast to animals, who are able to live together in a society without a coercive power, Hobbes believes that men are unable to coexist peacefully without a greater authority because they are confrontational by nature. “In the nature of man”, Hobbes says “there are three principal causes of quarrel: first, competition; secondly, diffidence, thirdly, glory” and then he goes on to list man’s primary aims for each being gain, safety and reputation (Hobbes, Leviathan, 13, 6).
The revolution generated radical changes in the principles, opinions, and sentiments of the global people. New ideas and issues affected political ideas. In addition a new government was also changed. A few of the many enlightenment thinkers were Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, baron Do Montesquieu, and Jean Jacques Rousseau.
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.
Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection, a scientific theory that supported the belief of evolution, was manipulated and applied to different areas of life, and thus it became the shaping force in European thought in the last half of the nineteenth century. Darwin, through observation of organisms, determined that a system of natural selection controlled the evolution of species. He found that the organisms that were most fit and assimilated to the environment would survive. They would also reproduce so that over time they would eventually dominate in numbers over the organisms with weaker characteristics. This new theory was radical and interesting to the scientific world but its effects reach far beyond this small institution of
History and literature have developed in a parallel manner, as organisms often co-evolve with each other. With the publication of Darwin’s groundbreaking work, the Origin of Species, a new group of people, the Social Darwinists, applied the theory of natural selection to social hierarchy. A most notable Social Darwinist, Herbert Spencer, coined the term “survival of the fittest”, implying that people in higher social groups were more “fit” to survive than those who were in lower social groups (Bannister, “Social Darwinism”). This idea of social evolution contributed to the dehumanization of people. More social theorists, scientists, and
Thomas Hobbes, a 17th century philosopher who is regarded as one of the forefathers of modern political philosophy was born on April 5, 1588 in Westport, near Malmesbury, Wiltshire in England. The unique mind of Thomas Hobbes found profound interest in disciplines like geometry, physics and math, and studied at Magdalen Hall in Oxford. Hobbes is popularly known for his masterpiece The Leviathan, his book that was published in the year of 1651 . Hobbes is well known for being an atheist and for the fruition of what we now know as the “social contract theory” which was “the method of justifying political principles or arrangements by appeal to the agreement that would be made among suitably situated rational, free, and equal persons” (Hobbes, 1651). He is infamous for “having used the social contract method to arrive at the astounding conclusion that we ought to submit to the authority of an undivided and unlimited sovereign power” (Hobbes 1651) . Though Hobbes had formed ideologies and applicable viewpoints on both moral and political philosophy, his conceptualization of moral philosophy has been less influential than his political philosophy, because the theory was rather ambivalent for the content to be agreed upon by the general public of the 17th Century. Hobbes had many arguments of why human beings disobey the law.
Thomas Hobbes was the first philosopher to connect the philosophical commitments to politics. He offers a distinctive definition to what man needs in life which is a successful means to a conclusion. He eloquently defines the social contract of man after defining the intentions of man. This paper will account for why Hobbes felt that man was inherently empowered to preserve life through all means necessary, and how he creates an authorization for an absolute sovereign authority to help keep peace and preserve life. Hobbes first defines the nature of man. Inherently man is evil. He will do whatever is morally permissible to self preservation. This definition helps us understand the argument of why Hobbes was pessimistic of man, and
Thomas Hobbes was a divisive figure in his day and remains so up to today. Hobbes’s masterpiece, Leviathan, offended his contemporary thinkers with the implications of his view of human nature and his theology. From this pessimistic view of the natural state of man, Hobbes derives a social contract in order to avoid civil war and violence among men. Hobbes views his work as laying out the moral framework for a stable state. In reality, Hobbes was misconstruing a social contract that greatly benefited the state based on a misunderstanding of civil society and the nature and morality of man.
Amidst the bloodshed of the English Civil War, Thomas Hobbes realizes the chaotic state of humanity, which gravitates towards the greatest evil. Hobbes’ underlying premises of human nature–equality, egotism, and competition–result in a universal war among men in their natural state. In order to escape anarchy, Hobbes employs an absolute sovereignty. The people willingly enter a social contract with one another, relinquishing their rights to the sovereign. For Hobbes, only the omnipotent sovereign or “Leviathan” will ensure mankind’s safety and security. The following essay will, firstly, examine Hobbes’ pessimistic premises of human nature (equality, egotism, and competition), in contrast with John Locke’s charitable views of humanity;
With these three authors, they all have the same opinion on the social contract. Thomas Hobbes, James Madison, and Plato all believed that having an absolute sovereign is what will make a society the most successful. This paper seeks to point out the distinct visons of absolute sovereignty that Hobbes, Madison, and Plato articulated by unpacking the central premises of each argument, pitting them against each other through comparing and contrasting.