Hobbes State Of Nature Essay

1500 Words6 Pages
Taking into consideration the merely intuitive notion of pessimism, namely, the tendency to let things appear worse than they are, this essay will argue that Hobbes’ view of human nature is not pessimistic because it does not entail a generally worse concept of humankind. Firstly, Hobbes’ stance on human nature will be revealed through the explanation of his theory on the state of nature becoming a state of war, and the steps he takes to arrive at this conclusion. In addition, to critically engage with the essay’s argument and ultimately prove it, an objection that accuses Hobbes of pessimism will be considered and reasonably rejected.

This first paragraph outlines Hobbes’ concept of the state of nature, a necessary starting point to understand
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According to him, “the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest” (Hobbes, 2010: 87). In claiming this, Hobbes introduces the concept of natural equality, which entails that each man is a mortal threat to others because one is strong enough to kill another. Moreover, he also believes that people are naturally free because they have a right to do anything, since in the state of nature there are no laws to constrain humankind. Furthermore, this links with Hobbes’ idea of “equality of hope in the attaining of our ends” (Hobbes, 2010: 87), and the three key interests and desires that men share in the state of nature. These three interests are self-preservation, acquiring means of commodious life, and improving one’s own position in life by industry. To explain, individuals - naturally free and equal - tend to equally hope to fulfil these same crucial…show more content…
In fact, Hobbes considers the state of war as a condition of “every man against every man” (Hobbes, 2010: 88) rather than the actual “act of fighting” (Hobbes, 2010: 88). That is, people start to act against each other, thereby transforming the state of nature into a state of war, rightly because of all the reasons considered in the previous paragraphs. Indeed, if human beings are naturally free and equal and compete against each other to gain the same scarce goods, they will likely come to anticipate an attack because of distrust and glory. Evidently, Hobbes’ description of the state of nature and war discloses how he conceived human behaviour and nature as
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