Hobbes and Locke: Comparing and Contrasting Political Philosophies

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(A) Comparing and contrasting the political philosophies of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke

Thomas Hobbes and John Locke are comparable in their basic political ideologies about man and their rights in the state of nature before they enter a civil society. Their political ideas are very much similar in that regard. The resemblance between Hobbes and Locke’s philosophies are based on a few characteristics of the state of nature and the state of man. Firstly, in the state of nature both Hobbes and Locke agree that all men are created equal, but their definitions of equality in the state of nature slightly differ. According to Locke, “…in the state of nature… no one has power over another…” Locke’s version or idea of equality in the state of nature is based around the equality of authority and control. Each man has the authority to judge and punish themselves, but they do not have “…license to abuse others…” On the other hand, Hobbes’ definition of equality is based around the equality of man physically and mentally because “Nature hath made men so equal in the faculties of the body and mind…” Nevertheless, the natural equality in both Hobbes and Locke’s states of nature contribute to man’s urge and want to join a civil society.

In the state of nature, equality creates a state of war amongst men. Hobbes’ believes that the cause of the state of war is the nature of man, perfect equality and self-preservation. The idea self-preservation in Hobbes’ state of nature consents to…