The Natural Condition Of Mankind By Thomas Hobbes

1790 Words Nov 28th, 2016 8 Pages
Thomas Hobbes is a 17th century political philosopher whose book, Leviathan, is regarded as the founder of modern Western political philosophy. This book forms the basis of his popular social contract theory as well as his understanding of human beings. He describes the functions of human beings whilst in the state of nature. The Hobbesian the state of nature is essentially the “natural condition of mankind” (Wootton 158). By this, he imagines a hypothetical world where there is no civilization and no defined form of commonwealth. This hypothetical state is governed by Hobbes’ Laws of Nature, which is “a precept or general rule, found out by reason, by which a man is forbidden to do that which is destructive to his life, or taketh away by means of preserving the same” (Wootton 160). Throughout the Leviathan, Hobbes imagines how human beings would act in such a world and criticizes the selfish tendencies of human nature. He views humans as selfish, violent, and competitive by nature and people will do anything to preserve their own life, as their own self-interest is their first priority. He describes human tendencies in the state of nature as “war of all against all” and thus, life in the state of nature would be “poor nasty, brutish, and short” (Wootton 159). It is clear that Hobbes does not view human nature in a positive way. Human nature in this context can be viewed as natural qualities possessed by every human being. Hobbes’ pessimistic view of human nature…
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