The Natural State Of Man

910 Words4 Pages
The natural state of man has been a reoccurring theme when reviewing the history of political philosophy and theory. This study has helped societies develop laws and common goals. Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) theory is still strikingly relevant in today’s law and order. His main concern was how people lived: how to avoid war since people lived in defensive fear. Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) challenged Hobbes’s philosophy. He says, “The passage from the state of nature to the civil state produces a very remarkable change in man, by substituting justice for instinct in his conduct.” In other words, he thought that men were good by nature and when exposed to society they are corrupted. Although both philosophers study the course of society, they have very divergent views. This paper will examine both theories of the social contract. Thus, I will later conclude why Hobbes has a more feasible hypothesis.
In Leviathan chapter 12, Hobbes describes society and the state of nature as such; "No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death: and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." People are encouraged to act freely, but with precautions as they may pose a threat to others’ survival. As stated above, humankind is constantly threatened since we naturally have a built in defensive mechanism. He says, “…the passions that incline men to peace are: fear of death; desire of such things as are necessary to
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