The Nature And Legitimacy Of State Authority

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Human nature is a topic that has been on the minds of philosophers for years. Thomas Hobbes was of the belief that men are naturally evil and in order to control their nature they must enter into a Social Contract. This essay will explore Hobbes’ thoughts on human nature in order to explain why a Social Contract in necessary. It will also look into how men enter into this contract and explore the nature and legitimacy of state authority along with my criticism of Hobbes’ Social Contract theory. To Thomas Hobbes, the natural state of man was a state of war where every man is against each other and ruled by their desires. According to him they did this for three reasons: “first, competition; secondly, diffidence; thirdly, glory”(Hobbes 12). Competition was caused by gain and was usually obtained through violence, in doing so they “[made] themselves masters of men’s persons, wives, children and cattle” (12). Once gained their new found power would need to be protected. This resulted in men watching their backs and fighting each other. The last reason, glory, was a means of creating a reputation to prevent others from attacking them. All three of these actions were done for one major reason, safety, and more specifically their own personal safety. It was this safety that a Social Contract would provide. In the state of war, “there is no law: where no law, no injustice” (14). Hobbes believed a Social Contract would create laws, making actions just and unjust thus providing

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