The single most important argument as regards to Hobbes’ conception of human nature is that of its pessimism, as it is this pessimistic view that brings Hobbes to his conclusion that the state of nature is as objectionable as his view describes it to us. Hobbes argues that every man is characterised by his view that, despite a few who, through mutual recognition or admiration, he believes to be his equal, he is endowed most liberally with the faculty of wisdom. In this way, contends Hobbes, all men are equal in that they all believe the same of themselves, and thus, their equal stature fosters an equality in desires and their ability, in their own minds, to realise them. The result of this is that where men desire what they cannot both …show more content…
“And consequently among men”, he contends, “there ariseth on that ground, envy, hatred, and finally war; but amongst these [ants and bees] not so.” It is therefore on three main grounds that men disagree – ‘competition’, ‘diffidence’, and ‘glory’, and it is the resultant self-interested acts of men that set out the foundations upon which Hobbes’ vision of the state of nature is constructed. Hobbes’ state of nature, therefore, is one that is as equally pessimistic as his view of human nature. The state of nature, for Hobbes, is that of anarchy, in the sense that there is no over-arching power to constrain the actions of men, and is one in which there are limited resources. Man is thus driven by his desires as described above, and in that all men are essentially free, pursues them forsaking all others. As resources are limited, and all men have the same essential desires, not everyone has the ability to realise these desires. The result of this is a state which Hobbes calls war “of every man against every man”. Hobbes can be no plainer in his explanation than with the following: At this time, he says, there is “continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”. Consequently, as a product of the state of war against all and man’s need to use all he can in order to guarantee his conservation, it
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With these natural causes of quarrel, Hobbes concludes that the natural condition of humans is a state of perpetual war of all against all, where no morality exists, and everyone lives in constant fear (p.45). He believes that humans have three motivations for ending this state of war: the fear of death, the desire to have an adequate living and the hope to attain this through one’s labor (p.47). These beliefs become valid because of the use of his examples. One example suggests that people are barbaric to each other. With the absence of international law, strong countries prey on the weakness of weak countries. I believe that his views of moral behavior are very true. Like Hobbes said, people are out for their well-being. If I were to do a favor for someone, I may think I am helping someone out, which I am, but I am probably doing the favor because it is going to make me feel better. It is going to benefit my well being. Hobbes is a famous philosopher whose views were very controversial. But the fact that he lived in a time when the monarchy was the “divine right of kings” (p.42), makes his views valid today. With a different government and new laws, his views appear to be true.
Thomas Hobbes then begins to explain that what any one man has another may take at will. Some men take pleasure in the conquest of what belongs to another and will take more than they need, while others are content with the bare essentials. Hobbes states that, because it is in man's nature to increase his own power it should be “allowed.” Hobbes states that there are three causes for quarrels between men, the first being competition and the want for man to gain from another through violence. The second is diffidence, or a lack of confidence in one’s own ability of worth which in turn causes men to fight for safety, perhaps to distract another from his insecurities. The third is for the sake of glory, or to secure his reputation. Thomas Hobbes says that, because all men have a natural animalistic inclination to fight for what we want and believe we deserve, a “common power”, a government or hierarchy of some sort, is vital to maintaining a semblance of peace. Hobbes muses that, without security outside of us there will be no industry or commodities, no modern comforts, no society. Without someone to lord over us in some way our future will be one of “continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short…” (pg. 48). And, while we enjoy the
A state of nature is a hypothetical state of being within a society that defines such a way that particular community behaves within itself. English philosopher Thomas Hobbes proclaimed that, “A state of nature is a state of war.” By this, Hobbes means that every human being, given the absence of government or a contract between other members of a society, would act in a war-like state in which each man would be motivated by desires derived solely with the intention of maximizing his own utility.
Thomas Hobbes describes his views on human nature and his ideal government in Leviathan. He believes human nature is antagonistic, and condemns man to a life of violence and misery without strong government. In contrast to animals, who are able to live together in a society without a coercive power, Hobbes believes that men are unable to coexist peacefully without a greater authority because they are confrontational by nature. “In the nature of man”, Hobbes says “there are three principal causes of quarrel: first, competition; secondly, diffidence, thirdly, glory” and then he goes on to list man’s primary aims for each being gain, safety and reputation (Hobbes, Leviathan, 13, 6).
To begin, Hobbes uses his most recognized work called the Leviathan to discuss several issues relating from the natural state of humans to more complex arguments about the equality of human beings. When observing Hobbes it best to start by examining his definition of appetites and aversions. For Hobbes appetites and aversions are outlined to be, “This endeavor, when it is
According to Hobbes the state of nature leads to a war of all against all. What Hobbes refers to when he discusses the state of nature is a state in which there are no civil powers. To reach his conclusion about how the world would be in the state of nature, Hobbes first explains what human nature is and then explains the relationship between man and civil government.
In order to analyze Hobbes’s work of moral and political philosophy, one must first understand his view of human nature. Hobbes’s was greatly influenced by the scientific revolution of the early 17th century, and by the civil unrest and civil war in England while he wrote. Hobbes views the nature of man as being governed by the same laws of nature described by Galileo and refined by Newton .He writes in Leviathan “And as we see in the water, though the wind cease, the waves give not over rowling (rolling) for a long time after; so also it happeneth in that mation, which is made in the internall parts of a man” . From this, he concludes that man is in a constant state of motion. Being at rest is not the natural state of man, but rather a rarity.
He saw human nature was to be tamed by politics, not exercised. According to Aristotle, The nature of human was to be completed and flourished through community and politics (SEP, 2002). In contrast, Hobbes claims that the state of human nature was war. In his book of Leviathan, he states, “…there is no way for any man to secure himselfe, so reason-able, as Anticipation; that is, by force…till he see no other power great enough to endanger him…” (Leviathan, XIII). Since we cannot reach agreement over what is right and wrong, it is rational to think that we have no choice but to attack other people and that is the state of nature.
We will give Hobbes’ view of human nature as he describes it in Chapter 13 of Leviathan. We will then give an argument for placing a clarifying layer above the Hobbesian view in order to
Thomas Hobbes begins The Leviathan by establishing the idea that all men are created equal, although every man perceives himself as smarter than the next. As Hobbes says: "[men] will hardly believe there are many so wise as themselves; for they see their own wit at hand, and other men's at a distance" (25). He then argues for psychological egoism, describing mankind as driven by self-interest and, ultimately, only self-interest. This leads mankind to a constant state of war where human beings will pit themselves against each other in competition because "if any two men desire the same thing, which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies: (25). Hobbes
Self-centered human nature drives men to egotism. Yet in a world of limited resources, as one man strives to satisfy his desires, he naturally diminishes other men’s opportunity to fulfill their own needs, thus creating Hobbes’ third premise: competition. In human nature, “From equality of ability ariseth equality of hope in the attaining of our ends. And therefore, if any two men desire the same thing, which nevertheless the cannot both enjoy, they become enemies; and . . . endeavour to destroy or subdue one another” (Hobbes 75). Men compete with one another to gratify their desires and thus become enemies. Consequently, competition begets jealousy, envy, and hatred, which sparks war among people. Hobbes’ three premises of human nature, equality, egotism, and competition, set the stage for an all out war.
This perspective is essentially materialist and rather careful interpretation of the human conditions is radical and far-reaching in the history of political though and particularly disagrees with Locke’s. Unlike Locke’s perspective therefore, self-interest is the dominant theme of Hobbes’ perspective of the state of nature (Hobbes, 1994).
In Book I of chapter XIII, Of the Natural Condition of Mankind, as concerning their Felicity, and Misery, Hobbes talks about the three principal causes of quarrel, competition, diffidence, and glory. The first, competition, is for gain. Hobbes describes it as,” The first use violence, to make themselves masters of other men 's persons, wives, children, and cattle…” (Hobbes Chapter 13). In other words, competition causes men to use violence to steal from one another, which leads to war. Diffidence is described as safety, and the final cause of fighting is glory, which is reputation. Hobbes says in the text, “the third, for trifles, as a word, a smile, a different opinion, and any other sign of undervalue, either direct in their persons or by reflection in their kindred, their friends, their nation, their profession, or their name” (Hobbes Chapter 13).
In Hobbes book Leviathan, he makes the natural man out to be a self obsessed monster who is only interested in his own self preservation. This would intern leave the state of nature to be consumed with war, “...because the condition of man is conditions of war of everyone against everyone”. With out the constrain of government Hobbes states “So that in the state of nature man will find three principal causes of quarrel: first, competition; secondly, diffidence; thirdly, glory” (Leviathan, 76). These principles would then leave men in the state of nature, with a life that Hobbes describes as “solitary, poor nasty, brutish, and short” (Leviathan, 76). Over all Hobbes view on the state of nature is a materialistic world where without an “absolute sovereign” the life of man would be nothing more then the “state of war”.
Both Hobbes and Rousseau are in agreement that the idea of the state of nature existed before the inception of the political society. However, their view is very different from the concept of the natural state of man. On one hand, Hobbes believes that humans are cruel, malicious and pathetic such that everyone acts in a way that pleases them regardless of whether they pose a risk to others or not (Hobbes & Malcolm, 2012). Hobbes describes men as enemies of each other and that the only thing that pushes them to make peace is the fear of death and necessities that would guarantee them a decent life. It is the passion for self-regard and reputation that necessitates the need to a political institution to govern humans (Hobbes & Malcolm, 2012).