Thomas Hobbes Leviathan Argumentative Essay

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In Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan, Hobbes argues that humans are inherently only self-interested and will do anything to benefit themselves (Hobbes, 6). Before they form society, humans live in the state of nature. This is a brutal place governed by no laws, contracts, or power to restrict human nature. People are free to kill each other without no repercussions, forcing everyone to constantly fend for themselves and live in fear of being killed. He describes this as the worst way to live life, one that is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” (Hobbes, 12). However, Hobbes’s argument is weak as he relies on the questionable premise that humans are only self-interested. In reality, other factors complexify people and veer us away from the…show more content…
They agree to give up some of their rights that could be an appetite (such as the right to kill another person) to ensure that they do not face a greater aversion (such as being killed or stolen from) (Hobbes, 14). In the end, they are still looking out for their self-interest and albeit with lesser rights, they can now participate in a safer society. Here, a common power (Leviathan) agreed upon by the members of the society can maintain peace and be the sole jurisdiction to ensure the safety of the society’s citizens while they pursue their self-interests. Although Hobbes’s argument is geometrically built and therefore structurally sound, he is too reductionist and the axioms that he relies on are weak. Hobbes leaves out important elements of human nature, notably natural sympathy. In a mother-baby relationship, the mother takes care of the baby, even though the baby is a liability. The mother could be pursuing much more efficient Hobbesian self-interested ways to gain pleasure such as climbing up the corporate ladder to gain more riches, honour, or command. Yet, the mother innately wishes to take care of the baby because she feels a natural connection to it. Another way we know that self interest isn’t the only force driving us is that we feel conflict. If we asked to provide a kidney transplant to a family member and were only looking at our

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