Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan Essay

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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.
He claims that acts of kindness, charity and benevolence are always actions that the performer believes will result in a beneficial consequence for himself. Hobbes’ basis for this argument lies in the concept of
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The most highly organized social network is called a commonwealth, a web of contracts between members of a community, which according to Hobbes is synonymous to the formation of an entirely new person of which each individual is but a working part (Leviathan 2, 17). Hence the title of Hobbes’ most famous work, Leviathan, which is a sea monster that lives off of the “sea of individuals.” And who is to rule this commonwealth?
Hobbes answers that there needs to be a sovereign, to judge and enforce the laws of the contracts (Leviathan 2, 18). This sovereign, who is either chosen by the creators of the covenant (institution) or who forces people under his rule (acquisition) has the final rule in enforcing the laws.
Essentially what Hobbes is saying by all of this is that human beings are not fit to govern themselves. The notion of the social contract serves the purpose of saving us from ourselves because, according to Hobbes, humans are not able to do that on their own. The idea of acting on behalf of the common good is, while comprehensible in theory, impossible for humans to execute.
In criticizing Hobbes argument, it is extremely important to understand that the very theory of the state of nature is purely arbitrary. Such a state has never existed. While Hobbes states that the idea of a state of nature is hypothetical, a certain validity must be denied in the absence of evidence.

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