Thomas Hobbes 's Views On Human Nature And His Ideal Government

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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). For men, the common good is not the private and they can only be happy if they are better off in comparison to others. “Men are continually in competition for honor and dignity, which these creatures are not; and consequently amongst men there ariseth on that ground, envy and hatred, and finally war” (Hobbes, Leviathan, 17, 7). Due to these instinctive desires and behavioral patterns, he believes that the natural condition of man is troublesome and can only lead to a state of chaos and conflict. This state is undesirable and should be avoided. So while men continue to live without a common power to keep them in awe, they will be in a continuous state of war, which is every man against every man. Here, all men are each other’s enemies and the ideas of right and wrong along with just and unjust do
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