Sample Political Science Essay Paper on Hobbes’s View of the State of Nature

Hobbes’s View of The State of Nature

Hobbes’s view of the state of nature can best be described from the role his notions of reason, human nature, natural law, and absolute freedom play in the state of nature. Concerning reason, Hobbes argues that reason is not moral or ethical and that people are not born with reason-as-knowledge. Rather, knowledge in itself is acquired primarily through math and science. This underscores why his theoretical approach is scientifically constructed in line with the rules of physics and empiricism. When it comes to understanding human nature and its role in the state of nature, Hobbes uses a Galilean scientific method to understand the same. He views human nature from two angles; that it is vital and involuntary and that it is voluntary motion with the latter being a form of will and part of what humans call behavior and is closely associated with politics. Further, in Hobbes’s description of human nature, his denial of “free will” is contrary to classicalists’ definition of human nature. Regarding the element of natural or absolute freedom, Hobbes argues that man is naturally free and equal and he is of the opinion that this level of freedom is not good as people suppose but a frightening predicament.[1] With man being so free, he has endless liberty to use his own power for preservation of life. The kind of freedom man enjoys can be considered absolute meaning that every human has an equal opportunity and a natural right to everything.

Hobbes firmly believes that it is these conditions that set the stage for man’s struggle for power and control and ceaseless motion. The right to everything comes with the desire or need to dominate and destroy things in the long run. The failure to restrain man’s natural freedom and liberty is one of the major reasons for the anarchy with life. Further, according to Hobbes, the natural freedom man enjoys is based on natural right and natural law.[2] He believes that natural law can only be applicable in situations where reason and self-interest are combined through contract and establishment of the artifice of the state. He goes against the ideology of natural law theorists given his transformation of natural law into a form of natural ethics whereby the focus is on observing human behavior rather than a moral objective order. The bottom line, according to Hobbes, is that the state of nature is primarily as a result of human nature that is self-interested, free or liberal, and asocial.[3] Hobbes’s other major assumption regarding the state of nature is that it is a situation that pits all against all, which can also be referred to as a state of war.

From a personal viewpoint, Hobbes’ reasoning and view of the state of nature is true to a large extent. Modern society is all about freedom or liberty where people push for equality where everyone feels that he or she has the right to act or behave in a specific way. This push for equality among humans comes amidst differences in mental acuity and strength. The outcome of this push for equality and liberty is everyone’s struggle to dominate and control society, hence the incessant conflicts and people killing and conquering one another. In essence, the aspects of equality and liberty pave the way for conflicts among people who are in competition, seek for glory, or live in a society of distrust.

Bibliography

“Thomas Hobbes: Methodology.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Accessed September 19, 2018. https://www.iep.utm.edu/hobmeth/#SH3b.

Lloyd, Sharon A., and Susanne Sreedhar. “Hobbes’s moral and political philosophy.” (2002). Accessed September 19, 2018. https://stanford.library.sydney.edu.au/entries/hobbes-moral/


[1] “Thomas Hobbes: Methodology.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

[2] Lloyd, Sharon A., and Susanne Sreedhar. “Hobbes’s moral and political philosophy.” (2002).

[3] Lloyd, Sharon A., and Susanne Sreedhar.