Hobbes & Locke - Coparative Analysis

3764 WordsApr 8, 200916 Pages
Writing in the 17th century, both Hobbes and Locke used the concept of a state of nature to show the nature of man's existence before the establishment of society and a sovereign. Both writers then proceeded from this abstract base point to construct a theory of how civil society came into being, what form it took and the consequences of it. The notion of property plays a crucial role in both works. Locke concentrates more than Hobbes on explaining the origins of property, mostly due to his desire to refute the arguments of Filmer and the natural rights theorists and show that all men are born free and equal regardless of what generation they're born into and that private property does not arise from consent to divide up original common property. He does this through the labour theory of property which argues that God gave the world to all men in common to use to preserve life and liberty, that naturally found objects have to be made useful by labour, that man has property in his own person and therefore owns his labour and thus man appropriates for his own, exclusive use any object in its natural state with which he mixes his own labour (Plamenatz, 1992, p342). By contrast, Hobbes has less to say about the origins of property and concentrates rather on the effect of establishing civil society upon the security and enjoyment of property. `The following essay will firstly consider the role and security of property according to Hobbes and Locke in the state of nature. I shall then examine the factors that motivate men to enter into civil society and the effect this has upon property. This approach should demonstrate that insecurity, with regard to self-preservation as well as protection of property, is a defining characteristic of a Hobbesian state of nature. Whilst security of property from other men, although not from the sovereign, may result from entering a

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