Hobbes' State of Nature

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In Leviathan Thomas Hobbes describes a thought experiment he calls “The State of Nature”. He intends on describing the relationship between a citizen and his government by figuring out how people would behave without a government. A state, where each person decides for himself how to act, and is judge, jury and executioner in his own case whenever disputes arise. Hobbes will use this state as a baseline with which to decide the validity of political arrangements. Essentially Hobbes believes in a world in which everyone is constantly in jeopardy from each other, a life of fear and restlessness. I do not think Hobbes’ interpretation of human nature is accurate, and is excessively pessimistic and cynical. Hobbes beings by assuming that people are adequately similar in their mental and physical attributes that no one is capable of monopolizing any benefit nor can expect to be able to control the others. Hobbes says, “Nature hath made men so equal in the faculties of body and mind as that, though there be found one man sometimes manifestly stronger in body or of quicker mind than another, yet when all is reckoned together the difference between man and man is not so considerable as that one man can thereupon claim to himself any benefit to which another may not pretend as well as he” (Hobbes 98). Humans are unique in the manner that even if one is physically stronger, the other can use mental faculties to overpower him or her, “For as to the strength of body, the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest, either by secret machination or by confederacy with others” (Hobbes, 98). This leads Hobbes to have a theory of human nature in which everyone is constantly in a struggle with each other, because no one is dominant enough to end the conflict. The only thing keeping people from killing each other are the social constructs and their consequences. These

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