Human Nature. Hobbes and Locke

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Human Nature Thomas Hobbs and John Locke both developed well known theories on human nature and political philosophy. When we refer to these philosophers today Locke is seen as the optimist while Hobbes the pessimistic. Their theories of human nature translated into their views on how a society should be run. Despite their vast differences in views on human nature, they both agree that it is best for a society to have some form of social contract and a government enacted by the people. Hobbes pessimistic view on human nature was most likely a result of how he took in his surroundings. Hobbes lived in the 17th Century, during the English Civil War; much of his theory was influenced by this war. He saw man as solely self-interested and run by fear. Man’s desires are unappeasable. Since resources are scarce, humankind is naturally competitive, inevitably creating jealousy and hatred, which eventually leads to war. This constant state of war is what Hobbes believes to be man’s original state of nature. According to Hobbes, man cannot be trusted in the state of nature. Limits must be put on freedom and inalienable rights. Hobbs believed that if man had complete freedom it would result in chaos. This perception of the original state of nature is what would exist if there were no ruling power to execute and enforce the laws to restrain and individual’s fears and desires. The “Hobbesian Trap” can be seen throughout society today. For example, the nuclear arms race is run by each country’s fear of another even though no threat has been made. This is essentially what Hobbes believes what happens at the human level and that this fear would justify chaos if there are no laws and regulations on freedoms. Due to this view of human nature Hobbs does not believe that humans have the ability to self-rule. In order to prevent chaos Hobbs believed that outside the state of
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