Thomas Hobbes’ Philosophy
Thomas Hobbes is considered one of the most bright social contract theorists presently. His theory is based on moral rules that normal people apply to safeguard their own interests. Leviathan is a metaphor applied to refer to the state, or an artificial person, who accommodates other bodies that belong to the state. Leviathan is headed by the independent and constructed through a contract agreed with people who are in the state of nature. Hobbes believed that individuals should strive to accomplish their duties by adopting the laws of cooperation, which are acceptable to free and normal people. The analysis of the author’s philosophy shows that people, driven by personal motives, tend to live in the state of nature while only a governor with absolute power can control their actions.
Hobbes’ psychological likeness of human beings is that people follow their personal motives, which are based on their inner mechanical processes. Human beings are materialistic. They prefer to pursue their personal interests by avoiding pain and seeking pleasure. The author likens human beings to machines that operate based on cause and effect, as well as action and reaction. Hobbes (n.d) claimed that “men have no pleasure, but on the contrary a great grief in keeping company where there is no power able to overawe them all” (p. 85). Men are have the freedom to utilize their own power to preserve their nature. Human beings are inconveniencing if they are allowed to live without a government, hence, a strong government is vital to enhance peace and make critical decisions.
The state of nature points out the conditions that existed prior to the emergence of society. According to Hobbes, the natural condition of humans shows equality of abilities, though their abilities are determined by their desires. Men can be equal if they are satisfied with the share that they get after an equal distribution of resources. However, the state of nature does not encourage personal property or inequality because such a state has no law. Human beings do not enjoy security in their natural condition because they are capable of putting up with harsh conditions (Hobbes, n.d). The state of nature has become diffused with numerous orders on which people are likely to disagree. For instance, when two individuals want the same thing but do not have the same means to acquire it, they become enemies. The state of nature destroys equality and triggers animosity as individuals attempt to pursue their personal goals. Thus, in the natural state, humans quarrel with each other because they want to compete, as well as glorify themselves. Eventually, the result of competition and glorification is war, where every man turns into an enemy of another. The state of nature does not encourage industry as fear and insecurity make the results uncertain. . The state of conflict encourages strong nations to attack weaker nations.
According to the author’s philosophy, the most effiecient kind of government is the one that has a ruler who possess absolute power over his subject. Thus, Hobbes preferres a monarchy to a democracy since the ruler is capable of making decisions directly whenever he likes or feels that there is a need for change. Hobbes claimes that in a democratic government, people disagree constantly over simple issues. As a result, they may end up by not resolving even a minor problem. Additionally, he claimes that any organized government is likely to experience civil war. In a monarchy, the ruler commands his council to make a change when an issue arises; thus, the problem is solved immediately. Specifically, Hobbes argues that only a ruler can possess absolute power may end violence within the state of nature. The author perceives an absolute sovereign as a critical aspect in maintaining peace, as the state of nature has always been at war. Consequently, Hobbes outlines how to minimize disputes, conflicts, as well as group divisions within the society by creating a sovereign body, the aim of which is to draft and implement all laws.
Hobbes is concerned about how human beings can survive together in peace without encountering conflicts. I support Hobbes’ generalization concerning humans, as well as their natural condition. I believe that people are in their natural conditions if they are independent and not restricted by any formal legal ties to undertake their day-to-day tasks. However, human beings are troublesome and can hardly survive without a government to direct their actions. Natural condition breeds violence because people become unpredictable and disorderly. However, I do not support the Hobbes’ concept of an ideal government because his ideal government is likely to bring forth dictatorship and lack of freedom for the people.
In conclusion, Hobbes emphasizes the fact that people use personal motives to preserve nature. Human beings living in the state of nature fail to solve daily issues. As a result, the most efficient government for such people is the one a that holds absolute power. The author’s view on natural conditions is that human beings are basically troublesome and cannot survive without a government. As the law of nature does not guarantee self-preservation in human behavior, Hobbes support a monarchy form of government, which can help to make urgent decisions without encountering opposition from the ruling council. Hobbes opposes organized government because it creates conflict in arriving at a solution.
Hobbes, T. (n.d.). Leviathan.