The Political Philosophies of Locke and Hobbes Argumentative Essay by Nicky

The Political Philosophies of Locke and Hobbes
A comparison of the views of 16th and 17th century philosophers, John Locke and Thomas Hobbes.
# 148156 | 2,317 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2011 | US
Published on Sep 13, 2011 in Philosophy (History) , Political Science (John Locke)

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This paper first describes the historical background against which Thomas Hobbes and John Locke developed their views. It then presents Hobbes' beliefs that a social contract exists between a sovereign and the population he governs, and that absolute sovereign rule is necessary for the people's own good. The paper maintains that Locke developed his belief that governments and monarchs derive their power from public consensus in reaction to Hobbes. The paper concludes that these explanations of the conflicting philosophies provide a solid basic understanding of both the prevailing Western perspective on government and its rights and responsibilities.

From the Paper:

"In fact, despite the success and influence of Hobbes' methodology, his political conclusions "have served mostly as a foil for the development of more palatable philosophical positions." John Locke, though perhaps the most prominent philosopher of his age (and even possibly the most prominent English philosopher of all time) was just one of many philosophers to write nearly in a direct response to Hobbes. Born in 1632, Locke was much younger when Charles I lost the throne and then his head, and in fact he did not publish any of his major works until the Restoration, when Charles II took the throne. It is, of course, impossible to say with any certainty how much this affected Locke's philosophy, but his concept of the role of government and the power granted by the social contract are certainly different from Hobbes'.
"The idea of the social contract was a major innovation of Hobbes', and Locke was one of many subsequent political philosophers to use it in his own thinking. Our modern concept of the social contract that exists between a government and its citizens is much more closely aligned with Locke's ideas, however. Chief among these is the idea that the people have the right to revolt, which is completely antithetical to Hobbes' own conclusions. Locke goes even further, suggesting that all monarchs and governments derive their power from public consensus."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Anonymous. "John Locke." The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2006. Accessed 17 April 2009.
  • Finn, Stephen. "Thomas Hobbes: Methodology." The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2008. Accessed 17 April 2009.
  • Lloyd, Sharon A. and Sreedhar, Susanne. "Hobbes's Moral and Political Philosophy." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2008.
  • Moseley, Alexander. "The Political Philosophy of John Locke." The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2007. Accessed 17 April 2009.
  • Uzgalis, W. "John Locke." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2007. Accessed 17 April 2009.

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