The State of Nature in "Leviathan" Essay by marque629

The State of Nature in "Leviathan"
Examines the ideas of the 17th century political philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, concerning the 'Natural Condition of Mankind' in his work, "Leviathan".
# 57998 | 2,757 words | 15 sources | MLA | 2003 | US

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Thomas Hobbes lived in the 17th century and wrote during the time of the English Civil War. His political views most likely were influenced by the war. To understand the complexity of Thomas Hobbes's ideas, as expressed in "Leviathan" about the state of nature, this paper defines Hobbes's concept of a state of nature as being one of absolute liberty where men are viewed as natural persons who have never experienced the implied security of a commonwealth. Furthermore, this paper characterizes the commonwealth as a state of peace, offering its fellowship harmony and fruitful existence. This paper demonstrates the reasons and conditions that might compel a man to exchange his complete liberty for the conceptual security offered by a commonwealth.

From the Paper:

"To use Hobbes's phraseology, the state of war exists when knowledge of conflict is present: "so the nature of war consisteth not in actual fighting, but in the known disposition thereto" (Hobbes 1590). True misery is a situation in which men feel they are likely to lose their lives, and therefore are faced with the fear of death. According to Hobbes, individuals value their own survival and well-being much more highly than the survival and well-being of others. Hence, if man believes a certain action best helps to maintain his own security, he is very likely to undertake it, even if it puts at risk the survival or well-being of others. Life becomes a constant battle for survival."

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