Hobbes and Rousseau's view on a "State of Nature"

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Why should people try to avoid returning to a ?state of nature?? Critically compare Hobbes? and Rousseau?s answers to this question.

?Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.? This quote gives us an idea of Two very important philosophical terms are freedom and authority. These are two terms that affect the human nation all over the world. Our cities and countries are run under the laws of a political body. The famous philosophers Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau both used experiments that involved imagining what human beings would be like without laws, to help them understand the idea of ?the state of nature.? This essay will give accounts of why people should avoid returning to a state of nature.

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), lived in a time of political and social upheaval during the English civil wars. He made his living as a tutor to aristocrat young men travelling around Europe.

The work he produced was seventeenth-century scepticism. He was interested on what moved people and why people act the way they act. He believed human beings were complex machines and their thoughts could be explained in terms of operations of the body. He was a materialist. He believed and thought in the terms of maths and geometry for establishing certain knowledge and used these geometric methods to establish basic definitions.

In 1651, Thomas Hobbes published ?Leviathan.? ?So that in the nature of man, we find three principal causes of quarrel. First, competition; secondly, diffidence: thirdly, glory.? (Leviathan, 1651. Chapter 13.) This showed many fundamental psychological claims about the human condition. Furthermore the image shown on the front shows a King or Emperor governing a city with violence. It shows various pictures of authority and violent weapons to portray power and order. He felt strong about authority and...