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Hobbes State of Nature

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Hobbes's State of Nature: summary

In this lesson from a TEACHER we offer you an explanation of the concept of Hobbes State of Nature, a seventeenth-century English philosopher and politician, who, in his work Leviathan, tries to make a description of the human being before the appearance of society. Other thinkers who have developed this idea would be Locke, Montesquieu or Rousseau, although from different points of view. The theories contractualists propose a human situation prior to society, of the state, of law and of all moral and political norms, in order to get closer to true human nature or "the natural condition of man". If you want to know more about the thought of Thomas Hobbes, continue reading this article. Start the class!

Thomas Hobbes starts from the consideration that all human beings are equal by nature, both physically and psychologically, and therefore all have the same predisposition for fighting. If there is no power that everyone fears, chaos and war will take over. Because in the State of Nature, that ahistorical state of the human being prior to society and laws, all people have the right to preserve their life and for this, they can do anything. They enjoy total

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Liberty and impunity. Anything goes to survive. The State of Nature would be, for Hobbes “the war of all against all”Or in latin bellum omnium against omnes (By Cive).

"If others also consent, and as long as it is considered necessary for the peace and defense of oneself, to renounce this right to all things and to be satisfied with the same freedom, in front of other men, that is granted to others with respect to him same".

Therefore, and in order to preserve peace among human beings, it is necessary to leave the state of nature towards society. The social contract it is essential to avoid the permanent state of war, a situation in which the human being is in constant danger.

“… It is manifest that during the time when men live without a common power that frightens them all, they find themselves in the condition or state that is called war; a war such that it is that of all against all... "

To know Hobbes's concept of the State of Nature, it is important to know the conception of the human being that this philosopher had. For Hobbes, all humans They are equal and are satisfied with their attributes physical and its capabilities intellectuals, and therefore, all are capable of dominating others, both using their bodily strength and cruelty.

He further says that they are the psychic qualities with which individuals feel satisfied. No one doubts his common sense, his mental abilities, his ability to reason. This characteristic of the human being is what allows the survival of him, and therefore, it is essential in the State of Nature.

“…there is, in fact and ordinarily, no clearer sign of the equal distribution of a thing, than the fact that each man is satisfied with the portion that corresponds to him... "

On the other hand, says the English thinker, all individuals want the sameEveryone wants the same things, and to get them, you have to fight for it. In this state, Man is a wolf to man, as,“… If two men desire the same thing, and on the path that leads to the end (which is sometimes their own preservation and sometimes only their delight) they try to annihilate or subjugate one another…”. The power of the otherIt is the only fear of the free man, the only limitation of him.

Hobbes's State of Nature: Summary - Characteristics of the human being according to Thomas Hobbes

Image: Slideshare

Three would be the causes of rivalry between human beings:

  1. The competence
  2. The distrust
  3. The glory

This state of constant warfare that characterizes human existence in the State of Nature has negative consequences, namely:

  1. The lack of law. Because with no other law than to protect one's own life, the existence of the human being becomes a struggle for survival and death, it is the greatest of fears. The natural right to conservation ensures eternal rivalry between individuals.
  2. The lack of justice. If there are no laws, everyone is free to take justice into his own hands, since there is no injustice without law. Therefore, everyone has the right to manage it as they see fit.
  3. Lack of private property. In the state of nature, no one has anything, but only what he can achieve by himself and as long as he is able to conserve it.

Chaos and anarchy reign in the state of nature, which is a state of constant warfare, and only the natural law of the human being, which is born from reason, is able to end this situation. And so, says Hobbes, the Condition.

“…Reason suggests adequate norms of peace, which men can reach by mutual consensus.…”

Hobbes, T. Leviathan or Matter, Form Y Can dand orn State EclesiáStico And Civil(1651). Ed. Alliance. 1999.
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