The society is made up of different phenomena. Scholars, and especially those studying philosophy, have been involved in explaining the different phenomena life contains. This paper will focus on the different views that have been established with regards to the state of nature and the fundamental purpose of politics in a society.
Why are things the way they are in the natural? What evidence is there to back the theory or theories that seem most fit to explain the state of nature? Which scholars have been most convincing with regards to explaining the state of nature? What is the role of politics in the society? What is the origin of politics in the society? What is the fundamental purpose of politics in the society? Can a society exist without politics? What are the major differences between a society with politics and one without politics? These are the questions that will form the basis through which the paper will communicate its core message. There have been a lot of scholars who have sought to set forth explanation with regards to the state of nature and the fundamental purpose of politics in the society. To clearly evaluate this, this paper will focus on two great philosophers – Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. Although there have been contribution by other scholars on the topic being tackled in the paper, the focus will be set on Hobbes and Locke.
The main aim of the paper is to compare and contrast the principles set forth by Thomas Hobbes and John Locke with regards to the fundamental purpose of political society and the state of nature. What did each of them say about these two life aspects? Whose account is most plausible? Why? These questions form the guide that will direct the course of the paper. (Zaborowski, 2010) Thomas Hobbes is regarded to as a great philosopher. He lived in the 17th century and has been responsible for some of the most important principles set forth to explain the state of nature and politics. His works are compared to those of Aristotle Rousseau, Locke, Rawls, Kant and Plato. He is credited for the social contract theory and his laws on the association between nature and moral philosophies. The main point that Thomas Hobbes used in explain the state of nature is the comparison of life with regards to government. According to Hobbes, the perfect state of nature is characterized by the ability to privately make judgment which is not influenced by any exterior motive or by any agency.
The power to make and enforce a decision under Hobbes’ explanation lies within the will of a person. Although he gives an explanation, he goes on to dispute the existence of a society under the perfect state of nature. He talks of how impossible it is for the existence of masterless men who are not subjected to any law. He also looks at coercive power in the explanation of the inexistence of a society under the perfect state of nature. (Beattie, 2010) John Locke has also been credited with explaining the state of nature.
With regards to Locke’s explanation on the topic, a society might actually experience the state of nature without experiencing excessive force and lawlessness. According to Locke, a perfect state of nature exists in situations where reason is the main driving force. Locke states that it is possible for people to exist together in harmony without one man seeking to harm another. According to Locke, a state of nature translates to a situation where all the men are free and responsible for their actions. This also includes the ability to dispose or order their different persons and possessions in the manner they deem well fit. All this is to be done within the boundaries that have been set by the default laws of nature.
According to the condition presented by Locke, the main reason that dictates the boundaries set forth is reason. Unlike Hobbes’ explanation, Locke states that there is harmony in such an environment that is rooted from the respect of liberty, property, and life. The explanation that is given by Locke also covers the punishment for different transgressions. According to Locke, people in such a state of nature are cautious as there is an attachment or consequence to the actions they take. Unlike Hobbes’ explanation, the principles set forth by Locke have a theology attachment. The argument that has been set forth by Locke makes him as popular other philosophers who have discussed the state of nature. These include Robert Filner, Rawls, Plato, Aristotle Rousseau, and Kant. (Zaborowski, 2010) Thomas Hobbes has also looked at the purpose and politics in the analysis of the state of nature.
According to Hobbes, the society has to have a system through which order is maintained. Without a governing body, Hobbes talks of rampant destruction in the society as well as misuse of power. According to the principles Hobbes has used in explaining the state of nature, the establishment of a central organized unit through which order is maintained is the key element in government and politics. Politics erupts in a bid to control the governing system and in quest for power. Hobbes argues that effective governance is established through absolute authority. According to Hobbes, the more absolute authority a government has the more effective it is with regards to controlling its subjects. (Beattie, 2010) John Locke looks at politics and government from 2 main principles.
He states that politics is founded on reason, social contract, and tolerance. These are important in dealing with the human nature and the selfish desires. Both Locke and Hobbes believe that the nature of men allows them to be selfish beings and this is evident through the introduction of currency. Establishing defense for the state alone is not enough. This is the main cause that has led to the development of civil societies.
According to the principles set forth by Locke, it is clear to note that he advocated for the separation of powers in government so as to improve the efficiency of government. (Parry, 2003) In conclusion, both Locke and Hobbes have presented a wealth of information with regards to the analysis of the state of nature and the purpose of politics in the society. Hobbes views on the state of nature are more plausible whereas Locke’s views on the purpose of politics are more plausible. Hobbes principles on the state of nature are more acceptable compared to the views of Locke. He has dealt with the situation as it presents itself and his arguments are widely acceptable and applicable. With regards to the establishment of government, Locke has presented the fundamental purpose for the establishment of government as well as analyzing the effectiveness of governance.
Beattie, A.R. (2010). Justice and morality: human suffering, natural law and international politics. Farnham, England: Ashgate Publishers. Parry, G. (2003). John Locke.
London: Routledge. Zaborowski, H. (2010). Natural moral law in contemporary society. Washington D.C: Catholic University of America Press