Robbie Dagg4/22/99State of NatureTo trigger off any philosophy on what should be the characteristics of the state wemust first imagine living in a state of nature (living with the lack of a state). Since wecannot trace back to any time that weve been without government, we must imagine whatit would be like in a state of nature. What are people like with the absence of a state? therehave been many views in answering this question, therefore there have been manydifferences in views for what the ideal state should be and serve as. A character of a state is described to best remedy for the deficiency of the Stateof Nature, as Hobbes came up with his pessimistic state of nature in which life is solitary,poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
Hobbes’ view started off when he stated that the firstprinciple of human behavior was egoism, or self-interest, and it was this egoism, that wasthe root of all social conflict. Although Hobbes stated that all people are roughly equal,still, if someone has more, others have less. The insecurity regarding what you can keepleads to violence. where there are no restraints on peoples actions, it leads to the war ofall against all says Hobbes. So, Hobbes is basically saying, any state is better than thestate of nature, be glad that the state is there. Even if it is a corrupt state, you will benefitmore from the corrupt state than you would from the State of Nature which is completelylawless.
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However, this vision of society which leaves power out of the hands of the peopleand leads to criticisms from philosophers such as Locke and Rousseau, who countersHobbes with their own ideas of the state of nature. In Locke’s State of Nature theState of Nature is ordered by the Laws of Nature, including your Natural Rights to Life,Liberty, and Property. If a man works a piece of land and makes it better and morevaluable or useful, it becomes his property. This possession can only be freely contractedaway to others, and government. Although Locke said that the political society is theresult of agreements made between people living in a State of Nature, he says that thestate must have permission by a person to enforce the law on him, however if you acquireany property which falls under the jurisdiction of the state, you thereby become a tacitmember of that state. Thus, by using the benefits of the state, you have consented to beinga member of the state.
On a more liberal and appealing philosophy than both Locke andHobbes, Rousseau maintained that human beings were essentially good and equal in theState of Nature but were corrupted by the introduction of property, agriculture, science,and commerce. People entered into a social contract among themselves, establishinggovernments and educational systems to correct the inequalities brought about by the riseof civilization. All of the differences between Rousseaus theories when compared toLocke and Hobbes, begin with different interpretations of the state of nature. SinceHobbes had the impression that all people were egoists and were only interested in theirown good, he figured it would lead to the war of all against all, therefore anygovernment was better than the state of nature.
Locke believed that most people gotalong pretty well for the most part by rational intuition, but were always a few badapples in the group that forced others to give up their natural rights in a law system inorder to be able to punish the exceptions in the society. Rousseau criticizes Hobbes andLocke by saying that they werent really looking at the real State of Nature, and that allof the negative qualities of human beings that they had mentioned to be present in theState of Nature was in fact, a quality brought on by the state of their time. TheRousseau version of the State of Nature differs greatly from Locke, but from Hobbesespecially, in that he makes no mention of the constant fear which Hobbes believed wouldcontrol mans life in the state of nature, rather he describes the State of Nature as pleasantand peaceful. He described the people in this primitive state as living free, healthy, honestand happy lives, and felt that man was timid, and would always avoid conflict, rather thanseek it out. So