How did Hobbes and Rousseau differ on the nature of man?

How did Hobbes and Rousseau differ on the nature of man?

Hobbes' thesis assumes that human nature is intrinsically competitive and aggressive, but Rousseau's conception of "natural man" is one who lives in peace with nature and in a better position than what he seen during his life in Europe. For Hobbes, even if humans were able to live in peace, they would still be forced to fight each other for survival because only the strongest could survive. Therefore, humanity's natural state is one of war.

Hobbes also believes that morality is nothing more than a product of society. Since people are naturally selfish, they will always want to maximize their own interests above everyone else's. Thus, there is no possibility for human beings to live in peace or harmony since their desire to bestow benefit on others is not strong enough to counterbalance their desire to take advantage of them. For Hobbes, it is only through political institutions such as sovereignty that human beings can be forced to act morally because only then can they avoid being killed by others.

As I have already mentioned, for Hobbes, morality is based on self-interest. He claims that people will always do what benefits them most at the moment because they are rational animals who know that if they don't look out for number one, then someone else will come along and take care of that. Thus, humanity's natural state is one of violence because only the strongest can survive.

What theory of government did Thomas Hobbes and John Locke develop?

Theories of social contracts The concept of a natural state was central to the social-contract ideas of English philosophers Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and John Locke (1632–1704), as well as French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–78). In this view, human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, but through their own actions they create different levels of political power within societies. These concepts are central to understanding why some people might agree to be ruled by another group.

Hobbes argued that humans are naturally selfish and will only act civilly toward one another if there is a strong force keeping them in line. This "strong force" can only be a dictator who commands absolute power over his or her subjects. Because people are prone to rebellion against their rulers, however, they need to enter into a contract with the leader first so that he or she will protect them from others who would harm them.

Locke took issue with this view, arguing that humans are not naturally selfish but rather altruistic by nature. However, because people are vulnerable to other people's actions, they need protection from foreign armies and police forces which can help defend them against threats from outside their community. Thus, like Hobbs, Locke believed that humans create governments to protect themselves, but he disagreed that they must do so under duress.

What did Thomas Hobbes and John Locke agree on regarding the nature of humans?

Hobbes argued that people are inherently aggressive, violent, and self-centered. Simultaneously, Locke maintained that people's fundamental nature was calm, intellectual, and serene. They differed in their views on how society should be organized to prevent violence.

Hobbes believed that the only way to ensure peace is through a strong leader who can maintain order by force. Locke disagreed and proposed a government composed of three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. People should be allowed to vote for representatives who will decide what role they want the judiciary to play.

Locke also differed from Hobbes in his view on religion. For Hobbes, Christianity was the only true religion because it was the only one that could justify the existence of a powerful state. Others had good intentions when they created religions but they were always corrupted by priests who used them to gain power over their followers.

For Locke, instead, all religions have a similar effect on people's beliefs and behaviors; therefore, they are all false. The only true religion is based on reason and free will and it allows individuals to seek happiness in their own ways.

Finally, Locke agreed with Hobbes about human nature; people are selfish and willing to harm others to improve their own lives.

About Article Author

Mary Washington

Mary Washington is a counselor at a local community health center. She has been in the field for five years and she loves it very much. Mary likes helping people feel better and get back on track, which is what she does best. One of her favorite parts of her job is working with people one-on-one to help them with their personal problems and issues.

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