Hobbes’ vs. Locke’s Perspective to the Human Nature

Philosophy of LawHobbes’ vs. Locke’s Perspective to the Human Nature

As Hobbes states that in state of nature there is a war situation due to three factors  regarding competition, diffidence and lastly glory. These three fundamental factors has a considerable  effect on war condition in the state of nature. People are affected by these factors in equal conditions because there is equality in the state of nature. This equality means that everyone can create almost same threat against another according to Hobbes. By desiring same things and compete to possess for  those to  achieve honour simultaneously, people feel threatened, so insecure. There is also a struggle  against others by  preserving their rights and  properties, thus, consequently, war and disharmony might be occured in the state of nature. On the contrary, Locke indicates that in the state of nature people are respectful to each other’s rights and properties therefore there will be no threat against them.  There is a mutual respect and sensibility, people do not tend to injure mutually. For Locke, people are obliged to preserve themselves and other people in the society and also all people execute the law of nature by not being unbiased and equitably. Moreover, in the state of nature there is equality, according to it, there is no superior power of a person over another. As a result, there is a  serenity and cooperation among people in the state of nature instead of war and disorder accorrding to Locke. Therefore Hobbes’ and Locke’s diverse state of nature understandings should be analysed with making comparisons. As it is explained above, they consider state of nature quite differently in terms of equality and other characteristics of it.  In this paper, it will be argued that Hobbes’ ideas on equality in the state of a nature and consequences of lack of authority are more reasonable than Locke’s ideas because Hobbes’ ideas are more convenient for reality.

Although some of Locke’s views on equality existed in the state of nature are defended by some, Hobbes’s understanding of equality in the state of nature is more plausible and realistic. First, even today, the struggles for superiority among people and trying to be superior than others rather than being equal to others have been seen since humans exist. Instead of being delighted with what people possess, they desire to acquire more things which are same as other men do in the state of nature, therefore they live in continuous fear that whether others force to dispossess and destroy themselves, their life, liberty and property. Consequently, fear generates a lack of trust among men, thus, a dispute arises in the state of nature. Hobbes’ assertion supports what discussed above with that when men when people want to have the same things and they also want to subordinate to other people and desire to be the ultimate power, a race situation arises and people want to have a reputation, besides, the need for defence arises, in the end, it can be said that there is no equality in the state of nature. On the other hand, Locke clarifies the equality situation by stating that in the state of nature people cannot dominate each other, however, each has equal power and authority besides they are free and equal to have liberty to do as they what demand merely within the frontier of the law of nature. Moreover everyone has equal obligations to protect the rights and freedom of others and as much as he can due to people are gifts of God to the state of nature. Whereas, Hobbes advocates that freedom,equality and  individual rights cannot be prioritized by men  in the state of nature, they  could pursue their survival and interest without any limitation. They had no liability to respect the rights of others. This is why the state of nature was a state of war for Hobbes. Hobbes also believes that scarcity of goods might induce a permanent state of war, competition, and avarice of men that cannot be managed without an absolute sovereign in the state of nature. It might be said from Locke’s view, men can utilize their reason to exercise their rights to protect their property and possessions and they do not injure other people’s property and engage in a state of war and may, consequently, endeavour to coexist peacefully. Nevertheless, people’s instincts based on greed, competition, and brutal ways of self-preservation. These characteristics are the basis of men living in the state of nature, besides if the scarcity of goods arises people are more inclined to harm other people in the state of nature. For instance, throughout history,  it has never been seen that each community is equal. By making discrimination, colonization and enslavement activities, societies ,in the state of nature, such as England and France desired to be in the highest position, not equal to other communities, in terms of property rights, freedom etc. Therefore, finally, it might be asserted that Hobbes’ view is more satisfactory and reasonable regarding equality than Locke’s opinions for real world and this comparison.

Although Locke identifies the state of nature as a state of peace, and the condition of men living together without legitimate authority;Hobbes, on the contrary, asserts that without subjection to a common power, men are necessarily at war. Therefore the consequences of an absence of authority  in the state of nature should be analyzed with comparison  in detail. Initially, as it has been demonstrated above, without a superior power, societies that live in the state of nature are at any possibility of war. Hobbes supports this situation with his claim regarding if no superior power to be afraid of, men might utilize to corrupt order and leads to insecurity in the state of nature and a war may arise. It can be elaborated as follows: Self-preservation is the sole right independent of the commonwealth. Hobbes perceives that in the state of nature without authority, people have not private property, contrary to Locke,  they utilize self-preservation right ,without any limitation, to keep their properties and preserve their freedom and rights. Locke also indicates that when men intend to subdue another man to become absolute power over him, there can be a preservation right arise, hence, state of war condition appears.  For instance from real world, it can be inspected that in Syria, there is a civil war and kind of a state of nature situation due to absence of superior authority, therefore people feel insecure and they have a tendency to protect their liberty and rights as property by self-preservation and they cannot violate law and act unjustly, therefore people are in danger in that country and every kind of  acts  of man are just due to lack of executer of laws. Consequently, there might occur a chaos situation in the state of nature due to every men tend to preserve their property, freedom unjustly.   Furthermore, Locke assumes that every man has a right to punish the offender, and be the executioner of the law of nature to criminals to preserve innocent people’s property, liberty. This Locke’s idea may function in theory, but in practice there may be problems. For instance, when every man interpret laws  for his own benefit  and decide upon inappropriate punishment for offenders since there exists no common judge, hence controversies between men rise. Therefore, as Hobbes states that generating an environment where disputes can be decided upon by an impartial authority by creating common power is crucial to overcome the state of a war condition. Moreover, as people live in the state of nature, they tend to prefer not to obey the laws executed by other people, and not to respect other people’s judicial decisions, thus, there might be a chaos in the state of nature. Locke manifest his acknowledgement of negative consequences of absence of superior authority as stating that when people are judges of their own cases, they can be partial and decide in favour of the ones they love and in favor of themselves; in other cases, those who are judges because of their bad feelings like revenge can make very unjust and severe punishments. Moreover, the judges are insufficient to execute their provisions and sanctions against disobedience by offenders hence, this cause war and disorder in the state of nature. Eventually, it can be said that thanks to Hobbes’ demonstration of the negative consequences in the absence of authority, it was revealed that unlike Locke, indeed, the existence of a superior force is necessary in the state of nature.

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