Thomas Hobbes and John Locke: Two Philosophers Compared - YouTube

A curious feature of recent political philosophy is that Hobbes tends to get all the attention. When I was an undergraduate at UCLA [1968-1971], I remember much discussion of Hobbes, and was always to be seen on the shelves for many classes in the campus bookstore. Of Locke's political thought, however, I heard nothing, and the was a book I never saw. This circumstance has continued in the source books I have used for my class, where both Hobbes and Locke are featured but where selections of Locke's works never include any of his political writing. What is going on here? Was Hobbes that influential a thinker and Locke of no significance? In fact, just the opposite is the truth. Whigs hated Hobbes because, of course, he endorsed the absolute authority of the King. However, Tories did not like Hobbes either, because he was an atheist and materialist who made a secular argument for his view of government. To the Tories, the authority of the King came from God. The absolute power of Kings was a . Locke himself addressed such arguments in his . So of any political significance liked Hobbes, while Locke provided the theory both for British government after the Glorious Revolution and for American government after the American Revolution. How could Hobbes now then be getting all the attention and Locke little or none?

Both Thomas Hobbes and John Locke imagined what life was like in a state of nature.

Rights and equality are yet two other dividing points between Hobbes and Locke. Based on Hobbes' theories there is little to nothing defining right and wrong except for what the individual, in the state of nature, or the state, in society, decides. There is only one natural right, and that is the right of self preservation (Deutsch, p. 263). This is literally might makes right. Hobbes' theories takes an interesting twist in respects to individual rights when in the state of nature because he claims that all men are equal in physical and mental faculties. That while there are some who are stronger than others, the weak are capable of forming confederacies to kill the stronger and so be strong themselves (Hobbes, p. 74). This equality makes it so that each man has the ability to consent to be governed and does for the sake of survival. This theory makes Hobbes the originator of the modern social contract theory (Deutsch, p. 238). Locke, however, views man in a nicer light by countering that since we are governed by natural laws that come from a creator, then there also follows that there are rights that come from this being as well. These rights are called inalienable right and now days are also referred to as human rights. Sadly there is some ambiguity about the definition of these rights, but there are at least three that are well know. These are life, liberty and property ownership (or in the words of Thomas Jefferson, the pursuit of happiness). Funnily enough, while Hobbes views humanity to be more individualistic and Locke's is that we are more communal, it is Locke's idea of inalienable rights that has helped to forward the individual rights movement and advance us to the point we are at today. In respects to equality, since we all are owing our lives and rights to this creator and we are not God and so are subject to death, this makes all of us equal. This equality is not based of alliances, physical or mental prowess but rather on the fact that we are, in a sense, children of a god. This makes any alliance, government or ruler subject to the law rather than being above it because they or he is the author of the law. He who violates the inalienable rights is the enemy of mankind.

Hobbes And Locke Venn Diagram Tattoos

Leyden, W. von (1981): Hobbes and Locke: the politics of freedom and obligation, London: Macmillan. Hobbes and Locke both break human motivation down to a basic state of nature. It is a 'what if' scenario where people are placed to understand their actions, reactions and motivations. What is interesting is that these two states of nature Hobbes and Locke come up with are polar opposites. Hobbes establishes a science that explains humanity at a physics like level of motion. In fact, this motion in humanity leads to "a perpetual and restless desire for power after power, that ceases only in death"(Deutsch, p. 235). Hobbes argues that so strong is this desire for power that "man is a wolf to his fellow man," and that the true state of nature for man is at war (Deutsch, p. 237-238). This does not seem to be fair to wolves or men. Based off of this argument, in nature when two men come face to face on a narrow path, one will bash the other in the head to make way for his path, or perhaps enslave him to carry his burden and do work for him. Locke takes a very different approach. His ideas of human nature are formed with a deist philosophy, meaning that he recognizes that there is a God but does not espouse any particular religion or dogma behind this being or beings. Rather than having human nature rooted in individualism, our nature is governed by natural laws which are set by this creator. Because of this an individual who focuses on his self interest with an eye to the community is the center of John Locke's view of human nature (Deutsch, p. 274). Unlike Hobbes, Locke sees that man is not only interested in self survival, but also the survival of his society because of these governing laws. This may be the reason why a man or woman will rush into a burning building or plunge into an icy, fast moving river to save another person or child's life. This idea of altruism, of risking ones life to save another is somewhat unique to humanity with the exception of a mother animal defending its children. This divergence in ideas between these two men does come back together in one way at least. In both cases, there has to be a choice of forming alliances and creating or joining societies. Both perceive a need for free will and intelligence else under an extreme Hobbesian philosophy we would be battling brutes and under an extreme Lockeian philosophy we would be ants.

Political theory - Hobbes and Locke (eBook / ePub)

The difference with Hobbes is clearest in Locke’s argument about property. Hobbes and Locke agree that individuals have a right to property in the state of nature, but Hobbes denies that individuals have any duty to respect the property of others. This makes property more or less useless in Hobbes’s state of nature. Locke says individuals have a duty to respect the property (and lives and liberties) of others even in the state of nature, a duty he traces to natural law. Natural law and natural rights coexist, but natural law is primary, commanding respect for the rights of others.

Nature’: A Brief Look into the Views of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke