General Studies at NSG
‘The Leviathan’ (1651)
Friedrich Engels ‘Origins of the
Family, Private Property and
the State’ (1884)
How is social order possible?
Hobbes aimed to produce evidence for why we need a government based on rational argument and evidence without reference to the ‘divine right of kings’
All men seek to avoid death and injury
Because men want a happy life, they seek sufficient power to ensure that happy life
All men have a ‘restless desire for power’
This leads to an ‘equality of hope in the achieving of our aims’
Without a power able to enforce rules, there is chaos and misery
3 causes of conflict
men fight for gain
men fight for security
men fight for reputation
Everyone is pulled into a constant competitive struggle for power
the natural state of man is a war of all against all (‘the state of nature’)
People are insecure, and live in a constant fear of injury and death
There is no place for industry in the state of nature, because the fruit of it is uncertain. Hence, no agriculture, navigation, building, culture, science
Life in a state of nature is
"solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short"
The fact that people lock their doors
provides support for Hobbes’ view that
people are naturally inclined to fight each other.
Under these conditions, how can social order be achieved?
In the state of nature, people have liberty
Since man is rational, he will never use his power to harm himself
Man will try to achieve peace only if he is convinced that everyone else will do the same
No use for everyone to merely agree to give up their individual freedom and power (‘sovereignty’) because people would cheat whenever it was to their advantage