The philosophy of thomas hobbes

Essay by dickvandice May 2004

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Thomas Hobbes

Hobbes' theory has been read by philosophers throughout the years, as has Rousseau's, who is right? Is anyone? Hobbes' beliefs are comparable to Rousseau's, both make valid points but in my mind Hobbes has the stronger argument. Hobbes has a stronger and more accurate view on the state of nature whereas Rousseau's view is very optimistic and unrealistic. Hobbes' view on a state of nature where everyman must fend for himself and his explanation of how society must be set up in order for it all to work outweigh Rousseau's explanation on the state of nature.

To understand Hobbes one must understand is theory of the state of nature. In his explanation of the state of nature men are infinitely appetitive, all equal to each other, every man is entitled to their natural rights, there are limited resources and there is no common power able to 'over ewe them all.'

Contrasting with Rousseau who believes resources are unlimited, Hobbes argues that resources are limited. I believe this is a much stronger argument than Rousseau because food doesn't last forever, there is never an unlimited number of things, everything can run out eventually. This idea links directly to his belief of man being infinitely appetitive; "if any two men desire the same thing, which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies."(184) All me are equally vulnerable and can all be killed. Thus in the state of nature it is every man for himself. I agree with this view on the state of nature, I see many of the same ideas come to truth in today's society even though it is not a state of nature in Hobbes' or my view. If you were one of two people striving for the very same...