Thomas Hobbes politcal theory

Essay by david630University, Bachelor'sA, December 2004

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Thomas Hobbes's was an English Political philosophy who wrote during the seventieth century. He wrote during a time of civil war in England. This led to his worldview of security as the most important thing in life even above freedom or liberty. Hobbes thus formulated that the best form of government was an elected absolute monarchy.

Hobbes felt that society resembles a state of nature. In the state of nature, human beings are equal. By being equal, Hobbes says that they are capable of causing the greatest of evils to one another: death (Bobbio 39). Also in the state of nature, items are scarce. This scarcity of goods says Hobbes, "generates a permanent state of reciprocal lack of trust, which induces all to prepare for war, and to make war if necessary rather then to seek peace" (Bobbio 39). In the Leviathan Hobbes indicates three causes for conflict: "competition which makes human beings fight for gain; diffidence which makes them fight for security, and glory which makes them fight for reputation" (Bobbio 40).

Hobbes goes on to state that the passion that generates the most conflict is vainglory. Hobbes believes that vainglory is the most visible manifestation of a desire for power and what drives one human against another is a desire for power (Bobbio 40). So therefore, the state of nature is a state of war.

In order to avoid living in a State of Nature, and therefore avoiding a State of War, Hobbes says, "It is necessary that human beings agree to institute a state that will create the conditions for living a life according to reason" (Bobbio 47). The state Hobbes envisions must be a 'compact' among the many and be permanent and second it must not be just a mere association of persons who share...