Hobbes vs Locke

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By jst3360
Words 1828
Pages 8
James Wells
Hobbes vs. Locke
This paper will compare and contrast the views of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke expressed in Leviathan and Second Treatise of Government. The paper will show the basic differences between the two philosophers views, is Hobbes' distrust of the people and Locke's relatively greater trust of the people and distrust of the government's power and the likelihood of the abuse of that power.
Hobbes' view in Leviathan aims at ensuring civil order, which means for him the absolute power of the government, or the Leviathan, which power the people have given him through the social contract. Locke, on the other hand, keeps much more power in the hands of the people through the legislature, which means, in effect, majority rule. Locke was also deeply concerned with maintaining the rights of the people, especially the right to own property. Locke's political view produces a much more democratic system, while Hobbes' produces a much more authoritarian, if not totalitarian, system. Both Locke and Hobbes start their political analysis with reference to the state of nature. However, their definitions of this state of nature stand in stark contrast to one another. The differences on their perception of the state of nature correspond to the final conclusions of what is important in a civil society. The contrasting perceptions of the state of nature on the part of these two philosophers are crucial, because they use those perceptions as the foundations for the political philosophies which they then construct. The only thing Hobbes agrees with in Locke's teaching of the state of nature is that the state of war must be avoided at all costs. Locke's more democratic political philosophy flows from his belief in man's ability to reason, and his right to own property, even in a state of nature. To Hobbes, the state of nature is one in which every…...

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