Obedience to public authority

  • Created by: Nikki
  • Created on: 29-04-15 21:19

Hobbes (1)

State of nature

  • war of every man against every man
  • no institutions of law, justice or property
  • life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short

Social Contract

  • Everyone by covenant relinquish natura rights and submit to authority of coercive power
  • (artificial) person created by covenant is the sovereign
  • natural rights are alienate


  • vertical/top-down structure of political authority
  • measure of justice supplied by laws
  • law is command of sovereign 
  • sovereign cannot be bound by law --> conventional restraints
  • where law ends, civil liberty begins
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Hobbes (2)

Liberty --> negative liberty --> 'the absence of external impediments'

Natural right --> natural right of every man to everything 

Natural laws derived from general 'condition of man' --> endeavor peace; when impossible can use war; must be willing when others are to lay down right to do all things for peace and defence and be contented with as much liberty against others as he would allow others against himself

Renunciation of natural rights 

  • simple renunciation --> cares not to whom benefit goes
  • transferring --> intends benefit to some certain person or persons

Political order is not a natural condition --> agreement of mean is not natural but by covenant only (artificial) --> something else required (common power) to enforce covenants and agreements and to create political order

Law = rules made by sovereign to govern Commonwealth

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Hobbes (3)

Rights of sovereign

  • cannot be overthrown through covenant with another or agreement to return to state of nature
  • nothing he does can breach covenant
  • consent from all inc those who dissented
  • unable to commit injustice or injury in proper signification
  • cannot be justly put to death or punished by subjects
  • do what is necessary beforehand and when peace and security lost to secure/recover them
  • power of prescribing rules/laws and right of judicature
  • right of making war with other nations
  • choosing of all people in office
  • power of rewarding and punishing every subject according to law he has formerly made
  • right to give titled of honour

Common-wealth --> 

  • by acquisition = natural force
  • political or by Institution = when men agree amongst themselves to submit to some man, or assembly of men, voluntarily, on confidence to be protected by him against all others
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Locke (1)

State of nature

  • individuals free, equal and rational
  • natural right to acquire property
  • natural law
  • authority system needed to formalise rules (esp property) and enforce them

Constitutional government

  • preservation of property as aim
  • established by covenant of delegation, not alienation of natural rights
  • covenant creates constitution
  • government is 'a fiduciary power to act for certain ends'


  • right of rebellion --> threat of this ensures that govt not tempted to abuse authority
  • if govt breaches trust --> power back to people and return to state of nature (in which govt now seen as an antagonist, a violator of natural law)
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Locke (2)


  • natural liberty = negative liberty --> free from any superior power on earth and not under will or legislative authority of man, but to have only law of Nature for rule
  • in society --> under no legislative power than that established by consent of commonwealth --> standing rule to live by, common to everyone of that society and made by legislative power erected in it --> liberty in all things where law doesn't proscribe otherwise

Function of Commonwealth -->

  • preservation of property;
  • establish law and standard right and wrong to measure all controversies;
  • provide known and indifferent judge;
  • create more certainty and security

Absolute monarchy inconsistent with civil society --> not all under restraints of laws; still instate of nature as has no authority to appeal to 

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Locke (3)

Restraints on supreme authority  

  • same rule for all, in form of established laws
  • laws designed for good of people
  • must not raise taxes on property of people without consent of people given by themselves or deputies --> cannot simply take property without consent
  • legislative neither must nor can transfer power of making laws to anybody else, or place it anywhere but where people have

Prerogative power

  • power to act according to discretion for public good, without prescription of law
  • latitutde left to executive power to do many things of choice which laws do not prescribe in order to avoid inflexible rigour and slow moving laws hwne legislature is not available or complaints are too numerous
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Paine (1)

Rights of Man

  • legitimate government can only be founded upon actual consent of the governed


  • a thing (fact, not an idea but a real existence)
  • antecedent to government --> government is only creature of constitution
  • act of people constituting its government
  • body of elements, to which you can refer, and quote article by article (physical thing)
  • everything that relates to complete organisation of civil government and principles on which it shall act, and by which it shall be bound
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Paine (2)

Natural rights 

  • appertain to man in right of existence
  • rights of individual which exist even before society
  • some retained after entering into socierty and some given to common stock

Civil rights --> appertain to man in right of being member of society

Natural/civil rights relationship

  • all civil have basis in natural --> grows out of natural
  • civil power is aggregate of class of natural rights of man which become sdefective in indivdiual in point of power and is not relevant to his purpose, but relevant/competent in collective
  • civil rights cannot be applied to invade natural rights retained in individual 
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Social Contract (Loughlin)

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Obedience to authority

Why do people obey authority? Why should they?

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