The State of Nature

  • State of nature
  • Hobbe's state of nature
  • Locke
  • Rousseau
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What is the state of Nature?

  • Idea of life without government.
  • Answers the question what would life be like without government? and thus why we need government.
  • Thought experiment- not factual or historical.
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Hobbes' state of Nature

State of nature as state of war

  • self preservation is most basic desire- no laws so actions judged individually- means killing someone for S.P  is your right.

Causes of war

  • desire of power
  • scarcity-not enough power
  • all vulnerable- power taken from us
  • deires never ending- power ensures our future desires
  • roughly equal- stength outweighed by intelligence or more people

Characteristics

  • self reliant- everyone will be ready to fight eachother---> leading to state of war.
  • state of "continuall feare, and danger of violent death.
  • No culture,  life will be "nasty brutish and short."
  • Characteristics lead to a viscious circle.
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Criticism of Hobbes and Locke

  •  Given greed for power government would be unable to form.
  • Something needed to start of state of nature.

Locke's state of nature

  • state of perfect freddom and eqaulity.
  • Locke's version of eqaulity: noone has the right to hold power over anyone else.

Locke's Law of Nature

  • system which stops us from interfering with one another's safety and needs.
  • Locke argued Laws of nature come from God- so we have a duty to preserve life.

Criticisms

  • Hobbes: Law of nature isnt enough to ensure we will act peacefully.
  • L. replied we have an inner conscience that prevents us from us from acting in a harmful way.
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Locke and Rousseau

Criticisms

  • Hobbes: Law of nature isnt enough to ensure we will act peacefully.
  • L. replied we have an inner conscience that prevents us from us from acting in a harmful way.

Conditions:

  • Plentiful- right to our own land- food and shelter.
  • Peaceful- people grown their own rather than taking others.

Rousseau's state of nature

  • view that pre-social humans are innocent. .
  • humans have a natural sympathy and concern for others- people would be moral.  
  • no developed language.
  • Rousseasu believed government was needed as otherwise humans would be very basic. e.g no family bonds and communities.
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Weaknesses & pros of Rousseau

Faults:

  • state of nature is presocial- difficult to  see how civillisation would form a government if they were not developed.

Pros:

  • recognises function of government.
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