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代写essay,Political Thinkers Hobbes
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Political Thinkers Hobbes

A comparison of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke’s main ideas, the extent to which their thinking can be applied to political thought today and the possible significance it has.

There have been numerous great thinkers across the expanse of modern civilisation with countless different subjects at the centre of their thinking, many of these thinkers, directly or indirectly, have had an affect or have inspired change towards political thought.

Political thought finds its foundations in ancient Greece and its city states, notably Athens, and the many different political structures employed and developed by them. Prominent thinkers from these times such as Plato and Aristotle and their books The Republic and Politics respectively, were some of the first minds to shape, debate and disagree about political ideas and have observably influenced one great mind after another.

It quickly came to light the importance and magnitude political thinking had, and undoubtedly would have, on the world for, likely, the rest of civilised existence. Later prominent thinkers include names such as N. Machiavelli who was around during the European Renaissance period and, in his works The Prince (1513)and The Discourses on Livy (1517), put forward a lot of ideas particularly regarding how to gain then maintain power and the benefits of a republic society. J.J. Rousseau, J. Locke and T. Hobbes did much for the development of ideas about the social contract with work on how and why humans left the “state of nature” and formed societies and the implications of them doing so and what the ideal state would be.

Karl Marx was a more contemporary political theorist who’s works The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital described how modern society, especially capitalism, was the result of class struggle through history and he is often labelled the ‘father of communism’. All these great thinkers across time have had ideas and put forward theories that developed political thinking in their times, but how far their ideas can be extrapolated on to how we think about politics now raises issues.

To look at the question of if and how we can learn from political thinkers from earlier eras and their different approaches to political thought I will be using Thomas Hobbes and John Locke as examples. I will look at some of their main political ideas, any similarities or disparities that arise between these ideas and to what extent they can be applied to an issue in today’s world.

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) was an Oxford educated English philosopher who was influential in a range of academic spheres, including philosophy, history, geometry, theology, ethics, and most importantly for us, politics. His most important works concerning political thought are De Cive (1642) and Leviathan (1651). John Locke (1632-1704) was also and English philosopher and was also Oxford educated.

Whilst at Oxford he showed less interest in the classical philosophers such as Aristotle and much preferred the ideas of the more contemporary philosophers to his time such as Descartes. He also showed great interest in medicine studying it extensively during his time at Oxford and after he had attained his original bachelor’s and then master’s degree he gained a bachelor’s degree in medicine. Locke’s works The Two Treatises of Government (1689), A Letter Concerning Toleration (1689)and Treatise on Civil Government (1690) stand out as significant in terms of political thought.

One of the fundamental differences between Hobbes and Locke is their views on man, his actions whilst in and his departure from the state of nature. Hobbes first suggested the state of nature in his book Leviathan and believed that during this time when, “men live without a common power to keep them all in awe” (Ch.13), man experiences continual fear, the danger of violence and death, living a life “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” (Ch. 13). In De Cive he uses the Latin phrase “Bellum omnium contra omnes”, meaning "the war of all against all", to describe it.In his Second Treatise on Civil Government Locke considers the state of nature and in contrast to Hobbes sees it to be a peaceful, good, and pleasant time in which, although sometimes insecure, men keep their promises and honour their obligations.

Hobbes says that Because men are all equal, physically but not morally, they all have the right of nature, which is, according to Hobbes: the liberty each man has to use his own power, as he will himself, for the preservation of his own nature; that is to say, of his own life a desire to survive, this justifies violence against any other in order to survive. As well as this men also possess to some extent the capacity to reason.

This combination, Hobbes said, would lead to a social contract in which there is a formation of a civil society as a balance between these competing, destructive forces. The reasoning behind this is, because of the validation of violence against others for survival it is beneficial for personal survival if man agrees to renounce their right to said violence. Nonetheless, this only produces a nervous and unstable equilibrium that relies on every member upholding their promise.

The remedy Hobbes gives for this is the agreement that a sovereign who possesses absolute power of authority, a Leviathan, becomes part of their social contract. This Leviathan, or the State, is granted this absolute authority in return for it using said power to sustain a state of peace. According to Hobbes the State, whatever its form, is, by definition, always right, as long as it is able to maintain civil peace.

Locke believes that in the state of nature there is no law but men are subject to moral law which is the law of God. Man is born with his freedom, is equal in rights and innately identifies what is right and wrong, and has the capacity to discern what is lawful and unlawful adequately enough. In particular, and most importantly, man is capable of discerning between property belonging to him and property belonging to someone else; unfortunately man does not always follow this knowledge.

With this in mind, Locke says of property that whatever a man mixes his labour with is his to use, this though could only be said of the earlier humans in the state of nature who had plenty to go around. Once populations have expanded and sources have become limited, the set of laws provided by nature is surpassed and laws beyond these are required.

The combination of these two situations is from where civil society originates, man signs the figurative social contract and in doing so gives up his right to resolve conflicts exact retribution himself whilst gaining the right to life, liberty and property through just, impartial protection from the sovereign.

Hobbes deems the existence of a sovereign pointless unless they have absolute power, only once this has happened and it has legislated civil laws, he says, does a civil society exist. In his justification for absolute power Hobbes argues 'Because human beings are unable to establish any substantial co-operation among themselves and, in particular, are unable to agree on any rules of private property, no law or set of laws can be the final decider in a political regime.

And this means that a human being or an assembly of human beings must act in this capacity'. This essentially means that because man by himself cannot justly settle disputes without unrest amongst others a higher, ultimate, authority must exist to govern. If it is assumed that every member of the state has agreed to enter into the social contract then they have given the power to the sovereign to resolve conflicts, but if the power of this sovereign was not absolute then it leaves the sovereign’s judgment and punishment are open to question and therefore its role is redundant and man finds himself back in the state of nature.

Locke says that the entire and only reason for the state is to justly protect man’s natural rights to life, liberty and property. If a ruler seeks absolute power acting as both judge and a party in disputes or repeatedly infringes upon mans three natural rights it puts them in a state of war with their subjects and therefore back into the state of nature and, according to Locke, it is now the mans right to resist or rebel against the ruler. There are, however, four conditions in which rebellion is justified by Locke which are mentioned by Von Leydon (1982),

‘First, resistance must come from a community as a whole, not from any individual members of particular groups among them…Secondly, men are free to resort to force, ‘whenever they judge the Cause of sufficient moment’…The third condition Locke specifies is that each individual no less than the whole of mankind dispose of the ultimate determination ‘to judge whether they have just Cause to make their Appeal to Heaven’…Locke’s fourth condition is that he who resorts to force ‘ must be sure he has Right on his side’ (p.185)

In the modern political environment there have been numerous different issues in which Hobbes and Locke’s political theories are relevant and can be applied. In some cases their ideas have broken down and criticisms arisen which has rendered them outmoded but some of their ideas remain strong and can be usefully related to contemporary issues. Locke’s idea of man’s natural right to Life, Liberty and Property is still very much alive and is seen in many of today’s societies, especially places such as the U.K. and the U.S., as the basis for freedom and the primary role of the state is to protect said rights.

Sometimes, however, the state has infringed upon these rights and occasionally it has been, in some people’s view, to such a large extent that there is an argument for resistance. A recent example of this would be the recent loss of a huge amount personal data by the British Government. The data contained highly confidential information such as bank account details and personal family details which could easily be used for such things as identity theft, this breach of trust violates mans right to Liberty and could result in an infringement of mans right to Property.

On the Guardian Unlimited website it was said by Conservative leader David Cameron to be part of, ‘A renewed assault on our liberty’. Hobbes idea of absolute power has also been raised in current issues with the recently deceased, totalitarian leader of Turkmenistan. Saparmurat Niyazov. He did have absolute power of the citizens of his country and, although he provided the country with numerous vastly expensive luxuries such as huge gold statues (of himself may I add) and giant marble palaces the standard of their lives was extremely poor and the state of the health service was said to be worse than even that of the poorest ex-soviet countries. This totalitarian state which could be said to be based upon some of Hobbes political ideas has gone a long way to voiding Hobbes justification of an absolute sovereign.

It is clear that although some of Hobbes and Locke’s ideas have become outdated and irrelevant in terms of modern political thought. Others, as we have seen, are still very relevant and form an important foundation across numerous societies. Not only do their specific ideas have relevance today but the way in which they approached political and philosophical thought also does. The fact they were academic thinkers across a range of subjects, I believe, can only enrich their critical thinking and this should be reflected more so in today’s education.


Anon. (2007) Cameron slams 'enemies of freedom'. Guardian, Saturday November 24th. Press Association [Accessed 245th November 2007].

Hobbes, T. (2004) De Cive. Whitefish, Kessinger Publishing.

Hobbes, T. Ed. Thomas, S. (2007) Leviathan. Adelaide, eBooks@Adelaide. Available from: http://etext.library.adelaide.edu.au/h/hobbes/thomas/h68l/ [Accessed 20th November 2007]

Locke, J. (1965) Treatise of Civil Government and a Letter Concerning Toleration. New York, Irvington Publishers.

Locke, J. (1980) Second Treatise of Government. Indianapolis, Hackett Publishing.

Locke, J. (1988) Two Treatises of Government. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

McNeilly, F.S. (1968) The Anatomy of Leviathan. New York, St. Martin’s Press.

Morrow, J. (2005) History of Western Political Thought. 2nd edition. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

O’Connor, D.J. (1967) John Locke. New York, Dover Publications.

Von Leydon, W. (1982) Hobbes and Locke: The Politics of Freedom and Obligation. London, Macmillan Press.

Yolton, J.W. (1993) A Locke Dictionary. Oxford, Blackwell Publishers.


政治思想发现在古希腊城邦,特别是雅典,和许多不同的政治结构,由他们开发的基础。从这些时代的著名思想家如柏拉图,亚里士多德和他们的书的共和国和政治分别是一些第一的思想塑造,辩论和反对有关政治思想和一个伟大的主意后,另一个影响observably 。
它很快被揭发的重要性和幅度的政治思想,无疑将有世界上,有可能的,其余的文明存在。后来著名的思想家,包括名称,如N.马基雅维里是谁在欧洲文艺复兴时期,在他的作品王子(1513)和李维(1517)的论述,提出了很多想法,特别是关于如何获得,然后保持电源和一个共和国社会的好处。 J.J.卢梭,洛克和T.霍布斯如何和为什么人类留下的“自然状态” ,形成社会的影响,他们这样做,什么理想状态与工作有关的社会契约思想的发展做了很多可以。
卡尔·马克思是一个更现代的政治理论家的著作“共产党宣言”和“资本论”描述了现代社会,尤其是资本主义,是通过历史上的阶级斗争的结果,他经常被贴上“共产主义之父” 。跨越时间,所有这些伟大的思想家的思想和提出的理论,在他们的时代制定的政治思想,但怎么现在就可以推断他们的想法,我们如何思考政治问题。
托马斯·霍布斯( 1588-1679 )是英国牛津受过教育的英国哲学家谁是在一定范围内的学术领域,包括哲学,历史学,几何,神学,伦理学,最重要的是为我们,政治影响力。他最重要的作品,涉及政治思想的顽德(1642)和“利维坦” ( 1651年) 。约翰·洛克(1632-1704 )是英国哲学家,也是牛津大学学历。
在牛津大学期间,他表现出了较少的兴趣在古典哲学家亚里士多德等更喜欢更多的当代哲学家的思想,如笛卡尔他的时间。他在医学上广泛研究在牛津大学期间,他的时间也表现出了极大的兴趣后,他已经获得了他原来的学士和硕士学位,他获得了学士学位,在医学上。洛克的作品政府论(1689) ,阿信(1689)关于宽容和伤寒公民政府(1690)脱颖而出,作为重大政治思想方面。
霍布斯和洛克的根本区别之一是他们的意见的人,他的行动,而在他离开的自然状态。霍布斯首次提出在他的著作“利维坦性质的状态,并相信,在这段时间的时候, ”男人没有一个共同的力量,让他们敬畏“ ( Ch.13 ) ,人经历​​持续的恐惧,暴力和死亡的危险,生活的生活“孤独,贫穷,肮脏,野蛮的,而短。 ” (第十三章) 。他在德顽使用拉丁短语“战争权Omnium公司禁忌义务” ,意思是“一切人反对一切战争”来形容他的第二伤寒公民政府it.In洛克认为自然状态下,在霍布斯相反看到它是一个和平的,良好的,愉快的时光,虽然有时是不安全的,男人信守自己的诺言和履行其义务。
救济霍布斯给人这是一个主权拥有绝对权力的权威, “利维坦” ,成为他们的社会契约的一部分的协议。这个利维坦或国家,被授予这个绝对权威换取它使用上述权力,以维持和平状态。根据霍布斯的国家,无论其形式,顾名思义,总是正确的,只要它是能够保持国内和平。
霍布斯认为主权的存在毫无意义,除非他们有绝对的权力,只有一旦发生这种情况,它已经立法,民事法律,他说,民间社会的存在。他的理由绝对权力霍布斯认为: “因为人类无法建立任何实质性的自己之间的合作,特别是私有财产的任何规则都无法达成一致意见,没有法律或法律是最后的决胜局在一个政治制度。
这意味着,一个人或组装人类必须采取行动,在这方面的能力“ 。这基本上意味着,因为人自己不能公正地解决纠纷,没有动乱其中包括较高的,最终,权力必须存在执政。如果它被假定,国家的每一个成员已同意订立社会契约,那么他们给予的权力的主权来解决冲突,但如果这个主权的权力是没有绝对的,然后它留下主权的判决和处罚打开的问题,因此,它的作用是多余的人会发现自己又回到了自然的状态。
骆家辉说,为国家的全部和唯一的原因,是要理直气壮地保护人的生命,自由和财产的自然权利。如果一个统治者寻求绝对的权力,作为既当裁判员,纠纷的一方或反复侵犯芒三个自然权利,使他们在战争的状态,他们的臣民,因此回到到自然的状态,并根据洛克,它是现在的男人有权抵制或反抗的统治者。然而,有四个条件,其中,提到由冯Leydon ( 1982年)由洛克造反有理,
“首先,电阻必须来自一个社区作为一个整体,而不是其中任何个别成员的特定群体。其次,男人是诉诸武力,只要他们足够的时刻”的原因的判断......第三个条件洛克指定是,每个人不低于整个人类处置的最终确定,以判断是否他们都只是原因,以使他们的上诉天堂' ......骆家辉的第四个条件是,他谁诉诸强制“必须是确保他有正确的上他的身边“ (第185页)
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McNeilly , F.S. (1968)剖析“利维坦” 。纽约,圣马丁出版社。
次日, J. (2005)西方政治思想史。第二版。贝辛斯托克, Palgrave Macmillan出版社。
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