Thomas Hobbes

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Thomas Hobbes argues that the “State of Nature” is the condition where we are forced into contact with each other in the absence of a superior authority. Where we would imagine that people might fare best in such a state, also where each decides for themselves on how to act, and judge. Unfortunately, people cannot be trusted always to follow their will. Hobbes describes this situation as “the condition of mere nature” a state of perfectly private judgment upon any reasonable suspicion. Also, where there is no agency with recognized authority to resolve arguments and the power to implement its decisions. If this were the state, then life of a man would be nasty, disagreeable, violent, short, and solitary. If this is the State of Nature, then people have the strong reasons to avoid it. Hobbes felt that society naturally correspondent to a State of Nature, and that this State of Nature is a State of War, a war of “all against all”.

In order to avoid living in a State of Nature, and therefore avoiding a State of War, which can only be done by submitting some mutually recognized public authority. Therefore a sovereign had to be erected; the sovereign would be given the rights of all their subjects and be able to enforce peace. Hobbes vision of an absolute sovereign is a sovereign with unlimited power, because if the power of sovereign were limited, then it would have to be limited by an even higher power. He also divided the power of the sovereign, and the rights that were forfeited. His main dispute was that any type of higher power over the people is better that no power in the State of Nature. However, that absolute sovereignty is the form of administration most likely to be able to avoid a return to the State of Nature, and that people can only live in peace if they are subjected to an absolute sovereign. The sovereign may decide on any actions that are…...

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