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Social Contract Philosophers

Essay by   •  August 15, 2011  •  Essay  •  938 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,459 Views

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Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau share various philosophies, however similar to any individual they are also in disagreement with one another. As we view their writings we find that one political theorist debates the other theorists and in the next writing you will find the same philosopher make use of the opposing philosopher's argument to benefit their own. Nonetheless, Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau have all contributed to the basic concepts of today's political foundation with their written social contracts. Their influence has altered the way our government operates regardless of its positive and/or negative effects.

In the works of Hobbes, he states in his written theory Leviathan that human beings naturally yearn the power to live well and that they will never be content with the power they have without attaining more power. He also strongly believes that everyone is created equally and that all individuals have the same ability to kill one another and be killed. Hobbes believes that human nature leads people to seek power viewing the individual as selfish with a sole concern and interest for self and when two individuals desire the same thing is when they become enemies which ultimately leads to war. Hobbes theorizes on three fundamental causes of war; competition, distrust and glory and believes that men use violence to gain power. Furthermore, Hobbes believed that in order to create order, people will have to surrender their rights to the sovereign or monarchy to create a state of protection. In terms of property, Hobbes' conception is that property rights are to not be held against the sovereign by way of distributing property to individuals based on their level and determination exercised toward individual human gain. He concludes that human nature is such that people must join together to decide and act according to prescribed rules which they all agreed to in order to save the sovereign.

Locke's human nature theory was rather more optimistic as he believes in original equality of all individuals giving everyone the right to independence and freedom believing that the primitive man lived in a state of nature surrounded by peace, goodwill, mutual assistance and preservation. Locke's main component was his practice of natural law in which rights were not subject to void and were essential to each person, and both society and government existed to preserve the rights of individuals. Locke professed natural law endured effectively in a domestic society as the vital extent of men's rights. He states that each individual has his own duty to honor what is, and at their best, every man must protect their own. Locke's philosophy on natural law largely originates and concludes with the right of property believing that property was mutual in the state of nature in a sense that every man had a right to survival based on what nature had to offer. He argued that the labor extended by

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