An Analysis Of Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan

3135 words - 13 pages

In his book The Leviathan Thomas Hobbes begins with bringing to the readers attention that despite the fact that all men may not be deemed equal that they were created equal. He backs up this statement by saying, "For as to the strength of body, the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest, either by a secret machination, or by confederacy with others, that are in the same danger with himself. In saying this, Hobbes illustrates that physical strength is not really an issue or a major factor. Hobbes makes it clear that all men are equal and that they should fear each other.

Something else that Hobbes made clear in The Leviathan that, similar to himself, all men desire peace. After making this statement, he must justify why, if in fact all men desire peace, they often find themselves in a state of war. This brings about the point that, by nature, all men desire to be better and superior to the men that surround them. However, if all men are created equal, then how can one man be better than all the rest? The answer lies within the equality of man himself. If every man has the means and the ability to acquire what he wants, then when two men that are in close contact with each other desire the same thing, a conflict is inevitably going to arise. There are two motivations for men to seek objects, power, wealth etc. One of these motivations is to preserve ones life. When seeking to preserve ones life, a man will seek only what he needs to survive and he will neglect the luxuries of life that are, in reality, unimportant when one is seeking to maintain ones life. Also, when one seeks to maintain ones life, one will attack and, if need be, kill anyone who threatens their life. In addition to that, when one seeks to better and improve their life, they will seeks the luxuries because, when one seeks to better ones life, it should be assumed that they have already fulfilled the basic needs of life. In addition to that, if the action of another individual would negate certain luxuries that said individual has, if the individual in question were to destroy they aggressor, this destruction would be justified.

Concerning the natural state, Hobbes makes it clear, in the natural state, there are no laws that dictate whether or not it is wrong to kill a man, to steal from a man, or to do a man wrong in general. In the natural state, man has no one to tell them not to act on instinct. Man has no one to tell them not to lie, cheat, and steal and because of this absence of authority, they do whatever they feel is right. They do what they feel will bring them satisfaction no matter how immoral it may seem by the standards of the civilized world. Because of the fact that a government can not be formed in a state of war, it must be formed by a group of peaceful men, in the natural state. While this may seem to go against the laws of human nature, it does not. By creating a government with a central power at its head, the fear...

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