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Arguement against the Leviathan

Arguement against the Leviathan



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Published by Daniel Stout
I argue that Hobbes was wrong in his conclusion that the state is needed.
I argue that Hobbes was wrong in his conclusion that the state is needed.

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Published by: Daniel Stout on Jun 04, 2007
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Daniel R. StoutWriting Assignment 1Philo 13002/09/2005Thomas Hobbes in an essay the
The Leviathan
contends that there is an inevitable need for asovereign power, or what we would call today the state. Hobbes argues that this is needed because thestate of nature is inherently chaotic and dangerous. I will argue however that while Hobbes might be righton his issues about the state of nature, but his alternative is more dangerous and destructive. One wouldthen conclude that the state of nature would be a preferable to Hobbes alternative because state conflictsare inherently going to be worse than the violence experienced in the state of nature if it at all occurs.Before we attack the arguments presented by Hobbes, we must understand why argues what hedoes. To do this we will look at the two main areas of his argument. First, his characterization of the stateof nature and how it’s inherently violent and bloody. Second, we will look at what he argues is thealternative, the state, and how he contends the state should work.Hobbes argues that all people are equal. He contends that although someone might be stronger or more physically apt, that a person might make up for that with intelligence. He ultimately says that a person will use their different attributes to continue a person’s quest to accumulate property and increasetheir property amount. He argues that people as they age will ultimately become more knowledgeable andwise. So as people age and become intelligent to make up for their diminishing strength and continue to be productive. Hobbes argues that in the state of nature everyone has the right to everything because property rights are not something that can be enforced without a state to dictate that X person actuallyowns something in a legal sense. He also says that all people are rational and intelligent. This means theyare going to pursue peace and self preservation. Reason seems to be the main reason why thesecharacteristics are present in the state of nature or are present in a land without government. This landaccording to Hobbes is one filled with danger lurking constantly, which creates a culture that doesn’tCREATE INDUSTRY
and creates a short and nasty life.
Blanchard, No Date)
Hobbes says that there are three main characteristics in the state of nature. The first is that peopleseek peace but can use war to create that peace that is needed. He argues on the basis that it doesn’t make
sense for a group of people or a person to want to be in a state of war because of the danger to ones lifeand property. This also prevents people from becoming wealthier. Second, he argues that when someonetreats you in a certain manner, that you should treat them in that same manner, and vice versa. This is the justification for as to why if you don’t kill them, they shouldn’t kill you. Thirdly, he says that weshouldn’t fight over small issues such as ones that don’t affect life or property. Hobbes says we shouldkeep peace, and show gratitude towards others who keep peace also.While Hobbes thinks that these characteristics are present in the state of nature, he also arguesthat ultimately there are reasons as to why people will go to war. He argues that when the government isformed it will prevent the sources of disruption which are three, first, there is no justice, (
Blanchard, NoDate Given)
second, resources, and thirdly, power. Hobbes says that in the state of nature there is nosuch thing as justice because its is every person for themselves and when it’s in that state there is no suchthing as right and wrong because there are no laws. He says that force and fraud are the deciders of goodor evil, (
Blanchard No Date Given)
a type of might makes right type of situation in the state of nature.He also argues that there are limited resources, and these resources are critical to a person’s survival. Hesays since it is critical to people’s survival that people will fight over these resources in order to survive because people will want the same resources. Hobbes also says that people want power in order to prevent future attacks, he says the way people go about this is by attacking one another until someonefeels they are the lone power and no one will be able to match and challenge them for power.For those reasons Hobbes says that the state of nature will inevitably dissolve into a state of war,and that the best solution to prevent the wars from occurring are to create a sovereign power, or a state.He says that the state will operate through fear, it will have the ability to use armies and police to create afear that will protect and ensure the contract is intact. Hobbes says that when the state appears and peoplecreate this state and sign into it that they must give up power to the government. He says that people whenthey enter the state should do whatever the state says and that the state should do whatever is needed to protect itself. Hobbes argues that the state can come together through force, in which control over thegroup occurs because they don’t resist or they all consented when they were invaded or when peoplecome together and form a social contract.
Hobbes also says that people shouldn’t ever leave the state, they owe the loyalty, and should yieldto the majority in the decision of who is the sovereign power. He says that the state shouldn’t have any problems because the state will control information and decide laws that will be enforced by helpers andadvisors that the state will choose. With all that power the state should function properly according toHobbes.Hobbes has obvious arguments, and for the purpose of this paper I will concede most if not all of his descriptions of the state of nature, but ultimately, his alternative is just a bad one, THE STATE ISBAD. Let’s first look at why the state of nature isn’t going to be that bad. The laws of nature dictate thatits rational that a person wants peace and prosperity, this can’t be achieved during a war, so by his ownlogic a person doesn’t WANT to go to war. This means that although someone wants a lot of power, that a person wont go to war just to achieve that power, because it would take away from their own prosperity,as its hard to gain possessions when someone is in a state of war because the state will increase taxes inorder to fun the war. Since money is a zero sum affair, it means that in order for the government toincrease its funds, it must steal funds from the people. Not only is war a financial burden but also amental burden, because when someone is so focused on the war they are unable to figure out how would be the best way to get rich. So, my argument is ultimately that war may break out, but only briefly, andthe rest of the time the state of nature will be a peaceful because of the desire to accumulate wealth.While the state of nature may be more peaceful than not, a statist world is one of constantviolence. This is true because of the logic that is used that dictates international relations, and that isrealism, no not in “the Prince” sort of way, but new school realism, stuff that actually makes sense. Statesdecide whether or not to go to war in a sort of way that is a formula, they say, is the benefits of attacking acountry going to outweigh the possible consequences, if yes, go ahead and attack, if no, don’t attack. Thisis what is written by both Mearshimer and Waltz. They conclude that countries are constantly going to goto war because they are going to think that their security is going to be increased by either increase inland, or by destroying the enemy country. Ultimately this theory means that nuclear war is going to beinevitable, because a country is going to asses that using a nuclear weapon will be able to destroy all of an

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