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Elena Popović


Nature of morality

Did “law of nature“ ever existed? In a pure way, separately from
human actions, social contracts, and divine will?
On the one hand, if we consider Hobbs, people are nothing more
than mere mechanical construction, endowed with reason and selfpreservative urge, deprived from empathy and solidarity.They fight
for their own lifes, trying to survive and protect their property.In that
state of nature laws (known as“ State of nature“) , without social
contracts, people are very similiar to animals.In that case, moral is
just artificial product of political laws, camouflage for selfishness,
greed, envy and private interests.Although, this theory is
overwhelming for human's feelings of superiority and domination
over other beings, we cannot easily reject this view.Consider the
everyday situation: your honesty doesn't allow you to steal piece of
meat from a market store, but does allow you to eat that same piece
of dead animal.It allows you to kill an animal, but it doesn't allow
you to kill a man, because that is forbidden by the juristical law and
you get punished for that.While, in the animal kingdom it is not
forbidden to kill people, which is one more proof that the law of
nature exists in a state released from social contracts, which lead us
to the conclusion that the moral doesn't exist in a pure way, for its
own sake.
On the other hand, Lock said that the pre-political state is state of
morality, in which people are equal and free.So, the core of morality
is freedom, not social contract.But, Hobbs and Locke both agree
about existence of „State of nature“ and universe law.Pivotal role in
occurance of those very influential theories, had scientifical
discoveries, which explained motion of inanimate world by laws of
nature, gravity for instance.
As opposed to this empirical expositions, stand rational theories,
with their best-known proponent-Descartes.He is suspicious about
everything outside the nous, so the things like morality, love and
honesty cannot be some artificial creations, but only productof our
nous.According to him, there is God that makes us able to
distinguish just from unjust and sensual deceiving from truth.The
God must be the source of „idea of perfection“ in our minds, which

lead us to the correct, moral behaviour.So, if God is creating laws,
the pure nature law just cannot exist apart from divine will.
Can we make those two theories, in some way, reconcilable?Can we
say both the man, with all his features is product of the God (as a
symbol of morality and perfection) and the God is product of a man?
What seemed to be appear first?This chain of affects and causes
reminds me on infamous impasse when you need an experience to
get a job, but you also need a job to get an experience.
To reconcile those two theories, we must go back in the past and
think about Socrates.According to him, there are two condition to be
a moral person: first, you must realize your obligation to abide the
republic's law ( by your nous, knowledge and pure morality) and
then, act accordingly-obey the social laws, that helped us to
overcome the State of nature.
So, only in harmony and balance of those two contrary, we can find
real hapinness and justice, which inevitably lead us to the ancient
theory of moderation, basis for all human's virtues.