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Hobbes, Locke, Natural Law and Natural Rights

A Tract Book Essay


Anthony J. Fejfar

© Copyright 2006 by Anthony J. Fejfar

What are rights? That is what are legal rights? Some people

wonder. The best definition is that for every right there is a corresponding

duty of someone else to refrain from certain conduct or to engage in certain


Where do rights come from? Are they just thin imaginary wisps

which fleetingly come and go? Or, are rights more substantial? John

Locke argued that all of us have Natural Rights which we are entitled to in a

State of Nature which proceeds society. Thus, from a Lockean point of

view it perfectly possible to argue that you are being treated unjustly as a

matter of Natural Law, even though corrupt human law will not say so. With

Locke, I can argue that even the United States Supreme Court has made a

mistake in interpreting the Constitution.

I argue that behind Locke is something like my theory that Natural

Rights all subsist as Aristotelian Substantial Forms or Immutable Platonic

Forms. Thus, Natural Rights are imprinted into the very nature of reality

itself. Because Natural Rights subsist in reality, Locke could argue that

they existed in a State of Nature prior to society.

In contrast to Locke, Thomas Hobbes argued that in a State of

Nature life is a dog eat dog, world of cutthroat survival of the fittest.

Hobbes argued that all right are simply social constructions which the people

or the sovereign find convenient to use. Hobbes, in this sense was a

positivist. Rights are merely arbitrary social conventions, and are paper

thin. I argue that even if the world of the Forms did not exist, that the

Quantum Field does exist, and that the Quantum Field is affected by

meaning. Thus, rights could become imbedded in the Quantum Field, and

in this sense, operate to function like the Aristotelian Substantial Forms, and

like the Immutable Platonic Forms.

However, I need not go that far. It is apparent to me that

Aristotelian Substantial Forms and Immutable Platonic Forms do exist. We

experience language as substantial and objective when needed. Language is

not just paper thin. Language is rich with meaning. Language has depth.

Literature and poetry move are hearts, as do Constitutions.

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