Hobbes and the State of Nature

Hobbes and the State of Nature Essay example
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Hobbes and the State of Nature Introduction It would seem to some that the present state of international affairs is leading toward Armageddon. There is turmoil in the Middle East. There are accusations of genocide coming from the international community concerning the government of Sri Lanka handling of the opposition, the Tamil Tigers.


The concept of what is the nature of man is also unresolvable. Is man ‘evil’ and needs to be controlled? Or, is man ‘good’ and needs to institution or the elimination of institutions to achieve a sense of balance. In the world of Hobbes, man is ‘evil’ and needs to be controlled by a central authority-The Leviathan. When you view other philosophers, particularly Kant, one could say that man is not evil but needs encouragement to be good and cooperate. These are also the two tenets that are present in international politics. These are generally referred to as ‘Realism’-the Hobbesian Approach or ‘Liberalism’-the Kantian Approach. One can see elements of both in the actual practice of international politics. In this short essay, the ideas put forth in the Leviathan will first be discussed, followed by a brief discussion of the state of international politics with a focus on terrorism. It will conclude with a discussion on the Kantian Approach, as a viable alternative. Concepts of the Leviathan The Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes is based on some common tenets associated with many other political philosophers of this period, particularly John Locke. ...
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