• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare Hobbes and Locke's views on the obligation to obey the law.

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐BARBADOS COMMUNTIY COLLEGE DIVISION OF COMMERCE DEPARTMENT OF GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL STUDIES ASSOCIATE DEGREE IN ARTS GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL STUDIES GOVT 100: INTRODUCTION TO POLITICAL THOUGHT AND ANALYSIS Compare Hobbes and Locke?s views on the obligation to obey the law. October 15, 2012 The English philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) is best known for his political thought, and deservedly so. His vision of the world is strikingly original and still relevant to contemporary politics. His main concern is the problem of social and political order: how human beings can live together in peace and avoid the danger and fear of civil conflict. He poses stark alternatives: we should give our obedience to an unaccountable sovereign (a person or group empowered to decide every social and political issue). Otherwise what awaits us is a ?state of nature? that closely resembles civil war a situation of universal insecurity, where all have reason to fear violent death and where rewarding human cooperation is all but impossible. John Locke (1632?1704) is among the most influential political philosophers of the modern period. In the Two Treatises of Government, he defended the claim that men are by nature free and equal against claims that God had made all people naturally subject to a monarch. ...read more.


We might say that as long as someone has attitudinally consented to a state (and the majority attitudinally consent to the present kind of state) then that person has consented to this kind of state and so is obligated. But how do you know whether in a given society people do attitudinally consent in the way required? You would have to be able to look into their hearts. Also, political obligation would last only as long as the attitudinal consent so would be precarious, and would not apply at all to e.g. anarchists, since they lack the necessary attitudinal consent. Yet Locke wants to demonstrate that all citizens are under a moral obligation to obey the law, not just some. (this is a fundamental problem for all consent theories, for if consent is voluntary then there must be the possibility that some will not consent, in which case those people will not be under political obligation.) So instead Locke argues that tacitly consented. Locke?s argument is effectively, that anyone who remains in the country tacitly consents (by omission) to the laws, because they have chosen not to emigrate. The standard critique of Locke?s argument: the background moral assumption in the argument is that if you consent to do something then you are under a moral obligation to do it (like a promise). ...read more.


Both of the two men?s philosophies included religion Hobbes and Locke both acknowledged the existence of God. Beyond this, both agreed that God played only a small part in the foundation of their philosophies. Each of these men had an impact on the world around them, and the people to come later on in the world. Hobbes influenced the people of his own time by refuting England?s parliament and France?s papal system. In the same way, Locke affected the revolutionists of the United States. Locke?s idea of a people run government held a great influence over the United States Declaration of Independence, Federalist Papers, and Constitution. Both philosophers impacted others, but the way in which they impacted them varied. Although these two philosophers disagreed upon certain subjects, they did occasionally agree with one another. Locke believed that government should base itself on the people, while Hobbes said that only a king should reign; yet they agreed that someone should rule over a country. Philosophically, Hobbes suggested that people needed controlling like animals in order to survive, while Locke thought that people had to experience something in order to understand it; yet again, they both believed in God, but they had little use for Him. Hobbes influenced the people in and around his time period, while Locke influenced people a few decades later but both men did influence the political and philosophical notions of their time. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Political Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Political Philosophy essays

  1. How and why does Locke explain the creation, value and protection of property?

    Labour is a property in itself but also leads to the creation of private property. A property is something that someone owns. Locke says that "every man has a property in his own person. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his (Locke,19)."

  2. Notes on John Stuart Mill's On Liberty

    Even if they could tell, they could not be trusted to refrain from passing oppressive laws. An analogy here is this: you can imagine that there is a surgical procedure that will have some minor beneficial effects, but that there are some people who have a very serious negative reaction

  1. Power and Politics in Organizations: Public and Private Sector Comparisons

    Within the firm great emphasis is placed on clear lines of authority, both horizontal and vertical. The global firm still tries to instill a single corporate culture so that the hierarchy of values, the operational norms, and the modus operandi will be essentially the same wherever its branches and units may be located.

  2. Nigeria Country Study

    This is largely brought on by two factors. Firstly, modern societies are very diverse in economic, social, and cultural compositions, meaning the government cannot be neutral in respect of competing and sometimes antagonistic class relations no matter how hard they try.

  1. Deontology- a theory based purely on obligation or duty.

    Through the enforcement of this aspect of deontology, justice is upheld, whereas, consequentialism totally undermines any such dealings other than the greater good based on the outcomes or consequences of the situation. Immanuel Kant, in realizing the inconsistencies within the consquentialist theory, began to formulate the ideas for the theory mentioned and briefly defined above, deontology.

  2. A Comparison of Marx's and Rousseau's Philosophies.

    Alienation is at the same time the distortion of human nature and loss of freedom. Equality: Both Rousseau and Marx hate inequality and sought a society that made all men equal. Both wanted a society that brought men back to their original state of equality.

  1. What is Cultural Studies? What does it do? And does it Matter?

    (Foucault and Deleuze,1977, p205-206) Michel Foucault is fundamentally interested in the question: why do people behave? Why and how do we internalize the rules and orders of whatever social situation we're in and respond appropriately? Unlike Althusser, Foucault is not a Marxist, structuralist, psychoanalyst, feminist, or any other "ist," though

  2. Politics A: Analysing Theories of the State and Individual - Hobbes and Locke

    This right to life was un-negotiable which meant it could not be sold to anyone or ended by anyone. Human beings had a right to the products of their own labour. When a person worked they mixed their labour with raw materials, which therefore became their property.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work