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

Is Any Account of the State of Nature Convincing?

Extracts from this document...


Is any Account of the Condition of Mankind in the State of Nature Convincing? (30) The State of Nature is a hypothetical state where there is no government, no state, and no laws to rule over mankind, which allows us to understand the question of 'why should I be governed?' The movement from the State of Nature to a government or a state, many philosophers argue, is based on the need for a social contract, supported by Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. The social contract is an agreement between the people to live together under the laws in our society (according to Hobbes, this contract can either be tacit or explicit), though the reason that we enter this social contract differs due to the many conditions of the nature of mankind in the state of nature, as each account offers a very different view on humanity. Hobbes depicts a savage State of Nature (referred to as a 'State of War' in Leviathan), and to understand this State of Nature, we must first understand its components - people. ...read more.


John Locke, in complete contrast to Hobbes, however, views the State of Nature with regards to 'morals'. Both Locke and Hobbes agree that the State of Nature is a state of perfect freedom and equality, and that we all have the right of self preservation, but there are limitations on what we may do, given by the 'Law of Nature'. This 'Law of Nature' is that no person may subordinate another; harm his life, health, liberty or possessions. Essentially, one can do something so long as it is not detrimental to other people. The State of Nature, therefore, is a state of liberty, governed only through the 'Law of Nature'. This Law of Nature is discovered through reasoning or through God, as we are all God's creatures and have a natural understanding that we cannot harm one another, which allows the State of Nature to be peaceful, and, by extension, the condition of mankind to be peaceful and moral. ...read more.


So it is compassion which acts as a powerful mean to restrain people to harm others. Rousseau pictures the savage man as a solitary human being, able to survive alone. His speech is not yet developed and cannot express opinions on things. The peculiarity which distinguishes him from the animals is, according to Rousseau, the free will and capacity of self-improvement. Finally, he advocates that it is the capacity of self-improvement to have brought progress to mankind and misfortune with it. I think that the picture that Rousseau has drawn of the State of Nature populated by "noble savages" more similar to animals than civilised human beings (such as in the theories of Hobbes and Locke) may be a plausible vision, though I do not necessarily agree with his dark view of human development. Rousseau's beliefs that civilization and progress led to a state of war, bringing evil and misfortune into a "purified world" which was still blessed by ignorance, is certainly coherent with his argument. However, I find more challenging trying to imagine how the state of nature would be if populated by developed and civilized human beings as in Hobbes' and Locke's views. ...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 Practical Questions 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 Practical Questions essays

  1. Discuss some of the issues raised in Meta-Ethics. How convincing is the view that, ...

    She ought to be offered an abortion. 'A' is the 'is' statement, 'B' is the 'ought' statement; yet, to move from one to the other, Moore claimed that an intermediate (or, midway) proposition is needed. This could be as follows: 'A woman should only carry a child to full term when she has chosen to be pregnant.'

  2. Humans are Eternal Beings

    Take, for example, a circle. Any circle in the actual, physical world is imperfect, as a true circle has an infinite number of sides. This imperfect circle is therefore a copy of the perfect circle, which can be seen as a blue print. This perfect circle, is the form of a circle.

  1. Just War

    evil and again to move unto it; and we do certainly know, and so testify to the world, that the spirit of Christ, which leads us into all truth, will never move us to fight and war against any man with outward weapons, neither for the kingdom of Christ, nor for the kingdom of this world.

  2. Modern life-prolonging technologies have sharpened some ancient dilemmas on the value of life.

    support any moral value at all, let alone the ultimate moral value. But if it can, then they must face the second question whether they can justify their favoritism toward human beings, or even toward fauna. But if they can, then they must face the final question whether the life

  1. The Dreamings as being fundamental to Aboriginal cultures & societies

    belief that only furture for Abor. was for them to b/cm westernised: Assimilation & eventual disappearance of Abor. tradn ( 1970s ( 'Homeland Movement', working towards strengthening of tradn ( Future ( cultural revival The effect of missn & missionary activity on Abor.

  2. Does the "War on Terror" mean the just war doctrine is dead?

    By justifying preventive wars, the Bush administration has set a dangerous precedent that seems to be the beginning of a new doctrine of just cause that deals with weapons of mass destruction.

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