How Thomas Hobbes views human nature and concludes the best form of government is monarchy

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How Thomas Hobbes views human nature and concludes the best form of government is monarchy

Leviathan (1651), Hobbes’s most important work and one of the most influential philosophical texts produced during the seventeenth century, argues that civil peace and social unity are best achieved by the establishment of a commonwealth through a social contract. Hobbes’s ideal commonwealth is ruled by an absolute sovereign because humans in the state of nature are not noble savages; in order to survive they are in a state of war in which every man is against every man; for this reason there must be an absolute power over them to govern and to provide them with security. This essay will focus on the conditions under which, according to Hobbes, an absolute monarch is a necessity to achieve civil peace and social unity, and then disprove his position by explaining that unless the power of the state is divided into sections political stability cannot be achieved, as well as unquestioning obedience to an absolute monarch cannot establish civil peace since the monarch is still remained in the state of nature.  

According to Hobbes, humans are innately equal. Although some traits such as physical strength or mental abilities may differ, the harmony of them makes humans equal- one may be more intelligent by the way less physically strong and another one may be less intelligent by the way having much more physical strength- and this equality results in disagreements. The nature of man contains the three causes of disagreement. First, people are in competition for the same things that they need for survival. Second, everyone knows that anyone may attack him, his family or his property so to defend himself he attacks others from whom he expects a threat. Martinich points out,” If there is natural desire for something, then there is a right to fulfil that desire. There is a natural desire for self-preservation. Therefore, there is a right to self-preservation.” Hobbes’ view of self-preservation is that anyone who has the desire for self-preservation has the right to do whatever is necessary to achieve self-preservation even if the necessity is to kill others. As a result, to achieve self preservation, lack of general preservation and a great diffidence appear. Hobbes indicates that “from this diffidence one another, there is no way for any man to secure himself”. For this reason, as Martinich points out, “Each person must distrust everyone else because everyone else distrusts him.”  The third cause is the desire that people have for glory. These reasons make people violent and consequently, they live in the state of war. Hobbes clarifies this war as “such a war as is of every man against every man”.

Understanding human in the natural state and the civil war requires clarifying the natural laws and the right of nature. The first law of nature is that every man has the right to everything. In the state of nature in accordance with this right there is civil war and no one could live in security even though he is strong or wise. Therefore, if it is possible, everyone should endeavour to peace; if it is not possible everyone can use all the advantages of war in order to survive. Hobbes explains the right of nature as,

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The right of nature, which writers commonly call it jus naturale, is liberty each man had to use his own power as he will himself for the preservation of his own nature; that is to say, of his own life; and consequently, of doing anything which, in his own judgement and reason, he shall conceive to be the aptest means thereunto.”

According to Martinich, there is two ways to establish that people in the state of nature have a right to everything:  “One depends on the definition of rights as liberties to act and of laws as constraints on action.” It ...

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