A Comparison of Hobbes and Locke on Natural Law and Social Contract
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The study of social and political states has linked philosophers across the ages. Some questions that have occupied these philosophers discussions are Was there ever a period of time when men lived outside of societies and what was it like, How did men escape that period and enter into a new time of societies, Was it through force or mutual agreement, Once a form of government is chosen, or appointed, who rules and is the rights of the individual preserved Several of these questions are addressed by both Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan, and by John Locke in Two Treatises of Government. Both Hobbes and Locke wrote of that period prior to the formation of societies, referred to as the State of Nature, when individuality, rather than collectivity, described mankind. Each also wrote of how mankind was able to leave the State of Nature and form civil societies. This transition from the State of Nature to government was considered a contract by both of these 17th century philosophers. Hobbes is traditionally labeled as having an alienation theory, while Locke is considered as having an authorization theory. The fundamental difference between alienation and authorization theories concerns what happens to an individuals rights once the contract is executed.
- Government and Political Science
- Sociology and Law