Crticial Analysis Of Hobbes View Of Natural Law Philosophy Essay


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In the first journal titled "Hobbes and Locke on Natural Law and Jesus Christ", Timothy Stanton states that Hobbes' theory is flawed. Hobbes argues that the Locke is misconceived, because Locke doesn't appreciate the true character of man. Hobbes's has a traditional way about examining natural law, expressing it around the fundamental nature of being and the world in ways important for his political theory. Locke rejects Hobbes' theory creates his own unique political theory. This journal establishes how Locke's account of natural law is supported by words of Jesus Christ and Christianity but still prescribes with his own political theory. Thomas Hobbes argues that the nature of man is not something that one could infer natural law from, and argued that natural law places no limits on the ruler's power and wishes to change society the way he wanted, and maintaining social order was the only way to create power for the state. Hobbes claimed that in a state of nature, it is every man for themself, as everyone is battling everyone, and life is "poor, solitary, nasty, brutish, and short". This contradicts the original natural law argument that "man is a social animal, adapted by nature to live mostly peaceably with his fellow men, and do business with them quietly." Hobbes argued that a state should have full control over what is right and wrong. If this were the case, there will be no such thing as an unjust law, because whatever the state does is considered a just act, and the ruler can do no wrong. The ruler answers to God, but everyone else answers only to the ruler.

The second journal article by Patricia Springborg titled "A Critical Response to the Hobbes Symposium, Political Theory" she states that "Hobbes engages in natural law discourse, only finally to suggest that natural laws as such have no obligatory force. Obligation can derive only from the word of God, but the word of God requires sovereign authorization, as we know from book two of Leviathan. Therefore natural law, like the word of God, obliges only by the power of the magistrate." In the journal, Jonathan Parkin questions Hobbes by stating that if Hobbes was intending on expressing natural law as fraud, then his entire system of natural laws of reason and natural right inevitably looks like as he describes a "house of cards". Hobbes' unique view obviously causes other philosophers to question where this rational came from, and Hobbes is continually questioned over his theory. Hobbes vision was that rights were what created power for the state. The state should take over everyone's affiliation to supply everyone with justice and rights, and restrain any other form that does not create and control. Hobbes said that just because people know what is just and what is unjust, it doesn't mean that they are going to act and do what is just, and this unavoidably leads to war. The problem with this is that it does not include why people should submit to absolute power of the state. Locke argued, "Inequality of power does not lead to less use of unjust force, but to greater use of unjust force. Human wickedness is an argument for liberty, not an argument for absolute forms of government."

Hobbes obviously does not think very highly of man. He says men are selfish because they can not admit that other men are as wise as them. Conversely, Locke is very optimistic of man's natural characteristics. Locke sees men as being governed according to reason. He perceives men to be "thinking, capable individuals that can coexist peacefully." Hobbes and Locke disagree on mankind's natural characteristics, but the degree of their disagreement grows much larger with respect to natural law. Hobbes thinks natural law is created by reason alone and disregards the traditional meaning of virtue with happiness and therefore redefines the law not to allow any endorsement of the common good.  Hobbes develops a "Golden Rule" which states that one should treat someone how they would like to be treated.

As stated in both Journal articles it is fair to conclude that Hobbes has an aggressive, unfair view of mankind. Even if men are jealous and selfish by nature and go to war, pain and suffering is needed in this world in order to be able to gain morals and appreciate your ruler even more. The state should not have full control over the laws and rights of its people because then there will be no unjust laws because everything is in the hands of the ruler. The people look to the ruler, and the ruler looks to God. This should not be the case; the ruler should not take away every man's right so they don't rebel and don't rise against the ruler. Locke provides a more optimistic view of mankind by saying that they are governed according to reason and perceives men to be thinking, capable individuals that can coexist peacefully which is the more rational response.

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