Hobbes State of Nature and the Selfish Hypothesis

Philosophers have pondered the concept of human nature and its relation to religion and political philosophy. Other philosophers have examined the state of nature in the context of social contract theories and international law. Yet none have successfully explained why humans behave in such a way. This article will attempt to explain how the state of nature can be defined and why it is important to understand the concept. It also examines the Selfish hypothesis. After reading this article, you’ll be able to make your own informed decision on whether or not to adopt this or that philosophy.

Human nature

Thomas Hobbes’s De Cive and Leviathan describe the natural state of mankind. Hobbes argues that the natural inequalities among human beings are not so great that one group can claim clear superiority over another. This means that we must all live in fear of loss or conflict, and war is one of these risks. Moreover, Hobbes’s theories have influenced liberal theory.

A purely utilitarian account of humanity does not consider the human condition as an ideal. According to Hobbes, there are three basic types of humanity: the human, animal, and non-human. While we are all biologically similar, we are diverse and numerous. This means that we cannot be rational, unitary actors who prevent violence in our interactions for the greater good. In this view, the human condition is permanently inherently messy. Violence, as Spinoza says, is an inevitable property of the complex world.

In modernist societies, we are often faced with the ethical and political problems of governing in the state of nature. This is not possible, because we cannot ignore the constant flow of human and nonhuman interactions. The result is an ineffective and inefficient system of governance. Furthermore, we cannot manage to govern in nature without addressing the underlying issues of the precariousness of our existence. Therefore, we must embrace the Hobbes state of nature to make human government work in an environment that is not limited by modernist conceptions.

Laws of nature

While many think of Hobbes’ laws of nature as a set of rules to govern human behavior, they are really more about the common desires and aversions of human beings. For instance, Hobbes argues that the human race is naturally good and should strive to achieve peace. The second law of nature, the law of justice, is similar, but has a less-stylish definition.

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The third and final part of the Hobbesian critique of natural law concerns the idea of the law of nature. While human beings may have certain liberties, Hobbes argues that a commonwealth would impede those liberties. Thus, Hobbes’s view of the law of nature and the law of liberty is more balanced. But there are some things that Hobbes would like to make clear.

The first law of nature protects individual liberty and success in the world. This means that men are commanded to strive for peace and not to worry about losing their place in the world. A second law of nature requires men to work together and sacrifice certain rights for the good of the entire society. Hobbes’s theory explains why a human state needs to trust its citizens, but also recognizes the role of government in maintaining that peace.

Thomas Hobbes’s De Cive and Leviathan describe the state of nature and human society. Both philosophers claim that man is better than nature, but in reality, this is a matter of preference. Hobbes does not advocate a particular kind of society. In fact, he says that humans should always live in constant fear of loss. And he is quite right. But he fails to acknowledge that a natural state does not necessarily mean an ideal society.

Selfish hypothesis

Thomas Hobbes’s Selfish Hypothesis posits that human beings do not have moral constraints in nature. Essentially, Hobbes proposes that a state of nature without social interaction is one in which humans do not know what is right or wrong. If this were true, Hobbes’s state of nature would be a theoretical construct, but it would illustrate how society and government help us live better lives.

Ultimately, the Selfish Hypothesis in Hobbes’s state of nature is an attempt to explain the human condition through the lens of psychological egoism. Hobbes assumes that individuals obey their parents because of the nurturing that they provide. He further assumes that humans are primitive units, including families and individuals that share social bonds and sexual affinity. Despite his claims, Hobbes acknowledges that a person’s actions might not be entirely selfish, but that some instances of it are necessary to understand how humans interact in society.

Hobbes’ argument based on a state of nature is a complex one. While philosophers may not be naturally inclined to form societies, they are generally not motivated to do so. Hobbes argued that certain people have the God-given right to rule. In contrast, lower-class individuals are encouraged to replace greed with a more philosophic form of selflessness. Therefore, this hypothesis suggests that philosophers are more likely to rule in a society than other people because they have a higher priority for the society’s interests than their own.

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Perpetual unrest

Thomas Hobbes’ theory of human nature suggests that all sovereigns are in a state of nature. However, he did not recognize that human nature is actually complicated. While Hobbes recognized that people tend to pursue both immediate and delayed gratification, he did not explore the nuances of the relation between these two kinds of gratification. For example, a bottle of water serves to quench the immediate thirst but can also be stored for later use, as in the case of the Hobbes state of nature.

Although Hobbes made this concession, this does not invalidate his analysis of conflict in the state of nature. He argued that conflict results from competition and diffidence, rather than from a common goal. While this does not explain why human beings engage in conflict, the idea that humans are always at war is not unfounded. Many commentators are investigating this issue further and are looking at the role of conflict and its causes.

The most controversial aspect of Hobbes’s theory of human behavior is his belief that humans are naturally vain and aggressive. Hobbes argued that the state of nature would eventually lead to all-out war. However, his theory is flawed because we do not yet understand the ramifications of this belief. In a state of nature, people may have an inherent right to kill and compete with others.


Neither Hobbes nor Locke agrees on whether a society is equal, but both emphasize the necessity of equality. Hobbes, on the other hand, views equality as a negative thing, while Locke views it as a positive. Locke’s scenario is far more secure. Hobbes and Locke both acknowledge that an individual has equal rights and responsibilities, and both recognize that human life is a complex, interdependent system of interacting relationships.

In this lesson, students will read and respond to a document containing a quote by John Locke by Thomas Hobbes. They can discuss the ideas behind Locke and the principles that underlie the idea of popular sovereignty. Ultimately, they will be introduced to Locke’s views on constitutionalism and popular sovereignty. This lesson focuses on Locke’s work and demonstrates the importance of this philosophical idea.

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Locke and Hobbes agreed that man joined society to protect his property and himself. While they disagreed on the concept of an absolute sovereign, they both agreed that individuals could not be deprived of their property without consent. Locke, on the other hand, accepted the concept of taxation and considered it an appropriate proportionate share to maintain government. Locke also believed that the sovereign could be challenged and the people had the right to overthrow tyranny.

While Hobbes saw a society without the need for reason, Locke viewed it as a collective approach to achieving a state-like system. He argued that a society that is free of violence would be unsustainable. It would also result in life being short and poor. Therefore, a government with these qualities would prevent social discord, not cause it. So, a government that can prevent social discord is a necessary component of civilization.

Dundas’s attack on Hobbes

The most striking part of Dundas’s attack on Hobbes is his claim that he had first written De Cive, a book that relies on empirical principles. This claim does not stand up to critical scrutiny. For a start, Hobbes uses the compositive method of geometry to derive his conclusions about geometric figures from the definition of points and lines. In the process, he resolves the meaning of the senses.

This is an excellent example of how the laws of nature interfere with our liberty. For example, Hobbes does not consider power and right to be identical. Instead, he maintains the obligation to pay a ransom in a state of nature. He also recognizes the power of an erstwhile captive to break the promise. The consequences of this argument are far-reaching. In the end, Dundas’s attack on Hobbes’s ideas on liberty are clear and powerful.

In Leviathan, Hobbes deduces sixteen more laws of nature. These laws seek to maintain peace and prevent socially destructive behavior. They also prohibit ingratitude. In conclusion, Hobbes’s science of politics concludes that the sovereign power must control all doctrines in a commonwealth. The laws of nature also explain the concept of sovereignty. However, the question remains, what exactly is a sovereign state?

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