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SF essay2 - Sunpreet Singh Social Foundations II...

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Sunpreet Singh Social Foundations II- 3:30-4:45pm April, 09, 2010 Man’s Nature as the Basis of Social Foundations From the dawn of the human race, several questions and uncertainties have been raised about the foundations of maintaining social interactions among human beings. Of the thousands of political thinkers and reformists contributing to this art and science, Thomas Hobbes in the Leviathan and Machiavelli in The Prince , have laid down many critical and influential ideas. From a general perspective, their works were adaptable to the circumstances that their society faced with a radical touch of reasoning. Ironically, both men shared the same pessimism for the goodness of man; however they took different approaches on the circumstances their society faced. In some regards, their works were both very radical and extreme at the time and contributed to the foundations of society today. Hobbes pursued a very logical and reason-based approach to the issue of maintaining a lawful and sufficient society, which would encompass the views of not one individual, but many. His theory was based on the premise that man was a social being out his very boredom, needs and his motivations were his appetites. Consequently, based on the relative strengths of man’s appetites there is a spectrum of motivations in attaining them. Ultimately, this leads to an inevitable competition amongst men to attain these goods; leading to conflict, war and unrest. As Hobbes mentions on, this is the life in the state of nature, “one in which every man is against each other in a constant state of war, no security or commodious buildings, no industry, no knowledge, no art, continual fear, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”(186) However, this is an idealized original state which has never occurred, but is 1
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the foundations of human actions and motivations. Essentially, it contrives fear in all human beings, even the superior, who are still viable to attack from armies of the weak and oppressed. From this premise, Hobbes establishes two introductory conclusions,
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