Sep 20 - Hobbes Locke Rousseau Summary

Sep 20 - Hobbes Locke Rousseau Summary - “sucker”(to...

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1 Summary of Politics 1020E Lecture 4: Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau (September 20, 2011) The fourth lecture discusses Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau on the state of nature. Is there morality in the Hobbesian state of nature? This is a difficult question to answer, but at the very least we should be clear about what Hobbes means by the terms ‘justice’, ‘natural right’, and ‘law of nature’. The laws of nature are suggested by reason, and following them (especially the first three) can lead human beings out of the state of war and into the peaceful, ordered world governed by a sovereign. Hobbes argues that the laws of nature enable exit from the “natural condition” of war. These laws embody what it is rational for each individual to do as long as all the others are doing the same. The state is needed to provide incentives for people to follow the laws of nature. Otherwise, anyone who lays down his natural right is a
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Unformatted text preview: “sucker” (to use the phrase coined by modern-day rational choice theorists). John Locke’s (1632-1704) state of nature is initially a state of peace characterized by equality, a law of nature, and natural liberty. But it is important to recognize that Locke’s understanding of these ideas is very different from Hobbes’s. For Locke, each person possesses the executive power of the law of nature, but “inconveniences” eventually develop. So individuals find themselves in a state of war from which a state can protect them. Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) has a distinctive view of human nature, characterized by a desire for self-preservation and a capacity for pity at the sight of others’ suffering. Natural savages are very different from corrupted human beings in so-called “civilized” modern societies....
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