Rousseau’s most important works were written to refute — and completely invert — Hobbes ‘ assertion that “natural” man’s life was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” This is clearest in Rousseau’s Social Contract, but it also serves as the underpinning of all Roussean philosophy.
‘ Nasty, brutish and short ‘ is a quotation from Thomas Hobbes ‘ poem Leviathan, 1651 – not a firm of particularly unpleasant lawyers as some wags have suggested. Hobbes described the natural state of mankind (the state pertaining before a central government is formed) as a “warre of every man against every man”.
“No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” “The first and fundamental law of Nature, which is, to seek peace and follow it.”
Thomas Hobbes said life without government would be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short .” According to Hobbes , humans naturally compete for territory, resources and power. the people’s representatives administer the government , allowing it to be extended over a much larger area.
solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. What are the disadvantages of living in a time of war , according to Hobbes ? In war there is no law; and where there is no law, there can be no injustice.
So it is their natural right, which helps them to survive, that actually puts them in a situation of “ continual fear ” and where they are in “ danger of violent death” (Hobbes, 1946: XIII, 82). Psychologically, survival is not an option.
Hobbes calls this figure the ” Leviathan ,” a word derived from the Hebrew for “sea monster” and the name of a monstrous sea creature appearing in the Bible; the image constitutes the definitive metaphor for Hobbes’s perfect government.
In Leviathan (1651), Hobbes argued that the absolute power of the sovereign was ultimately justified by the consent of the governed, who agreed, in a hypothetical social contract, to obey the sovereign in all matters in exchange for a guarantee of peace and security.
The condition in which people give up some individual liberty in exchange for some common security is the Social Contract . Hobbes defines contract as “the mutual transferring of right.” In the state of nature, everyone has the right to everything – there are no limits to the right of natural liberty.
Thomas Hobbes believed that all humans are naturally selfish and wicked and prone to fighting. He said that in order to escape a bleak life, people should give up their rights to a strong leader who would give them law and order.
Hobbes believed that in man’s natural state, moral ideas do not exist. Thus, in speaking of human nature , he defines good simply as that which people desire and evil as that which they avoid, at least in the state of nature . Hobbes uses these definitions as bases for explaining a variety of emotions and behaviors.
John Locke: The state of nature and the social contract.