Locke Hobbes Essay

Locke Hobbes Essay-84
Hobbes was classically educated but later in life became interested scientific thought and metaphysics.Locke was a physician and a member of the Royal Society. For them God was the first cause but their scientific understanding of cause and effect shaped their view, not just of physical objects in the natural world and how they interacted but also of individuals and how they interacted in society.

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Natural law theory held that there were immutable principals of law that existed as part of the natural world that define what is right, just and good for man.

These principals were discoverable by the use of reason and all men were subject to these laws.

The Canons of the Church of England, drafted in 1606, stated “If any man shall affirm…

that men at first ran up and down as wild creatures … and is not God’s ordinance…; he doth greatly err.” ( See Carlyles, Medieval Theory – k210).

Thomas Hobbes (1588 1679) and John Locke (1632 1704) developed their political theories at a time of religious, political and social upheaval in England.

They were archetypal enlightenment figures well acquainted with the scientific and philosophical concerns of their time.

More importantly they were intending to formulate forms of government that had intellectual integrity and gave legitimacy to the political structure after revolution and the removal of the old order.

Using scientific method they each argued from their understanding of the first principals of human interaction and both came to powerful rational conclusions.

Hobbes and Locke argued that the state had arisen out of a voluntary agreement, or social contract, made by individuals who recognised that only the establishment of sovereign power could safeguard them from the insecurity of the state of nature.

Natural law theory paralleled the mechanistic scientific theories successfully demonstrated by enlightenment figures such as Galileo and Newton.


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