While it is tough to say which viewpoint, Hobbes’ or Rousseau’s is correct, one or the other can be considered sounder by their logic and reasoning....
These basic views of natural human nature cause Hobbes and Rousseau to have views on opposite sides of the spectrum, based on two controversial speculations, that human is inherently good or that human is inherently inclined towards egotism and perpetual insecurity.
Thomas Hobbes was born as the Spanish Armada approached the , so the times of his life were also turbulent.Â Hobbes played a very important role in the transition from medieval to modern thought in Britain. Â His influence not only made a difference in his country and in his time, but his thought impacted thought about government around the world from the time his ideas were discussed and published until the present.Â Hobbes published The Leviathan in 1651and outlined many of his most important thoughts. This work shows his belief that the state must have complete sovereignty.
By way of the differing versions of the social contract Hobbes and Rousseau agreed that certain freedoms had been surrendered for a society’s protection and emphasizing the government’s definite responsibilities to its citizens.
In the Second Treatise and the Discourse on Inequality, Locke and Rousseau, respectively, put forward very interesting and different accounts of the state of nature and the evolution of man, but the most astonishing difference between the two is their conceptions of property....
The paper contrasts the theories of the social contract as espoused by Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau; analyses the difference between statute law and case law; and looks at the contrast between elitism and pluralism in terms of the control of social institutions.
Discussed are Thomas Hobbes' The Elements of Law Natural and Politic (1640), John Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690), and Jean-Jacques Rousseau's A Dissertation on the Origin and Foundation of the Inequality of Mankind (1755).
Although Hobbes offered some mild pragmatic grounds for preferringmonarchy to other forms of government, his main concern was to arguethat effective government—whatever its form—must have absoluteauthority. Its powers must be neither divided nor limited. The powersof legislation, adjudication, enforcement, taxation, war-making (andthe less familiar right of control of normative doctrine) are connectedin such a way that a loss of one may thwart effective exercise of therest; for example, legislation without interpretation and enforcementwill not serve to regulate conduct. Only a government that possessesall of what Hobbes terms the “essential rights ofsovereignty” can be reliably effective, since where partial setsof these rights are held by different bodies that disagree in theirjudgments as to what is to be done, paralysis of effective government,or degeneration into a civil war to settle their dispute, mayoccur.
Another important open question is that of what, exactly, it is abouthuman beings that makes it the case (supposing Hobbes is right) thatour communal life is prone to disaster when we are left to interactaccording only to our own individual judgments. Perhaps, while peopledo wish to act for their own best long-term interest, they areshortsighted, and so indulge their current interests without properlyconsidering the effects of their current behavior on their long-terminterest. This would be a type of failure ofrationality. Alternatively, it may be that people in the state ofnature are fully rational, but are trapped in a situation that makesit individually rational for each to act in a way that is sub-optimalfor all, perhaps finding themselves in the familiar ‘prisoner'sdilemma’ of game theory. Or again, it may be that Hobbes's stateof nature would be peaceful but for the presence of persons (just afew, or perhaps all, to some degree) whose passions overrule theircalmer judgments; who are prideful, spiteful, partial, envious,jealous, and in other ways prone to behave in ways that lead towar. Such an account would understand irrational human passions to bethe source of conflict. Which, if any, of these accounts adequatelyanswers to Hobbes's text is a matter of continuing debate among Hobbesscholars. Game theorists have been particularly active in thesedebates, experimenting with different models for the state of natureand the conflict it engenders.
In viewing the presidential hopefuls, however, and studying their party platforms, we can see how some of their policies and views reflect statements and ideals set by such philosophers as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.