Social Contract Theory Essay Research Paper Hobbes

Social Contract Theory Essay, Research Paper

Hobbes Social Contract Theory

Thomas Hobbes starts his argument by discussing the nature of mankind.

One man can be better in something than another man, but in the end their

positive and negative qualities add up to make them equal. This equality

brings fear to men. They begin to suspect and hate one another, which brings

them to war. When men are at war; morality, values and injustice vanish. The

lack of a central governing system allows men to act according to their

understanding. Hobbes states three main principles that drive a man to war:

Competition, Fear, and Glory. “The first, maketh men invade for gain; the

second, for safety; and the third for reputation”. War lasts for a long time

regardless of the reason. Neglectful of how successful a war is, there are

always losses. Furthermore, if man is always at war, he loses culture,

resources, time, society, and morality. He starts relying on animal surviving

instinct, always keeping his guard against every other man. Fear of death

prevents men from constant involvement in war. There is little time for

building and civilizing the world or to enjoy life. Being in constant war, or

fearing war takes up a lot or all of that time. In this state of anarchy, where

your and other lives are in permanent danger, one realizes that it is in

everyone’s best interest to make a contract to claim peace, sustain a minimal

morality of respecting human life, keeping covenants made, and obeying the

laws of the society. These Contracts are mutual transferring of rights between

two parties. They can range from deciding on peace between two quarreling

parties, with demands and peaceful sacrifices from both ends, to and

agreement between two merchants for goods and services. Hobbes goes

deeper by demonstrating different kinds of contracts such as covenants, and

Natural Laws that are kept with contracts. He also demonstrates that social

contracts improve our way of lives, by keeping peace and setting up morals,

laws, values, and compromises. To enforce such contracts, Hobbes suggests

imposing severe penalties on those who disobey the laws and/or break the



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