Compare and contrast the philosophies of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke.

Asked on

2 Answers | Add Yours

pohnpei397's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #1)

Locke and Hobbes have similar philosophies in that both of them believe that human beings in a state of nature would have a bad life.  Both of them feel that human beings must create governments in order to protect themselves from the dangers of the state of nature.

They differ, however, with regard to what they think these governments should be like.  Locke is famous for advocating a government that is based on the consent of the governed and is concerned with protecting their rights.  Hobbes, by contrast, believes that individuals must completely give up their rights to an all-powerful sovereign.

In this way, these two men have very different prescriptions for how to get out of what they both agree is a state of nature that is not conducive to human happiness.

thetall's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #2)

Thomas Hobbes and John Locke were both English philosophers. Thomas Hobbes discussed and developed the social contract theory through his book Leviathan. The social contract theory was later supported and interpreted further by John Locke. This theory which was important to the two philosophers explains the relationship between the state and the individual. It asserts that individuals have agreed to relinquish some of their freedoms in order to establish an authority to protect their remaining collective freedoms. Both Thomas Hobbes and John Locke were supporters of liberalism. They both supported individual freedoms and equality.

The two philosophers differ in the sense that whereas Thomas Hobbes supported absolutism for the sovereign, John Locke supported the establishment of authority that is subject to the people. John Locke further differed with Hobbes in terms of revolution against the authority by the people. Locke supported revolutions while Hobbes supported absolutism. In this regard, Hobbes did not support the principle of separation of powers that Locke proposed in his discussions.


We’ve answered 288,287 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question