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

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Both Hobbes and Locke offer what are called social contract theories. These are political theories designed to offer an account of the relation between the state and the individual. Where they differ, however, is in the precise nature of the social contract theories they put forward.

For Hobbes, the state is all-powerful. It had originally been set up in a state of nature, where the law of the jungle prevailed, by men who wanted to put an end to ceaseless strife and protect their lives and property. So they got together to invest one man with absolute power in order to keep the peace and stop everyone from constantly being at each other's throats.

According to Hobbes, the sovereignty of the monarch is indissoluble and cannot be challenged. He maintains that individuals do have the right to defend themselves against a tyrannical ruler, but this is only in extreme circumstances. For the sovereign to do his job properly, he must be invested with absolute power. There can therefore be no...

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