Discuss the relation between Hobbes view of human nature and his account of the origin, character and functions of the State.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Hobbes's belief that human nature is inherently selfish and prone to brutality informs his vision of what the state should be like.  Because we are naturally "bad," Hobbes believes that we need to totally subjugate ourselves to the state so that it may protect us from our evil natures (and those of our fellow human beings).

Hobbes argues that life in the state of nature is chaotic.  It is the war of each against all.  If we are to avoid this fate, we have to voluntarily submit to an absolutist state.  We have to allow the state to have complete control over us so that it can ensure that we will not revert to the state of nature.  As the link below tells us,

In Hobbes’s view, stability could be achieved only where sovereignty was undivided and absolute. Otherwise civil authority would come undone, and the brutishness of the state of nature would reassert itself.

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