Leviathan: Or, The Matter, Form, and Power of a Commonwealth Ecclesiastical and Civil

by Thomas Hobbes
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In chapter 13 of Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan, how does he describe mankind's natural condition in terms of whether it is happy or miserable? 

In chapter thirteen of Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan, Hobbes describes the natural condition of mankind to be a state of constant competition and search for power. This condition generally leads to animosity, fear, and war.

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In chapter thirteen of Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes discusses what he considers to be the "natural condition of mankind." He describes this condition as one of approximate equality but, unlike philosophers with a Romantic or Socialist viewpoint, he does not regard this equality as conducive to human happiness. He says that, for instance, even the weakest person may be able to kill the strongest by the use of subterfuge or conspiracy. This means that all men are in a state of constant competition, which each one believing he has a reasonable chance of winning. The natural condition of mankind, therefore, is one of animosity and perpetual warfare.

Hobbes stipulates that in a state of war, nothing is unjust. The only way in which rules can be imposed on mankind is by a power so much greater than that of the warring factions that its authority will not be questioned. The three primary causes of war are referred to by Hobbes as competition, diffidence and glory, by which he means that people fight first to obtain what they want, second to procure their own safety, and third to secure a great reputation for themselves. Only a great imbalance in power can bring peace.

It may be helpful to consider people now living in a situation close to a Hobbesian "natural condition of mankind." Do they appear to be acting as Hobbes would expect? You could also look at historical examples of comparatively anarchic societies to draw your conclusions.

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