A Comparison of the State of Nature between:.
Locke, Second Treatise of Civil Government.
The state of nature is a traditional starting point for many political thinkers attempting to develop, from the natural state of man, some theory about society and politics. Not all political theorists, however, share the same views as to what such a state would be like. In the Leviathan and the Second Treatise of Civil Government, Hobbes and Locke, respectively, both ground their political philosophies at the same location: the state of nature, meaning the natural condition of mankind prior to any artifice such as government. In their theories, both Hobbes and Locke agree that the state of nature is a state of liberty, in which every man is born with natural rights and has the freedom to protect his rights in any way he deems necessary. However, their theories concerning the state of nature diverge. According to Hobbes, the state of nature is essentially the same as the state of war. Locke, however, maintained that although they share a lack of supreme power, the state of nature and the state of war are not the same.
In the Leviathan, Hobbes makes an analogy which parallels the civil state to the parts of a human body. He compares each part of the state to a particular function of the parts of the human body. When describing human nature, Hobbes argues that, in the absence of civil society, every action we perform is done for reasons which are selfish. The state of nature in Leviathan is derived from Hobbes' speculation as to how people (who are inherently selfish) would behave prior to the formation of any civil society. Hobbes used the term equality to focus on the equal vulnerability of men. It is Hobbes' proposition that even though individuals may differ in the strengths of their various natural powers, all people are naturally equal, because even the weakest is capable of killing the strongest by some means:.