Intellectual History of the western civilization.
Essay on the topic:
4.The political thinking of Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau decisively shaped the western intellectual tradition. An essay specifying what I consider the essential contribution of each of these thinkers to political philosophy. I must explain how do they differ from each other.
The political philosophy is the very important part of the philosophy. Perhaps, it has brought the most noticeable results to out everyday life, the most famous explanations and basic ideas were introduced by Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. They developed theories on humans evolution and how men should govern themselves . Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau were closely connected with developing differing versions of the social contract. Each philosopher agrees that before men came to govern themselves, they all existed in a state of nature. They created a revolutionary idea of the state of nature, the rejection of the idea that the government is coming from the heavens, they divide the church from the authorities.
Anyway, the theme is seemed interesting to me because almost each of us is used to the politic. It is not possible do divide oneself from the politic. These philosophers “worked out principles on which the modern democracy is based”, they affected our life. This cause is only enough to examine a question in details.
*I was basically using the Russian language material, my translation may cause some inaccuracies. I apologize for caused discomforts.
Each man, on a nature is free, and nothing can put him in submission of any terrestrial authority, except of his own consent.
John Locke “Second treatise on government”
John Lock described his political issues in his book “Second Treatise on Government”. According to Locke before the appearance of the government people were living in a natural state. There wasnt war “everybody versus everybody”, like Hobbes was representing in his works. The individuals, were not asking somebody permission and not depending on anybody will, they freely dispose their property. The equality dominates, " at which any authority and any right are mutual, nobody has more another ". The natural state for Locke is a state where people are free to work and they are mutual independent between each other.
In contrast to Hobbs, Locke thought that community was constructing or constructed before the state, the state doesnt come to limit social freedom or equality, but to guarantee them. Not the government rules the nation, the nation rules itself through the government.
To force the laws to work in a natural state, the nature has given everyone an opportunity to judge violated laws and to impose a penalty on trespassers . However in a natural state there are no institutions, which could impartially solve disputes between the people ,to prove and carry out appropriate punishment for an aggressor .All this derivates uncertainty. To overcome this , to provide execution of the natural laws, equality and freedom, protection of the person and property , people decided to form the political community, to find out the state. But, the tricky question derives then , if there isnt agreement between people to obey the laws how people can come to a state? There are always people like the anarchists who wouldnt like to follow even the majority of the mankind. Locke emphasizes the moment of the agreement : " Any peaceful formation of the state has in the basis the agreement of the people ". According to Locke only the majority of the community can do this. “The obligation to obey to the decision of the majority and to consider it final ". I think such conclusions describe Locke as a very contemporary and democratic thinker at his time. A time when arguing with kings word was mortally. A total refusal by the individuals of all natural rights, belonging to them, and freedom for the benefit of the state (that took place, for example, in the doctrine of Hobbes) Locke considers unacceptable. The right on life and possession of property, freedom and equality the man does not alienate to anybody and at any circumstances These not alienated values - final borders of authority and action of the state which are prohibited to violate.
I especially would like to specify that Locke more than 300 years ago carried out democratic principles which live so far. Live, liberty and estate this is the constitutional basis of the todays countries. Locke denied slavery, he was against the feudal lords. He speaks about clear competition which is based on mutual acknowledgement. I think he was trying to explain that business is based on the mutual trust which is very valuable thing now. An Equality and a freedom are the main things in a free market. Anyone, even poor or a man with intellectual or physical lacks can not to be excluded from a competition, from a free exchange of the goods and services. These things he offered to bring to life by constructing a political system and issuing the laws.
John Locke suggested to divide a political power in the branches. Every branch was supposed to obey the laws. Therefore we get the jural state with doctrine of law, an ideal which countries are aiming towards even now.
The question on the state form traditional for the European political idea from Aristotle interested Locke as well. As I can understood Locke could accept any form of the state which has grown from the public contract and voluntary agreement of the people, that it has an appropriate " structure of government ", protecting the natural rights and freedom of the individuals and caring the general weal. Locke was inclined to consider a constitutional monarchy as the most close a political system to be ideal. Locke denied the Hobbss conception of absolutism as opposite to his views.
In conclusion with Locke I would like to emphasize that his ideas havent been leaved in papers. He wrote a constitution for a North Carolina in 1669, which was approved and carried into effect. I think it is the most full confession that a philosopher might receive.
“The man is a wolf for man.”Thomas Hobbes
Political and legal doctrine of the Hobbes are contained in his works: “The Philosophical beginning of the doctrine about the citizen " (1642), " Leviathan , or Matter, form and authority of the state church and civil " (1651). “ . In a basis of the theory of the state and right Т. Hobbes puts a certain notion about a nature of the individual. He considers that initially all people are created equal concerning physical and intellectual abilities and each of them has identical with others " the right on all". However man also an essence is deep egoistic, influenced by greed, fear and ambition. The contenders, the enemies surround him only. "In conditions of such war - means actually do not have any right on anything. This distress Т. Hobbes names " a original condition of a sort human ". Hobbes understands an original state as what would exist if there were no common power to execute and enforce the laws to restrain individuals. In this case, the laws of the jungle would prevail where the war “all versus all” is. Peoples desires are greedy. Since resources are scarce, humankind is naturally competitive, all this lead to the inevitable war. This constant state of war is what Hobbes believes to be mans original state of nature. According to Hobbes, man cannot be trusted in the state of nature. Limits and bounds are put to the rights of the people.
Locke underlines an opportunity of human beans to divide good and bad and certainly, the sense of a property is inside everyone, the difference between what is theirs and what belongs to someone else. Hobbes has been thinking another way. In contrary, in a state of nature nobody knows what is theirs and what is belongs to someone else, according to Hobbes. Property exists solely by the will of the state. He proceeds constantly from the nonpeaceful ideas. Men is not able to divide good and evil like Locke thinks. Therefore can only live in peace together by subjection to the absolute power of a common master, hence there can be no peace between kings. Peace between states is merely war by other means.
To end the era of uncertainty and of the funk being killed by your rivals Hobbes set up a state.
A state can be found either by the agreement of the society of by the force of the ruler. The idea of dividing powers of the state is completely denied by Hobbes. The absolute power the only possible way of ruling. The prerogatives sovereigns are indivisible and are not transmitted to anybody. To divide authority of the state, means, to destroy it, as the divided authorities mutually destroy each other ". The authority of the sovereign is actually his monopoly to life and death of his people; " everything, what the Supreme representative has made in relation to the citizen under any pretext, can not be considered as injustice or lawlessness in own sense ".