Thomas Hobbes is one of the greatest English philosophers who played a great role in shaping the political philosophy in Europe. One of his great works is Leviathan, a book that was first published in 1651. This book is believed to have provided foundation to the western political philosophy in the context of social contract theory (Rosenberg, 2005). According to Hobbes, there is a need for state sovereignty and protection of the individual rights. In his book, Leviathan, Hobbes argued that there was need for man to surrender some of his natural rights to the state as a means of protecting his remaining rights. However, there should be a clear distinction between the state and the civil society. Hobbes went further to explain human beings as matter and motion, and human nature as self interested cooperation based on social contract theory. Hobbes is remembered even to today as a great contributor to modern political philosophy (Rosenberg, 2005).
Hobbes views human beings as physical objects. He explains that human beings are like sophisticated machines and human functions can be well explained using mechanistic terms just like we explain the functioning of machines. To him human thinking is similar to the physical operation of machines and should be understood as the physical operation of the human body. For instance, the act of sensation in human beings is as a result of several mechanical processes that take place in the nervous system. It is through these mechanical processes in the brain that human beings produce ideas just like machines ensure that work is done (Rosenberg, 2005)
Hobbes also goes further to explain human action and as part of human nature. He points out that definite desire and likes that that human beings experience are the reason for discomforts and pains that humans go through. However, Hobbes points out that there is a need for human beings to overcome these discomforts. According to Hobbes, it is the responsibility of every person to act in a manner that he is likely to relieve the discomfort facing him. This means that human being's actions should aim at preserving and promoting their wellbeing. According to Hobbes understanding of human nature, we are naturally inclined towards relieving the physical pressures that invade our bodies (Rosenberg, 2005)
In his further explanation of human nature, Hobbes argued that human beings body functioning is free and the activities are not as the result of constraint from anyone else. In this sense, Hobbes felt that human beings should not complain about the strictness of their determination and will to behave in a certain manner as long as it is not originating from outside their bodies. He added that human beings also take the animal nature and this makes people live independently and acting to achieve their own interests. It is the animal nature in human beings that make people to neglect the needs of other people in their actions thereby producing a situation that he calls a “state of war.”This is a way of life associated with nasty things, brutish and poverty. Hobbes points out that human beings can get out of this form of life by entering into social contacts with one another. This includes surrendering our individual interests in order to achieve social interests for the good of all of us (Hobbes, 1996).
The leviathan is a book written by Thomas Hobbes in 1651. The book aimed at explaining the structure of the society and legal government. The Leviathan provides the basis of understanding social contract theory. It explains the functioning of the sovereign government and the social contract (Hobbes, 1996). The Leviathan also tries to explain the connection of the human nature, the social contract and the role of the central government in ending the discomforts facing human beings. Generally, the Leviathan provides a clear evaluation of the mutual relation that exist between protection and obedience.
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