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Sorin Sabou

Letter to the Romans, Nicomachean Ethics, and more

Locke versus Hobbes

Locke identifies his difference from a Hobbist position in Essay III.5 when he asks why a man must keep his word? ‘Because God, who has the power of eternal life and death, requires it of us.’ To this question a Hobbist would answer ‘because the public requires it, and the Leviathan will punish you, if you do not.’ The authorities are different in situations like these: God as a judge, or the public as a judge.
Locke set himself apart from Hobbes in several areas. He argues for democracy (Hobbes argues for an absolute monarch), he argues that all people are born with certain inalienable rights such as life, liberty, the right to own property (Hobbes argues for the fact that the rights of the people will be given to the monarch and he will protect them; social contract), he argues for the fact that people are by nature good and that they learn by experiences (Hobbes thinks that people are wicked and selfish and they act according to their best interests), he believed that if people have the right information they will make the right decisions (Hobbes thinks that no people could be trusted to govern themselves; the absolute monarch demands obedience to maintain order), he believed that the purpose of government is to protect rights and liberties (Hobbes thinks that the purpose of government is to keep law and order).
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