Sophia: An African Journal of Philosophy

Log in or Register to get access to full text downloads.

Remember me or Register

DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT Open Access  DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT Subscription or Fee Access

An examination of the nexus between Thomas Hobbes‟ concept of human nature and theory of the state

Patrick Johnson Mendie, Mary Julius Egbai


Human nature from Hobbes‘ perspective is characterized by equality; meaning all are by nature equal, and each possesses the liberty or natural right to use one‘s natural strength and intellect to pursue irrational ends by any means deemed fit. Good, evil, vice and virtue are subjectively defined because human beings possess the natural right to do anything and are limited only by natural impediment; every human being has a right to everything even to one another‘s body. Thus, no human being is so much stronger than another by nature that he could not be killed by another. Man was full of fear for self preservation, life and property; dominion over others would be the ambition of all men leading to a war of all against all. In order to remedy the above personality and drive of human beings, Hobbes found it imperative to propound a theory of the state, where all will be saved through a social contract. This paper is an attempt to establish a link between Hobbes‘ concept of human nature and his theory of the state. We articulate that it was the natural condition of human nature as materialistic, fearful, self-preserving, selfish, lack of morality and greed in the state of nature that necessitated the drive for man to move into a civil society for the procurement of peace through social contract.

Keywords: Human nature, state of nature, self-preservation, civil society, social contract.

AJOL African Journals Online