A CRITICAL ASSESSMENT OF THE STATE OF NATURE AND POLITICAL RIGHT IN THOMAS HOBBES
1.0 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
There are as many views of the nature of philosophy as there are philosophers, if not more and nearly everyone points out that the Greek roots of the word “philosophy” are “philo,” meaning “love,” and “sophia” meaning “wisdom” which would make philosophy translate more or less to “love of wisdom, However, this doesn’t tell us a whole lot, since many disciplines seek wisdom. How do they go about trying to get that wisdom?
Philosophy as a subject is one that covers a wide range of topics and so it is divided into various branches for a better comprehension and clarity and one of them is Ethics. Ethics is concerned with questions of how people ought to act, and the search for a definition of right conduct and the good life. This long essay would be concerned with the ethical branch of philosophy which the chosen topic, the state of nature is a part of.
1.1 Statement of Research Problem
The problem which this long essay attempts to treat is to see if the reason and the way in which the people consented to move from the state of nature to the organized society is enough reason for us to be obligated to the state and our obedience to the political authority. Various scholars or thinkers have tried to explain how we come about the society; some giving an account that is quite opposite to that of Hobbes while some feel that the society is a natural thing and man from birth are social being and not to forget political animals as well. However this study will try to evaluate the state of nature according to Thomas Hobbes, examine how plausible his views are in explaining our present society and the organized authority we have.
1.1.2 Aim and Objectives of the Study
This study is aimed at critically giving an evaluation of what Hobbes intend passing across in his state of nature and how he uses that to explain political obligation, its objectives is to close-read Thomas Hobbes’ State of Nature, identify its peculiarities which explain the emergence of political society and right and they examine if they are good enough reason to support his claim for the citizens to be obligated to obeying the state.
1.1.3 Expected Contribution to Knowledge
Considering various works earlier stated in the introduction, the likes of J.J Rousseau; “A discourse on equality”, Robert Nozick, “Anarchy, State and Utopia”, David Hume, “A Treatise of Human Nature” etc. We would notice that most of them have either tried to show the inadequacies of the account of Thomas Hobbes’ State of Nature or even write a different account of how they think it ought to be, to the neglect of assessment of Hobbes’ work and to show how plausible it could be in explaining our current society and political obligation and so this study would take care of the aspect of critical assessment of the theory of the state of nature and political obligation of Thomas Hobbes.