Human philosophy is a field that continues to influence the way people think about specific subjects, issues, or things in life. The concept of human nature has remained divisive since many scholars present diverse views and opinions about its relevance or existence. This paper describes how John Locke and Thomas Hobbes view this issue, their significant differences, and who presents the most convincing argument.
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Locke and Hobbes: Views on Human Nature
Human nature is a complex issue that revolves around various characteristics, such as intrinsic values, behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and decisions. Locke presents a unique view of humans in comparison with their philosophers. According to him, man is a social animal that has innate or inborn liberties. This means that people tend to be humane and can pursue the notions of ethics and morality (Heyman, 2018). A social instinct exists that encourages them to do what is good and rule themselves. They can promote peace and maximize pleasure by reducing suffering.
Thomas Hobbes treats humans as creatures that pursue selfish aims or gains. This means that man is either engaged in a specific activity, moving, or pursuing his desire or appetite to assert control over others. The struggle for power stands as a powerful attribute that encourages humans to behave as beasts or focus on their egoistic goals (Scruton, 2017). Nonetheless, Hobbes indicates that all men are equal.
The insights and ideas by these philosophers on the subject of human nature appear to differ significantly. Firstly, Locke believes that such a kind of nature encourages people to pursue equality, while Hobbes argues that it compels them to seek absolute dominion or power. Secondly, Hobbes indicates that such sort of humanity is what forces people to offend or abuse others, while Locke promotes a situation whereby peace and morality are established (Scruton, 2017). Thirdly, Locke is convinced that people have intrinsic values or instincts that make them excellent and capable of engaging in self-rule, while Hobbes views humans as creatures in pursuit of ongoing activities. Fourthly, Hobbes states that man is a purely egoistic creature, but Locke believes that humans are capable of promoting peace and happiness. Finally, Locke acknowledges that such innate attributes can encourage people to pursue moral goals and avoid suffering, while Hobbes believes that such aims are unattainable in a pure state of nature.
Supporting Locke’s View
Although each of these two philosophers presents his unique views regarding the issue of human nature, John Locke’s opinions appear to be more realistic and accurate in the world today. This is true since humans are usually equipped with intrinsic values that guide them to take good care of their young ones and establish positive relationships with their respective neighbors. This means that they will be ready to promote peace and focus on the fruits of morality. They will pursue what is good and implement powerful practices to minimize suffering. Locke’s argument is, therefore, convincing since it continues to capture the attention of many thinkers and sociologists (Heyman, 2018).
For instance, the notions of deontology, utilitarianism, and consequentialism have been informed by his views. These concepts and ideas have also dictated the nature of governance systems employed in many nations today.
The above discussion has presented the views of Locke and Hobbes on the issue of human nature. Locke’s arguments appear to be more accurate since they give a true picture of the way men relate with one another, solve differences, and promote peace. Despite such facts, people should consider these views and focus on the best strategies to maximize pleasure.
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Heyman, S. J. (2018). The light of nature: John Locke, natural rights, and the origins of American religious liberty. Marquette Law Review, 101(3), 705-774.
Scruton, R. (2017). On human nature. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.