Concept of Human Nature Considered by the State
The concept of the human nature is an important part of the political theory because concepts, suchlike state, liberty, freedom, and others are discussed with a view to relations of human beings and a state. Sometimes a living organism is even presented to explain connections and importance of different parts of government machinery. Mind and body are two aspects of human nature that need to be considered by the state because human beings are believed to be rationale and irrational at the same time. The mind is the ruling organ of the state, whereas the body is an implication for people who perform functions so that the mind could operate normally; at the same time, the mind is necessary for the body to govern it.
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The state of nature is the state of being in the condition of the wild life; this is important because in this state “the care for our own preservation is the least prejudicial to that of others” (Rosen, Wollf, 1999, p. 20). When an individual starts damaging others, he/she steps out of the state of nature. Hobbes presents the state of human nature as a life without governments in which human beings are free from governmental control; people in the state of nature exist in the conditions of the primordial world. According to John Locke’s theory, the state of nature meant that all people are equal and independent and that human beings can defend themselves, their liberty, and life. He stated that human beings in the state of nature are free, independent, and equal in their rights.
Influenced by Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, Montesquieu claimed that the state of nature is the state when people are afraid of each other; he thought about a government which would make no men afraid of each other. Rousseau argued for morality not being the result of the society’s operation; he claimed that the state of nature is characterized by morality and moral actions preformed by human beings in the state of nature.
As a result, Hobbes treated the government as a method to make human beings live in a civilized society. John Locke tells about the state of nature as a positive phenomenon for human beings; he introduces the concept of natural right when all people are given equal rights. Montesquieu claimed about the importance of the government and its separation of separate branches in order to provide safe conditions for its people. Rousseau states the ideas of legitimate political order and introduces a framework for classical republicanism.
Natural Order in Terms of Its Importance in the World
The natural law is a set of rules concerning relations of human beings which is used in the conditions of absence of the government and governmental laws. Plato claimed that the virtue corresponded to the concept of wisdom and that to be a wise man means to be a man of virtue. Aristotle introduced the concept of virtue through a definite balance as a point between a shortage and an excess of a specific feature. Love, faith, hope, charity, and compassion are the basic virtues of the Judeo-Christian view of the world.
The understanding of the world manifests the idea of natural order which is presented differently in the theories of Plato, Aristotle, and Judeo-Christian belief. Plato tells about natural order as a universal law which governs the lives of people and that knowledge is an integral part of natural order. The world is understood by Plato as an enormous universe which can be learned, which can be a source of knowledge, which can help to educate people and make them men of virtue. Judeo-Christian understanding of the word relies greatly on the teachings of the ancient philosophers. Jewish tradition presents the natural order as the Golden Rule which should be unquestioningly fulfilled by all human beings. The Christian tradition presents the concept of natural order as virtues which cannot be governed by any laws.
The virtues are features corresponding to moral excellence or righteousness. The Christian theological tradition suggests seven virtues which are chastity, humility, patience, charity, temperance, kindness, and diligence. According to Plato, human beings can acquire virtues by acquiring knowledge. Aristotle suggested a natural balance between the most and the least expressions of a definite feature. When a person reaches the harmony or the perfect balance, he or she will acquire a virtue. The state is a condition in which human beings should live in a perfect harmony with each other through acquiring virtues. An idea of natural order lets assume that the harmony does not have to be established; it should be the result of virtues and wisdom of people; a perfect balance is the feature of natural order.
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Freedom and Equality
The freedom or liberty and equality became concepts of philosophic thinking. “From this equality of ability, arises the equality of hope in the attaining of our ends” (Rosen, Wollf, 1999, p. 10). The understanding of these two concepts has been divided into the ideas of the ancients and of moderns respectively. The liberty of the ancients means that people wanted to participate in the businesses of the republic; they had an opportunity to influence the politics through voting or debating. The liberty of moderns stands for the civil freedoms (freedom of gatherings, speech, expression, and others) and the concept of legitimate powers.
Modern people have a vague understanding of the liberty of the ancients because of the modern idea of the freedom and equality; we consider the liberty as a chance to be independent from excessive state interference; we consider equality as an opportunity to enjoy equal rights and freedoms with other members of the same society. Benjamin Constant introduced the idea that each understanding of liberty can be dangerous: the ancient understanding of liberty can be considered an inappropriate one because of the class of slaves which is introduced in order to leave more time to free citizens to decide on the politics of the republic; whereas the modern understanding of liberties narrows the meaning of the concept to the civil rights and freedoms.
Positive liberty is the freedom to fulfill one’s powers, to reach one’s goals; it is positive liberty that lets people fulfill their potential to the full capacity. However, the theory of positive liberty is opposed to the concept of negative liberty which is claimed to be the freedom from limitations and restraints. Negative liberty is considered as freedom from actions directed on interfering with one’s intentions. The liberties can be expressed in the form of government: the negative liberty can be presented by monarchy, whereas the positive liberty stands for liberalism.
There are three types of equality which stand for political, economic, and social equality. The political equality means the equality of political rights for citizens of the same country; the economic equality means that all people have to have equal wealth; and the social equality means that people have to enjoy equal rights and opportunities in attaining their ends.
Rosen, M., and Wollf, J. (1999). Political Thought. Oxford: Oxford University Press.