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Hobbes sees the social contract as a procedure that takes us from a State of Nature (which is identical to a State of War) to Civil Society. Each contract has a quid pro quo , a mutually beneficial exchange. Individuals agree to lay down their natural liberties because these, combined with the acquisitiveness of human nature, have led to a state of war of all against all. To enforce this contract, each individual transfers his or her natural rights and powers to a sovereign who is charged with enforcing the contract they have made with one another.

This reduces to a formula: Rational Self-Interest + Knowledge of Human Nature + Natural Equality between all human individuals = a State of War. Why? Because human individuals are characterized individually by unlimited desire; without some check unlimited individual desire leads to conflicts between different individuals who desire the same thing.

The state of war is for Hobbes is highly undesirable. Life in the State of Nature is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."

"Hereby it is manifest, that during the time men live without a common power to keep them in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war, as is of every man against every man....Whatsoever there is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man; the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security, that what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withal. In such a condition there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving, and removing, such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” T. Hobbes. (1651). Leviathan: Edited with an Introduction by C. B. MacPherson Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, p. 186.

Key Terms

Rational Self-Interest : For Hobbes, humans want to stay alive. Rational self-interest dictates that the individual will do whatever is necessary to ensure continued survival.

State of Nature : The absence of laws, social norms, and customs. Each has the liberty to do what he or she wants. Nothing but the opposition of other human individuals stands in the way of an individual fulfilling desire. Hobbes, viewing human nature through the lens of physics and the natural sciences, characterizes state of nature as a social and political vacuum where one pursues whatever one desires. Because desires do not limit themselves, unless they are unlimited from the outside, they lead individuals to come into conflict with one another. The State of Nature is nothing other than a State of War of all against all.

Human Nature : Hobbes' conception of human nature has been termed "possessive individualism" by C. B. Macpherson.

Questions & Answers

what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Collection of ethics modules for civis. OpenStax CNX. Feb 26, 2013 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11493/1.1
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