Hobbes, Thomas: Moral and Political Philosophy | …

A final question concerns the status of those property rights acquiredin the state of nature after civil society has come into being. Itseems clear that at the very least Locke allows taxation to take placeby the consent of the majority rather than requiring unanimous consent(2.140). Nozick takes Locke to be a libertarian, with the governmenthaving no right to take property to use for the common good withoutthe consent of the property owner. On his interpretation, the majoritymay only tax at the rate needed to allow the government tosuccessfully protect property rights. At the other extreme, Tullythinks that, by the time government is formed, land is already scarceand so the initial holdings of the state of nature are no longer validand thus are no constraint on governmental action. Waldron's view isin between these, acknowledging that property rights are among therights from the state of nature that continue to constrain thegovernment, but seeing the legislature as having the power tointerpret what natural law requires in this matter in a fairlysubstantial way.

Political Philosophy: Thomas Hobbes Leviathan Quotes. …

Thomas Hobbes - America's Survival Guide

Some authors have suggested that Locke may have had an additionalconcern in mind in writing the chapter on property. Tully (1993) andBarbara Arneil point out that Locke was interested in and involved inthe affairs of the American colonies and that Locke's theory of laborled to the convenient conclusion that the labor of Native Americansgenerated property rights only over the animals they caught, not theland on which they hunted which Locke regarded as vacant and availablefor the taking. Armitage even argues that there is evidence that Lockewas actively involved in revising the Fundamental Constitutionsof Carolina at the same time he was drafting the chapter onproperty for the Second Treatise. Mark Goldie, however,cautions that we should not miss the fact that political events inEngland were still Locke's primary focus in writing the the SecondTreatise.

Social Contract Theory | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

The most direct reading of Locke's political philosophy finds theconcept of consent playing a central role. His analysis begins withindividuals in a state of nature where they are not subject to acommon legitimate authority with the power to legislate or adjudicatedisputes. From this natural state of freedom and independence, Lockestresses individual consent as the mechanism by which politicalsocieties are created and individuals join those societies. Whilethere are of course some general obligations and rights that allpeople have from the law of nature, special obligations come aboutonly when we voluntarily undertake them. Locke clearly states that onecan only become a full member of society by an act of express consent(Two Treatises 2.122). The literature on Locke's theory ofconsent tends to focus on how Locke does or does not successfullyanswer the following objection: few people have actually consented totheir governments so no, or almost no, governments are actuallylegitimate. This conclusion is problematic since it is clearlycontrary to Locke's intention.


By subjecting themselves to a sovereign, individuals escape the warof all against all which Hobbes associates with the state of nature;however, this war continues to dominate relations among states. Thisdoes not mean that states are always fighting, but rather that theyhave a disposition to fight (XIII 8). With each state deciding foritself whether or not to use force, war may break out at any time. Theachievement of domestic security through the creation of a state isthen paralleled by a condition of inter-state insecurity. One can arguethat if Hobbes were fully consistent, he would agree with the notionthat, to escape this condition, states should also enter into acontract and submit themselves to a world sovereign. Although the ideaof a world state would find support among some of today’srealists, this is not a position taken by Hobbes himself. He does notpropose that a social contract among nations be implemented to bringinternational anarchy to an end. This is because the condition ofinsecurity in which states are placed does not necessarily lead toinsecurity for their citizens. As long as an armed conflict or other typeof hostility between states does not actually break out, individualswithin a state can feel relatively secure.

Philosophical Dictionary: Ramsey-Reification

However this debate is resolved, there will be in any current orpreviously existing society many people who have never given expressconsent, and thus some version of tacit consent seems needed toexplain how governments could still be legitimate. Simmons finds itdifficult to see how merely walking on a street or inheriting land canbe thought of as an example of a “deliberate, voluntaryalienating of rights” (69). It is one thing, he argues, for aperson to consent by actions rather than words; it is quite another toclaim a person has consented without being aware that they have doneso. To require a person to leave behind all of their property andemigrate in order to avoid giving tacit consent is to create asituation where continued residence is not a free and voluntarychoice. Simmons' approach is to agree with Locke that real consent isnecessary for political obligation but disagree about whether mostpeople in fact have given that kind of consent. Simmons claims thatLocke's arguments push toward “philosophical anarchism,”the position that most people do not have a moral obligation to obeythe government, even though Locke himself would not have made thisclaim.

Thomas Hobbes was an English philosopher from Malmesbury

Perhaps the greatest problem with realism in internationalrelations is that it has a tendency to slip into its extreme version,which accepts any policy that can benefit the state at the expense ofother states, no matter how morally problematic the policy is. Even ifthey do not explicitly raise ethical questions, in the works of Waltzand of many other of today’s neorealists, a double ethics ispresupposed, and words such realpolitik no longer have thenegative connotations that they had for classical realists, such asHans Morgenthau.