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Thomas Hobbes

Thomas Hobbes is 17th century English philosopher that is regarded as one of

the great political philosophers. He is famous for his social contrast theory, the method
of justifying political principles or arrangements by appeal to the agreement that would
be made among suitably rational, free, and equal persons. After living in a set of civil
wars in 1642-1646 and 1648-1651 wars that would lead to the King of England being
executed and a republic being declared, he left the country for his personal safety, and
lived in France from 1640 to 1651. But even after the monarchy had been restored in
1660, Hobbes uncertainty with his security. Powerful religious figures, critical of his
writings, made moves in Parliament led him to burn some of his papers for fear of
prosecution. He aimed to demonstrate the reciprocal between political obedience and

His concern is the problem of social and political order: how human beings can
live together harmoniously with the government and avoid the danger and fear of civil
conflict. He imposes that we should obey on unaccountable sovereign (a person or
group empowered to decide every social and political issue). According to his analysis,
any governments are systematically prone to dissolution into civil war, thats why people
should submit themselves to an absolute political authority. If not, a state of nature
awaits us that nearly resembles civil war a situation of universal security, where it is
impossible for human cooperation and all have reason to fear violent death.

He assumes that people fear death and that in most people there is a very strong
desire to preserve their own lives. He argues that both people and the government itself
will do anything to keep peace and secure it. Also, that peace is good, and therefore
also the way or means of peace are good. Hobbes calls the sum of which is not to treat
others in ways we would not have them treat us is the Law of Nature.

When people mutually covenant one another to obey a common authority, they
have established sovereignty by acquisition when they covenant for protection by
promising obedience if threatened by a conqueror. According to Hobbes these are ways
of establishing sovereignty and their underlying motivation is the same fear. And to
keep that covenant establishing sovereignty he said that they have to seek peace with
others by laying down part of their right to all things, by mutually submitting ourselves
to the authority of a sovereign. Hobbes believes that only a government that possesses
all of what he calls essential rights of sovereignty can be reliably effective.

On the other hand, he subjects the liberty at disobeying some of the

governments commands even if they insist that it should have the absolute authority.
Hobbes gives resistance rights in case in which their families or our honor are at stake
to retain a self defense against the sovereign power, giving them the right to resist when
their lives are in danger. He doesnt believe that natural law or religion has any scope to
criticize or disobey the actual laws made by a government. And to have a good
relationship between the people and the government, we ought to submit to the
peoples lives. Such as what Hobbes said that human body is like a machine and the
artificial human being is the political government.