Socrates And Hobbes

Politics is the name given to the attempt to wining and holding the government. This, entails the holding of sufficient power by those who run the government as police forces, armed forces, foreign policy and several other similar branches. To retain and use this power, the politicians need to legitimize it. The power of the government is said to be legitimate if the people willingly give the government control. The relationship between people and the government is governed by a social contract. According to this contract, the people willingly give away some of their rights in favor of the government. The government, in return provides them with peace, justice and other provisions.

Socrates and Hobbes - The Similarities

Both of the philosophers aimed at developing a certain theory that elaborated the relationship between an individual and the state. Socrates and Hobbes both agreed that a state was needed. The state was necessary to maintain law and order between the residents and so that the residents would not violate each other’s rights. In this manner, both developed certain political theories that made the relationship of the state and residents clearer. Socrates and Hobbes are also proponents of a required hierarchy in the state.

Socrates and Hobbes - The Differences

Despite sharing the same beliefs regarding a state and how it should be governed, the two differed in their beliefs about human nature. Socrates believed that injustice was the good that man felt and suffering injustice was evil. In reality, Socrates added that evil was frequent and greater than good. Hence, a form of government, ruled on social contract was required for the residents to avoid both suffering and injustice.

Hobbes, on the other hand, had a more negative view of human nature. He stated the human beings to be materialistic beings who desired some things and wanted to avoid some. To Hobbes, good was anything that an individual desired and bad was what he wanted to avoid. Hence, he declared good and evil were relative terms defined by individuals. He further stated that man in his quest to fulfil desires, had the tendency to become violent and start wars. To avoid this, Hobbes proposed a sovereign state where the residents gave all the power to the state to avoid violence.

Hence, through these beliefs the two came up with some of most widely believed political theories that are still referred today.

Both the philosophers developed a model state which would work to maintain peace and improve the lives of residents. To both, however, the need of making the state and the amount of power given to it was different.

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