HOBBES, LOCKE, ROUSSEAU

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What do you think about politic thinkers in 1600-1700 who is from Europe? Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau are very important thinkers for political thought history. In this article I want to give you some information about these thinkers.

I want to start with Hobbes; the turbulent first half of the seventeenth century in England provides the political philosophy of a lonely and complex figure, Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679). Hobbes’ greatest work, the Leviathan appeared in 1651. The Leviathan is not apology for the Stuart monarchy, nor a grammar of despotic government, but the first general theory of politics in the English language. According to Hobbes, man have, in general equal faculties; they also cherish like hopes and desires. Hobbes adds that every man against every man. The social contract of Hobbes is made between subjects and subjects, not between subjects and sovereign. The sovereign is not a party the contract but its creation. The question of the best form of state is not one of logic, according to Hobbes, but of the convenience. Hobbes considers monarchy the best form of state because it suffers less from competition for office and power than do aristocracies and democracies.

Secondly, to keep the authority of the state strong, Hobbes advises the sovereign not to allow the growth of groups and institutions that intervene between state and individual. Also Hobbes had no religion.

Finally I want to give you some information about main ideas of Leviathan;

*Government is set up, according to Hobbes by covenant that transfers all power and authority to the sovereign.
*Hobbes assigns to the state a prosaic business.
*Hobbesian state is authoritarian, not totalitarian.
*Hobbes holds that the sovereign may be one man or an assembly of man.
*Hobbes recognizes that war is one of the two main forces that drive man to set up a state.
*The totalitarian state insisted on outer as well as inner conformity; in fact it considered ideas more dangerous than actions.
*Hobbesian state does not completely swallow the individual.

In this part I want to talk about John Locke. The spirit of this rational liberalism is best reflected in the work John Locke (1632-1704), specifically, in his Two Treatises of Government (1690). Locke was born of a middle-class Puritan family; his father had fought in the civil war on the side of the Parliamentary party. Like Hobbes, Locke starts out with the concept of the state of nature. Unlike Hobbes, Locke takes an optimistic view. Locke conception of man in the state of nature is not noticeably different from man in organized society. According to Locke; the purpose of the social contract is to establish organized law and order so that the uncertainties of the state of nature will be replaced by the predictability of known laws and impartial institutions. Locke say in his book: “Within a group, men quickly form society, because the advantages of the state of nature seem to them to be outweighed by its disadvantages. After society is set up by contract, government is established, not by a contract but by a fiduciary trust. The legislature is –the supreme power- to which all other powers, particularly the executive, must be subordinate. Yet the legislature is only relatively supreme among organs of government. Above the legislature there is still something higher: the people.

Secondly I want to give some information about Rousseau. He is the first modern writer on politics. Rousseau was born of a poor family in Geneva, his French ancestors having migrated there as religious refugees in the sixteenth century. Rousseau sees a direct causal relation between luxury, constantly, expanding needs, and the rise of art and science, after which true courage flags and the virtues disappear. Rousseau most famous work is The Social Contract. The main concern of The Social Contract is the central issue of all political speculation: political obligation. The problem, Rousseau says, is to find a form of association which will defend and protect with the whole common force the person and goods of each associate, and in which each, while uniting himself with all, may still obey himself alone, and remain as free as before. In the very beginning of the book, Rousseau puts the same question in the more dramatic form: Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains.

In conclusions these thinkers very important for political thinking. If we want to learn politics we should learn these thinkers.

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Oktay KAYMAK

International "Relations&Law" Doctrine, Practice and Theory oktaykaymak02[at]gmail.com

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