What is the worst of human nature

Structures of law and power
6. Political theory and modern natural law
6.7 Modern natural law
6.7.4 Man in a natural state (Hobbes, Pufendorf)


  Source: Hobbes and Pufendorf 

About human nature:
"Nature has made people so equal in terms of their physical and mental abilities that the difference between people is all in all not so great as that one could claim an advantage on the basis of which another could not as well From this equality of abilities arises an equality of hopes to achieve our purposes, and when two people strive for the same object but cannot enjoy it together, they become enemies and are in pursuit their intention, which is fundamentally self-preservation and sometimes only enjoyment, strives to destroy or subjugate each other. [] And because of this mutual distrust, there is no other way for anyone to secure themselves that would be as sensible as prevention, that means to subjugate everyone by force or cunning to the best of their abilities, and that until he does not find another re sees more power that would be large enough to endanger him. And this is no more than his self-preservation requires and is generally permitted. [] So there are three main causes of conflict in human nature: firstly, competition, secondly, distrust, thirdly, lust for fame. "( Hobbes, Leviathan, 94f.)

"What man has in common with all living beings who have a faculty of sentience is that he loves nothing as much as himself and that he tries by all means to preserve himself. What seems to be good to him, he wants to own, He tries to keep away what seems to be bad to him. This urge is usually so strong that it suppresses all others. [] So man is the living being that is most concerned about his self-preservation He is incapable of surviving without the support of his own kind, but is also ideally suited for mutual benefit. In everything, however, he is malicious, aggressive and easily irritable and just as ready to harm others as he is ready to do so It follows that, in order to survive, a person must lead a life in community, that is, he must associate himself with his fellow men and behave in this way towards them en that they for their part do not use every pretext to harm him, but instead are ready to preserve and promote his advantage. " ( Pufendorf, duty, 46; 47f.)

About the natural state:
"From this it is clear that during the time in which people live without a general, all-controlling power, they are in a state called war, namely in a war of everyone against everyone. For War does not only exist in battles or combat operations, but in a period of time in which the will to fight is sufficiently known. [] Therefore, everything that is involved in times of war, in which everyone is an enemy of each other, also applies to the time when while men have no security other than those who give them their own strength and ingenuity. In such a situation there is no room for diligence, since one cannot be sure of its fruits; and consequently there is no agriculture, no shipping, none Goods that can be imported by sea, no comfortable buildings, no devices to move things that require a lot of strength to move, no literature, no social relationships, and there is, worst of all, constant fear and danger of violent death - human life is lonely, poor, gross and short. [] Another consequence of this war of everyone against everyone is that nothing can be unjust. The concepts of right and wrong, justice and injustice have no place here. Where there is no general violence, there is no law, and where there is no law, there is no injustice. Violence and deceit are the two cardinal virtues in war. [] Another consequence of this state of affairs is that there is neither property nor dominion, nor a particular one My and Your gives, but that everyone only owns what he can get, and that for as long as he can claim. "( Hobbes, Leviathan, 96-98)

"Nature herself wants a bond of kinship to exist between people, by virtue of which it is wrong to harm another, and it is even a duty to make oneself available for the benefit of others. But among people who live in a state of nature This relationship has only minor effects. Therefore, every person who is not our fellow citizen, ie with whom only the state of nature connects us, is not exactly to be regarded as an enemy, but at least not as a reliable friend People can not only cause great harm to each other, but also want to harm each other very often for a variety of reasons. Some are brought about by their evil spirit or lust for domination or greed to harm others. Others, who are of humble spirit, take hold arms to defend themselves and to prevent others from getting ahead of them.Many become by desire for the same thing or by competition rb upset against each other in the intellectual field. Hence in this state there is almost endless suspicion, suspicion, efforts to undermine the position of others, the addiction to forestall others or to gain strength from the misfortune of others. Just as the righteous person is satisfied with what he has, does not attack others and does not desire foreign goods, just as much the cautious person, to whom his salvation is dear, becomes people only as friends of a kind that always closes Enemies can be watch. And he will keep peace with everyone, knowing that he can turn into war at any time. "( Pufendorf, duty, 146)


© 2003 by Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger • mail: [email protected]