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RE: [classics-68] A State of Nature

From: user 4.
Sent on: Monday, April 7, 2008 11:13 PM
To Stephen
I think that you have a misinterpretation of the state of nature.  The state of Nature is simply how man would act with no external societal influences.  The authors you have quoted view the state of nature as being negative because they come from the Protestant tradition based on the idea of original sin of St. Augustine.  The Eastern Orthodox Christian Church and Eastern religions view the state of Nature very differently.  It all comes down to the question "Are we born with sin or are we born as a blank slate.  (Tabula Rosa).
If you look at the work of Rousseu (the third of the trifecata of Hobbes, Locke and Rousseu), he viewed the state of nature as a positive thing.  He posited the idea of the "Noble Savage" and that man in a state of nature was noble and brave.
I will do my best to come to the next meeting.  It is probably time to blow the dust off of my old Hobbes books.

From: [address removed]
To: [address removed]
Subject: [classics-68] A State of Nature
Date: Tue, 8 Apr[masked]:03:51 -0400

In our last meetup, in which we discussed Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, the subject of a "state of nature" came up. The state of nature is the harsh natural condition that drives men and women to found civil societies for mutual protection. It is, in the famous formulation of Thomas Hobbes, a condition in which the life of a person is "nasty, brutish, and short" -- somewhat like the life of the poor in The Jungle.

Anyway, someone asked at our last meeting that I post the titles of the two works of political philosophy to which we were referring as the source of this idea. The are: Thomas Hobbes' The Leviathan and John Locke's Second Treatise on Civil Government.

Unless you're really a political philosophy junky, I'd get the summary off Wikipedia.

Thank you, as always, for your continued support of this club.

All the best,


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