Western Tradition Evolved Through Time Term Paper

  • Length: 8 pages
  • Sources: 10
  • Subject: Black Studies - Philosophy
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #684657

Excerpt from Term Paper :

He who would attack that state from the outside must have the utmost caution; as long as the prince resides there it can only be wrested from him with the greatest difficulty. (Chapter III)

So, then one must be present and able to seek ambitious gains and if he is not both these things difficulty and likely failure will arise and greater losses that what is gained can be realized. In this goal the Prince appropriately governs the people and thus a civil society is created.

Within Thomas Hobbes, there is a sense of knowing that defines the nature of man, as one that is comprised of five senses and all beyond that must be learned and improved upon by appropriate seeking of knowledge. (Leviathan, Chapters I-XVI) His discussion of state is the determination of a civil society, designed and created to determine the end of warfare and therefore instability and inability to seek the good things in life.

The finall Cause, End, or Designe of men, (who naturally love Liberty, and Dominion over others,) in the introduction of that restraint upon themselves, (in which wee see them live in Common-wealths,) is the foresight of their own preservation, and of a more contented life thereby; that is to say, of getting themselves out from that miserable condition of Warre, which is necessarily consequent (as hath been shewn) to the naturall Passions of men, when there is no visible Power to keep them in awe, and tye them by feare of punishment to the performance of their Covenants, and observation of these Lawes of Nature set down in the fourteenth and fifteenth Chapters. (Leviathan, Chapter XVII)

There is a clear sense that Hobbes has worked forward from the ideas of other philosophers and stated that the state of civil society is a choice, that man makes as a sacrifice of personal freedom to elicit peace and produce prosperity.

John Locke Demonstrates a similar idea in that he states that man is not free by the laws of nature to take his own life and therefore, by the laws of nature not in a position to give away his own right. He must freely give his freedom away and follow the governance of another with his own will.

This freedom from absolute, arbitrary power, is so necessary to, and closely joined with a man's preservation, that he cannot part with it, but by what forfeits his preservation and life together: for a man, not having the power of his own life, cannot, by compact, or his own consent, enslave himself to any one, nor put himself under the absolute, arbitrary power of another, to take away his life, when he pleases.

No body can give more power than he has himself; and he that cannot take away his own life, cannot give another power over it. (Locke, Chapter IV, Sec. 23)

According to Locke, in his Second Treatise on Government any other situation is an unnatural extension of war, slavery is an extension of war into peace. The impetus here is that governance must be conditional to allowance of governance and that this is the goal and duty of all who rule, to establish the freely given right to do so from his or her subjects. This idea of allowance of governance is clearly in agreement with many ideas that have come before, and arbitrary rule is clearly the enemy of the natural law, as would have been defined by Machiavelli and others, even Machiavelli stated that arbitrary rule would be punished with the loss of ones' dominion. Social contract theory being defined by Hobbes and Locke as the natural evolution of governance, man comes to seek governance to step away from squabbles that are inherent in his natural seeking of ambition. Ambition, must be checked with reason and the freely given right to be governed.

Lastly, Carl Marx will be discussed to build from the idea that liberty is a natural law and that equality must be sought, and where equality is not achievable then the masses must freely give authority to those who govern it. Within the Communist Manifesto there is a clear sense that Marx is assassinating the Bourgeoisies in their taking of the proletariat by force, rather than by social contract using as a guiding force of only profit.

In proportion as the bourgeoisie, i.e., capital, is developed, in the same proportion is the proletariat, the modern working class, developed -- a class of labourers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labour increases capital. These labourers, who must sell themselves piece-meal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market. (Marx, Chapter I)

The proletariat is then, according to Marx the very tool that will be used to strike down the bourgeoisie and the market system, just as the bourgeoisie sought and successfully defeated the feudal system that held it down before. The Manifesto clearly states that the working class rising above its captors is the natural progression, simply the next revolution in a long list of those that have come before. Marx had a keen sense of how labor is ignored in the current market, by allowing the human to be removed from it in economic thought, by a system of symbols that remove the individual from the equation, assigning value to his product but not to his actual labor, a labor that is often determined not by the arbitrary exchange value but by nature. In Marx's Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy he states that the separation of the two is inherently misleading and devalues the human aspect of labor.

A social relation of production appears as something existing apart from individual human beings, and the distinctive relations into which they enter in the course of production in society appear as the specific properties of a thing-it is this perverted appearance, this prosaically real, and by no means imaginary mystification that is characteristic of all social forms of labour positing exchange-value. This perverted appearance manifests itself merely in a more striking manner in money than it does in commodities. (p. 18)

Still further in Marx's works one can see that the state, according to Marx is in a period of obvious decay, and must be bolstered by change. The change needed according to Marx is a true rather than artificial social contract, as can be seen in this quote from his Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right..

The proletariat is beginning to appear in Germany as a result of the rising industrial movement. for, it is not the naturally arising poor but the artificially impoverished, not the human masses mechanically oppressed by the gravity of society, but the masses resulting from the drastic dissolution of society. (p.10)

Marx, as a keen observer of world affairs utilized the works of others to help his readers, both followers and unbelievers to see the errors of the current human condition, in subordination not to a state but to economy, and economy that negated their very existence.


Aquinas, T. Aquinas: Political Writings

Luther, M. The Cambridge Companion to Martin Luther

More, T. Utopia

Locke, J. Second Treatise on Civil Government

Hobbes, T. Leviathan

Machiavelli, G. The Prince and Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius

Marx, C. Communist Manifesto, a Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy and Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of…

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