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Thomas Hobbes: Social Contract

Submitted by: Supervised By:

Vardhman Singh Kothari Mr. Kamal Narayan

B.A. LLB (Hons.) Assistant Professor (Political Science)

2017 Batch

Section-A, Semester II

Roll no. 181

Date of Submission: 15/01/2018

Hidayatullah National Law University

Naya Raipur, Chhattisgarh


I hereby declare that this project work titled “Thomas Hobbes: Social Contract” is my own
work and represents my own ideas, and where others’ ideas or words have been included,
I have adequately cited and referenced the original sources. I also declare that I have adhered
to all principles of academic honesty and integrity and have not misrepresented or fabricated
or falsified any idea/data/fact/source in my submission.

Vardhman Singh Kothari

2nd Semester

The practical realization of this project has obligated the assistance of many persons. I express
my deepest regard and gratitude for Mr. Kamal Narayan. His consistent supervision, constant
inspiration and invaluable guidance have been of immense help in understanding and carrying
out the nuances of the project report.

I would like to thank my family and friends without whose support and encouragement, this
project would not have been a reality.

I take this opportunity to also thank the University and the Vice Chancellor for providing
extensive database resources in the Library and through Internet. I would be grateful to receive
comments and suggestions to further improve this project report.

I feel highly elated to work on the topic “Thomas Hobbes: Social Contract”.

Vardhman Singh Kothari

Semester - 2

Section- A, Roll no- 181


Institution: Hidayatullah National Law University

This is certified to be the bonafide work of the student in the aforesaid

Institute during the academic year 2018.

The work is certified ____ out of ____ in the subject of Political Science.

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S. No. Particulars Page

1 Chapter: 1 - Introduction 1

2 Chapter: 2 - Objectives, Research questions, methodology 4

3 Chapter: 3 - Analysis of various Social Contract Theories 5

4 Chapter: 4 - Thomas Hobbes’ concept of Social Contract 10

5 Chapter: 5 - Comparison of theory of Hobbes, Locke, and 11

6 Chapter: 6 - Advantages of Hobbes’ Social Contract theory 12

7 Chapter: 7 - Shortcomings of Social Contract theories 14

8 Chapter: 8 - Critical Apprehension of Social Contract Theories 16

9 Chapter: 9 - Hobbes’ Contribution to Political Thought 17

10 Chapter: 10 - Conclusion 18

11 References: 20

Chapter: 1


Social Contract [1]:

Social contract theory, nearly as old as philosophy itself, is the view that persons' moral and/or
political obligations are dependent upon a contract or agreement among them to form the
society in which they live. Socrates uses something quite like a social contract argument to
explain to Crito why he must remain in prison and accept the death penalty. However, social
contract theory is rightly associated with modern moral and political theory and is given its
first full exposition and defense by Thomas Hobbes. After Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-
Jacques Rousseau are the best known proponents of this enormously influential theory, which
has been one of the most dominant theories within moral and political theory throughout the
history of the modern West. In the twentieth century, moral and political theory regained
philosophical momentum as a result of John Rawls’ Kantian version of social contract theory,
and was followed by new analyses of the subject by David Gauthier and others. More recently,
philosophers from different perspectives have offered new criticisms of social contract theory.
In particular, feminists and race-conscious philosophers have argued that social contract theory
is at least an incomplete picture of our moral and political lives, and may in fact camouflage
some of the ways in which the contract is itself parasitical upon the subjugations of classes of

Thomas Hobbes [2]:

Thomas Hobbes (5 April 1588 – 4 December 1679), in some older texts Thomas Hobbes of
Malmesbury, was an English philosopher who is considered one of the founders of modern
political philosophy. Hobbes is best known for his 1651 book Leviathan, which established the
social contract theory that has served as the foundation for later Western political philosophy.
In addition to political philosophy, Hobbes also contributed to a diverse array of other fields,
including history, jurisprudence, geometry, the physics of gases, theology, ethics, and general

Though on rational grounds a champion of absolutism for the sovereign, Hobbes also
developed some of the fundamentals of European liberal thought: the right of the individual;
the natural equality of all men; the artificial character of the political order (which led to the
later distinction between civil society and the state); the view that all legitimate political power
must be "representative" and based on the consent of the people; and a liberal interpretation of
law that leaves people free to do whatever the law does not explicitly forbid. His understanding
of humans as being matter and motion, obeying the same physical laws as other matter and
motion, remains influential; and his account of human nature as self-interested cooperation,
and of political communities as being based upon a "social contract" remains one of the major
topics of political philosophy.

John Locke [3]:

John Locke FRS (29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704) was an English philosopher and
physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers and
commonly known as the "Father of Liberalism". Considered one of the first of the British
empiricists, following the tradition of Sir Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social
contract theory. His work greatly affected the development of epistemology and political
philosophy. His writings influenced Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, many Scottish
Enlightenment thinkers, as well as the American revolutionaries. His contributions to classical
republicanism and liberal theory are reflected in the United States Declaration of Independence.

Locke's theory of mind is often cited as the origin of modern conceptions of identity and the
self, figuring prominently in the work of later philosophers such as David Hume, Rousseau,
and Immanuel Kant. Locke was the first to define the self through a continuity of
consciousness. He postulated that, at birth, the mind was a blank slate or tabula rasa. Contrary
to Cartesian philosophy based on pre-existing concepts, he maintained that we are born without
innate ideas, and that knowledge is instead determined only by experience derived from sense
perception. This is now known as empiricism. An example of Locke's belief in empiricism can
be seen in his quote, "whatever I write, as soon as I discover it not to be true, my hand shall be
the fast to throw it into the fire." This shows the ideology of science in his observations in that
something must be capable of being tested repeatedly and that nothing is exempt from being
disproven. Challenging the work of others, Locke is said to have established the method of
introspection, or observing the emotions and behaviors of one’s self.

Jean Jacques Rousseau [4]:

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a Francophone Genevan philosopher,
writer, and composer of the 18th century. His political philosophy influenced the
Enlightenment in France and across Europe, as well as aspects of the French Revolution and
the overall development of modern political and educational thought.

Rousseau's novel Emile, or On Education is a treatise on the education of the whole person for
citizenship. His sentimental novel Julie, or the New Heloise was of importance to the
development of pre-romanticism and romanticism in fiction. Rousseau's autobiographical
writings—his Confessions, which initiated the modern autobiography, and his Reveries of a
Solitary Walker—exemplified the late 18th-century movement known as the Age of
Sensibility, and featured an increased focus on subjectivity and introspection that later
characterized modern writing. His Discourse on Inequality and The Social Contract are
cornerstones in modern political and social thought.

During the period of the French Revolution, Rousseau was the most popular of the philosophes
among members of the Jacobin Club. He was interred as a national hero in the Panthéon in
Paris, in 1794, 16 years after his death.

Chapter: 2

Objectives of the Study:

 To know the meaning, evolution and contribution of Social Contract Theory;
 To analyze and compare various social contract theories;
 To thoroughly examine Hobbes’ Social Contract Theory, and its effects.

Research Questions:
 What is a Social Contract Theory and how has it came into existence?
 How different Social Contract Theories are similar or different?
 What are the effects of Hobbes’ Theory on Western Political Thoughts?

The research conducted is Descriptive and Analytical in nature. Books and other references
(including various websites) as guided by faculty of Sociology were primarily helpful for the
completion of this project. Footnotes have been provided wherever necessary.

Chapter: 3

Analysis of various Social Contract Theories

Thomas Hobbes:
 Thomas Hobbes theory of Social Contract appeared for the first time in Leviathan
published in the year 1651 during the Civil War in Britain. Thomas Hobbes’ legal
theory is based on “Social contract”. According to him, prior to Social Contract, man
lived in the State of Nature. Man’s life in the State of NATURE was one of fear and
selfishness. Man lived in chaotic condition of constant fear. Life in the State of Nature
was ‘solitary’, ‘poor’, ‘nasty’, ‘brutish’, and ‘short’.

 Man has a natural desire for security and order. In order to secure self-protection and
self-preservation, and to avoid misery and pain, man entered into a contract. This idea
of self-preservation and self-protection are inherent in man’s nature and in order to
achieve this, they voluntarily surrendered all their rights and freedoms to some
authority by this contract who must command obedience. As a result of this contract,
the mightiest authority is to protect and preserve their lives and property. This led to
the emergence of the institution of the “ruler” or “monarch”, who shall be the absolute
head. Subjects had no rights against the absolute authority or the sovereign and he is to
be obeyed in all situations however bad or unworthy he might be. However, Hobbes
placed moral obligations on the sovereign who shall be bound by natural law.

 Hence, it can be deduced that, Hobbes was the supporter of absolutism. In the opinion
of Hobbes, “law is dependent upon the sanction of the sovereign and the Government
without sword are but words and of no strength to secure a man at all”. He therefore,
reiterated that civil law is the real law because it is commanded and enforced by the
sovereign. Thus, he upheld the principle of “Might is always Right”.

 Hobbes thus infers from his mechanistic theory of human nature that humans are
necessarily and exclusively self-interested. All men pursue only what they perceive to
be in their own individually considered best interests. They respond mechanistically by
being drawn to that which they desire and repelled by that to which they are averse. In

addition to being exclusively self-interested, Hobbes also argues that human beings are
reasonable. They have in them the rational capacity to pursue their desires as efficiently
and maximally as possible. From these premises of human nature, Hobbes goes on to
construct a provocative and compelling argument for which they ought to be willing to
submit themselves to political authority. He did this by imagining persons in a situation
prior to the establishment of society, the State of Nature.

 Hobbes impels subjects to surrender all their rights and vest all liberties in the sovereign
for preservation of peace, life and prosperity of the subjects. It is in this way the natural
law became a moral guide or directive to the sovereign for preservation of the natural
rights of the subjects. For Hobbes all law is dependent upon the sanction of the
sovereign. All real law is civil law, the law commanded and enforced by the sovereign
and are brought into the world for nothing else but to limit the natural liberty of
particular men, in such a manner, as they might not hurt but to assist one another and
join together against a common enemy. He advocated for an established order. Hence,
Individualism, materialism, utilitarianism and absolutions are inter-woven in the
theory of Hobbes.

John Locke

 John Locke theory of Social Contract is different than that of Hobbes. According to
him, man lived in the State of Nature, but his concept of the State of Nature is different
as contemplated by Hobbesian theory. Locke’s view about the state of nature is not as
miserable as that of Hobbes. It was reasonably good and enjoyable, but the property
was not secure. He considered State of Nature as a “Golden Age”. It was a state of
“peace, goodwill, mutual assistance, and preservation”. In that state of nature, men had
all the rights which nature could give them. Locke justifies this by saying that in the
State of Nature, the natural condition of mankind was a state of perfect and complete
liberty to conduct one’s life as one best sees fit. It was free from the interference of
others. In that state of nature, all were equal and independent. This does not mean,
however, that it was a state of license. It was one not free to do anything at all one
pleases, or even anything that one judges to be in one’s interest. The State of Nature,
although a state wherein there was no civil authority or government to punish people
for transgressions against laws, was not a state without morality. The State of Nature

was pre-political, but it was not pre-moral. Persons are assumed to be equal to one
another in such a state, and therefore equally capable of discovering and being bound
by the Law of Nature. So, the State of Nature was a ‘state of liberty’, where persons are
free to pursue their own interests and plans, free from interference and, because of the
Law of Nature and the restrictions that it imposes upon persons, it is relatively peaceful.

 Property plays an essential role in Locke’s argument for civil government and the
contract that establishes it. According to Locke, private property is created when a
person mixes his labour with the raw materials of nature. Given the implications of the
Law of Nature, there are limits as to how much property one can own: one is not allowed
to take so more from nature than oneself can use, thereby leaving others without enough
for themselves, because nature is given to all of mankind for its common subsistence.
One cannot take more than his own fair share. Property is the linchpin of Locke’s
argument for the social contract and civil government because it is the protection of
their property, including their property in their own bodies that men seek when they
decide to abandon the State of Nature.

 John Locke considered property in the State of Nature as insecure because of three
conditions; they are:-

1. Absence of established law;

2. Absence of impartial Judge; and

3. Absence of natural power to execute natural laws.

 Thus, man in the State of Nature felt need to protect their property and for the purpose
of protection of their property, men entered into the “Social Contract”. Under the
contract, man did not surrender all their rights to one single individual, but they
surrendered only the right to preserve / maintain order and enforce the law of
nature. The individual retained with them the other rights, i.e., right to life, liberty and
estate because these rights were considered natural and inalienable rights of men.

 Having created a political society and government through their consent, men then
gained three things which they lacked in the State of Nature: laws, judges to adjudicate
laws, and the executive power necessary to enforce these laws. Each man therefore

gives over the power to protect himself and punish transgressors of the Law of Nature
to the government that he has created through the compact.

 According to Locke, the purpose of the Government and law is to uphold and
protect the natural rights of men. So long as the Government fulfils this purpose,
the laws given by it are valid and binding but, when it ceases to fulfil it, then the
laws would have no validity and the Government can be thrown out of power. In
Locke’s view, unlimited sovereignty is contrary to natural law.

 Hence, John Locke advocated the principle of -“a state of liberty; not of license”. Locke
advocated a state for the general good of people. He pleaded for a constitutionally
limited government.

 Locke, in fact made life, liberty and property, his three cardinal rights, which greatly
dominated and influenced the Declaration of American Independence, 1776.

Jean Jacques Rousseau

 Jean Jacques Rousseau was a French philosopher who gave a new interpretation to the
theory of Social Contract in his work “The Social Contract” and “Emile”. According
to him, social contract is not a historical fact but a hypothetical construction of reason.
Prior to the Social Contract, the life in the State of Nature was happy and there was
equality among men. As time passed, however, humanity faced certain changes. As the
overall population increased, the means by which people could satisfy their needs had
to change. People slowly began to live together in small families, and then in small
communities. Divisions of labour were introduced, both within and between families,
and discoveries and inventions made life easier, giving rise to leisure time. Such leisure
time inevitably led people to make comparisons between themselves and others,
resulting in public values, leading to shame and envy, pride and contempt. Most
importantly however, according to Rousseau, was the invention of private property,
which constituted the pivotal moment in humanity’s evolution out of a simple, pure
state into one, characterized by greed, competition, vanity, inequality, and vice. For
Rousseau the invention of property constitutes humanity’s ‘fall from grace’ out of

the State of Nature. For this purpose, they surrendered their rights not to a single
individual but to the community as a whole which Rousseau termed as ‘general will’.

 According to Rousseau, the original ‘freedom, happiness, equality and liberty’ which
existed in primitive societies prior to the social contract was lost in the modern
civilization. Through Social Contract, a new form of social organization- the state
was formed to assure and guarantee rights, liberties freedom and equality. The
essence of the Rousseau’s theory of General Will is that State and Law were the product
of General Will of the people. State and the Laws are made by it and if the government
and laws do not conform to ‘general will’, they would be discarded. While the
individual parts with his natural rights, in return he gets civil liberties such as freedom
of speech, equality, assembly, etc.
 The “General Will”, therefore, for all purposes, was the will of majority citizens to
which blind obedience was to be given. The majority was accepted on the belief that
majority view is right than minority view. Each individual is not subject to any other
individual but to the ‘general will’ and to obey this is to obey himself. His sovereignty
is infallible, indivisible, unpresentable and illimitable.
 Thus, Rousseau favored people’s sovereignty. His natural law theory is confined to
the freedom and liberty of the individual. For him, State, law, sovereignty, general will,
etc. are interchangeable terms. Rousseau’s theory inspired French and American
revolutions and given impetus to nationalism. He based his theory of social contract on
the principle of “Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains”.

Chapter: 4

Thomas Hobbes’ concept of Social Contract

Thomas Hobbes was the first modern philosopher to articulate a detailed contract theory.
According to Hobbes, the lives of individuals in the state of nature were "solitary, poor, nasty,
brutish and short", a state in which self-interest and the absence of rights and contracts
prevented the "social", or society. Life was "anarchic" (without leadership or the concept of
sovereignty). Individuals in the state of nature were apolitical and asocial. This state of nature
is followed by the social contract.

The social contract was an "occurrence" during which individuals came together and ceded
some of their individual rights so that others would cede theirs (e.g. person A gives up his/her
right to kill person B if person B does the same). This resulted in the establishment of the state,
a sovereign entity like the individuals now under its rule used to be, which would create laws
to regulate social interactions. Human life was thus no longer "a war of all against all".

The state system, which grew out of the social contract, was, however, also anarchic (without
leadership). Just as the individuals in the state of nature had been sovereigns and thus guided
by self-interest and the absence of rights, so states now acted in their self-interest in competition
with each other. Just like the state of nature, states were thus bound to be in conflict because
there was no sovereign over and above the state (i.e. more powerful) capable of imposing some
system such as social-contract laws on everyone by force. Indeed, Hobbes' work helped to
serve as a basis for the realism theories of international relations.

Hobbes wrote in Leviathan that humans ("we") need the "terror of some Power" otherwise
humans will not heed the law of reciprocity, i.e. "doing to others, as we would be done to".

Chapter: 5

Comparison of theory of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau

1. Hobbes asserts that without subjection to a common power of their rights and freedoms,
men are necessarily at war. Locke and Rousseau, on the contrary, set forth the view that
the state exists to preserve and protect the natural rights of its citizens. When
governments fail in that task, citizens have the right and sometimes the duty to withdraw
their support and even to rebel.

2. Hobbes view was that whatever the state does is just. All of society is a direct creation
of the state, and a reflection of the will of the ruler. According to Locke, the only
important role of the state is to ensure that justice is seen to be done. While Rousseau
view is that the State must in all circumstance ensure freedom and liberty of individuals.

3. Hobbes theory of Social Contract supports absolute sovereign without giving any value
to individuals, while Locke and Rousseau supports individual than the state or the

4. To Hobbes, the sovereign and the government are identical but Rousseau makes a
distinction between the two. He rules out a representative form of government. But,
Locke does not make any such distinction.

5. Rousseau’s view of sovereignty was a compromise between the constitutionalism of

Locke and absolutism of Hobbes.

Chapter: 6

Advantages of Hobbes’ Social Contract theory

Social contract theory is a major tenant of liberalism. Liberalism is defined as a general

philosophy where the value of liberty must be measured as the highest political good in a
society. Social contract theory works as one approach to legitimate liberty in society.

Theoretical Experimentation

The social contract is merely a theoretical term. Therefore, an advantage to the social contract
is the framework can be worked on in the abstract, meaning that theorists can create elaborate,
just frameworks for society. This has allowed philosophers to vigorously work on the fairest,
most just social contract. Although one might find theory or abstract thinking a disadvantage,
historically speaking, these theorists have influenced liberalism as a whole.


The social contract's theoretical incentive is a social contract strives for the fairest and most
inclusive society. Thomas Hobbes, 1588-1679, argued in his seminal work, "Leviathan", that
political authority needs to be rested on one sole authority that all people consent toward. For
Hobbes, human beings constantly war with each other over survival and resources, limiting
each person’s life and liberty. Through a legitimate government via a social contract, no war
exists between people since all political power is rested in an entity, such as a government, that
all people consent to. Hence, liberty is enhanced for all.


Proponents of social contract theory argue that many theorists create frameworks that are fairer
than current society. The fairness comes from the fact that all people under a social contract
framework would work toward a society where they or others would not be harmed from gross
inequality. For example, John Rawls, 1921-2002, argued that social contract theory works by
stating a position, or the Original Position in Rawls framework, where individuals would want
to live in a society where they would not want gross inequality (political, social, and economic)

applied against them. Hence, everyone would want to live in a society where, for more or less,
people are equal to each other thanks to a social contract.

Legitimate Government

The main and central advantage to social contract theory is the legitimation of government.
When Thomas Hobbes first considered the idea of a social contract, it was when his country of
England began the English Civil War. During the English Civil War, the monarchy of England
was at war with proponents of the parliamentary system of England. For Hobbes, Locke, or
Rousseau, the idea of the social contract was to make sure a government could be agreed upon
by all citizens to avoid all types of civil wars or tyrannies.

Chapter: 7

Shortcomings of Social Contract theories

Most Common Objection: Based on a Historical Fiction

 Objection: "The Social Contract isn't worth the paper it’s not written on."
o never really was a state of nature
o never was an explicit covenant adopted to get out of it

Chief Objection: Denies moral standing to some who (we think) deserve
moral consideration: whoever can't reciprocate

 nonhuman animals
 mentally incompetent people
 outsiders & the weak: especially slaves
o institution of slavery a set of rules that enhanced social living
o and a very refined Society it was; "so civilized," ah doo declare.
o A civilization gone with the wind.

1. It’s really not a moral theory at all. It is a truce from Hobbes’ “war of all against all.” It
is a replacement of morality for practicalities.

2. One need only pretend to abide by the social contract. Since one behaves “morally”
only in their own self-interest, then if they can secretly behave in ways that are opposed
to others’ self-interests and get away with it, they have done nothing wrong.

3. There is no moral justification for claiming one ought to abide by the social contract.

4. Cannot say anyone is immoral. At best, they are being foolish for breaking the social
contract, for in doing so they are working against their own self-interest.

5. Cannot provide any meaningful boundaries/restraints for punishing those who go

outside the social contract.

6. Fails to invoke moral duties to those outside the social contract, such as the mentally

Chapter: 8

Critical Apprehension of Social Contract Theories

1. Rousseau propounded that state, law and the government are interchangeable, but this
in present scenario is different. Even though government can be overthrown but not the
state. A state exists even there is no government.

2. Hobbes concept of absolutism is totally a vague concept in present scenario. Democracy

is the need and examples may be taken from Burma and other nations.

3. According to Hobbes, the sovereign should have absolute authority. This is against the
rule of law because absolute power in one authority brings arbitrariness.

4. Locke concept of State of nature is vague as any conflict with regard to property always
leads to havoc in any society. Hence, there cannot be a society in peace if they have
been conflict with regard to property.

5. Locke concept of laissez-faire is not of welfare oriented. Now in present scenario, every
state undertake steps to form a welfare state.

Chapter: 9

Hobbes’ Contribution to Political Thought

As regards the contribution of Hobbes to Political Thought his admirers have emphasized the
following points:

1. He emphasized the theory of absolute sovereignty and freed his sovereign from al the
shackles. In this respect, he clearly saw the note of the modern state.

2. He was the first thinker to conceive state as a human institution. Thus he sounded the
death knell of the doctrine of ‘divine rights of the kings’.

3. Applied the true scientific methods to the study of political science.

4. Brought morals at par with Politics

5. Repudiated the classical doctrine of the law of nature and advocated the concept of
positive law.

6. Innovated the idea of Contract of individual with individual.

7. Theory of Utilitarianism.

Chapter: 10


His theory of a “social contract” celebrated the rights and powers of the individual without
completely dispensing with the idea of a monarchy. Hobbes was “an acute analyst of power
and peace.” This epithet for Hobbes provides a proper lens through which to view his work.
Leviathan is a political book in the purest sense. According to Hobbes, the final “end” of
humanity is found in “getting themselves out from the miserable condition of war, which is
necessarily consequent (as hath been shown) to the natural passions of men, when there is no
visible power to keep them in awe, and tie them by fear of punishment to the performance of
covenants, and observation of those laws of nature.”

Hobbes’ “fundamental principle, like that of Descartes and Locke, is the autonomy of human
reason.” Hobbes’ view of human reason was inextricable from the concept of mathematics,
particularly geometry. Hobbes was classified both as a rationalist and empiricist. In Leviathan,
the author makes his most basic arguments under the fundamental assumption of human reason
and observation. Despite the fact that Hobbes defined war as the common condition of every
human being apart from a commonwealth, he also believed that the state itself was an “artificial
man” and that one could educate herself on the finer points of political science by looking
inward. Hobbes’ anthropology informed his political science. To begin elsewhere is to
“decipher without a key.”

According to Hobbes, if the state is an “artificial man,” the sovereign power is the “artificial
soul, as giving life and motion to the whole body.” Both the human body as well as the
commonwealth itself are composed of parts in motion. This dynamistic model is largely how
Hobbes interpreted all of life: in terms of motion. “But that when a thing is in motion, it will
eternally be in motion.” Hobbes even posits that “life itself is but motion.” In Hobbes’
mechanistic view of the human body, the heart is but a spring, the nerves strings, and the joints
are wheels. Therefore, in turn, a political map could be drawn in equally mechanistic terms.
This is exactly what the author attempts to do in Leviathan. In order to govern a state, one must
search his own body, heart, and soul. Hence chapter one is largely an exposition of Hobbes’

doctrine of humanity. After the introduction, Leviathan is divided into four parts: “Of Man,”
“Of Commonwealth, “Of a Christian Commonwealth,” and “Of the Kingdom of Darkness.”

At the heart of social contract theory are the themes of liberty, covenant, and power. Contrary
to many writers, Hobbes defines liberty as “the absence of external impediments” rather than
an ability to do otherwise. “Law and right, differ as much as obligation and liberty,” the author
states. Natural law, as Hobbes defines it, is “the liberty each man has, to use his own power, as
he will himself, for the preservation of his own nature.” Hobbes spends considerable space
detailing the various laws of nature, the first being that every mean ought to endeavor peace,
and when he cannot obtain it, utilize the advantages of war. The laying down of rights is an act
that Hobbes views as foundational to social contract theory. This is a divesting of one’s liberty,
of hindering another of the benefit of his own right to the same. One may either renounce or
transfer his right. The mutual transferring of right is what Hobbes calls “contract.” All contract
is mutual translation or change of right. This “covenant” is void without a common power set
over the two covenanters to “compel performance.” Liberty, Covenant, Power.


Books, Articles, and Journals:

 Selected Western & Indian Political Thinkers

By Prem Arora & Brij Grover
 Western Political Thought
By Urmilla Sharma, S.K. Sharma

Citations used throughout the Research:

3. Korab-Karpowicz, W. Julian, A History of Political Philosophy: From Thucydides to
Locke, Global Scholarly Publications, New York, 2010, p. 291