A Scientific Approach to the Politics of Hobbes and Locke

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Metaphysics the philosophical inquiry into the nature and operations of the universe, was believed by the ancients as a branch of philosophy that could investigate and explain the fundamental nature of the world. As philosophy continued to evolve, science, as a branch of natural philosophy, also transformed philosophy from a rational activity into an empirical activity that derived knowledge from experiments. Drawing upon both Hobbes and Locke’s account of politics and political obligation, the aim of this paper is to analyse whether the study of politics should be modelled with the scientific method. The paper is divided into three segments. The first section provides a brief account of the science of nature, and human nature as a conceptual background to the politics of Hobbes and Locke. Drawing upon scientific principles, section two contrasts and compare the civil science of Locke and Hobbes, and their perception of a scientific law of nature (i.e. natural law). Finally, I argue that Hobbes’ account of politics is more consistent, because the Hobbesian state is governed by fixed scientific laws of nature carried out by an absolute sovereign that maintains law and order. However, it is important to note that this argument is valid insofar as it is based on the proposition that one can deduce political activities the same way one can deduce logical concepts and scientific deductions, since science aims to arrive at indubitable truths, hence a scientific approach to politics should also entail logical and scientific deductions.



Philosophy, Philosophy of science, Political science


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