State of Nature
• place of profound freedom
• no law, no magistrate (no natural hierarchy)
• only the people with relative (natural) equality
State of Nature and Human Nature: Freedom, Equality, Respect for others
• "to understand political power right, and derive it from its original, we must consider
what state all men are naturally in . . . "
◦ "a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, dispose of their possessions,
and persons . . . "
◦ "a state also of equality, wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprocal, no
one having more than another . . . "
• not a "state of license": governed by "law of nature" and reason that teach us not to
harm another's "life, health, liberty, or possessions."
State of Nature Problems
• Reason teaches man not to harm his neighbor, liberty, or possessions, but some
people still do so. Since aggressors who violate the freedom of others are irrational
and dangerous, renouncing reason and their humanity, they are violating the law of
nature and can/should be punished
• We are each burdened with policing or protecting our own rights
• So, in a state of nature, we each have two se