2011 | 24(37) | 47-56
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State for individuals and communities in the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes

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This paper aims at identifying the implications which in the Hobbesian system are the consequences of people’s acceptation of the social agreement and constitution in the state. This is an important moment both for the community, which expresses its agreement for the state, and for each individual, the signatories of the contract. The state establishment connected with the resignation from the individuals’ inherent freedom of individuals, which is the price to be paid for the state, results in the birth of the legal system, and is also linked to the rise of morality. In the state of nature, preceding the state establishment, law could not act and there was no space for moral behavior. According to Hobbes, the state birth is a natural consequence of man’s rational nature; the state, because of the qualities humans have, was predestined to exist. For Hobbes, the state – Leviathan – is the embodiment of virtue, which as the only one allows for the operation of law, and thus enables man to be protected against the danger of violent death. The state status is the only state in which the individual is able to develop natural virtues, in which societies develop and enrich, and cultures enjoy their flowering time and prosperity.
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  • University of Białystok, Białystok
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