Early Modern Philosophy

John Locke

How and why was Locke’s idea of the social contract different from Hobbes’?

Locke held that the social contract was an agreement between citizens or their representatives and the government or king. Because basic amenities of human life and its fundamental social institutions were present before the social contract, government was not as essential in Locke’s view, as it had been in Hobbes’. Human society existed and functioned well before government, and if government dissolved or if the governed brought it down for just reasons, society would still exist. However, if something destroyed society, that would also destroy the government.


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