Can The State of Nature Be Tested?

Throughout middle and high school I always found the concept of the state of nature fascinating. The state of nature is a concept used in various topics such as religion and philosophy used to try to explain how life would’ve been before society. I support the theory that humans are naturally evil, and every action is only to benefit themselves. Since I started taking this class, I wondered if there is a scientific way to actually prove the state of nature.  I’ve researched and have found no studies conducted to actually test the hypothesis of humans are naturally evil or not. Maybe it is not possible for science to explain an idea such as this. The idea has been around for centuries, I find it very surprising that there is no scientific material brushing this question.

I hope the following information helps you understand more of the subject. Above depicts Thomas Hobbs (left) and John Locke (right). According to this chart, Thomas Hobbs believed that men were evil. He believed that men needed a monarchy so that law and order may be kept. He also believed that men could not be trusted to rule themselves, and needed a monarch to protect every man from themselves. john Locke’s ideas were on the opposite end of the spectrum. he believed that all men were good, and they could learn from their experience. He believed the government existed to protect an individuals rights and liberties. He also believed that people could be trusted to govern themselves, and revolt against the government if it was unjust.

An experiment conducted on this topic would be extremely difficult, and would have to be repeated many times to actually provide evidence that humans were naturally evil. Actually now that i think about it. it’d be next to impossible to recreate the world before civilization occurred. Perhaps it would have to be a much smaller scale experiment. It would be experimental, because the independent variable would be manipulated.The study would have two classrooms with the same amount of students. One classroom would have a teacher and the other would not. The independent variable would be the teacher being present to maintain order. The dependent variable would be the children’s behavior, with or without the teacher. I’m aware this idea is very crude, however from what I’ve learned in class, science can explain anything.

The idea of the state of nature intrigues me very much. I hope I raised some eyebrows by introducing this idea, and I’d really appreciate feedback from my fellow classmates and what their ideas are for the state of nature.

Picture Source-

http://ydemokrat.blogspot.com/2010/12/thomas-hobbes-versus-john-locke.html

Other Sources-

Hobbes vs Locke: State of Nature

http://johnmarshall.rochester.k12.mn.us/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=6167272

http://ydemokrat.blogspot.com/2010/12/thomas-hobbes-versus-john-locke.html

1 thought on “Can The State of Nature Be Tested?

  1. Jon Shanfelder

    You are right when you said you hope this is an interesting topic. I didn’t know the “state of nature” had a name before brushing up on this. I would be interested to hear why you think humans are naturally evil. You provided no evidence as to why you think this or any articles that even cover the topic. You did provide adequate feedback but I can’t help but think you may be falling into a very pessimistic and biased viewpoint. I am not saying your view is wrong, but rather that you enjoy expressing this seemingly jarring opinion to get attention. I think it is more constructive to begin your search of human goodness or badness in an objective position. http://cw.routledge.com/textbooks/alevelphilosophy/data/AS/WhyShouldIBeGoverned/Stateofnature.pdf

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