State of Nature

The state of nature is a term in political philosophy used in social contract theories to describe the hypothetical condition that preceded governments. There must have been a time before government, and so the question is how legitimate government could emerge from such a starting position, and what are the hypothetical reasons for entering a state of society by establishing a government.

In some versions of social contract theory, there are no rights in the state of nature, only freedoms, and it is the contract that creates rights and obligations. In other versions the opposite occurs: the contract imposes restrictions upon individuals that curtail their natural rights.

The time-period before the establishment of government, which political philosophers call the "state of nature," however, is regarded in the modern scientific era not only as hypothetical but actual. Societies existing before or without a political state are currently studied in such diverse fields as paleolithic history, archaeology, cultural anthropology, social anthropology, and ethnology, which investigate the social and power-related structures of indigenous and uncontacted peoples living in tribal communities.

Read more about State Of Nature:  Between Nations

Other articles related to "state of nature, states, state, state of, of nature":

State Of Nature - Between Nations
... In Hobbes's view, once a civil government is instituted, the state of nature has disappeared between individuals because of the civil power which exists to ... Rawls also examines the state of nature between nations ... Rawls says that people, not states, form the basic unit that should be examined ...
Two Treatises Of Government - Second Treatise - State of Nature
... Locke defines the state of nature thus "To properly understand political power and trace its origins, we must consider the state that all people are in naturally ... That is a state of perfect freedom of acting and disposing of their own possessions and persons as they think fit within the bounds of the law of nature ... People in this state do not have to ask permission to act or depend on the will of others to arrange matters on their behalf ...

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    The essence of the modern state is that the universal be bound up with the complete freedom of its particular members and with private well-being, that thus the interests of family and civil society must concentrate themselves on the state.... It is only when both these moments subsist in their strength that the state can be regarded as articulated and genuinely organized.
    Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831)