Hobbes or Locke?

Who gives the better account of the state of nature, Hobbes or Locke?

[ 12/April/21 ]

To me it is a bit like asking who gives a better account of quantum mechanics, Pythagoras or Plato?

Both Locke and Hobbes base their accounts on conceptual sets that I no longer use, and that I find utterly inadequate to the task. The explicit assumptions they accept have been disproved by datasets available to any who wish to look.

For me, the idea of equality is a nonsense. A modern understanding of biology and complexity at our level shows that we are all different in many important dimensions, and a big part of our strength is cooperating to use those differences effectively in the face of the fundamental uncertainty present in reality.

So a modern understanding is that we are all fundamentally different, and of necessity we also share many classes and degrees of similarity.

One of the huge issues we face is an evolved tendency to over simplify situations that are deeply and necessarily complex. There is a certain utility in doing that, particularly when reality demands rapid response; but it is also a serious risk, as we do in fact seem to be in many levels of context that are extremely complex and need to be understood as such.

Neither Hobbes nor Locke understood the strategic basis of the evolution of complexity which while very complex can usually be simplified down to – all new levels of complexity are built upon new levels of cooperation, and for long term stability all levels of cooperation require sets of cheat detection and mitigation systems, and that these systems tend to become evolving ecosystems in themselves at every level. In this understanding, at their best, our legal, political and ethical systems are manifestations at various levels of such cheat detection and mitigation systems (and at their worst have already been captured by various levels of cheating strategies on some levels of cooperation).

So for me, both are so deeply flawed, in many different dimensions of understanding, that it is extremely difficult to make a useful assessment across all of those dimensions as to which is better – both are far too simplistic, and based upon sets of assumptions that have been falsified by the datasets and conceptual sets available today.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
This entry was posted in Ideas, Philosophy, understanding and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comment and critique welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s