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(p. 6) 1. The state of nature 

(p. 6) 1. The state of nature
(p. 6) 1. The state of nature

Jonathan Wolff

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date: 01 December 2020

This chapter examines whether it is possible for human beings to live in a state of nature. Sometimes it is claimed that not only have human beings always lived under a state, but that it is the only way they possibly could live. On this view, which is often associated with Aristotle, the state exists naturally in the sense of being natural to human beings. In response, some theorists argue that human beings have been able to live without the state. To elucidate the issue further, this chapter analyses the views of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. It also considers the arguments of anarchists and suggests that the gap between rational anarchism and the defence of the state is vanishingly small.

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