Robert Filmer, Locke’s main opponent in his First Treatise , nails the flaw in Hobbes’s theory concerning the state of nature: “I cannot understand how this right of nature can be conceived without imagining a company of men at the very first to have been all created together without any dependency one of another, or as mushrooms ( fungorum more ) they all on a sudden were sprung out of the earth without any obligation to one another.”

This is implausible and violates all we know about how human beings come to be. It is also, Filmer notes, unscriptural: “the scripture teacheth us otherwise, that all men came by succession, and generation from one man: we must not deny the truth of the history of creation.”

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

Loading...