The principles according to which individuals in the original position, behind the veil of ignorance, would choose to regulate a society at the most elementary level (i.e. before a constitution) are rightly called by Rawls the two principles of justice. These two principles determine the distribution of civil liberties as well as social and economic goods. The first principle is that every person in a society should have as much fundamental freedom as possible, as long as everyone is granted the same freedoms. That is, there must be as much civil liberty as possible as long as these assets are evenly distributed. (This would exclude, for example, a scenario in which there would be a greater totality of civil liberties than in an alternative scenario, but in which these freedoms would not be evenly distributed among citizens.) The second principle states that while social and economic inequalities can be equitable, they must be equally accessible to all (i.e. no one should be denied access to greater economic benefits in principle), and that these inequalities must be for the benefit of all. This means that economic inequality is only justified if the most advantaged member of society is nevertheless better off than would be the case in the case of other arrangements. Only if a rising tide really lifts all boats up can economic inequality be taken into account in a just society. The method of the original position supports this second principle, which is called the principle of difference, because if we stand behind the veil of ignorance and therefore do not know what our situation will be in society, once the veil of ignorance is lifted, we will accept only those principles that are to our advantage, even if we find ourselves in the least favored position of society. For Hobbes, the state of nature is characterized by the „war of every human being against every human being,“ a constant and violent condition of competition in which every individual has a natural right to everything, regardless of the interests of others. Existence in the state of nature is, as Hobbes puts it, „lonely, poor, evil, brutal and short.“ The only laws that exist in the state of nature (the laws of nature) are not alliances forged between people, but principles based on self-preservation. What Hobbes calls the first law of nature, for example, is that property plays a vital role in Locke`s argument in favor of civil government and the treaty that establishes it.
According to Locke, private property is born when a person mixes his work with nature`s raw materials. For example, if you cultivate a piece of land in nature and turn it into a piece of arable land that produces food, then you claim to own that piece of land and the food produced on it. (This led Locke to conclude that America did not really belong to the natives who lived there because, in his opinion, they did not use the basic material of nature. In other words, they didn`t cultivate it, so they had no legitimate right to it, and so others could rightly appropriate it.) Given the implications of natural law, there are limits to the amount of goods one can own: one should not take away more from nature than one can use, so that others do not have enough for themselves. Because the nature of all mankind is given by God for their common sustenance, one cannot take more than one`s own just share. Property is the cornerstone of Locke`s argument for the social contract and civil government, as it is the protection of their property, including their property in their own bodies, that people seek when they decide to abandon the state of nature. The problem in the state of nature, Rousseau said, was finding a way to protect everyone`s life, liberty and property while keeping every person free. Rousseau`s solution was for people to enter into a social contract. They would give up all their rights, not to a king, but to „the whole community“, to all the people.
He called all the people the „sovereign,“ a term hobbes used primarily to refer to a king. The people then exercised their „general will“ to legislate for the „public good“. In 1649, a civil war broke out over who would rule England – Parliament or King Charles I. The war ended with the beheading of the king. Shortly after Charles` execution, an English philosopher, Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), wrote Leviathan, a defense of the absolute power of kings. The book`s title referred to a Leviathan, a mythological whale-like sea monster that devoured entire ships. Hobbes compared Leviathan to government, a powerful state created to create order. Another point of contention concerns the extent to which Locke believed that natural law could in fact be recognized by reason.
Strauss (1953) and Peter Laslett (Introduction to Locke`s Two Treatises), although very different in their interpretations of Locke in general, see Locke`s theory of natural law as full of contradictions. In the essay Concerning Human Understanding, Locke defends a theory of moral knowledge that denies the possibility of innate ideas (Essay Book 1) and asserts that morality is capable of demonstrating in the same way as mathematics (Essay 3.11.16, 4.3.18-20). .