Natural state

the natural state of humans is a central matter for discussion itself with that of the 17. Century unfolding philosophical debate around the authentication of the right and the society in their actual condition, set by humans. First participants of the discussion became Thomas Hobbes, Samuel of Pufendorf, John curl, Anthony Ashley Cooper, the third Earl OF Shaftesbury, and Jean Jacques Rousseau.

In the center of the argument humans in the condition before the structure of the nations existing today are located. The debate is inspired with the fact by the acceptance that the most serious problems are to be attributed in the present to beboachtenden human living together to the fact that we are not created for the life by nature from, which we ourselves furnish.

The natural state can thereby as completes to be more intolerablly defined: Hobbes spoke of „the war of all against all “. The human culture is the provisional under this condition, if also not absolutely lucky making answer to the catastrophic initial position. It can win just as well ideal courses, courses of a gone down lucky naturalness, to which we cannot any longer back, or which must set us, on the contrary the goal of a further cultural development.

The theories to the natural state ran (and run) in different places parallel to Biblical creation history - above all this circumstance made the debate explosive: With it a preceding discussion of the religion continued at the area of philosophy. It has different Ausläufer in the current scientific research with its ranges of the anthropology, the Ethnologie on the other side and human early history.

Table of contents

between Bukolik and driving out from the Paradies: Prehistory of the discussion

Cranach D. A.: Adam and Eva in the garden Eden (1530)

motive historical leaves itself the discussion 17. and 18. Century in different directions into the past pursue. The antique one developed a pronounced tradition of pleasant nature conceptions in alternative to the life of the city and the commonwealth. Who could do it, afforded country houses. In the seal besang one the lucky life of the Hirten. With the beginning 17. Century should again revive this culture tradition with a broad fashion of the Schäfereien, which found their place particularly at the yards and in closed societies. One produced idyls, celebrated summer days with less strict label in the open air. Shepherd plays, opera, galante lyric poetry and their own novel production carried the fashion, and fed the feeling, a far luckier life could outside of strictly reglementierten living together in city and yard have existed or at least in the far antique one have existed.

Unter dem Eindruck der beliebten Schäfereien: Watteau, Einschiffung nach Kythera (1717/18)
Under the impression of the popular Schäfereien: Watteau, embarkation after Kythera (1717/18)

a nearly opposite tradition of thinking about nature existed those with the Christian doctrine of the creation, in Europe to end 18. Century as the most rational position to be regarded had. While one proceeded in other cultures from (so the European perspective) unreasonably long historical traditions, one lived oneself in Europe with the rationally visible historical area with delivered buildings and proved to documents. Judentum, Christianity and Islam agreed here in the historical view: The world was around the year 3950 v. Chr. (dating could deviate slightly depending upon Bible interpretation) created. Adam had invented the language still on the first day and had designated the animals. The case of sin, which for Adam and Eva ended with driving out from the Paradies , brought the larger step into the culture. „A natural state “was given in this model ansatzweise. Into him we, knew so the theory due to the hereditary sin not again back. All dresses to get rid of to live together naked seemed indeed hardly as option conceivablly, everyone felt the shame, which had to be overcome here. It had arisen with the case of sin.

The philosophers 17. and 18. Century assumed Adam began immediately with the construction of cities, means of transport and all practical mechanisms of the life - for this it did not need no more than those humans given ability ideas for new inventions to build up to be able.

The vorsintflutliche culture fell the theory after God punishment around the year 2300 v. Chr. to the victim. The three sons Noahs settled the world again. One could do in 17. It discusses century over the fact whether some centuries met later actually again all peoples to the building of towers to Babel. It seemed more plausible that the language confusion concerned alone the eastern nations, while the remaining languages of the world itself in own language developments of each other distant. One did not have the historical area to so late permit an event of such consequence still - the details are of interest, since them only cause area left, in philosophical considerations one the culture of preceding natural state.

models and debates: Philosophical theories of the natural state of 17. in 18. Century

the philosophical theories, in 17. and 18. Century in the view of the natural state were formulated, sought to win in the different tradition lines plausibility the available. A further argumentative area should become interesting thereby with the non-European culture contacts: that the argument with „wild “peoples and an explanation of the Chinese culture.

The jesuitische propaganda outgoing 17. Century let appear plausible it that China retained of all cultures of the world still most to the vorsintflutlichen civilization. Here the conception of the alttestamentlichen God had obviously only been lost. China lived in a philosophical atheism, so the conception, which the Jesuiten spread, in order against the konfuzianischen rites at the Chinese yard to position itself not to have (see the article rite controversy more detailed). Otherwise was not anywhere like here the order of the world, which Noah still came of, protected. Europe, Africa and America occurred against it after the Sintflut stages of the Barbarei, from which they freed themselves in different measure again.

In the argumentations, to which Thomas Hobbes with the Leviathan (1651) drew back, the peoples of the world played a small role. For complexity of the picture they began to only provide in the papers John Lockes; in them one finds us to side view of reports on a journey with their notes strange forms of living together. In the second half 18. Century should again inspire the occupation with the natives of North America the discussion of the natural state. The possibility of lucky drafts of natural living together fed with the turn in 19. Century lastingly the culture pessimism of the romance.

Hobbes and the brutal natural state: Fundamental thinking and an answer to the civil war

Hobbes' Leviathan (1651) proceeded from very fundamental considerations to the Materialität of the observable world. Differently than in the animal become in humans the subject of the existence consciously. Humans can in the same moment, in which he understands that he exists, foresees that everything that it can win will not use anything to him, should he its life lose. Its nature is alone defined thereby fundamentally. It forbids it to it subordinating itself in the consciousness of the own existence easily a community: The society must be life well-being the all different one to subordinate. Due to its come it, if humans show up in his natural state - in emergency situations, in which the order is misplaced and all laws stopped - inevitably to one „war of all against all “to implement for the attempt of all particulars, their right of existence against the interests of the others. (Hobbes does not assume with the fact there was ever one epoch before the civilization, in which all humans lay with one another in the war, its considerations understands however emergency situations as such, in which the natural state broke the course. In them govern very fast „the natural right “, which has everyone, his life to defend and no further law more.) the disaster of living together in the open civil war in practice by the installation of a force monopoly one prevent. Only, where humans under set higher force live together, cultural achievements can be carried out: The structure of community, the development of the infrastructure, the collective accumulation of wealth.

Hobbes' reflections of a natural state of mankind followed coming out basic assumptions logically apart. To the fact that humans were aware of his existence, could be argued at the latest since Descartes Meditationen (1641) no longer past. With the certainty of the own existence the absoluteness of the own requirement for existence to connect, was a step beyond Descartes, above all however was it an attack on the Christianity, which publicised its own theory of the spoilingness human nature and which the science of the Sündhaftigkeit of humans used, in order to justify the claims to power of state and church as answer to human nature.

Hobbes argued without a case of sin and in the long run without a moral. Of him thought out humans acted naturally and reasonably justified, even if he went into the war against the remainder of mankind:

But of neither OF US accuse one' s nature in it. The Desires, and OTHER passion OF one, acres into themselves NO Sin. NO more acres the of act ion that proceed from those passion, till they know A Law that forbids them: which till Lawes larva they CAN emergency know: nor CAN any Law larva, till they have agreed upon the person that sound make it. (Lit.: Leviathan, 1, chapter. 13, S.62.)
Nobody however should nature humans here accuse. The longings and other passions of humans are not for itself regard sins. They are it as few as the actions, which rise from these passions, before one takes any law to the knowledge, which forbids her: which one cannot do again, before any law is issued: which cannot happen again, before one agrees on a person, who is to issue the law. (over. o.s.)

only the right aligned to the problems, which the natural state raises, a right completely set by humans, creates the options, under which we judged human actions morally.

On broad resonance the argument brought in notice could count, since it divided the people picture with the church, it however no further role in the authentication of lay and church power. Hobbes became as Atheist and enemy mankind cried and released wave philosophical Gegenmodelle, which each and all the absolutist state, for which it in confusions of the English civil war had occurred, with references on the natural state justified.

The substantial consent formulas to the natural state as to the state, which had to develop on it, formulated in the second half 17. Century Samuel of Pufendorf. The philosophers, who defined the resuming opposite standpoints in the English political debate to the Absoultismus as to Hobbes, won the nachhaltigeren influence on the debate.

curl, Shaftesbury and by nature good humans: An answer to Hobbes and the Glorious revolution

Der Europäer bringt den verrohten Wilden das Feuer. Szene aus Les avantures de ***, ou les effets surprenans de la sympathie, vol. 5 (Amsterdam, 1714), einem Roman in Auseinandersetzung mit dem Naturzustand.
of the Europeans brings the fire to the verrohten wild ones. Scene from Les avantures de ***, ou les effets surprenans de la sympathy, volume. 5 (Amsterdam, 1714), a novel in argument with the natural state.

The philosophical debate following at Hobbes kept the chance to be able to argue independently of the Christian people picture in the play, however a new opposition possibility searched. That had first once reasons in the English home policy.

Hobbes had drawn its considerations in the view on the civil war, to that in briefly before with beheading the Karl I. had broken out. If the force monopoly broke down, „the war of all broke against all “, so the lesson off for Karl II. and against the religious despotism Cromwells of France from arguing state philosophers.

Curl and Shaftesbury were party men of the Whigs , the trailer of the parliament, the 1688 for the second revolution 17. Century ensured. „The glorious “should it mean, since England set the regent off this time without the disaster forecast by Hobbes - and a new with new powers installed, over which the parliament and its voters was awake. The new model required of an own philosophical position. John curl formulated it 1689 with the Two Treatises OF Government. With Hobbes it agreed in the view of the union of humans: This happened from a natural state. Curl however became more concrete and historical: Humans seized that they could concern larger projects in community. From patriarchalischen federations commonwealth developed. These again would have to be regarded in principle as contracts, which were closed, in order to make a better living together possible. In emergency the present Treaties had to include a right, with which regents let themselves be set off - if these endangered peaceful living together and the general prosperity. Curl argued in this sense in the view of the multiplicity of well-known states and forms of human living together. Side views of the inhabitants of Brazil had suspectable to make that there were very different options, among whom as lucky a one as possible be selected could.

The revolution in the people picture formulated Lockes of younger fellow combatants Shaftesbury with the theorem of humans living together lucky in the natural state. The attack on the church came now from the other side: Shaftesburys humans was not drawn of sin, it was besides by nature altruistisch. In completely different place the author got the religion in the boat: It argued throughout under the thesis that God could create the best of all worlds as a perfect nature only. Generally speaking „system “shows up everything that we notice as incompleteness in the perfection anvisierten of God. The taken into account hook of the argument was that humans could not at all recognize this system in its complete perfection - problem solution was humans, who were by nature with a sense for harmony equipped, whose moral side was special „moral scythe “. By nature humans anxious, in conformity with whom cosmos and see what it from nature, are, to be lived.

It did not concern to celebrate the life of the nature peoples with these considerations at all - Shaftesbury assumed that that this resources were possibly much too poor in, in order to permit to humans the development of its nature. Shaftesburys was new the view of existing living together in the condition of the civilization with the argument: Where this of force and discords was certain, that was because of the fact that the existing culture prevented the development of the innate sense for harmony. The state and the church became responsible in the same argumentative idiom for the egoism, which they fought so much. A better culture less decided with punishments and rewards to arise, humans in the same moment to less corrupt and their sense for moral and Harmony unfold.

of 18. in 19. Century: One does not see Rousseau, which and the discovery of the nature peoples Rousseaus

considerations go to return to nature, only on the premises and political consequences, over curl and Shaftesbury outside. To completely different arrangement of thinking about the natural state they should lead however: Rousseau postulated humans, who looked for the agreement with nature in the natural state with Shaftesbury. It showed an interest in the forms of human living together with curl. It smoothed the way with the researchers of its generation however to think to existing nature peoples capable of the larger proximity to the natural state. The argumentation separated here from the state theory, still to which Rousseau attributed it with the Contrat social (1762).

While outgoing 18. and early 19. Century in Europe a movement to by far stronger national federations showed, became thinking about the natural state than opposite standpoint in relation to the European civilization interesting. Louis Antoine de Bougainville offered voyage autour you moons (1771) with a view trained at Rousseau on the natural state with its Description d'un innovative the new idealized picture of the South Seas Insulaner. For the moment the appearance induced it still Denis Diderot to its Supplément outer voyage de Bougainville, a written defense of the sexual liberty. The by far larger effect unfolded the new picture of the South Seas on of Europe artists 19. and 20 of century, on the perceptions of the painters Gauguin and Nolde and with these sea protests accompanying on the culture anthropology Margaret Meads.

The herbere variant of a life in the natural state realized itself with the descriptions of North American Indians, who became for the romantics models of a natural liberty. Pictures of new handling nature, coined/shaped by maleness, led carrying „soft-light “18 to the break with that Perücken. Century, to which only the word Rococo was missing.

The scientific argument with the natural state found to in the middle 19. Century an additional impulse with the evolution theory. With it in conformity with nature should, a biologistic study of the natural state in extension of the romantic and ethnologischen view of „nature peoples “as well as of peoples a better life began to succeed to those. Humans had under the perspective, itself only in 20. Century on broad front minted, over millions of years as hunter and collecting tank lived. The condition of the culture it had occurred with biological equipment to this and not to our life.

20. Century and present: The natural state as problematic debate article

which as philosophical argument began and from the research 19. Century at the end one caught up, unfolded in 20. Century mass movements - of those of the viennaistic aligned national socialism, which wanted to make the state over the role of the human races philosophierend the extended arm of the further „natural “selection, up to the various movements „of the Aussteiger “, „back to nature! “publicised as refusal to the western consumer culture.

Thinking about the natural state, for which humans are created, became naturally. For which nutrition are humans evolutionary equipped? Which damage act does it through today existing nourishing habits against it in? Which group size determined human living together in the course of the evolution? Which civilization problems against it does anonymous living together of humans save in large cities?

The argumentation with differences between a condition remained fundamentally, for which we are created, and a condition, in which we live in contrast to this. The ensemble at sciences, which is interested in these differences, expanded. The philosophical debate seems to place itself since the generation Arnold Gehlens rather with critical reflections of their debate article even created. The natural state is judged, in the review, to large extent a fiktionaler article. It was subject to changing political and cultural requirements, to which on it offered itself in its refusals to existing (above all religious) in its numerous arrangements aspects and its tying from them independent tradition lines and culture experiences flexibly as convincingly.


primary literature

  • Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, or The of matte, forms, & power OF A Commonwealth [...]. By Thomas Hobbes (London: A. Crooke, 1651), partitions. 1, more chapter XIII, „OF the Natural condition OF one child as Concerning Their Felicity and Misery. “ Expenditure for Internet
  • John curl, Two Treatises OF Government (1690), The Second Treatise OF civil Government, more chapter II. „OF the State OF Nature. “ Expenditure for Internet Constitution Society
  • Anthony Ashley Cooper, 3. Earl OF Shaftesbury, “Inquiry Concerning four-does or Merit” [1699], to Treatise IV the Characteristicks (London, 1711).
  • [Anonymous], Les avantures de ***, ou les effets surprenans de la sympathy, Bd. 5 (Amsterdam, 1714). - German: Liebs history Mr. ***, Bd. 5 (Franckfurt/Leipzig: A. J. Felssecker, 1717).
  • Jean Jacques Rousseau, answer matter of price of the Académie of Dijon: „Source est l'origine de l'inégalité parmi les hommes, et est inch autorisée par la loi natureal? “ Paper over the origin and the basis of the inequality among humans (1755).
  • Jean Jacques Rousseau, you Contrat social (1762).
  • Arnold Gehlen, Urmensch and late culture (Bonn: Athenäum, 1956)/(Frankfurt/Main: Monastery man, 2004) ISBN 3-465-03305-1
  • Irish from, Eibl Eibesfeldt, pre-programmed humans. The Ererbte as determining factor in the human behavior (vienna Zurich Munich: Molden, 1973).

secondary literature


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