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Nietzsche Vs Hobbes

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Nietzsche Vs Hobbes essay

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A wicked animal, knowing no restraint to his passions, was, doubtlessly formulated in England during the turbulent years of the Revolution.(Ethics:Origins and Development, 172). Nietzsche thoughts on human nature are revealed in this quote: It is not things, but opinions about things that have absolutely no existence, which have so deranged mankind!(Daybreak, s. 563) Nietzsche held the belief that man had no such thing as human nature to battle against, he belief that the idea of human nature was fictitious creation of past philosophers who sought to explain life. Nietzsche advanced the opinion that mankind has a Herd mentality [that] overcomes master morality by making all the noble qualities appear to be vices and all weak qualities appear to be virtues.

Mediocre values are the values of the herd.(Helen Grayman, Lecture Notes). Nietzsches writings on human nature, for the most part are an attack on the herd mentality, which he holds great contempt for. Nietzsche put forth this idea Our entire sociology simply does not know any other instinct than that of the herd, i.e., that of the sum of zeros-where every zero has equal rights, where it is virtuous to be zero.(The Will to Power, 33) Nietzsche believes that Not mankind but overman is the goal!(The Will to Power, 519 ), this means that the goal of the human race, in Nietzsches mind, should be the development of a class of human beings that is not part of the herd, which hinders mankinds development. Both Hobbes and Nietzsches views on human nature were misanthropic, Nietzsche held the belief that mankind was nothing more than a herd, and Hobbes views on human nature can be summed up wonderfully with three words: competition, diffidence, and glory.

Hobbes and Nietzsche have differing opinions on morality, Hobbes adhered to the Christian mores during his time, Nietzsche would have found this funny because he was an atheist and also because he did not beleive in any moral code. Nietzsche thought Morality makes stupid.– Custom represents the experiences of men of earlier times as to what they supposed useful and harmful – but the sense for custom (morality) applies, not to these experiences as such, but to the age, the sanctity, the indiscussability of the custom. And so this feeling is a hindrance to the acquisition of new experiences and the correction of customs: that is to say, morality is a hindrance to the development of new and better customs: it makes stupid. (Daybreak,s. 19), he believed that morality prevents people from reaching their full potential in life, he uses the example of the head mentality to show how people are controlled by their morals. Nietzsche believed that morals are one of the root problems of society, Howard Rainer of Davis University states Nietzsche felt morals destroyed the basic framework of society.

Hobbes view on morals was affected by his fanatical belief in Christianity, he basically referred back to the scriptures for all his idea on morality; his greatest source for ideas on morality was the Book of Exodus. Many of Hobbes ideas concerning morality have there base in the Bible, which he constantly refers to in his works.(Howard Rainer, Lecture Notes) Hobbes defends Christian morality in Leviathan, he believes that only a society with a strong moral base is capable of keeping the wicked nature of man in check. Hobbes was also a hypocrite, he believed that a King could violate Gods laws if they were in the best interests of the state. Hobbes maintained that everything must be done to protect the commonwealth, even morals could be tossed aside for the advancement of the commonwealth.

Nietzsche believed that Because we have for millennia made moral, aesthetic, religious demands on the world, looked upon it with blind desire, passion or fear, and abandoned ourselves to the bad habits of illogical thinking, this world has gradually become so marvelously variegated, frightful, meaningful, soulful, it has acquired color – but we have been the colorists: it is the human intellect that has made appearances appear and transported its erroneous basic conceptions into things.( Human, all too Human, s.16) these morals compounded themselves over the centuries making errors seem like truths, Nietzsche was against these commonplace errors in our societies morals. Hobbes and Nietzsche have absolutely nothing similar in the realm of morals. The beliefs of Hobbes and Nietzsche contradict each other at every available opportunity, their philosophies are totally different on almost every level. Nietzsche has a hatred of Christianity which is unsurpassed, he believed that Christianity was one of the leading reasons for a herd mentality in society; Hobbes embrace Christianity and uses the scriptures as one of his main sources of inspiration.

Only on the topic of human nature do Hobbes and Nietzsche ideas come closer together, both of these philosopher held a pessimistic view of human nature; Hobbes believed it was a warre..of every man, against every man(Leviathan, 232), while Nietzsche held the belief that the human race was a large herd. On morality Nietzsche and Hobbes do not see eye to eye, Nietzsche did not belief in any sort of morals while Hobbes used the Bible as his main moral cookbook, these two radically different ideas do not match up whatsoever. In conclusion Nietzsche and Hobbes are two philosophers with very different life philosophies.


  1. Primary Sources: Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan.
  2. Toronto, 1985. Penguin Classics. Nietzsche, Friedrich. Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Toronto, 1982. Penguin Books.
  3. Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Anti-Christ. Toronto, 1982. Penguin Books. Nietzsche, Friedrich.
  4. Human, All Too Human. Toronto, 1986. Penguin Books. Nietzsche, Friedrich.
  5. The Will To Power. Toronto, 1982. Penguin Books. Nietzsche, Friedrich. Daybreak.
  6. Toronto, 1984. Penguin Books. Secondary Sources: Grayman, Helen. Broward College. Lecture Notes.
  7. Johnston, Ian. Malaspina University. Lecture Notes. Kropotkin, Peter.
  8. Ethics: Origins and Development. 1989. George E. Harrap & Co.,Ltd. Rainer, Howard. Davis University.
  9. Lecture Notes. Biography: Book of Exodus, The Bible. Hobbes, Thomas. The Citizen: Liberty-Dominion-Religion.
  10. Toronto, 1981. Penguin Books Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Gay Science. Toronto, 1982. Penguin Books Nietzsche, Friedrich.
  11. Twilight of the Idols. Toronto, 1982. Penguin Books.
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