STATE OF NATURE

STATE OF NATURE

state of nature. The lack of a politically organized society. ? The term is a fictional construct for the period in human history predating any type of political society.

¡°[W]e may make use of the contrast, familiar to the philosophy of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, between the civil state and the state of nature. This state of nature is now commonly rejected as one of the fictions which flourished in the era of the social contract, but such treatment is needlessly severe. The term certainly became associated with much false or exaggerated doctrine touching the golden age, on the one hand, and the bellum omnium contra omnes of Hobbes, on the other, but in itself it nevertheless affords a convenient mode for the expression of an undoubted truth. As long as there have been men, there has probably been some form of human society. The state of nature, therefore, is not the absence of society, but the absence of a society so organised on the basis of physical force as to constitute a state. Though human society is coeval with mankind, the rise of political society, properly so called, is an event in human history.¡± John Salmond, Jurisprudence 103¨C04 (Glanville L. Williams ed., 10th ed. 1947).


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