State of Nature

Discipline: Political Science

Theory frequently employed in conjunction with that of a social contract.

Before the formation of society or of states, people lived in a state of nature which has been variously characterized as utopian or brutal. Government is then a damaging limitation of primal innocence, or a necessary check on original depravity.

Source:
David Miller et al., eds, The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Political Thought (Oxford 1987)

Share

Facebook Twitter