Hobbes asserted that man`s life in the state of nature was “lonely, poor, evil, brutal, and short” (in Leviathan, part 1, chapter 13), or Rousseau, when he asserted that “man is born free, and he is everywhere chained” (in the introductory sentence of On the Social Contract). Our claim in this article is that it is time to update many of these generalizations from observation in the light of recent empirical research, starting with Darwin (reference Darwin1871). We are not looking for a systematic review, let alone a comprehensive one; Instead, we select a few illustrative generalizations that have profoundly influenced contemporary academic and public discourse on political philosophy and for which there is sufficient research in the evolutionary social sciences to assess its empirical validity. Nevertheless, for our current goals, we can say that small companies exemplify one type of balance that people can find themselves in, and large corporations illustrate another. The contrast between the two can highlight the difference that formal institutions can make. However, while evidence from large modern corporations is present all around us, evidence from smaller companies has been much less readily available and is therefore more appropriate for inaccurate characterization. Rousseau avoids the reasons behind the transition from the state of nature, in which individuals lived in isolation, to coexistence. Its purpose is not to describe how people lived in large groups, but what are the legitimate ways to finance and organize such societies. Nevertheless, Hobbes bases his arguments not on a historical description, but on his abstract reflections on the natural equality of human beings in terms of physical strength and cunning, which leads to “restraint,” by which he means a natural fear of each other.
As for how modern game theorists use equilibrium analysis, we can imagine that Locke views the state of nature as a real result of social arrangements under certain real-world conditions, while Hobbes viewed it primarily as an “unbalanced” state whose credible threat was sufficient to convince rational individuals to grant legitimacy to the sovereign. This image is in radical contradiction with what we know today as common characteristics of all known human societies. In small societies, there is a modal model of social organization, characterized by a system of resource flows over three generations (including descendants, partners and co-resident grandparents), a division of sexual and age labor within long-term adult couple bonds (Algiers et al., Reference Alger, Hooper, Cox, Stieglitz and Kaplan2020), and a high degree of collaboration between parents and non-parents (Kaplan et al., Reference Kaplan, Hooper and Gurven2000). Human hunter-gatherers were probably highly interdependent long before the invention of agriculture, contrary to Rousseau`s claim that agriculture and the associated divisions of labor paved the way for high interdependencies. The social contract theorists we considered believed that the natural state of individuals was anything but social. Hobbes wrote that man`s condition was “lonely, poor, evil, brutal, and short.” Rousseau also considered the state of nature to be solitary. Modern evolutionary social sciences have insisted on the existence of “infinite forms that are the most beautiful” of non-human and human behavior in small societies, and we believe that political philosophy can only be enriched if these are explicitly taken into account. Status hierarchies do indeed exist in various small societies, but rather than simply resulting from the variation of material wealth, they are often associated with relational wealth (i.e., social bonds in marriage, sharing of food, and other cooperative networks) and embodied wealth (i.e., wealth.
physical and cognitive abilities, such as strength and knowledge/skills, underlying variations in food production, and reproductive success). It should be noted that small societies that have taken collective action in this way have all done so despite the absence of formal legal institutions, suggesting that social contract theorists have significantly underestimated the ability of human societies to find informal solutions to problems caused by the state of nature. In addition to subjectivism, Hobbes also concludes from his mechanistic theory of human nature that humans are necessarily and exclusively selfish. All people pursue only what they perceive to be in their own individual interest – they react mechanically by being attracted to what they desire and being repulsed by what they are opposed to. It is a universal claim: it should cover all human actions in all circumstances – in society or outside, in relation to strangers and friends, in relation to small goals and the most general human desires, such as the desire for power and status. Everything we do is motivated solely by the desire to improve our own situations and satisfy our own individual desires as much as possible. We are infinitely appetizing and only sincerely care about ourselves. According to Hobbes, even the reason adults care for young children can be explained in terms of adults` self-interest (he claims that when we save a child by taking care of them, we become the recipient of a strong sense of commitment in someone who has been helped to survive rather than being allowed to die).
Wealth can be defined in several ways: (1) material, (2) relational and (3) embodied (Borgerhoff Mulder et al., reference Borgerhoff Mulder, Bowles, Hertz, Bell, Beise, Clark and Wiessner2009). The relative lack of possessive, defensible and transferable material wealth among many hunter-gatherers (exceptions notwithstanding the Ames reference, for example, Ames2003; Rowley-Conwy, reference Rowley-Conwy, Panter-Brick, Layton and Rowley-Conwy2001) brings with it a relatively minimal wealth inequality. Relative egalitarianism in access to material resources limits the formation of rigid and pronounced gradients in health and longevity along the status lines that reliably occur in humans and other primates (e.B. Kondo et al., Reference Kondo, Sembajwe, Kawachi, van Dam, Subramanian and Yamagata2009; Marmot et al., reference Marmot, Smith, Stansfeld, Patel, North, Head and Feeney, 1991; Sapolsky, reference Sapolsky2005). Minimal wealth inequality reduces the subjective experience of deprivation and subordination and the associated adverse health consequences, including chronic psychosocial stress and depression (see Snyder-Mackler et al., reference Snyder-Mackler, Burger, Gaydosh, Belsky, Noppert, Campos, and Tung2020 for an overview). Collectors who were able to intensify the exploitation of resources and produce storable food surpluses that are then defended and transferred are exceptions that prove the rule: in addition to stable material differences in wealth, we observe differences in status in well-being among some collectors, including the existence of slavery. According to Locke, the state of nature is not a state of individuals, as is the case with Hobbes. Rather, it is populated by mothers and fathers with their children or families – what he calls “conjugal society” (para.
78). These societies are based on voluntary agreements to care for children together, and they are moral, but not political. .