Hobbes and Hart on Law

Shows the interpretation of two philosophers on the subject of law, Thomas Hobbes (in “Leviathan”) and English legal philosopher, H.L.A Hart.

In “Leviathan”, Thomas Hobbes presents an understanding of the law as a concept that distances human beings from their natures, thus saving the integrity of civilization. Hobbes envisions the human being as naturally flawed and brutish and it is only the development of law and the strict adherence to these principles that a healthy civilization can exist. Hobbes argues, moreover, that situational legislation would be the decline of the integrity of a civilization. English legal philosopher H.L.A. Hart disagrees with Hobbes on this point. Hart argues for the privacy of one’s personal conduct and states that if it does not infringe upon the rights of others, it should not be subject to public legislation. Hart relies strongly on the notion of internal perspective as a concept, which establishes the parameters of obligation for a legal system.