Hobbes and Marx disagree on a fundamental point about human nature

Hobbes and Marx disagree on a fundamental point about human nature: Marx thinks that humans are inherently cooperative, while Hobbes thinks they are inherently competitive. Explain Hobbes’ view that humans are inherently competitive and that they only cooperate at times because of the social contract. Then explain Marx’s view that humans are inherently cooperative and that capitalist wage-labor forces them to be competitive. (Note: this part of your paper should be no more than half of the total word count, preferably less.) Which view is better, Marx’s or Hobbes’? Make sure in your defense to go beyond simply restating the view of the author you defend—give your own original arguments in support of him.



A suggested format

1. introduction

A summary/abstract of your entire paper. Always a good idea to write this last!

2. explanation of text

Same as in the structured essay (Essay 1).

3. explain your question (short)

Explain the question you are answering in the essay enough that the reader can understand why this is a problem.

4. thesis/defense

State your thesis and defend it.

5. objection (short)

Explain an objection to Part 4.

6. defense against objection

Defend your argument against the objection from Part 5.

7. conclusion

Sum up your paper in order to tie everything together for your reader.



1. You need to cite the primary text for both Hobbes and Marx. It’s really good that you’re citing where you’ve used secondary sources, but those sources aren’t evidence for the views of philosophers–for that you need to reference the primary text directly.


2. You need to focus on developing your own arguments rather than arguments from secondary sources. The point of the paper is to come up with your own original arguments. It’s fine if they aren’t as “good” as what you might get from a secondary source–the important part is that they are yours.


3. This is really loosely focused. You need to really focus in on one narrow issue–you compare Hobbes and Marx on too many points.


4. It is true that at the core here is the question of whether humans are cooperative or competitive. You often argue though that it is *good* for humans to be competitive, which is a different from arguing that that they *are* competitive naturally. In the attached file, I made some comments that will hopefully help you see the difference and give you some directions to go in.

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