Economics and Philosophy 36 (3):334-354 (2020)

Authors
Jacob Barrett
Oxford University
Abstract
Hobbes believed that the state of nature would be a war of all against all. Locke denied this, but acknowledged that in the absence of government, peace is insecure. In this paper, I analyse both accounts of the state of nature through the lens of classical and experimental game theory, drawing especially on evidence concerning the effects of punishment in public goods games. My analysis suggests that we need government not to keep wicked or relentlessly self-interested individuals in line, but rather to maintain peace among those who disagree about morality.
Keywords Thomas Hobbes  John Locke  the state of nature  punishment  moral disagreement
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