According to Hobbes, politics had never been given any kind of scientific treatment by any philosopher from Plato onward until his own work on the subject was published. The principal problem had been that the subject lacked foundations. Hobbes reported that he happened on the foundations when he devised the following sequence of reasoning: Justice is giving every person what is owed to him. Ownership arises from the consent of people. It cannot arise from nature, in which all things are held in common. Rather, the natural condition motivates the institution of ownership. The only way to forestall the fighting that results from things being held in common is for everyone to agree to divide the objects. This consensual division of objects is ownership. In short, Hobbes arrived at two maxims of human nature: People want to take for themselves things that other people also have an interest in; and people do not want to die a violent death.

(A. P. Martinich, Hobbes: A Biography [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999], 179)