This volume explores, from a variety of perspectives, the political theory of the man who is arguably the greatest English political thinker. It is the first substantial collection of new, critical essays on Thomas Hobbes by leading scholars in over a decade.
Hobbes’s writings stirred debate in his own lifetime, for two centuries thereafter, and continue to do so in ours. They emerged in a period of intense political turmoil—a time of civil war and regicide, of puritanical rule and royal restoration. “They were motivated,” Dietz argues, “by concrete political problems and a practical concern, namely, to secure political order, absolute sovereignty, and civil peace.” The contributors emphasize and answer a series of expressly political questions that, to date, have not been fully addressed in the Hobbes literature. They contend that Hobbes’s writings are not mere static artifacts of a particular historical milieu, but rather rich sources of a variety of interpretations and criticisms that spur discussion and debate in their turn.
Mary G. Dietz is John Evans Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University. She is the author of Turning Operations: Feminism, Arendt, and Politics and Between the Human and the Divine: The Political Thought of Simone Weil.
"Contributors seem to be engaging in an extended dialogue. . . . One can detect in the pages of this debate the outline of a more historically credible, and more theoretically challenging, figure four centuries after his birth."—Canadian Journal of Political Science
"This book should quickly join the works of Brown, Macpherson, Oakeshott, Plamenatz, Skinner, and Warrender as a standard resource in Hobbes studies."—Choice
"This is a fine collection of critical essays that provide illuminating and novel interpretations of Hobbes. . . . It is a timely and very stimulating book . . . that will be useful to political scientists, historians, and philosophers."—Jeffrey Isaac, author of The Power of Marxist Theory: A Realist View
"Well written and clearly argued. . . . First-rate scholarship throughout."—Thomas A. Spragens, author of The Irony of Liberal Reason
1. Introduction, Mary G. Dietz
2. Hobbes and the Culture of Despotism, Sheldon S. Wolin
3. Plato, Hobbes, and the Science of Practical Reasoning, David Johnston
4. Intending (Political) Obligation: Hobbes and the Voluntary Basis of Society, Gordon J. Schochet
5. Hobbes’s Political Sensibility: The Menace of Political Ambition, Deborah Baumgold
6. Hobbes’s Subject as Citizen, Mary G. Dietz
7. Political Psychology in Hobbes’s Behemoth, Stephen Holmes
8. Hobbes and Locke on Toleration, Richard Tuck
9. Atomes of Scripture: Hobbes and the Politics of Biblical Interpretation, James Farr
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