Normatively demanding creatures: Hobbes, the fall and individual responsibility

Res Publica 6 (3):301-319 (2000)
This paper explores an internal relation between wrong-doing and the ability to think in moral terms, through Hobbes’ thought. I use his neglected retelling of our ‘original sin’ as a springboard, seeing how we then discover a need to vindicate our own projects in terms shared by others. We become normatively demanding creatures: greedy for normative vindication, eager to judge others amid the difficulties of our world. However there is, of course, no choice for us but to choose our own principles of judgment, or at least some authority to provide these. Unconvinced by Hobbes’ remedies, I conclude with one implication for moral philosophy@ a need to look rather differently at agency and responsibility.
Keywords agency  Hobbes  moral conflict  responsibility
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DOI 10.1023/A:1009697122784
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