Composition of Hobbess Elements of Law, The

History of Political Thought 25 (1):16-43 (2004)
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Hobbes claimed to have written the The Elements of Law during the Short Parliament of the spring of 1640. However, it seems unlikely that such a lengthy, systematic treatise could have been composed in so short a time. This article closely examines the text to make the case that the bulk of it was written prior to the 1640 political crisis. What was probably written that spring were chapters defending absolutism. Their hurried composition accounts in particular for the odd assertion that democracy is foundational to all forms of government. The puzzle surrounding the composition of the Elements opens up general issues concerning Hobbes's method of writing. His habit of slotting new material into pre-existing frameworks generated inconsistencies and frustrated his ambitions for rigour. Readers need to be alert to the possibility that textual puzzles may be artifacts of Hobbes's composition process



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Hobbes, civil law, liberty and the Elements of Law.Patricia Springborg - 2016 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 19 (1):47-67.
Pyrrhonism in the Political Philosophy of Thomas Hobbes.James J. Hamilton - 2012 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (2):217-247.

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