The Difficulties of Hobbes Interpretation

Political Theory 36 (6):827-855 (2008)
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Idiosyncrasies of Hobbes's composition process, together with a paucity of reliable autobiographical materials and the norms of seventeenth-century manuscript production, render interpretation of his political theory particularly difficult and contentious. These difficulties are surveyed here under three headings: the process of "serial" composition, which was common in the period; the relationship between Hobbes's three political-theory texts-- the "Elements of Law, De Cive ", and "Leviathan", which is basic to defining the textual embodiment of his theory, and controversial; and his method of writing. I argue that Hobbes's composition process undercut his intention to produce a deductive, logical theory of politics and opened the door to inconsistency and muddle in his arguments.



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Citations of this work

Hobbes contra Liberty of Conscience.Johan Tralau - 2011 - Political Theory 39 (1):58-84.
The Paradoxical Hobbes.Patricia Springborg - 2009 - Political Theory 37 (5):676-688.
Hobbes, civil law, liberty and the Elements of Law.Patricia Springborg - 2016 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 19 (1):47-67.
A Very British Hobbes, or A More European Hobbes?Patricia Springborg - 2014 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 22 (2):368-386.

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References found in this work

Hobbes on Law, Nature, and Reason.Kinch Hoekstra - 2003 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 41 (1):111-120.
The Burdensome Freedom of Sovereigns.Tom Sorell - 2004 - In Tom Sorell & Luc Foisneau (eds.), Leviathan after 350 years. New York: Oxford University Press.
Ii *—the end of philosophy.Kinch Hoekstra - 2006 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (Paperback) 106 (1):23-60.
Ii*-the end of philosophy.Kinch Hoekstra - 2006 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 106 (1):23-60.

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