A prima facie defense of Hobbesian absolutism

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90 (4):419-449 (2009)
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Hobbes advocates 'thin absolutism'; a system of authority that merely ensures respect of the core concepts of sovereignty – hierarchy and normative closure. This new interpretation of Hobbes's absolutism shows that the concerns regarding sovereign tyranny are not fatal to his account of political authority. With thin absolutism, the sovereign is neither necessarily ineffective nor inherently dangerous. This, then, leaves Hobbesian absolutism in the position of being a 'reasonable contender'– a system of political authority that might require our allegiance, but at the very least requires serious attention.



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Shane Courtland
University of Minnesota, Duluth

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