Patrick Riley traces the forgotten roots of Rousseau's concept to seventeenth-century questions about the justice of God. If He wills that all men be saved, does He have a general will that produces universal salvation? And, if He does not, why does He will particularly" that some men be damned? The theological origin of the "general will" was important to Rousseau himself. He uses the language of divinity bequeathed to him by Pascal, Malebranche, Fenelon, and others to dignify, to elevate, (...) and to "save" politics. Originally published in 1986. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905. (shrink)
In the middle section of Theory and Practice, Kant speaks briefly `against Hobbes '; but for a fuller version of Kant's anti-Hobbesianism one must turn to the three Critiques, the Groundwork, and Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone. It is in those works that one learns that, for Kant, Hobbes 's notion of `will' as fully determined `last appetite' destroys the freedom needed to take `ought' or moral necessity as the motives for self-determined action; that Hobbes ' s version (...) of the social contract is thus incoherent; that Hobbes is not even able to show how moral ideas are conceivable through the `pressure' of `outward objects'. For Kant, in short, Hobbes has no adequate notions of will, freedom, moral necessity, ideation, or even obligatory contract, and therefore fails in his own stated aims. Key Words: Hobbes • Kant • politics • reason • teleology • will. (shrink)
Given Leibniz’ admiration for Bayle’s Dictionnaire historique et critique, which he called “le plus beau des dictionnaires” in the Nouveaux essais, and given that Bayle’s skeptical worries provided the occasion for the writing of the Theodicée, it is appropriate to consider in the The Leibniz Review the first English-language version of those articles from Bayle’s Dictionnaire which are most important for political and moral philosophy. For it is a superb version, edited by the most knowledgeable Bayle-scholar in the Anglophone world; (...) it will justly shape early-Englightenment studies in coming decades. (shrink)
To mark the 300th anniversary of the composition of Leibniz’ most important mature writing on justice, the Méditation sur la notion commune de la justice, I published an interpretation of this work in The Leibniz Review. But Dr. Andreas Blank, dissatisfied with my Platonizing “reading” of the Méditation, published his own commentary in the same Review —treating not just my 2003 article but also my Leibniz’ Universal Jurisprudence: Justice as the Charity of the Wise and several smaller writings from the (...) period 1972-2002. Since Andreas Blank is a good Leibniz-scholar who deserves a reply, I want to attempt an answer; and to avoid any possible misrepresentation, I want to quote the beginning of his article, word-for-word. (shrink)
The latest volume of Political Writings in the great Berlin-Brandenburg Academy Edition of Leibniz’ Sämtliche Schriften und Briefe reveals once again the astonishing range of Leibniz’ contributions to the political-moral-legal sphere: more than 900 pages document Leibniz’ reflections on augmenting public well-being through new academies of science, on the policies of the Imperial court in Vienna, on the improvement of Imperial finances and military readiness, on the political history of Sachsen-Lauenburg, on the interests of Hannover-Brunswick, on European politics, on “church (...) politics” and ecumenism, on the overcoming of “schism” through wise charity, on coinage and commemorative medallions, even on pensions and life-insurance.. What holds this far-flung, wide-ranging collection together, however, achieving Leibnizian “unity in multiplicity”—as the learned editor of Vol. 4, Dr. Hartmut Rudolph, makes clear in his illuminating Introduction—is Leibniz’ devotion to “the common good;” for Rudolph is entirely right to say that Leibniz reveals his affection for the bonum commune, “the general best,” in a characteristic letter to Emperor Leopold I from 1688: “My entire purpose now,” Leibniz says, “is to forward the general good [das gemeine Beste] through the few talents which God has given me. And this concern for le bien général is crowned, in the present Volume 4, by Leibniz’ magisterial Memoir for Enlightened Persons of Good Intention—of which we finally have a wholly reliable text, thanks to Dr. Rudolph and his colleagues at the Leibniz Arbeitsstelle in Potsdam. (shrink)
In a few months’ time the Potsdam branch of the Berlin-Brandenburg Akademie der Wissenschaften will bring out the latest volume of Leibniz’s Political Writings, under the able editorship of Hartmut Rudolph. For Leibniz’s moral-political-juridical philosophy, the most important single item in A IV, 5 will be the “Praefatio” to the Codex Iuris Gentium—the work in which Leibniz first published his celebrated notion that justice is “the charity of the wise” or “universal benevolence”, not just Hobbesian sovereign-ordained law backed by fear (...) of sanctions. In the crucial paragraph of the Codex, Leibniz insists that. (shrink)
This rich collection will introduce students of philosophy and politics to the contemporary critical literature on the classical social contract political thinkers Thomas Hobbes , John Locke , and Jean-Jacques Rousseau . A dozen essays and book excerpts have been selected to guide students through the texts and to introduce them to current scholarly controversies surrounding the contractarian political theories of these three thinkers.