Thomas Hobbes and the Natural Law Tradition

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University of Chicago Press, Mar 15, 1993 - Biography & Autobiography - 228 pages
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Pre-eminent among European political philosophers, Norberto Bobbio has throughout his career turned to the political theory of Thomas Hobbes. Gathered here for the first time are the most important of his essays which together provide both a valuable introduction to Hobbes's thought and a fresh understanding of Hobbes's place in the theory of modern politics.

Tracing Hobbes's work through De Cive and Leviathan, Bobbio identifies the philosopher's relation to the tradition of natural law. That Hobbes must now be understood in both this tradition as well as in the seemingly contradictory positivist tradition becomes clear for the first time in Bobbio's account. Bobbio also demonstrates that Hobbes cannot be easily labelled "liberal" or "totalitarian"; in Bobbio's provocative analysis of Hobbes's justification of the state, Hobbes emerges as a true conservative.

Though his primary concern is to reconstruct the inner logic of Hobbes's thought, Bobbio is also attentive to the philosopher's biography and weaves into his analysis details of Hobbes's life and world—his exile in France, his relation with the Mersenne circle, his disputes with Anglican bishops, and accusations of heresy leveled against him. The result is a revealing, thoroughly new portrait of the first theorist of the modern state.

 

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Contents

The Conceptual Model of Natural Law Theory
1
2 Variations on the Theme
3
3 The Alternative Model
5
4 Elements of the Alternative Model
8
5 The Conceptual Model of Natural Law Theory and Bourgeois Society
10
6 The Family and the State of Nature
13
7 The Family in the Conceptual Model of Natural Law Theory
15
8 The Bourgeois Family
18
9 Sovereignty Is Irrevocable
49
10 Sovereignty Is Absolute
53
11 Civil Laws
56
12 Sovereignty Is Indivisible
60
13 Church and State
63
14 Hobbes and His Critics
66
15 Hobbes Interpreted
69
Introduction to De Cive
74

9 A Proof to the Contrary
20
10 The End of the Model
23
Hobbess Political Theory
26
2 The Leading Idea
29
3 The Method
32
4 Artificial Man
35
5 The State of Nature
38
6 The War of All Against All
41
7 The Dictates of Right Reason
44
8 The Covenant of Union
46
Introduction to A Dialogue between a Philosopher and a Student of the Common Law of England
107
Natural Law and Civil Law in the Political Philosophy of Hobbes
114
Hobbes and Natural Law Theory
149
Hobbes and Partial Societies
172
By Way of Conclusion
197
Appendix
201
A Brief History of Hobbesian Historiography
205
Three Books on Hobbes
212
Index
221
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