This online colloquium has been established to discuss Sandra Leonie Field’s recent book, Potentia: Hobbes and Spinoza on Power and Popular Politics. We began with an introduction to the text, followed by responses from Alissa MacMillan, Christopher Holman and Justin Steinberg. We conclude this week with a reply by Sandra Leonie Field. Many thanks to Oxford University Press for supporting this colloquium.
It is a great honour to have my book featured by the European Hobbes Society, and to have Alissa MacMillan, Chris Holman, and Justin Steinberg give such detailed attention to the book’s ideas and arguments.
Potentia aspires to make contributions both to studies of Hobbes and Spinoza, and to democratic theory. I hope to have achieved philosophical and philological rigour in my readings of Hobbes’s and Spinoza’s texts. At the same time, my purpose in those readings is to locate ideas which might help reorient us with respect to contemporary systematic questions of political philosophy. I thank my critics for pressing on both of these fronts. I’ll respond to four areas of concern that they raise: (i) Hobbes on power; (ii) Hobbes on democracy; (iii) the Hobbes/Spinoza relation; and (iv) the larger lessons for democratic theory.
i. Hobbes on Power
My interpretation of Hobbes centres on identifying a shift in his conception of human power, both individual and collective, between his early and late political texts. I draw significant political consequences from this shift. I would like to thank MacMillan for her efforts to reconstitute and situate this shift in terms of debates regarding the Hobbesian individual. Her presentation conveys some of the excitement that I myself felt in carrying out this research, excitement which I feared may have been lost in all the finer scholarly details of the chapters. Equally, however, I would like to thank Steinberg for asking whether I have overstated the shift’s political consequences. In particular, Steinberg expresses skepticism that the changing conception of power explains (a) why Hobbes abandons De Cive’s ‘sleeping sovereign’ in Leviathan, or (b) why in his early works Hobbes underestimates the threat of informal collectivities to sovereign power. I’ll address these two challenges in turn.
Steinberg reconstitutes my argument against the sleeping sovereign as follows. The sleeping sovereign does not actively exercise its power most of the time. But the later text Leviathan conceives power (potentia) as efficacy. An inactive power is ineffective, and as such, it is no power at all. So, the sleeping sovereign lacks power and is not viable as a sovereign.
To this argument, Steinberg objects that nothing about efficacy requires continual action. Even once we clear out any residual scholastic commitment to inner essential tendencies, there must be a way of talking about everyday tendencies or dispositions or inactive powers. For instance, surely we can say that a driver has the power to brake even when they don’t exercise that power. Just like the driver ready to brake, surely a sleeping sovereign could be ready to issue directives. Inactivity does not mean lack of power.
In response, I grant that it is possible for Hobbes, in his later non-scholastic conception of power, to speak of dispositions and inactive powers. But under what conditions? For Hobbes, everything has its determinate causes, and possibility relates only to our epistemic limitations. Thus, to say that something is possible is just to say that, for all we know, it may happen in the future. Correspondingly, we can attribute powers (potentiae) or dispositions only to the extent that we anticipate likely future efficacy, as for instance in the case of the car driver’s power to brake (52–53).
Nonetheless, I would suggest that this very standard of likely future efficacy raises problems for the putative power (potentia) of a sleeping sovereign that it does not raise for the driver’s power to brake. Recall what is at stake: a government covers quotidian administration and governance, but from time to time the sleeping sovereign wakes, holding the government to account or redirecting its work through a vote. The sleeping sovereign, qua sovereign (summa potestas), holds the entitlement to everyone’s obedience. Imagine the sovereign makes a ruling which is not to the pleasure of the government. How can it be confident of achieving the concrete obedience of the populace? Hobbes’s answer in his early texts is simple: the sovereign is entitled to obedience, and the sovereign will get that obedience, because it holds the sword. But what is this ‘sword’, how is it constituted? Let us consider this power, not as a matter of entitlement, but as a question of concrete efficacy. It is composed out of the actions of individuals in society, which in turn are shaped by the everyday incentives and pressures that they face within ongoing relationships. And here lies the problem: subjects’ everyday actions follow patterns of obedience to the government. If some portion of the government and/or the populace choose not to comply with the sovereign, they have the ready network of collective power to do so. We end up with divided allegiance and risk of war, and a serious question mark over the likely future efficacy (and hence power) of the sovereign. Under an alternative scenario, the sleeping sovereign, aware of this risk, might take a strategy of appeasement: taking care not to ask controversial questions or allow controversial responses. On this scenario, a sleeping sovereign may avert the risk of civil war, but the scenario is hardly more encouraging for the idea that the sleeping sovereign is the true seat of power (95–98).
Let me turn now to the second respect in which Steinberg is skeptical about the political impact of Hobbes’s changing philosophical conception of power: concerning the political salience of informal groupings. Steinberg reconstitutes my argument as follows. On Hobbes’s early view, power potentia is conceived in a scholastic manner as grounded in essences, and only genuine individuals–not mere aggregates–can bear essences. This means that informal groupings, lacking potestas and formal structure, cannot bear essences or have power. This in turn leads Hobbes to underestimate their capacity to destabilize the sovereign.
To this argument, Steinberg objects that Hobbes is in fact critical of essences. For instance, Hobbes’s early discussion of human nature as a sum of various powers amounts to an antischolastic and antiessentialising reduction of the concept of human nature. So, even for early Hobbes, ‘we don’t need a theory of essences and their bearers in order to determine what sorts of things have powers’.
In response, I concede that Hobbes is attempting an antischolastic polemic on multiple conceptual fronts, right from his early works. But my point is that, regardless of the vigour with which Hobbes may depart from scholasticism in many respects, there are conceptual features remaining in his early view of powers which are illuminatingly viewed as scholastic legacies. For Hobbes in his early works, collective power (potestas) is conceived of as the sum of the powers (potentiae) of the individual members of the collective, the full use of which the collective is entitled by (actual or rationally imputed) contract; the power potentia of the collective is equated to its potestas. Correspondingly, in these early works, Hobbes vigorously refuses to attribute to informal collectivities any power (certainly not potestas, but also not potentia) of their own (57–73). To me, this seems to show, contra Steinberg, that Hobbes does in fact ‘rely on a theory of essences and their bearers in order to determine what sorts of things have power.’ It is this reliance that (I argue) contributes to Hobbes’s early blind spot about the threat of informal collectivities. To be sure, Hobbes is aware and concerned about the threat of insurrection throughout his entire oeuvre. But it is striking to me that Hobbes, in his early works, attempts to conceive seditious groupings as illicit formal collectivities, leading (I argue) to a straitened and inadequate grasp of the dynamics of popular unrest (73–77, 100–104).
ii. Hobbes on Democracy
Following its analysis of Hobbesian concepts of power, Potentia articulates a certain understanding of Hobbesian democracy. As already discussed above, I think that the ‘sleeping sovereign’ model of democracy is deeply flawed, and that it is Hobbes’s own recognition of these flaws that leads him to abandon the model in his later writings. In its place, I offer my model of ‘repressive egalitarianism’, which draws both on my own conceptual and exegetical analyses of power in Hobbes’s later writings, and also on more historically informed studies of Collins and Zagorin. According to this model, the key to democratic sovereignty is maximal suppression of sub-state power blocs, such that individuals are rendered equal in power to one another, and unable to band together to disrupt the sovereign democratic decision (127–139). To be clear, in my discussions of repressive egalitarianism, it is not my purpose to defend repressive egalitarianism as an optimal model of popular power, but merely to defend the exegetical claim that it is Hobbes’s model. In the arc of the book’s argument, the value in Hobbesian repressive egalitarianism is its withering intolerance towards the oligarchic informal forces in the social body which so often masquerade as bearers of popular power. For now, I’ll consider three objections to my interpretation of Hobbes on democracy, two from Holman and one from MacMillan.
Holman’s first objection is that repressive egalitarianism is far from the most interesting or salient model of democracy that we might glean from Hobbes’s texts. My model of repressive egalitarianism appears implicitly committed to electoral democracy. But in Holman’s view, Hobbes’s model of democracy is neither plebiscitary (as per Tuck), nor electoral/representative, but direct participatory democracy. Holman constructs this Rousseauvian reading of Hobbes by drawing on De Cive’s definition of democracy as an assembly of all citizens. On Holman’s reading, this democracy requires ‘concrete institutional spaces’ for shared deliberation that are ‘universally accessible and must meet at determinate–as opposed to merely occasional–times and places’. In this light, my book should be faulted for missing what is both the true Hobbesian model of democracy, and also a more useful model for us today, instead wilfully promoting a less meaningfully democratic model.
For now, my response will focus on Holman’s claims regarding Hobbes’s texts, leaving the contemporary application to be considered in my following section. I confess I am skeptical regarding the Hobbesian credentials of Holman’s model. Within De Cive, a democratic assembly, an assembly of all citizens, is an assembly in which ‘everyone has a right’ to vote and participate in debates. But there is no indication that he views a small (relative to population) assembly like a parliament as being in principle disqualified from meeting this requirement. Indeed, as sovereignty is vested in a single assembly, actual participation must be limited to a small number by logistical necessity. Certainly, as Holman points out, Hobbes argues that England of the Rump Parliament was an oligarchy and not a democracy. But what makes this the case is not (contra Holman) the general fact that parliaments are relatively small and inaccessible bodies, but the much more specific fact that this parliament had permanently and formally excluded some people on the basis of their political views (in the course of the 1648–9 transition between Long and Rump Parliaments).
If I am right, De Cive offers a model of democracy which is content with only very limited actual participation. Holman and Tuck both, in different ways, try to resist this conclusion, and Holman’s proposal strikes me as just as creative as Tuck’s. Tuck’s plebiscitary democratic sovereignty achieves universality by dropping the requirement for holding an actual assembly. Holman’s alternative envisages multiple deliberative assemblies jointly covering the entire commonwealth. But in its creativity, Holman’s proposal seems to me to stray further away from anything Hobbes could endorse: for what better way to commit the cardinal Hobbesian sin of inviting conflict through ambiguity of authority than by sanctioning multiple mutually insubordinate regional assemblies.
In my account of Hobbes’s late models of political order, repressive egalitarianism is a general feature of all forms of sovereignty. Whether democracy, aristocracy, or monarchy, the important thing is that there should be as little as possible by way of counter-powers which could challenge sovereign commands. Rather, the commonwealth should aggregate isolated individuals who have little choice but compliance with sovereign command. But repressive egalitarianism would take a particular manifestation in democratic orders. One key risk to be addressed is that democratic assemblies themselves might be sites for the formation of informal oligarchic power blocs and oligarchic allegiance. I argue that Hobbes’s analysis of counsel shows a simultaneous commitment to widespread consultation across the whole population along with a strong hostility to collective deliberation within political assembly (especially democratic assembly) (124–127).
Holman’s second objection is that I have underplayed Hobbes’s account of the possibilities of non-antagonistic sociality, found for instance in Leviathan Chapter 22’s discussion of collective activities. In response, I grant that my presentation has focussed more heavily on informal oligarchic power blocs, such as may accumulate around rich or charismatic figures. These are not antagonistic–their complex structure eludes any simple binary of horizontal mutual association versus vertical domination–but nor are they very appealing. I focus on these because they are (I argue) both underrecognized in the literature, and of great systematic importance in understanding Hobbes’s later political philosophy.
Despite this focus, I do not mean to deny that Hobbes grants there can also be more productive and collaborative sociality. But to me, the key questions are, what are the concrete conditions under which such sociality arises and is sustained? and what is its relation to politics? Answering these questions reveals that in Hobbes’s philosophy, the human possibility of productive sociality can neither serve as a model nor as a foundation for democratic politics. In Leviathan’s Chapter 22, on ‘systemes’, Holman’s exemplars of sociable association occur within, and presuppose, the security provided by sovereign rule. As such, they cannot serve as a model for that rule. Furthermore, I don’t see in Hobbes any trace of the idea that these associations could, even when internally sociable, play a useful role in shaping or constraining sovereign power. (That idea, which I endorse, I associate with Spinoza, not Hobbes (260–261).) To the contrary, on my reading, all associations constitute threats to sovereign rule, because they constitute points of incipient resistance to that rule. In laying out idea of ‘repressive egalitarianism’, my point is to trace as best I can Hobbes’s own late account of the conditions of possibility of overcoming the political problem, which is to constitute a unified commonwealth without internal power blocs. As it is impossible to eliminate internal power blocs entirely, I read Chapter 22 as an attempt to taxonomize and triage the threat posed by those groupings that remain.
Now I turn to MacMillan, who objects that I soft-pedal the educational dimension of both Hobbes’s and Spinoza’s political philosophies. MacMillan suggests that repressive egalitarianism is achieved through rational education, and not through any ‘strange and impossible engineering of individuals’. Drawing on Pettit’s work, she suggests that subjects can come to internalize and act upon their duty in good part through achieving a true understanding of the grounds of politics, and not merely through indoctrination.
In response, the book does attempt a discussion of Hobbes’s views on education. But perhaps this is unsatisfying to MacMillan, because the upshot of that discussion is a fairly deep ambivalence regarding the promise of education to solve the political problem. In Hobbes’s early works, I argue that neither education nor indoctrination are particularly important. For he is confident peace can be secured simply by establishing the appropriate juridical regime of rights, with subjects’ compliance achieved by the threat of the sovereign’s sword, not by their understanding (73–77, 108–112). In the later works, Hobbes is more attentive to the insufficiency of the threat of punishment to shape behaviour, leading to a much greater interest in persuading and teaching people how they ought to behave (98–106, 112–118). But on my interpretation, the real underlying problem is that subjects can have hope of success in resisting sovereign commands, if they ally themselves with informal oligarchic power blocs beneath the sovereign. Hobbesian repressive egalitarianism seeks to break up or constrain potential counterpowers in the social body. For Hobbes, intellectual strategies of education or indoctrination, while not without some value, cannot succeed unless they are paired with this more structural approach to political stability (140–141).
iii. The Hobbes/Spinoza Relation
One ambition of the book is to reconfigure our understanding of the relation between the political philosophies of Hobbes and Spinoza, which I think has been greatly muddied by the absence of a clear account of their various conceptions of power. Potentia claims to establish a reading which shows their political philosophies have more in common than usually recognized. In particular, I draw out the similarities between (late) Hobbesian potentia and Spinoza’s potentia operandi, and their shared focus on the concrete conditions the durability of the state.
Steinberg raises the concern that I have overdrawn the similarities between the two thinkers, and unduly minimized breaks of real significance between them. Specifically, even if we grant the similarity between late Hobbes’s potentia and Spinoza’s potentia operandi, they ‘each have an additional conception of power that the other would have rejected (or did reject)’. First, Spinoza rejects appeals to de jure authority and obligation, whereas such concepts are the foundation of Hobbesian philosophy. Second, Hobbes offers no counterpart to the Spinozist potentia agendi, power of producing effects understood through the thing’s own nature alone.
In response, I very much like Steinberg’s neat characterization of what I concede is a deep difference between the thinkers. Nonetheless, I wonder whether that deep difference needs somehow to be accommodated more in the book than it already is, given the book’s goals.
The observation that Hobbes has a strongly juridical conception of power, and that Spinoza critiques Hobbes for this conception, is central to the book. A major challenge for the book is to determine what this difference amounts to. The view that a Spinozist attention to the question of potentia as efficacy is sufficient to undermine Hobbes’s supposedly hard-headed civil science is a staple of the literature. According to this view (encouraged by Spinoza’s own Letter 50 and by Chapter 17 of his Theological-Political Treatise), Hobbes’s juridical focus on questions of right and authority comes at the expense of any serious consideration of the concrete grounds of exercise of this right. But in fact (still according to this view), Hobbesian absolute sovereignty cannot achieve requisite potentia to match its authority. Thus Hobbes’s political philosophy is a failure (151–156).
The first half of the book strives to show that this view is false. I show that Hobbes in his later works very clearly does have an account of the potentia requisite to sovereign potestas. In particular, adequate potentia can be achieved in the regime, so ambivalent to contemporary sensibilities, that I have characterized as ‘repressive egalitarian’. In reconstructing the late Hobbesian theory of potentia, and giving it such relative prominence in the book, I am fighting against a tide of literature which (from the Hobbes side) pays too little attention to Hobbes’s nonjuridical analysis of power, and which (correspondingly, from the Spinoza side) critiques Hobbes for his neglect of such an analysis.
Thus, despite the book’s focus on Hobbes’s potentia, in no way do I mean thereby to deny the obvious fact that that Hobbes is overwhelmingly, from start to finish, a juridical thinker of power, focussed on questions of right and potestas. At the same time, I confess I am rather more interested in Hobbes’s concrete theory of power than in his juridical theory. I agree with Hoekstra’s suggestion that juridically conceived absolute sovereignty ultimately ‘becomes a kind of hidden God, largely irrelevant to our ongoing thinking about politics’. And if the goal is obtaining a solid grasp of concrete political power and its possible configurations, Spinoza’s own picture is sometimes naive and simplistic (notably the Theological-Political Treatise’s discussions of democracy, Chapters 5 and 16). On this point, our understanding is richly enhanced by Hobbes’s theory of potentia.
I turn now to consider Spinoza’s potentia agendi. In his own work, Steinberg convincingly shows that the Spinozist goal of politics is freedom in a metaphysical sense, that is, the increasing rational self-determination of citizens, understood in terms of an increase of their individual potentiae agendi. By contrast, Hobbes is remarkable amongst philosophers for his total lack of interest in specifying ethical virtues, or indeed in any ethical conception of happiness beyond political salience, and also for his vehemently antimetaphysical disinterest in question of natures.
I already do recognize Spinoza’s potentia agendi has some role in core political theses of the book which would not have been possible from Hobbes alone. I already grant that the model of popular power that I end up championing is neo-Spinozist insofar as it is interested in specifying a political order’s own power (its potentia agendi), and not merely its efficacy (237–238). I also criticize Hobbes for his failure to consider that the seditious character of sub-state groups may be a product of certain conditions rather than a constant of human nature, and this failure on Hobbes’s part is conceivably linked to his general lack of interest in philosophically investigating human nature (260–261). What more exactly, salient to the goals of the book, should I have acknowledged?
iv. Larger Lessons for Democratic Theory
In this final section of reply, I address some concerns raised regarding Potentia’s contributions to contemporary democratic theory. Holman and MacMillan both defend the honour of democratic radicalism and of grassroots power, which they suggest is insufficiently respected in my book.
The question, ‘what does popular power even mean?’, can be met with two quite different kinds of answer. One kind of answer analyzes the conceptual structure of popular power. A different kind of answer specifies the implementation of power so conceived. Potentia is primarily concerned to defend an answer of the first, conceptual, type. I propose to reconceive popular power, such that a political phenomenon counts as a manifestation of popular power when it is popular (it eliminates oligarchy and encompasses the whole polity) and powerful (it robustly determines political and social outcomes). Let me draw out two notable features of this conception. First, popular power is judged at the level of the overall functioning of society, rather than at the level of specific events, processes, or institutions. Second, popular power is judged at the level of durably achieved effects, not at the level of will or intention. If we want popular power worthy of the name, this is what I take it to consist in. If this conceptual move is granted, then the second type of question does become pressing: what specific political phenomena, events, and processes might tend to be found in a society meeting this standard of popular power? However, Potentia does not offer a fully formed answer to this second question, instead just offering some schematic suggestions (252–262).
Thus, it is a misconception that Potentia is importantly opposed to various democratic phenomena of a more radical flavour (plebiscites, social movements, or even participatory democracy); it is a misconception that I think it is a mistake for social movements, mass plebiscites, or other mass participation to be central to popular politics. The conceptual frame that I advance simply denies that any particular phenomenon, including plebiscites or social movements, is the definitive bearer or gauge of popular power. In principle, I am quite open about whether in fact a society of popular power will feature extensive plebiscites and/or social movements.
In fact, I am sympathetic to the idea that some significant presence of social movements would be required for meaningful popular power to be achieved (258–262). As Machiavelli argues, peaceful republics tend to be aristocratic (like Venice); to achieve a less hierarchical polity, contentious politics is necessary (like the tumults of the Roman plebs). It is true that I am more skeptical about plebiscites: historical examples both from my native Australia and from my current residence of Singapore show how readily plebiscites can be engineered to serve purposes of authorities who establish them; in other cases, the results of the vote have been captured by the deep pockets of partisan advertising (137, n61–62). At the same time, sometimes plebiscites have been established in more meaningful ways. One of the better examples is the Irish Abortion Referendum. The Irish Citizen’s Assembly looms large in the book because of its role in setting up that referendum, not because some such assembly is necessarily the keystone of popular power (256).
So, with these general comments in place, let me turn to my critics. MacMillan accepts my critique of any radical democratic appeal to a popular power standing outside the processes of social formation. But in her critical comments, she suggests that I go too far in the institutional direction. In the web of mutual causation between institutions and the individuals who interact with them, if it’s a choice where to locate popular power, MacMillan interprets my book as identifying popular power on the side of the institutions. On her reading, I grant that social movements have a causal impact on the institutions of popular power, but deny that these movements are themselves part of popular power. MacMillan proposes that we should resist this such a stark choice, and instead we should view popular power as a ‘symbiosis’ between grassroots action and institutions.
In response, the view I want to defend is in fact aligned rather closely with MacMillan’s. Perhaps I introduced confusion by a carelessly equivocal use of the notion of ‘institutional’. Sometimes the term contrasts with ‘extrainstitutional’ forces such as social movements and informal collective actions, but other times ‘institutional’ is understood more expansively, to include the full array of social practices and processes which together constitute the polity. On my view, popular power should be identified at the second, broader, level, and this sounds very much like MacMillan’s ‘symbiosis’.
Now I turn to Holman’s comments on the book’s contemporary claims. Holman agrees that it is not worth defending a radical democracy founded (as per Tuck and Negri) on the unmediated will of the people. But in Holman’s view, I am too quick to offer parliamentary democracy as an alternative. Instead, Holman defends another radical tradition, for which the core commitment is a critique of the elitism of representative democracy.
In response, I am happy to acknowledge the countless perversities of representative democracy, not merely its aristocratic/oligarchic tendencies, but also its systematic distortion by electoral objectives (254–258). At the same time, I wonder whether there remains a role for representative systems, to help balance out some potential hidden exclusions and difficulties that face strong interpretations of direct participatory democracy. For instance, the extreme time-poverty of carers constitutes an obstacle to their participation in formally open participatory assemblies. For another example, a privilege to the autonomy of local participatory assembles can provide cover for antidistributive policies between rich and poor regions.
Again, most important to Potentia is the conceptual criterion of popular power. My point is not to be either for or against particular practices or institutions, such as electoral versus participatory democracy. What needs to be identified is the combination of elements which best achieves a society of equality and participation over time. In my own sketch, I imagine many factors interacting with and counteracting electoral politics: a mix of participatory fora, lottocracy, social movements, as well as expert bodies. But if an overall political order which eliminates electoral representation and replaces it with extensive participatory democracy in fact meets the standards of popular power that I have described, I am happy to endorse it.
However, I recognize that my conceptual claim is controversial. In particular, I suspect that Holman may not grant it. Holman’s own discussion of democracy, both in this review and in his other work, appears to identify popular power with a specific political location–namely, a network of participatory deliberative fora–and not at the level of overall social effects. This feature of Holman’s scholarship helps to make vivid the hard choice that lies at the foundation of Potentia’s engagement with democratic theory. The book starts by facing up to the disappointments that afflict all particular institutions and sites of democracy–not merely electoral democracy but equally plebiscites and mass movements, and also even participatory democracy. From time to time, in greater or lesser degree, these institutions and sites all find themselves going wrong. They may be captured by moneyed interests, eroded by zerosum conflict, confidently tyrannizing their internal minorities, wracked by an inability translate ideas into durable outcomes. In light of these disappointments, what should we think of popular power and democracy? Holman’s response is that popular power is highly ambivalent and can be self-destructive: that’s just the tragedy of democracy. The response of my book is different. Rather than hold onto a tragic vision of democracy, and correspondingly oscillate between hope and despair about its value, instead Potentia proposes the very meaning of popular power needs to be rethought. On this new conceptualization, a self-destructive, oligarchic, or otherwise failing democracy is not a case of misused popular power. Rather, it is a case where popular power worthy of the name has not yet been achieved.
Sandra Leonie Field (Yale-NUS College)
 This research was supported by Yale-NUS College (through grant number IG17-SR101).
 I also owe broader thanks to Steinberg. Steinberg’s own writings on Spinoza have been very important in my research. But on reflection, I realise that my book gives quite an unfair characterization of his views. I look forward to setting the record straight at some point in the future.
 All in-text references are to Field, Potentia.
 Thomas Hobbes, On the Citizen, edited and translated by Richard Tuck and Michael Silverthorne (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 7.1.
 Thomas Hobbes, Behemoth, or the Long Parliament, edited by Paul Seaward (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2010), reading 319 in light of 317.
 Kinch Hoekstra, ‘Early Modern Absolutism and Constitutionalism’, Cardozo Law Review, 34 (3), 2013: 1097.
 I think that sometimes comparisons of the two authors can be too quick in appealing to Spinoza’s potentia agendi to illuminate his differences from Hobbes. For instance, I am skeptical how much difference there is between Hobbes and Spinoza on the appropriate balance of hope and fear in their respective best regimes.
 Sandra Leonie Field, ‘Contentious politics: Hobbes, Machiavelli, and corporate power’, Democracy Futures series, The Conversation, 20 November 2015.