First Biennial Conference of the European Hobbes Society

“Of all Discourse, governed by desire of Knowledge, there is at last an End,

either by attaining, or by giving over. And in the chain of Discourse,

wheresoever it be interrupted, there is an End for that time.”

Hobbes, Leviathan, vii.1

 

From 20-22 Sept 2016, 25 scholars, based in 10 different countries, came together in the cosy college town of Leuven, Belgium, for the first biennial conference of the European Hobbes Society. It was a joy to see quite a few new faces amidst many familiar ones. With much judgment and wit, and some fancy, we discussed ten new papers, covering a range of aspects of Hobbes’s thought. The two splendid keynote speeches were delivered by Deborah Baumgold and S.A. Lloyd. While our academic discussions have not quite ended, at the conference, a resolute and final sentence was cast on our constitution, which was judiciously adopted by universal acclaim.

The full program can be found here.

We are very grateful to the magnanimous Fritz Thyssen Stiftung for having made possible this conference. Thanks also goes out to all participants, both for the fine social and intellectual virtues which they have brought to bear on the event, and for helping us relocate the conference to KU Leuven at short notice.

As the title of the conference boldly announced, we aspire to organise a larger conference every two years. We look forward to setting up smaller workshops, panels, and lectures series in the meantime, and we much encourage and support you to do the same. Our dialogue has not concluded, it has merely been interrupted.

Foto 21.09.16, 16 24 43 Foto 21.09.16, 18 09 35 Foto 22.09.16, 11 15 07

EHS Biennial Conference in Leuven, 21 and 22 September 2016

The first EHS biennial conference has been relocated and will now take place on Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 September, at the Institute of Philosophy, KU Leuven, Belgium. It promises to be an exciting event: the programme (here) includes papers by Patricia Springborg, Luc Foisneau, Deborah Baumgold, Peter Schröder, Agostino Lupoli, and S.A. Lloyd.

Attendance at the conference is free but registration is required. Please email Johan Olsthoorn (johan.olsthoorn@kuleuven.be) to register or for any further information.

fthyssenThe organisers are pleased to gratefully acknowledge the generous support of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation for making possible this event.

CFP: International Hobbes Association at the APA Eastern Division

The International Hobbes Association will sponsor two sessions at the American Philosophical Association (APA) Eastern Division Meeting, January 4-7, 2017 in Baltimore, MD. You are invited to submit an abstract for a paper presentation. Papers selected for presentation will also be strongly considered for publication in Hobbes Studies.

Abstracts (400 words maximum) should be submitted electronically to Rosamond Rhodes, Presiding Officer of the IHA (rosamond.rhodes@mssm.edu). Deadline: August 15, 2016.

Your top 10 Leviathan articles?

I was recently asked to recommend my top Hobbes articles for a new edition of Hobbes’s Leviathan, currently being prepared by David Johnston (Columbia) for Norton. This edition will replace the original 1996 one edited by Johnston and the late Richard Flathman.

Here is my list of 10. Any thoughts? What would your top 10 be? (Comments are open!)

 

1. Tom Sorell, ‘The science in Hobbes’s politics’, in Tom Sorell, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Hobbes (CUP, 1996).

2. Kinch Hoekstra, ‘Hobbesian equality’, in Sharon Lloyd, ed., Hobbes Today (CUP, 2013).

3. Quentin Skinner, ‘Leviathan: liberty redefined’, in Hobbes and Republican Liberty (CUP, 2008).

4. Jane Jaquette, ‘Defending liberal feminism: insights from Hobbes’, in Nancy Hirschmann and Joanne Wright, eds., Feminist Interpretations of Thomas Hobbes (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2012).

5. Mónica Brito Vieira, ‘Juridical representation’, in The Elements of Representation in Hobbes (Brill, 2009).

6. Sharon Lloyd, ‘The reciprocity interpretation of Hobbes’s moral philosophy’, in Morality in the Philosophy of Thomas Hobbes (CUP, 2009).

7. A.P. Martinich, ‘Religion’, in Hobbes (Routledge, 2005).

8. Teresa Bejan, ‘Teaching the Leviathan: Thomas Hobbes on education’, Oxford Review of Education 36:5 (2010).

9. Jules Townshend, ‘Hobbes as possessive individualist: interrogating the C. B. Macpherson thesis’, Hobbes Studies 12 (1999).

10. Noel Malcolm, ‘Hobbes’s theory of international relations’, in Aspects of Hobbes (OUP, 2002).

 

Here’s the thinking behind my list:

(1) This is a ‘holistic’ list: one choice affects the others, because (a) I decided that no author could appear more than once, and (b) I sought a relatively wide coverage – so, no room for more than one article on representation, say. Obviously, though, there are significant omissions, e.g. rhetoric, law.

(2) Contributions had to be relatively short, in English, and accessible to advanced undergraduates.

(4) I’ve gone for modern rather than ‘classic’ contributions – which will not be to everyone’s taste, doubtless! So, please do say below what you would prefer, whether for individual topics or as a whole set of 10.

 

 

First Biennial Conference of the European Hobbes Society Postponed

Due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of the local organisers we have had to postpone the first Biennial Conference of the EHS at the University of Graz, Austria. We are currently inquiring into the possiblity of holding the event at another location, around the same time, and will update the website soon with more information. Many appologies for any inconvenience caused. In the meantime, if you have any questions please write to Laurens van Apeldoorn (l.c.j.van.apeldoorn@phil.leidenuniv.nl).

Workshop on Arash Abizadeh’s manuscript

On June 17th, several members of the European Hobbes Society met to discuss a draft of Arash Abizadeh’s important, book-length analysis of Hobbes’s moral philosophy. Abizadeh’s manuscript incisively combines rigorous textual interpretation with powerful philosophical analysis to cast new light on Hobbes’s ethics and meta-ethics. The workshop covered numerous features of the book, from fine details of interpretating Hobbes to broader issues of framing.

We then discussed a draft paper by Signy Gutnick Allen which offers a penetrating analysis of Hobbes’s theory of the right to punish.

Those present, from left to right in the picture above, were Adrian Blau (King’s College London), Elad Carmel (Oxford), Robin Douglass (King’s College London), Deborah Baumgold (Oregon), Arash Abizadeh (McGill), Signy Gutnick Allen (Queen Mary, University of London), and Paul Sagar (Cambridge).

 

Radio 4 discussion of Hobbes and Bodin on sovereignty

Listen to a fascinating BBC Radio 4 discussion of Bodin, Hobbes and others on sovereignty, by Melissa Lane (Princeton), Richard Bourke (QMUL) and Tim Stanton (York). (Click here for the recording.)

Hosted by Melvyn Bragg, the speakers discuss the history of the idea of sovereignty, the authority of a state to govern itself, and the relationship between the sovereign and people. These ideas of external and internal sovereignty were imagined in various ways in ancient Greece and Rome, and given a name in 16th-century France by the philosopher and jurist Jean Bodin in his Six Books of the Commonwealth, where he said (in an early English translation) ‘Maiestie or Soveraigntie is the most high, absolute, and perpetuall power over the citisens and subiects in a Commonweale: which the Latins cal Maiestatem, the Greeks akra exousia, kurion arche, and kurion politeuma; the Italians Segnoria, and the Hebrewes tomech shévet, that is to say, The greatest power to command.’ Shakespeare also explored the concept through Richard II and the king’s two bodies, Hobbes developed it in the 17th century, and the idea of popular sovereignty was tested in the Revolutionary era in America and France.

Hobbes Studies Essay Competition 2016

Hobbes Studies is pleased to invite submissions to the 2016 Hobbes Studies Essay Competition. Submissions should treat the philosophical, political historical, literary, religious, or scientific aspects of the thought of Thomas Hobbes and be no more than 10 000 words. Essays are invited from researchers in any field who are currently enrolled in postgraduate study or completed their PhD no earlier than 30th June 2011. Submissions must be received by 30th June 2016. The judges reserve the right not to make an award.

All submissions should be uploaded to the journal’s Editorial Manager website: http://www.editorialmanager.com/hobs/default.aspx. When submitting your manuscript for consideration, please note in the comments box that you desire to be considered for the 2016 competition (immediately before uploading the files). Submissions must follow Hobbes Studies submission guidelines. For questions, please email the Assistant Editor at hobbestudies@gmail.com. Essays must not have been previously published or simultaneously submitted for consideration elsewhere.

Submissions will be considered for publication in a forthcoming issue of Hobbes Studies. The winning essay will be awarded 350 euros, a year’s subscription to the journal and be published in Hobbes Studies.

Chapter: Martinich’s critique of Leo Strauss on Hobbes

A.P. Martinich: ‘Leo Strauss’s Olympian Intrepretation: Right, Self-Preservation, and Law in the Political Philosophy of Hobbes’, in Winfried Schroeder, ed., Reading Between the Lines – Leo Strauss and the History of Early Modern Philosophy, Berlin/Boston, De Gruyter, 2015, pp. 77-97.

Summary: Martinich challenges Leo Strauss’s reading of Hobbes in his 1936 book The Political Philosophy of Thomas Hobbes. Martinich rejects Strauss’s reading of Hobbesian rights in the state of nature, of Hobbes’s account of human nature, of the nature of reason, of the causes of war, and the basis of law. Martinich concludes that “Strauss’s view is fundamentally mistaken about the foundational concepts of Hobbes’s political philosophy”. Martinich suggests that this may reflect Strauss’s desire to confirm his nascent theory about differences between ancient and modern political philosophy. Implicitly invoking Hobbes’s mountain metaphor from Behemoth, Martinich writes that “[s]eeing philosophical texts from a great height, [Strauss] thought he saw a large pattern; but the pattern required adjusting some details in order to fit and taking little or no account of others.”

Chapter: Reading Hobbes’s De motu against the background of Strauss’ interpretation

Gianni Paganini: ‘Art of Writing or Art of Rewriting? Reading Hobbes’s De motu against the background of Strauss’ interpretation’, in Winfried Schroeder (ed.), Reading Between the Lines – Leo Strauss and the History of Early Modern Philosophy, Berlin/Boston, De Gruyter, 2015, p. 99-128

Abstract: As an opening work for Hobbes’s “first philosophy”, De motu, loco et tempore (Anti-White) occupies a very special position in Hobbes’s corpus. Being obliged to follow his interlocutor, Thomas White on his ground, Hobbes could not escape the big theoretical issues raised by White’s scholastic theology. He could not simplify or shorten the philosophical agenda, as he did later in De Corpore, excluding the field of theology from the competence of philosophy. However, the presence of this work in current Hobbes scholarship is very scant. Since it was written originally in Latin and barely addressed political issues, Anglo-Saxon scholars usually have avoided much engaging with it. Yet De motu was a decisive turning point in Hobbes’s intellectual history, both for the foundation of a new scientific ontology and for the bold attack it launched on the pretensions of philosophical theology.