New book: Hobbes on Politics and Religion

Van Apeldoorn, Laurens / Douglass, Robin (2018) (eds.): Hobbes on Politics and Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

This volume marks the culmination of the inaugural research project of the Euroepan Hobbes Society. The majority of chapters in this volume were presented at two workshops in 2015, the first at King’s College London and the Second at Leiden University.

Description: Thomas Hobbes, one of the most important figures in the history of political philosophy, is still widely regarded as a predominantly secular thinker. Yet a great deal of his political thought was motivated by the need to address problems of a distinctively religious nature. This is the first collection of essays dedicated to the complex and rich intersections between Hobbes’s political and religious thought. Written by experts in the field, the volume opens up new directions for thinking about his treatment of religion as a political phenomenon and the political dimensions of his engagement with Christian doctrines and their history. The chapters investigate his strategies for showing how his provocative political positions could be accepted by different religious audiences for whom fidelity to religious texts was of crucial importance, while also considering the legacy of his ideas and examining their relevance for contemporary concerns. Some chapters do so by pursuing mainly historical inquiries about the motives and circumstances of Hobbes’s writings, while others reconstruct the logic of his arguments and test their philosophical coherence. They thus offer wide-ranging and sometimes conflicting assessments of Hobbes’s ideas, yet they all demonstrate how closely intertwined his political and religious preoccupations are and thereby showcase how this perspective can help us to better understand his thought.

Table of contents:

Introduction, Laurens van Apeldoorn and Robin Douglass
1: The Theocratic Leviathan: Hobbes’s Arguments for the Identity of Church and State, Johan Olsthoorn
2: Natural Sovereignty and Omnipotence in Hobbes’s Leviathan, A. P. Martinich
3: First Impressions: Hobbes on Religion, Education, and the Metaphor of Imprinting, Teresa M. Bejan
4: Tolerance as a Dimension of Hobbes’s Absolutism, Franck Lessay
5: Hobbes on the Motives of Martyrs, Alexandra Chadwick
6: Hobbes, Calvinism, and Determinism, Alan Cromartie
7: Mosaic Leviathan: Religion and Rhetoric in Hobbes’s Political Thought, Alison McQueen
8: Devil in the Details: Hobbes’s Use and Abuse of Scripture, Paul B. Davis
9: The Politics of Hobbes’s Historia Ecclesiastica, Patricia Springborg
10: A Profile in Cowardice? Hobbes, Personation, and the Trinity, Glen Newey
11: Hobbes and the Future of Religion, Jon Parkin
12: Hobbes and Early English Deism, Elad Carmel
13: All the Wars of Christendom: Hobbes’s Account of Religious Conflict, Jeffrey Collins
14: Religious Conflict and Moral Consensus: Hobbes, Rawls, and Two Types of Moral Justification, Daniel Eggers
15: Hobbes on the Duty Not to Act on Conscience, S. A. Lloyd

New book: Thomas Hobbes’s Conception of Peace

Maximilian Jaede, Thomas Hobbes’s Conception of PeaceCivil Society and International Order (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)

About this book: This book explores Hobbes’s ideas about the internal pacification of states, the prospect of a peaceful international order, and the connections between civil and international peace. It questions the notion of a negative Hobbesian peace, which is based on the mere suppression of violence, and emphasises his positive vision of everlasting peace in a well-governed commonwealth. The book also highlights Hobbes’s ideas about international coexistence and cooperation, which he considers integral to good government. In examining Hobbes’s conception of peace, it provides a fresh perspective on his international political thought. The findings also have wider implications for the ways in which we think about Hobbes’s relationship to the realist and liberal traditions of international thought, and will appeal to students and scholars of political theory and international relations.

 

New publication: Europe and the Heritage of Modernity

This new volume, edited by Domagoj Vujeva and Luka Ribarević, contains four chapters on Hobbes, and one discussing the relationship between Hobbes and Rousseau.

Dirk Brantl, ‘Political Stability for Passionate Machines: Hobbes on Manners and Political Education’.

Philippe Crignon, ‘Representation and the State Paradigm in Hobbes’s Political Philosophy’.

Luc Foisneau, ‘Simplifying Hobbes: Hume’s Conception of Justice in a Hobbesian Perspective’.

Luka Ribarević, ‘Political Hebraism in Leviathan: Hobbes on I Samuel 8′.

Dragutin Lalovićm, ‘Republican Synthesis of the Political and of the State in Rousseau’s Political Theory’.

The publication is part of a project entitled ‘Political in the Time of Actual Crisis: the Heritage of Modernity and Contemporary Challenges to the Project of European Unity’, funded by the European Social Fund. Since the publication was financed by EU funds, it can be downloaded free of charge in pdf format by clicking on the following link:  https://www.fpzg.unizg.hr/_download/repository/Europe_and_the_heritage_of_modernity%5b1%5d.pdf

Chapter on ‘Hobbes “At the Edge of Promises and Prophecies”’

Alison McQueen’s book, Political Realism in Apocalyptic Times (Cambridge University Press, 2017) contains a chapter on Hobbes, alongside chapters on Machiavelli and Morgenthau. It is available now as an ebook, and will be published in hardback in February.

About this book: From climate change to nuclear war to the rise of demagogic populists, our world is shaped by doomsday expectations. In this path-breaking book, Alison McQueen shows why three of history’s greatest political realists feared apocalyptic politics. Niccolò Machiavelli in the midst of Italy’s vicious power struggles, Thomas Hobbes during England’s bloody civil war, and Hans Morgenthau at the dawn of the thermonuclear age all saw the temptation to prophesy the end of days. Each engaged in subtle and surprising strategies to oppose apocalypticism, from using its own rhetoric to neutralize its worst effects to insisting on a clear-eyed, tragic acceptance of the human condition

New issue of Hobbes Studies

A new issue of Hobbes Studies is now available, containing the following articles:

Eva Helene Odzuck, ‘I Professed to Write Not All to All’

Alissa MacMillan, ‘Conditioned to Believe: Hobbes on Religion, Education, and Social Context’

Douglas C. Wadle, ‘The Problem of the Unity of the Representative Assembly in Hobbes’s Leviathan’

S.A. Lloyd, ‘Duty Without Obligation’

Jacob Tootalian, ‘That Giant Monster Call’d a Multitude’

Peter Auger, ‘The Books of Tho. Hobbes’.

New article: Hobbes and Slavery

Daniel Luban,  ‘Hobbes and Slavery’, Political Theory, first published online: October 6 2017 (DOI: 10.1177/0090591717731070).

Abstract: Although Thomas Hobbes’s critics have often accused him of espousing a form of extreme subjection that differs only in name from outright slavery, Hobbes’s own striking views about slavery have attracted little notice. For Hobbes repeatedly insists that slaves, uniquely among the populace, maintain an unlimited right of resistance by force. But how seriously should we take this doctrine, particularly in the context of the rapidly expanding Atlantic slave trade of Hobbes’s time? While there are several reasons to doubt whether Hobbes’s arguments here should be taken at face value, the most serious stems from the highly restricted definition that he gives to the term “slave,” one that would seem to make his acceptance of slave resistance entirely hollow in practice. Yet a closer examination of Hobbes’s theory indicates that his understanding of slavery is less narrow than it might initially appear—and thus that his argument carries a genuine political bite.

New book: Hobbesian Applied Ethics and Public Policy

Hobbesian Applied Ethics and Public Policy, edited by Shane D. Courtland (Routledge, 2018).

About this book: Most philosophers and political scientists readily admit that Thomas Hobbes is a significant figure in the history of political thought. His theory was, arguably, one of the first to provide a justification for political legitimacy from the perspective of each individual subject. Many excellent books and articles have examined the justification and structure of Hobbes’ commonwealth, ethical system, and interpretation of Christianity. What is troubling is that the Hobbesian project has been largely missing in the applied ethics and public policy literature. We often find applications of Kantian deontology, Bentham’s or Mill’s utilitarianism, Rawls’s contractualism, the ethics of care, and various iterations of virtue ethics. Hobbesian accounts are routinely ignored and often derided. This is unfortunate because Hobbes’s project offers a unique perspective. To ignore it, when such a perspective would be fruitful to apply to another set of theoretical questions, is a problem in need of a remedy. This volume seeks to eliminate (or, at the very least, partially fill) this gap in the literature.

New article: Leviathan and medieval universitas: Hobbes’s debt to canon law

Luka RibarevićLeviathan and medieval universitas: Hobbes’s debt to canon law, History of Political Thought, 38 (2017), pp. 92-109.

Abstract: According to communis opinio, Hobbes in Leviathan presented the first thoroughly modern theory of political order. Combining ideas of individualism, political representation and sovereignty, Hobbes constructed his revolutionary notion of the state. However, the ancestry of the conceptual apparatus implied in Hobbes’s definition of the state as legal person produced through a process of political representation can be traced back deep into the pre-modern era. It has been remarked that the Roman law was one of the key sources of Hobbes’s science of politics. The main thesis of this article is that Hobbes relied not so much on the Roman law of imperial codifications as on its medieval ecclesiastical adaptation in the form of Canon Law.

Article: Forgiveness and reconciliation in Hobbes’s natural law theory

Maximilian Jaede: ‘Forgiveness and reconciliation in Hobbes’s natural law theory’, in History of European Ideaspublished online: 23 Feb 2017 (DOI: 10.1080/01916599.2017.1287831)

Abstract: Thomas Hobbes’s laws of nature dictate the making and keeping of the social contract. In addition, Hobbes’s natural law theory considers traditional moral virtues, such as mercy and gratitude, as being conducive to peace. Some Hobbes scholars have argued that these other natural laws call for ‘forgiveness’ and facilitate ‘reconciliation’. However, as this essay shows, Hobbes does not use these terms to mean the reparation of broken relationships between victims and perpetrators. Rather, Hobbesian reconciliation refers to efforts to propitiate enemies in order to win their favour, while forgiveness is a synonym for pardon, in the sense of punishment-forbearance. It is argued that neither of these requires true remorse and reparation of the wrong done. By contrasting Hobbes’s conception of anger with that of Aristotle, the article provides an explanation for why Hobbes maintains that the rage of enemies could be appeased by instrumental calculations of expected benefits, thus ignoring more deep-seated resentments caused by moral wrongs.