Impressions of the Second Biennial Conference

This part of Philosophy is in the same situation as the public roads,
on which all men travel, and go to and fro,
and some are enjoying a pleasant stroll and others are quarrelling,
but they make no progress
Hobbes, De Cive, epistle dedicatory

From 14-16 May 2018, over 35 researchers from across the world came together in the pedestrian city centre of Amsterdam for the Second Biennial Conference of the European Hobbes Society. It was a joy to see quite a few new faces amidst many familiar ones.

The conference was thematically structured around Hobbes’s De cive. No less than thirteen papers carefully mapped the highlights of that text, drawing our attention to inspiring vistas and at times feuding with extant interpretations blocking the road to greater insight. The conference doubled as a manuscript workshop for the Cambridge Critical Guide to De Cive, edited by Robin Douglass and Johan Olsthoorn. The sharp yet constructive discussions will no doubt bolster the quality of the chapters to that volume. Four new members were sworn in to the executive committee of the society during the general meeting — welcome to the team!

The full program can be found here.

We are exceedingly grateful to the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, King’s College London, and the University of Amsterdam Challenges to Democratic Representation Research Group for their generous financial and infrastructural support. Thanks also goes out to all participants, both for the pleasant intellectual stroll and the interpretive progress made.

The EHS is right now more vibrant than ever. A host of smaller workshops have been organized under the auspices of the society during the last year and more are in the pipeline. We continue to welcome initiatives, including proposals to set up the third biennial conference sometime in 2020. The journey we have jointly embarked on has been incredible so far; long may it carry on!

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Obituary: Glen Newey (1961-2017)

Sadly, Glen Newey passed away after a boating accident in Rotterdam on Saturday 30 September.

Glen was a good friend of the European Hobbes Society, attending and speaking at the Leuven conference in March 2013, and the Leiden conference in September 2015. He was a genuinely European scholar, moving from Keele University in the UK, to Brussels, then Leiden, where he was Professor of Political Philosophy and Ethics.

On top of his pioneering work on political realism, he is best known in Hobbes circles for the Routledge Guidebook to Hobbes’ Leviathan (2nd edition, 2014). He also wrote chapters on Hobbes in Yoke-Lian Lee, ed., The Politics of Gender (2010) and Raia Prokhovnik and Gabriella Slomp, eds., International Political Theory After Hobbes (2011).

Workshop at the University of Edinburgh

From 8-9 June 2017, the Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities hosted a workshop on “Thomas Hobbes and Peace”, which was organised in cooperation with the European Hobbes Society.

The workshop featured pre-circulated papers by Deborah Baumgold, Glen Newey, Gabriella Slomp, Patricia Springborg, and Luca Tenneriello, along with parts of a book manuscript by Maximilian Jaede.

The event was aimed at reconsidering Hobbes’s conception of peace, its place in the history of political thought, and its reception today. While all participants highlighted Hobbes’s commitment to peace, there was debate on what precisely Hobbes means by being at peace, and on the interpretation of his ideas in relation to other thinkers. The programme is available here.

We would like to thank all workshop participants for their contributions. The Institute for Advanced Studies, the Global Justice and Global Development Academies at the University of Edinburgh, and the British International Studies Association generously supported the event.

Workshop at the European University Institute

From April 27-28 2017, 20 scholars, based in several different countries, came together at the European University Institute, just outside Florence.  This was our first workshop south of the Alps, and the first  to include an open call for papers.

Alan Cromartie (Reading) delivered a wonderful and wide-ranging keynote speech on Hobbes’s early intellectual development. The eleven other pre-circulated papers covered a range of subjects, from natural religion to conceptions of multitude and obligation. The workshop stood out for having a few very interesting papers on Hobbes’s metaphysics and philosophy of science.

The full program can be downloaded here.

We are very grateful to the EUI’s Max Weber Programme and Department for History and Civilization for having made possible this conference financially. Thanks also go out to all participants and attendees. The next European Hobbes Society workshop will take place in the very near future: June 8-9 in Edinburgh.

 

Firenze workshop 2

Conference announcement: Thomas Hobbes and Peace (Edinburgh, 8/9 June)

Thomas Hobbes and Peace
Event date:
Thursday 8 June to Friday 9 June
Location:
Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, 2 Hope Park Square, EH8 9NW
An IASH/Susan Manning Workshop organised in cooperation with the European Hobbes Society

The programme will begin at 9.30am on the first day and finish no later than 3pm on the second day. Speakers and discussants will be invited for dinner at a nearby restaurant in the evening of the first day.

Thomas Hobbes is sometimes deemed to be a “philosopher of peace” and remains an important reference point in debates on this subject. His name is invoked in discussions about peace across political theory, international relations theory, peace and conflict studies, and the literature on transitional justice. Hobbes is often seen as a standard bearer of the idea of a coercively induced “negative peace”, which consists of the mere absence of war. Such a condition is contrasted with a “positive peace”, which is realised in a just society. Hobbes is also associated with a misleading dichotomy between conditions of war and peace, which may obscure practices of violence during times of “peace”. Moreover, scholars continue to attribute to him the view that there could be no lasting international peace, because states remain in a “state of war” towards one another. The objective of this interdisciplinary workshop is to question standard interpretations of Hobbes’s political thought by reassessing his ideas on peace from a variety of perspectives.

The workshop features papers by Deborah Baumgold (Oregon), Signy Gutnick Allen (York), Glen Newey (Leiden), Johan Olsthoorn (Leuven), Gabriella Slomp (St Andrews), and Patricia Springborg (HU Berlin). In addition, Maximilian Jaede (Edinburgh) will present parts of his book manuscript titled Thomas Hobbes’s Proto-Liberal Conception of Peace.

The workshop format has been chosen in order to facilitate an intensive discussion among scholars with interests in Hobbes’s conception of peace, its place in the history of political thought, and its reception today. Speakers are encouraged to circulate their papers by 1st June among the registered attendants. In this way, papers do not need to be presented at length at the workshop, maximising the time for an in-depth discussion of each contribution. An allocated respondent will provide comments on each paper, followed by questions and discussion.

Attendance is free of charge but advance registration is required, as refreshments will be served throughout the day. If you wish to attend please email Max Jaede at maximilian.jaede@ed.ac.uk

Lecture Series: War and Peace in Hobbes’s Political Philosophy

A lecture series on “War and Peace in Hobbes’s Political Philosophy” will take place at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Kollegienhaus KH. 2.012, Universitätsstraße 15, 91054 Erlangen, Germany.
In eight lectures, international experts (including Kinch Hoekstra, Peter Schröder and Patricia Springborg) alongside younger scholars will discuss Thomas Hobbes’s political philosophy and his notions of war and peace.
Questions which will be discussed are:
Is Hobbes a “Prince of Peace”? Is the title of “realist” correct to describe the complexity of his political philosophy? What kind of peace can we find in Hobbes, and what are its psychological preconditions? What kind of arguments and literary techniques does Hobbes use for his philosophical and his political goals? Is his translation of Thucydides a mere translation?
Attendance is free but registration is recommended. You are welcome to attend only some of the lectures.  If you would like to join us for dinner after a lecture, please let us know, so that we can adjust our reservations. For any further questions please contact Eva.Odzuck@fau.de.
Please find all information in this pdf.

hobbeslectures

Thomas Hobbes and the Politics of Religion

‘Thomas Hobbes and the Politics of Religion’ is the inaugural research project of the European Hobbes Society. It examines the relation between Hobbes’s political and religious thought, and, in particular, the various strategies he devised for overcoming the threats to social and political stability posed by religion. See here for more information.

The project comprises two workshops. The first was held at King’s College London in April 2015, and featured some exceptional papers by a mix of seasoned Hobbes experts and some of the most exciting up-and-coming young scholars in the field (programme here). The second workshop will be held at Leiden University College, The Hague, in September 2015, and the programme is looking just as impressive (programme here). We plan to publish a collected volume following the two workshops … so hopefully there will be more news about this before too long.

Welcome to the European Hobbes Society!

Welcome to the first post on the new website of the European Hobbes Society. The EHS is an international, interdisciplinary research network focusing on the thought of Thomas Hobbes. “European” refers to our origins, not our destination: the EHS grew out of meetings at the Political Theory Workshops in Manchester, UK, from 2008 to 2011, and has since met at Marburg (Germany), King’s College London (UK), Leuven (Belgium) and Amsterdam (Netherlands). Our meetings have been attended by scholars from all over the world and anyone with an interest in the life or work of Thomas Hobbes may join. Go to the registration page for more information.