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
A new volume edited by Éric Marquer and Paul Rateau analyzes Hobbes’s influence on Leibniz, shows that Leibniz “knew his Hobbes” and how he engages with Hobbes’s philosophy in his teachings on physics, theory of knowledge, morals, law and, of course, politics. An appendix includes the two letters from Leibniz to Hobbes (1670 et 1674), translated in French.
According to Hobbes, glory causes conflict in two ways: by causing competition over comparative recognition, and by making men violently sensitive to insult. Interpreters have generally depicted the sensitivity to insult as a manifestation of the desire for comparative recognition. This reading raises two problems. First, the two ways in which Hobbes uses glory are inconsistent. Second, if the problem with glory is comparison, then the law of nature enjoining the acknowledgment of equality should lead to war rather than peace. This paper illuminates these obscurities by placing Hobbes in the context of the contemporary literature on honor and civility. These sources reveal two concepts of honor which correspond to the two ways in which Hobbes writes about glory. Hobbes draws heavily from these sources, but intentionally elides the two concepts of honor in order to undermine an ideology of honor that was used to justify disobedience and unlawful violence.
“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!
A new issue of Hobbes Studies is now available, containing the following articles:
Timothy Raylor: Hobbes and the Hardwick Digests
Mónica Brito Vieira: Revisiting Hobbes on Representation
Robin Douglass: Authorisation and Representation before Leviathan
Philippe Crignon: Representation and the Person of the State
Paul Sagar: What is the Leviathan?
Mónica Brito Vieira: RE-Imagi(n)ing Leviathan
Slomp, Gabriella (2018): As Thick as Thieves: Exploring Thomas Hobbes’ Critique of Ancient Friendship and its Contemporary Relevance, in: Political Studies. First Published March 19, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1177/0032321718761243
Abstract: Recent decades have witnessed a revival of interest in ancient friendship both as a normative and as an explanatory concept. The literature concurs in holding Hobbes responsible for the marginalisation of friendship in political science and suggests that Hobbes devalued friendship because of his understanding of man. This article argues that although Hobbes’ appraisal of friendship hinges on his assumption that man is self-interested, his critique of normative friendship does not rest on that notion. Hobbes’ challenge to us is this: without foundation in the ‘truth’ (i.e. the ‘Good Life’) that underpinned ancient friendship, modern friendship, whether self-interested or selfless, cannot be assumed to be a civic virtue, nor an index of the health of a political association, nor a facilitator of domestic or global peace. Hobbes’ critique is especially relevant for writers who maintain that a resurgence of friendship can nurture concord and foster reconciliation within contemporary liberal democracies.