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New Chapter: Hobbes and Rousseau on Human Nature and the State of Nature

Evrigenis, Ioannis (2022): Chapter 8: Hobbes and Rousseau on Human Nature and the State Of Nature, in: Karolina Hubner (Ed.): Human: A History. Oxford Philosophical Concepts.

Description
A paradox of the concept of “human nature” is that it holds both the promise of universal equality—insofar as it takes us all to share a common nature—while all too often rationalizing exploitation, oppression, and even violence against other individuals and other species. Most appallingly, differences in skin color and other physiological traits have been viewed as signs of a “lesser” humanity, or of outright inhumanity, and used to justify great harms. The volume asks: is the concept of human nature separable from the racist, sexist, and speciest abuse that has been made of it? And is it even possible—or desirable—to articulate a notion of human nature unaffected by race or gender or class, as if it were possible to observe humanity in a pure form? With chapter 8 on Hobbes and Rousseau.

New article on Hobbes’s Eschatology and Scriptural Interpretation in Leviathan

Okada, Takuya (2022): Hobbes’s Eschatology and Scriptural Interpretation in Leviathan, in: The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022046921000683

Description
Hobbes’s eschatology in Leviathan is one of the most striking aspects of this classic work and has received considerable scholarly attention. Nevertheless, its scriptural interpretation has rarely been examined. This article closely analyses Hobbes’s scriptural case for two aspects of eschatology: the doctrine of mortalism and the terrestrial kingdom of God. It shows that, to a large extent, Hobbes’s biblical exegesis for these two eschatological issues was preceded by that of his contemporaries, including Richard Overton and John Archer. It is likely, in particular, that the scriptural interpretation for Hobbes’s mortalism was directly indebted to Overton’s Mans mortalitie.

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New article on the Rhetoric of Hobbes’s Translation of Thucydides

Campbell, Chris (2021): The Rhetoric of Hobbes’s Translation of Thucydides, in: The Review of Politics, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0034670521000711

Description
In several key passages in Thomas Hobbes’s understudied translation of Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War, Hobbes’s Pericles directs audiences to distrust rhetoric in favor of calculative self-interest, inward-focused affective states, and an epistemic reliance on sovereignty. Hobbes’s own intervention via his translation of Thucydides involves similar rhetorical moves. By directing readers to learn from Thucydides, Hobbes conceals his own rhetorical appeals in favor of sovereignty while portraying rhetoric undermining sovereignty as manipulative, self-serving, and representative of the entire category of “rhetoric.” Hobbes’s double redescription of rhetoric is an important starting point for an early modern project: appeals that justify a desired political order are characterized as “right reason,” “the law of nature,” or “enlightenment,” while rhetoric constituting solidarities or publics outside the desired order is condemned. Hobbes’s contribution to this project theorizes rhetoric as a barrier to individual calculations of interest, placing a novel constraint on political life.

Impressions of the Third Biennial Conference of the European Hobbes Society

“…it is against his duty, to let the people be ignorant, or misinformed of the grounds, and reasons of those his essential rights; because thereby men are easy to be seduced, and drawn to resist him, when the commonwealth shall require their use and exercise.”

Hobbes, Leviathan, XXX.3

From 18-20 Nov 2021, 15 scholars from 10 different countries and for the first time 8 graduate students from the University of Zagreb gathered together in the old and beautiful Mediterranean city of Dubrovnik, Croatia, for the Third Biennial Conference of the European Hobbes Society. As always, it was a joy to see familiar faces as well as to introduce new ones. 

It should be noted that the whole organization was a challenge due to the ongoing Covid-19 related crises. First, the conference had to postponed for a year as the epidemiological situation did not allow majority people to travel. As the Covid-19 global pandemic is still preventing some people from travel, some speakers were unable to attend in the end. Despite all these challenges and missing faces we had thoughtful presentations and productive discussions. Precisely, we had twelve new interesting papers on Hobbes, covering various topics related to Hobbes’s thought from those related to interpretation of Sommerville’s work as it was the case with the opening talk of S.A. Lloyd, to George Wright’s project related to translating the Latin Leviathan, Hobbes’s arguments about religion discussed by Asaf Sokolowski, the relation between Hobbes and Enlightenment by Luc Foisneau, a reconstruction of Hobbes’s state of nature through the work of Thucydides by Luka Ribarević, interpretations of Hobbes’s view on injustice and injury by Johan Olsthoorn, criticism related to Hobbes’s political science by Adrian Blau, etc. 

The full program can be found here.  

We are very grateful to the Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb, Croatia for providing us as organizers with grants making this EHS conference possible, as well as the Inter-University Centre Dubrovnik for hosting us and offering the grants allowing our grad students to participate in the conference. Thanks also goes out to all participants, both for coming in Dubrovnik as well as for shaping this small epistemic community and inducing an inspiring and thoughtful conversation on various aspects of Hobbes’s work.

The Inter-University Centre Dubrovnik will be open for hosting similar events and workshops in the future. We continue to welcome initiatives for various events under the aegis of the EHS. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the Fourth Biennial Conference of the European Hobbes Society will be organized by Daniel Eggers, at the University of Regensburg, Germany, in August 2023. Until then, stay safe and enjoy Hobbes!

Hobbes Face

New collection of essays: A Companion to Hobbes

Adams, Marcus P. (ed.) (2021): A Companion to Hobbes. (Blackwell Companions to Philosophy). John Wiley & Sons.

Chapters

Programme of the Third Biennial EHS Conference (Inter-University Centre Dubrovnik 18-20th November 2021)

Programme:

Wednesday 17th November 2021

19:00 Dinner – Inter-University Centre building Dubrovnik

Thursday 18th November 2021 

10:00-10:10 Opening talk by the organisers 

Session 1: 

10:10-11:10 S. A. Lloyd: Philosophical Support for Sommerville on Hobbes and Independency (University of Southern California)

11:20-12:20 Gianni Paganini: When Nothing Counts. The Annihilation Hypothesis in Hobbes’ Work (University of Piedmont and Research Center of the Accademia dei Lincei Rome)

12:20-13:30 Lunch, served in the Inter-University Centre building

13:30-15:00 City tour 

Session 2: 

15:30-16:30 George Wright: On Translating the Latin Leviathan (University of Wisconsin Madison)

16:40-17:40 Francesca Rebasti (coauthor Serge Heiden, IHRIM, ENS de Lyon): “Thomas       Hobbes and the Bible”: A Textometric Approach to H. W. Jones’s Agenda (IGB,     INSA Lyon – IHRIM, ENS de Lyon)

19:00 Conference dinner, served at the Inter-University Centre building

Friday 19th November 

Session 4: 

10:00-11:00 Luc Foisneau: Against Philosophical Darkness: A Political conception of Enlightenment (EHESS Paris)

11:10-12:10 Luka Ribarević: Natural Condition of Mankind in Leviathan: A View from Peloponnesus (University of Zagreb)

12:15-13:30 Lunch, served in the Inter-University Centre building

Session 5: 

13:35-14:35 Gonzalo Bustamante: Hobbes and the Possibility of a Zoopolis (Adolfo   Ibáñez University Santiago de Chile)

14:45-15:45 Asaf Sokolowski: The ‘Tohu-Bohu’ Fool and His Defiance of Creation

15:45-16:15 Coffee break

Session 6: 

16:15-17:15 Johan Olsthoorn: Hobbes on Injustice and Injury (University of    Amsterdam)

17:25-18:25 Adrian Blau: Hobbes’s Failed Political Science (King’s College London)

19:30 Informal dinner; venue TBA 

Saturday 20th November 

Session 7: 

9:30-10:30 Kajetan Kubala: Hobbes and the persona perpetua of the State (Queen Mary, University of London)

10:40-11:40 Marko Simendić: The True Gods of Leviathan (University of Belgrade)

11:45-12:30 General meeting of the European Hobbes Society

12:30 Concluding lunch served in the Inter-University Centre building