Hobbes is funnier than Shaftesbury … or so thought Adam Smith, at least. In his Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, Smith provides a scathing attack on the style of Anthony Ashley-Cooper, the Third Earl of Shaftesbury. His judgement on Shaftesbury strikes me as spot on:
In his Treatise where he ridicules Mr Hobbs there is not one passage which would make us laugh. Mr Hobbs book would make us laugh but his ridicule would never affect us. (Glasgow Edition of Smith, vol. 4, p. 60)
Rita Koganzon, ‘The Hostile Family and the Purpose of the “Natural Kingdom” in Hobbes’s Political Thought’, The Review of Politics, vol. 77 no. 3 (2015)
Abstract: In his political writings, Hobbes consistently distinguishes between “natural” and “artificial” commonwealths—those that arise from the family, and those created by mutual covenants. Although he insists that “both have the same right of government,” closer examination of Hobbes’s accounts of the family reveals that it is a radically deficient model for the state, and that Hobbes was engaged in a polemic against both republicans and absolutists who claimed that parental power was natural, prior to, and even a model for the power of civil sovereigns. For Hobbes, a state based on parental rule is dangerously unstable, exacerbating the mutual fears of parents and children. The “office of the sovereign representative” defuses this conflict, and within the commonwealth, the family is denaturalized and reconstituted as an educative institution whose purpose is to reinforce the artificial sovereign by schooling both parents and children in the miseries of personal rule.
Luciano Venezia, Hobbes on Legal Authority and Political Obligation (Palgrave Macmillan, September 2015)
About this book: According to the standard interpretation, Hobbes argues that subjects have binding political obligations because the sanctions for non-compliance provided by the law give them sufficient reason to obey. This view comprises an account of law and a theory of political obligation. The standard interpretation considers that for Hobbes the characteristic feature of law lies in its causal capacity to compel subjects to obey by the use of physical force or the threat to use physical force. In turn, this reading states that subjects are bound to obey the law because so acting best promotes their rational self-interest.
Hobbes on Legal Authority and Political Obligation challenges this reading, and develops an alternative interpretation of Hobbes’s theory of political obligation. According to the account developed in the book, the directives issued by the sovereign introduce authoritative requirements, so that the subjects are morally obligated to obey them.
‘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.
Deborah Baumgold, English Historical Review vol. 128 issue 535, 2013
Adrian Blau, Journal of Early Modern Studies vol. 2 no. 2, 2013
Jeffrey Collins, Modern Intellectual History vol. 12 no. 1, 2015
Rachel Foxley, The Review of English Studies vol. 65 issue 271, 2014
John Gray, The New Statesman, September 2012
Kinch Hoekstra, Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 76 no. 2, 2015
Sarah Mortimer and David Scott, Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 76 no. 2, 2015
William Poole, The Library, vol. 14. no. 4, 2013
David Runciman, Times Literary Supplement, February 2013
Patricia Springborg, British Journal for the History of Philosophy vol. 22 no. 2, 2014
Blair Worden, Literary Review, December 2012
with responses to some of the reviews by Noel Malcolm, Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 76 no. 2, 2015
Noel Malcolm’s magnificent edition of Leviathan features a one-volume introduction and two volumes of Leviathan, with the 1651 English and 1668 Latin versions printed side-by-side. All reviewers agree that this edition is a superb achievement. David Runciman praises ‘Malcolm’s extraordinary scholarly range and precision’ – scholarship ‘of the highest level’, writes Rachel Foxley, leading Deborah Baumgold to coin a new adjective: ‘Malcolmian’. This edition is an ‘immense improvement on the nineteenth-century Molesworth collections’, she adds. Blair Worden describes Malcolm’s edition as ‘a glory … that sets quite new standards of editorial scholarship’. John Gray calls it ‘an astonishing achievement of the highest scholarship’. Patricia Springborg ‘cannot imagine that this edition will ever be technically surpassed’, although she does suggest that the 2003 Schuhmann and Rogers edition of Leviathan has more merits than Malcolm implies.
What sets Malcolm’s edition apart is the ‘meticulous detective work’ described by Jeffrey Collins. Malcolm is Read more
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.