New article: Self-Knowledge and Knowledge of Mankind in Hobbes’ Leviathan

Ursula Renz, ‘Self-Knowledge and Knowledge of Mankind in Hobbes’ Leviathan’, European Journal of Philosophy, published online: 8 August 2017 (DOI: 10.1111/ejop.12227).

Abstract: In the introduction to the Leviathan, Hobbes famously defends the anthropological point of departure of his theory of the state by invoking the Delphic injunction ‘Know thyself!’ of which he presents a peculiar reading thereafter. In this paper, I present a reading of the anthropology of the Leviathan that takes this move seriously. In appealing to Delphic injunction, Hobbes wanted to prompt a particular way of reading his anthropology for which it is crucial that the reader relate the presented anthropological views to his self-conception. The anthropology of the Leviathan is thus a kind of manual for a certain kind of self-reflection by which the reader’s self-knowledge is to be improved. Furthermore, I will argue that Hobbes’ interpretation of the Delphic injunction illuminates several theoretical issues relevant to the epistemology of that kind of ‘self-knowledge’ that was demanded by the Delphic injunction. While Hobbes does not solve all the epistemological problems related with the ideal appealed to by this inscription, he does provide some interesting insights into some general requirements that any epistemological account of Socratic self-knowledge has to meet.