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

Thomas Hobbes and Peace
Event date:
Thursday 8 June to Friday 9 June
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