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Fugitive DemocracyAnd Other Essays$
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Sheldon S. Wolin and Nicholas Xenos

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691133645

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691133645.001.0001

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Hobbes and the Epic Tradition of Political Theory

Hobbes and the Epic Tradition of Political Theory

Chapter:
(p.117) Chapter 6 Hobbes and the Epic Tradition of Political Theory
Source:
Fugitive Democracy
Author(s):

Sheldon S. Wolin

, Nicholas Xenos
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691133645.003.0006

This chapter focuses on the informing intention that governed Hobbes's political thought. It argues that the intentions which inform Hobbes's political theory were epical in nature and that his theory can be understood as having an epical aim. It also suggests that from Plato to modern times, an epic tradition in political theory has existed and that Hobbes is one of its ornaments. The phrase “epic tradition” refers to a type of political theory which is inspired mainly by the hope of achieving a great and memorable deed through the medium of thought. Other aims that it may have, such as contributing to the existing state of knowledge, formulating a system of logically consistent propositions, or establishing a set of hypotheses for scientific investigation, are distinctly secondary.

Keywords:   political theory, Hobbes, intentions, epic tradition

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