This chapter focuses on the question of the formation of the commonwealth. The question of the formation of the commonwealth implicates precisely the question of its form, the metaphysics of which pervades even the most anti-Aristotelian of theorists, Thomas Hobbes, whose book Leviathan (1651) is subtitled “the Matter, Forme and Power of a Common-wealth.” Two key words elucidate the form of the commonwealth: unity and order. The central issue around which the debate turned is the separability or otherwise of these two aspects of its being: that is, whether the commonwealth can exist as a unity independently of the particular order of command and obedience that informs it, or whether that order just is the commonwealth.
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