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The Making of Modern Liberalism$
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Alan Ryan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691148403

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691148403.001.0001

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Hobbes, Toleration, and the Inner Life

Hobbes, Toleration, and the Inner Life

(p.204) 10 Hobbes, Toleration, and the Inner Life
The Making of Modern Liberalism

Alan Ryan

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines Thomas Hobbes's views on toleration and the inner life. Throughout Leviathan, Hobbes is hostile to religious dissent and claims for freedom of speech; he is eager to keep universities firmly under control, and does not hide his thoughts about what is and what is not under governmental control. He argues that states that take no care to secure doctrinal and liturgical uniformity are storing up trouble for themselves; precisely because opinion does matter, the sovereign must ensure a good deal of uniformity in opinion. The chapter considers Hobbes's account of religion and shows that that Hobbesian natural theology is extremely agnostic. It suggests that most of what we ordinarily think is valuable in the inner life was thought valuable by Hobbes, and that he is inclined to let men alone but not to offer a principled defense of toleration.

Keywords:   toleration, Thomas Hobbes, inner life, Leviathan, religious dissent, freedom of speech, opinion, religion, natural theology

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