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Lectures on the History of Moral and Political Philosophy$
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Jonathan Wolff and G. A. Cohen

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691149004

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691149004.001.0001

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(p.65) Chapter 2 Hobbes
Lectures on the History of Moral and Political Philosophy

G. A. Cohen

, Jonathan Wolff
Princeton University Press

This chapter argues that principal claims of Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan are deliverances of a thought experiment in which we imagine away the existence of governmental authority and ask what the human condition would be like without it. It begins by expounding on the state of nature as a relational concept, noting that Hobbes' state of nature is a state of war. It then asks why the state of nature, the state of no governmental authority, is a state of war, and how the fact that the state of nature is a state of war justifies governmental authority. It also considers Hobbes' views on power and discusses three Hobbesian stories about how the state of war is generated based on what Hobbes himself calls “the three principal causes of quarrel”: competition, diffidence, and glory. The chapter concludes by analyzing how Hobbes justifies political obligation.

Keywords:   state of nature, Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, governmental authority, state of war, power, competition, diffidence, glory, political obligation

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