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War in Social ThoughtHobbes to the Present$
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Hans Joas and Wolfgang Knöbl

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691150840

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691150840.001.0001

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War and Peace before Sociology

War and Peace before Sociology

Social Theorizing on Violence from Thomas Hobbes to the Napoleonic Wars

(p.16) 2 War and Peace before Sociology
War in Social Thought

Hans Joas

Wolfgang Knöbl

, Alex Skinner
Princeton University Press

This chapter provides an overview of the key arguments in the debate on war and peace carried on from the time of Thomas Hobbes up to the Napoleonic Wars between philosophers, political economists, and political thinkers. This era, which was bookended by the names of Hobbes and Carl von Clausewitz, reveals four highly disparate theoretical standpoints from which authors explored these topics. There is the power-political realist position, associated with the name of Hobbes; the utilitarian-liberal conception, directly linked with the name of Jeremy Bentham, but which undoubtedly has roots in the work of Montesquieu as well; the republican-universalist stance that goes back to Immanuel Kant, though certain arguments can be found in the work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau; and finally the position linked with the “neo-Roman understanding of history” and the associated emphasis on the ideal of virtue.

Keywords:   war, peace, Thomas Hobbes, Napoleonic Wars, Carl von Clausewitz, Jeremy Bentham, Montesquieu, Immanuel Kant, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, virtue

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