Ideological Context and the Study of Political Theory

In: Hobbes Studies
Xinzhi ZhaoDepartment of Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, United States,

Search for other papers by Xinzhi Zhao in
Current site
Google Scholar
View More View Less
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



This paper recounts my encounter with the ideological context of Hobbes’s system as a graduate student in political theory through the teaching and scholarship of Professor Johann Sommerville. This encounter made me recognize that political theorists should study not only systems of political philosophy but also their ideological contexts, whose primary components are not “languages” but ideas and arguments deployed in debates concerning issues of political legitimacy of a particular time. Specifically, I realized that incorporating ideological contexts into the study of political theory could render the quest for legitimate political orders in different ages and cultures accessible to modern readers of diverse backgrounds, enable a more accurate grasp of the originality of a philosophical system, and uncover new resources for political theorizing.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 332 203 11
Full Text Views 17 7 3
PDF Views & Downloads 31 18 7