These essays contest the truism that the social contract is a modern political idea. Just as Rawls came to acknowledge that his political theory built in the parochial horizon of his time, Hobbes’s, Grotius’s, and Locke’s theories presuppose their ancien regime world. Despite their universalizing language, Hobbes’s and Locke’s theories addressed the age-old issue of resistance to tyrants and assumed the framework of hereditary monarchy. Essays in the volume also relate the logic of their contract claims back to Bodin’s and Grotius’s defenses of absolute sovereignty and direct attention to the affinity between an ‘absolutism of fear’ and Hume’s sensibility. For politically-inclined readers, these theories come to life by being read as treatises on politics in the early-modern state.
Deborah Baumgold, Ph.D. (1980) in Political Science, Princeton University, is Professor of Political Science at the University of Oregon.
‘’This collection of scholarship is a useful resource for the advanced Hobbes scholar, wrtten in a technically sophisticated style by an author with extensive expertise in Hobbes studies. Libraries who wish to expand their Hobbes literature and do not have access to many of the articles this book republishes should consider this volume for their collections’’
Adam G. Yoksas, Loyola Univesrity Chicago. In: History of Political Thought, Vol. 34, No. 2, 2013, pp. 355-6.
PART I: AN ANCIEN REGIME QUESTION: RESISTANCE
1. Hobbes’s and Locke’s Contract Theories: Political not Metaphysical
2. Pacifying Politics: Resistance, Violence, and Accountability in Seventeenth-Century Contract Theory
PART II: AN ANCIEN REGIME HORIZON: PARTICULARITY AND UNIVERSALITY
3. When Hobbes Needed History
4. Hobbesian Absolutism and the Paradox in Modern Contractarianism
PART III: ANCIEN REGIME BOOKS: SERIAL COMPOSITION
5. The Composition of Hobbes’s Elements of Law
6. The Difficulties of Hobbes Interpretation
7. Afterword: Theorists of the Absolutist State
All those interested in intellectual history, especially of early-modern Europe; political theory; graduate students in politics and in philosophy programs, specialists in the history of the book.