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Robin Douglass

In this article, I show that Hobbes’s account of the generation of the commonwealth in both The Elements of Law and De Cive relies on ideas that he would come to theorise in terms of authorisation and representation in Leviathan. In this respect, I argue that the Leviathan account is better understood as filling in gaps and resolving equivocations in Hobbes’s theory, rather than marking a decisive break in his thinking. This argument is developed by substantiating two more specific theses. First, while Hobbes only explicitly distinguishes between the “alienation” and “authorisation” clauses of the covenant in Leviathan, the earlier versions of his theory rely on a two-clause account. Second, in the earlier versions of his theory, Hobbes equivocates between suggesting that the relation between the state and sovereign should be understood in terms of representation or identity; an equivocation that he would only resolve in Leviathan.

Timothy Raylor

Three student digests of uncertain origin have been identified among the Hobbes manuscripts now at Chatsworth. This article describes the physical composition and contents of the manuscripts, identifies their textual sources, adds two previously unnoticed digests to the gathering, and offers some suggestions about their character, likely dates, and provenance.

Mónica Brito Vieira

Over the years great care has been lavished by scholars of Hobbes on decoding the image produced for Leviathan by Abraham Bosse with the creative input of Thomas Hobbes. This article focusses instead on the reception and remaking of this image, arguably the most iconic image in the statist imaginary. Attention turns here, in particular, to two contemporary artworks, Do Ho Suh’s Some/One (2005) and Ernesto Neto’s Leviathan Thot (2006). Both of these artworks visually recall and re-problematize Hobbes’s frontispiece: its depiction of the political body and of the complex relationships between the elements comprising it. They therefore offer us a curious perspective from which to re-engage with Hobbes’s work and the political aesthetics that has immortalized it.

Philippe Crignon

According to Hobbes, a commonwealth can only occur when the natural multitude of men are made one thanks to a covenantal device. The artificial unity of the political community can be seen as strengthened by the use of concepts that reflect some natural unity, such as “body” or “person”. Both notions can indeed be found in Hobbes’s political treatises, but the degree of importance attached to them varies greatly. The key to this evolution is to be found in De cive, where Hobbes explicitly dismisses the notion of a body politic and substitutes the concept of person for it. This paper examines the significance of this conceptual change by following its trajectory from Elements of Law to Leviathan and discussing its implications for Hobbes’s understanding of civil unity.

Paul Sagar

The aim of this article is to explore some of what Hobbes says in Leviathan about what the Leviathan is. I propose that Hobbes is not finally clear on this score. Nonetheless, such indeterminacy might be revealing, insofar as it points us in different directions regarding how the state can be conceptualized, and what it is thought able to do. The paper is thus deliberately open ended: it does not aim to definitively settle interpretative issues, but rather to use Hobbes as a way of thinking about the differing potentials of state theory.