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The Sleeping Subject: On the Use and Abuse of Imagination in Hobbes’s Leviathan

In: Hobbes Studies
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Avshalom M. Schwartz Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA avshalom@stanford.edu

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Abstract

This paper offers a novel interpretation of the political implications of Hobbes’s theory of imagination and his solution to the threat posed by the imagination to political stability. While recent work has correctly identified the problem the imagination poses for Hobbes, it has underestimated the severity of the problem and, accordingly, has underestimated the length to which the Hobbesian sovereign will have to go in order to solve it. By reconstructing Hobbes’s account of sleep and the operation of the imagination during sleep, this paper argues that the Hobbesian sovereign who seeks to solve the problem of the imagination must maintain his subjects in a ‘state of sleep,’ by preventing any kind of new inputs from disturbing their imagination. This solution suggests that the citizens of the Leviathan state are not sleeping sovereigns, but rather sleeping subjects.

Abstract

This paper offers a novel interpretation of the political implications of Hobbes’s theory of imagination and his solution to the threat posed by the imagination to political stability. While recent work has correctly identified the problem the imagination poses for Hobbes, it has underestimated the severity of the problem and, accordingly, has underestimated the length to which the Hobbesian sovereign will have to go in order to solve it. By reconstructing Hobbes’s account of sleep and the operation of the imagination during sleep, this paper argues that the Hobbesian sovereign who seeks to solve the problem of the imagination must maintain his subjects in a ‘state of sleep,’ by preventing any kind of new inputs from disturbing their imagination. This solution suggests that the citizens of the Leviathan state are not sleeping sovereigns, but rather sleeping subjects.

In his 1658 The Catching of Leviathan or The Great Whale, John Bramhall, one of the many fierce critics of Hobbes’s Leviathan, wrote that:

I do believe there never was any Author Sacred or Profane, Ancient or Moderne, Christian, Jew, Mahometan, or Pagan, that hath inveighed so frequently and so bitterly against all feigned phantasms, with their first devises, maintainers, and receivers, as T. H. hath done, excluding out of the nature of things the souls of Men, Angels, Devils, and all incorporeal Substances, as fictions, phantasms, and groundless contradictions. 1

In the history of Western philosophy, phantasms and fiction were normally associated with the mental faculty of the imagination, and so were other related concepts that are evoked by Bramhall in the quote above. Since antiquity, however, and through the Middle Ages and Renaissance and up to early modernity, many philosophers, scientists, and theologians have exhibited high degrees of anxiety about and hostility towards the imagination and its products. Plato, for example, famously associated the imagination (phantasia) with the lowest part of the soul and with its susceptibility to the deception of mimetic art, which is closely related to his famous banishment of the poets from the ideal city. 2 In the sixteenth century, Gianfrancesco Pico warned against the dangers of the imagination and the “bad angels” who “run riot in the phantasies of men.” 3 And Robert Burton, Hobbes’s well-known contemporary, attributed both melancholy and superstition to a “corrupt, false, and violent imagination.” 4 In fact, Burton goes as far as arguing that such corrupt and violent imagination will lead to nothing but “wars, plagues, sickness, dearth, famine, and all the rest” and that “no persuasion, no terror, no persecution, can divert them.” 5 Hobbes was thus by no means the first or only philosopher who expressed anxiety about or hostility towards the imagination and attempted to warn and fight against the dangers it poses. What was it, then, about his position on the problem of imagination that distinguished him so strongly from “any [other] Author Sacred or Profane, Ancient or Moderne, Christian, Jew, Mahometan, or Pagan”?

As recent scholars have noted, Hobbes’s theory of the imagination plays a fundamental role in his political theory. This paper contributes to this recent discussion by exploring the political implications of Hobbes’s theory of the imagination and its relationship to his primary political concern, that of political stability. It argues that Hobbes viewed the imagination as posing a set of fundamental challenges to sovereign authority and the order and stability of the state and that his radical response to the problems posed by the imagination is closely connected to and can be explained by the severity of the problem that he was attempting to solve. This radical solution, this paper will argue, corresponds well to some of the least liberal and tolerant aspects of Hobbes’s political doctrine—most importantly to his insistence on the need for strict censorship—and thereby further calls into question the more liberal and tolerant depiction of Hobbes, one that has become increasingly common. 6

In arguing so, this paper joins a growing body of literature that moves away from traditional interpretations of Hobbes that highlight his belief in the rationality of human actors and his assumption that the end of human actions is nothing more than utility maximization and self-preservation, 7 and towards a more nuanced reading of his work. 8 Specifically, it joins a growing number of scholars who have pointed out the centrality of the imagination to Hobbes’s epistemology and psychology and its destabilizing potential. Scholars have not only highlighted the role of imagination in Hobbes’s account of sense perception and knowledge 9 but have also pointed to the relationship between the imagination and Hobbes’s concern with political stability. 10 Most recently, both Leijenhorst and Douglass have established the relationship between Hobbes’s epistemological and psychological theories and his concern with political stability and further demonstrated Hobbes’s grave concern with the destabilizing threat posed by the imagination. 11 Specifically, Douglass suggests that an essential part of Hobbes’s political project is an attempt to purify the imagination of his readers and contemporaries from the various absurd and seditious images cultivated by the schoolmen and ambitious religious leaders and replace them with ideas and phantasms that are conducive to political order and stability. 12 In this, Douglass joins a growing group of scholars who not only recognize the potential threats posed by the imagination to the Leviathan state but also highlight the role of education in Hobbes’s attempt to combat its destabilizing potential. 13

This recent work has tremendously advanced our understanding of the role of imagination in Hobbes’s scientific and political thought. However, as I will argue in detail later in the paper, it has also underestimated the severity of the problem the imagination poses for Hobbes and, accordingly, has underestimated the length to which the Hobbesian sovereign will have to go in order to solve it. As we will see, the imagination poses a fundamental threat to a political order that is grounded in the monopoly over the means of violence and the subjects’ rational fear of death. Supplementing this rational fear with education, in order to purify the imagination and replace dangerous phantasms and ideas with other imaginaries conducive to order, is indeed a necessary aspect of Hobbes’s solution to the problems posed by the imagination. However, this strategy too is insufficient. This paper argues that given imagination’s central role in human epistemology and psychology, the problem it poses is sticky and cannot be entirely removed by means of education. Specifically, it shows that in Hobbes’s epistemology, it is incredibly hard to maintain the force and vividness of any impression produced by or imprinted on the imagination. Therefore, while supplementing the rational fear of death with the purification of the subjects’ imagination and the production of alternative imageries that will capture their minds is a necessary first step, it cannot ensure that the sovereign’s imagery will remain vivid and stable in the subjects’ imagination and withstand seditious attempts made by religious leaders, prophets, and other charismatic individuals.

This paper argues that in order to guard against the pervasive threat posed by the imagination, the Hobbesian sovereign will have to maintain his subjects in a ‘state of sleep,’ thus constituting them as ‘sleeping subjects.’ Drawing from Hobbes’s account of sleep and the operation of imagination during sleep, it identifies the conditions under which an image or imagery could remain stable in the human imagination and not lose its vividness in the face of other competing imageries and mental stimulations. During sleep, our senses are inactive, and therefore our mind receives no new sensual material input, and our imagination produces no new fancies. This paper develops a political analogy to this state of sleep, arguing that in order to keep the vividness and force of his imaginaries, the Hobbesian sovereign will have to maintain his subjects in a state of ‘political sleep.’ By maintaining a regime of strict censorship, the sovereign would attempt to prevent any new inputs from entering the subjects’ minds and thereby secure the products of his civic education against the threat of competing and subversive imaginaries. Thus, alternatively to Tuck’s argument in the Sleeping Sovereign, where the people as sovereign voluntarily enter a state of sleep and, accordingly, are able to awake as they please, 14 the conclusions of this paper suggest that this state of sleep is induced and enforced by the sovereign, and is designed so that it will be hard, if not impossible, to exit.

The rest of the paper is organized as follows. The first part provides a brief reconstruction of Hobbes’s theory of imagination as it appears in the early chapters of Leviathan. The second part shows that the imagination plays an important role in Hobbes’s broader political project. Specifically, it shows that the imagination poses a problem that is sticky and hard to solve. Having established the relationship between imagination and political instability, the third part offers a novel interpretation of Hobbes’s solution to the problem of the imagination. Providing a reconstruction of his account of sleep and the operation of the imagination during sleep, it argues that the Hobbesian sovereign can only solve the problem of the imagination by keeping his subjects in a state of ‘political sleep,’ thus constituting them as ‘sleeping subjects.’

1 The Imagination in Hobbes’s Epistemology and Psychology

To understand the threats posed by the imagination to political stability and Hobbes’s solution to this problem, we first ought to have a clear account of the role of imagination in Hobbes’s epistemology and psychology. 15 As I will argue in this section, the dual nature of the imagination in the political context—being both conducive and detrimental to order—reflects a more fundamental duality of this faculty in Hobbes’s epistemology and psychology. For Hobbes, the imagination is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it is a necessary aspect of the production of knowledge and is responsible for a set of positive psychological traits. On the other hand, it accounts for a number of negative and potentially destabilizing psychological attributes and explains both the unstable nature of human knowledge and human vulnerability to deception.

Hobbes devotes the first part of Leviathan to an outline of the foundations of his political theory and of his conception of human nature, a discussion where the faculty of imagination plays a central role. The first building blocks in this discussion are the senses and sense perception. What we view as sense perception is, according to Hobbes, the result of an external motion that causes pressure on one or more of the sense organs. This, in turn, leads to inner motions, pressure within the body, and then an internal movement away from the heart that results in seeming or fancy. Thus, argues Hobbes, “Sense in all cases, is nothing els but original fancy, caused by the pressure, that is, by the motion, of externall things upon our Eyes, Eares, and other organs thereunto ordained.” 16 The imagination, for Hobbes, is first and foremost the mental faculty that is responsible for the production of such fancies: the mental representation of sensual inputs that results in, for example, what we perceive as images and sounds. The power of the imagination, however, is not limited to the production of such ephemeral and vivid fancies. Instead, the mental representation that is created by the imagination retains some of its force, but as a “decaying sense” that losses its vividness as time passes. As such, “the longer the time is, after the sight, for Sense of any object, the weaker is the Imagination.” 17 This is, in part, due to the constant stimuli of the mind by external movements, such that “though the sense be past, the image or conception remaineth; but more obscurely while we are awake, because some object or other continually plieth and soliciteth our eyes, and ears, keeping the mind in a stronger motion, whereby the weaker doth not easily appear.” 18

In accordance with its role in sense perception, we find that the imagination is also central to Hobbes’s account of human understanding and knowledge. Understanding, for example, is defined as “the imagination that is raised in man […] by words, or other voluntary signes.” 19 By providing the first mental representation of external objects, the imagination thus appears as a necessary first step in the production of knowledge and understanding. While it is, in itself, subjective and somewhat fickle, it may be stabilized, systematized and organized by means of speech and other signs. Finally, Hobbes adds that the imagination is the source of all voluntary human motions. Following Hobbes’s previous set of definitions, we can see that because “voluntary motions depend alwayes upon a precedent thought […] it is evident, that the imagination is the first internall beginning of all Voluntary motion. 20 As such, Hobbes holds that the imagination is the source of various passions (such as glory and vainglory) and of men’s natural prudence and wit: two positive mental traits that are important for the capacity to leave the state of nature and to the argument in favor of an absolute monarchy. 21

While the imagination can be constructive and constitutive of knowledge—and is, in fact, a precondition for any kind of knowledge and understanding in general—it is also responsible for its unstable nature. And indeed, Hobbes is deeply concerned with the distortive potential of the imagination. In Leviathan, for example, he holds that the imagination might lead individuals to mistake visions and waking dreams as reality, since “even they that be perfectly awake, if they be timorous, and superstitious, possessed with fearful tales, and alone in the dark, are subject to the like fancies, and believe they see spirits and dead mens Ghosts walking in Church-yards.” 22 Similarly, in The Elements, Hobbes explains that “proceeding from the ignorance of what those things are which are called spectra, images that appear in the dark to children, and such as have strong fears, and other strong imaginations […] For taking them to be things really without us, like bodies, and seeing them to come and vanish so strangely as they do, unlike to bodies.” Unfortunately, many conclude such fancies to be spirits, “which is not the acknowledging of this truth: that spirits are; but a false opinion concerning the force of imagination.” 23

Given imagination’s potential for making humans more susceptible to deception, it plays into the hands of various seditious forces, especially religious institutions and figures. 24 For example, Hobbes argues that “from this ignorance of how to distinguish Dreams, and other strong Fancies, from Vision and Sense, did arise the greatest part of the Religion of the Gentiles in time past.” 25 Accordingly, Hobbes’s account of natural religion in chapter xii of the Leviathan implies that the imagination has an essential part in planting the “natural seeds” of religion in human nature and psychology. This is because at least two of the four natural seeds of religion—“opinion of ghosts” and “ignorance of second causes” 26 —owe their origin to the imagination.

As this discussion demonstrates, the imagination plays a central role in Hobbes’s epistemology and psychology. The multiple dimensions in which the imagination operates include both a narrow, mostly epistemic role—where the imagination is responsible for the mental representation of sense perception and is closely connected to both memory and understanding—and a broad, psychological role—where the imagination is the first beginning of all voluntary motions and is therefore the source of the various passions that arise from them. Hobbes does not offer a clear distinction between these different elements of the imagination, and often moves freely between the narrow and broad definitions. 27 What is clear, however, is that the imagination accounts not only for human knowledge and understanding, but also for their unstable nature, thus making humans more susceptible to deception and sedition. Given the centrality of the imagination to human nature, this dual nature represents a significant challenge to Hobbes’s political theory: the need to harness the positive elements of the imagination while constraining its negative potential.

2 Imagination and the Problem of Political Stability

If imagination is such a central mental faculty, should we not expect it to play a role in our social-political life, and, accordingly, in Hobbes’s construction of his political theory in the Leviathan? In the remainder of the paper, I will argue that the answer to this question is positive. Specifically, I will argue that the imagination represents a significant threat to political stability, a threat that the Hobbesian sovereign must try to overcome. Having established this, the next section introduces the concept of the ‘sleeping subject’ as Hobbes’s solution to the problem of imagination. Drawing from Hobbes’s account of sleep and the working of the imagination during sleep, I argue that by putting his subjects in a state of ‘political sleep,’ the Hobbesian sovereign may be able to neutralize the threat of the imagination while, at the same time, utilize the elements of the imagination that are conducive to order.

Hobbes’s account of the imagination suggests that this faculty carries both positive and negative potential effects on political stability. The ways in which the imagination may be conducive to political order and stability are only hinted in this paper. The stabilizing function of the imagination is most commonly associated with its ‘broad,’ psychological role, since fear, pride, and other human passions that originate from the imagination may lead men to accept political authority and respect the law. 28 Moreover, the longevity of the social contract itself, like any other covenant, depends on the active and continued use of the imagination to reaffirm the social bonds and the artificial unity of the citizens in the state. 29 Finally, just like the artificial political body, the artificial nature of the civil laws suggests that their existence depends, at least in part, on their representation by the imagination. 30

As we have already noted, however, the imagination appears to be a double-edged sword and is responsible for men’s fallibility and susceptibility to deception and sedition. The adverse and potentially destabilizing effects of the imagination cannot be ignored, especially in light of Hobbes’s awareness of the ease with which the human imagination can be captured by eloquent speakers or charismatic prophets. 31 The danger posed by such individuals is evident throughout the Leviathan, where Hobbes seems to be especially worried about the destabilizing potential of prophets and prophecy and what he considers to be false prophecies. In fact, he counts the belief in “supernatural inspiration” among the reasons for the dissolution of government and devotes a large part of Leviathan to discrediting the political and religious legitimacy of prophets. 32 The role of the imagination in generating this constant threat of disorder is made clear by Hobbes’s statement that “if this superstitious fear of Spirits were taken away, and with it, Prognostiques from Dreams, false Prophecies, and many other things depending thereon, by which, crafty ambitious persons abuse the simple people, men would be much more fitted than they are for civil Obedience.” 33 The danger posed by the imagination is so great that it seems to be responsible for at least a large portion of men’s tendency towards political disobedience. 34

The multiple threats posed by the imagination to political stability suggest that the monopoly over the means of violence and the rational fear of violent death cannot, by themselves, secure the legitimacy of the sovereign and the obedience of the subjects. 35 Thus, accounting for Hobbes’s theory of the imagination and the threats posed by the imagination calls into question traditional interpretations of Hobbes that highlight his belief in the rationality of human actors and his assumption that the end of human actions is nothing more than utility maximization and self-preservation, and thus assume that the problem of order can be solved on the grounds of rational fear of death and prudent egoism. 36 While these are certainly necessary elements in a stable Hobbesian sovereignty, they simply cannot secure the legitimacy and longevity of the state in the face of threats that are wholly irrational, immaterial, and imaginary.

Thus understood, the human imagination and the ability of eloquent individuals to take advantage of it pose a serious challenge to the Hobbesian sovereign and to his ability to provide stability and security. How did Hobbes attempt to solve this problem? More specifically, if his argument depends so heavily on human fear as the chief motivating force for obedience, while assuming that irrational fears have a stronger grip on the human imagination than the rational fear of the earthly punishment of the sovereign, how can we view his political conclusions as providing us with a plausible solution to the endemic problems they aim to solve?

In a recent study, Douglass offers a very persuasive solution to this problem. According to him, Hobbes attempted to neutralize the threat posed by the imagination to political stability not only by securing the monopoly over the means of violence and the threat of violent death, but also by purifying the imagination of his readers and contemporaries from the various absurd and seditious images cultivated by the schoolmen and ambitious religious leaders and replacing them with ideas and phantasms that are conducive to political order and stability. 37 In this, Douglass joins a significant group of scholars who argue that Hobbes saw education as an important supplement to the traditional monopoly over the means of violence and the threat of violent death. 38 Lloyd, for example, has demonstrated how for Hobbes “virtually all social disorder is the result of bad education.” At the same time, Hobbes believed that “human beings are quite malleable” such that all of their passions, desires, appetites, and aversions can be affected and altered through education. Therefore, Lloyd concludes that the Hobbesian sovereign must redirect the human imagination “in ways that reinforce, rather than undermine, social stability.” 39 Most recently, Bejan has made a strong case for the relationship between imagination and education in Hobbes’s thought and in his attempt to secure political stability. According to her, to ensure obedience and secure order and stability, Hobbes’s civic education aims not only to combat the influence of dangerous doctrines but also to “imprint” certain ideas and images in the minds of the subjects and thereby to capture their imagination. 40

Together, these accounts highlight a powerful solution to the threat posed by imagination to political stability and an important addition to the traditional depiction of the Hobbesian sovereign’s authority. Most importantly, they reveal how Hobbes’s solution to this problem includes, first, an effort to purify the subjects’ imagination of various harmful and potentially destabilizing imaginaries—such as incorporeal substance and spirits, separate essences, and the immortality of the soul. 41 According to Douglass and others, this strategy of purification depends primarily on the teaching of Leviathan itself. By ensuring that the Hobbesian text and its scientific principles will be taught throughout the universities, the sovereign will correct the various theological and scientific false beliefs and thus guard against the dangers they pose. 42 Secondly, they demonstrate how Hobbes’s solution also includes the attempt to replace these dangerous phantasms with other, stable imaginaries produced by the sovereign. As several scholars demonstrated in detail, the terrifying and vivid image of the state of nature can be viewed precisely as the kind of imaginary to be produced by the sovereign and imprinted on the minds of the subjects. It aims to capture the subjects’ imagination and, as Evrigenis argues, to constantly remind them “that the threat of a perpetual relapse into a condition of anarchy and equality that is ‘solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short’ is mankind’s inheritance from Adam’s lapse.” 43

Hobbes acknowledges the role played by imagination in every basic human behavior, and the potential threat it poses to political order. Therefore, the strategy of purification and education seems like a necessary addition to the traditional view of Hobbesian sovereignty. However, is this a sufficient solution to the threats posed by the imagination? Even if the sovereign will be able to purify his subjects’ minds and construct a strong enough imagery that will capture their imagination, how can he make sure that this imagery and its hold over the subjects’ imagination will remain strong and effective throughout time? How can it endure in the face of the constant threat of alternative subversive imaginaries?

Hobbes’s theory of the imagination suggests that this is not an easy problem to solve. As we already saw, the mental representation that is created by the imagination is not stable. Instead, it retains some of its force, but as a “decaying sense” that losses its vividness as time passes. As such, “the longer the time is, after the sight, for Sense of any object, the weaker is the Imagination.” 44 Even more so, the constant stream of external stimulation means that it is not easy to retain a stable and vivid mental image for a long time. As Hobbes explains, “though the sense be past, the image or conception remaineth; but more obscurely while we are awake, because some object or other continually plieth and soliciteth our eyes, and ears, keeping the mind in a stronger motion, whereby the weaker doth not easily appear.” 45 Therefore, given the nature of the imagination and its relation to sensual impression, the things ‘imprinted’ on the imagination may not remain fixed or imprinted for long. 46 First, a given imaginary tends to decay as time passes; and second, other motions constantly disturb the mind, thereby introducing new fancies and imaginaries at the expense of the previous ones.

While previous work has accurately identified the problem posed by the imagination to the Hobbesian sovereign and to political order, it has nonetheless underestimated the severity of the problem and, accordingly, has underestimated the length to which the Hobbesian sovereign will have to go in order to solve it. Douglass, for example, correctly identifies that the Leviathan is designed to solve the problem of imagination by first, “effacing the dark images from the minds of men” and second, by “ingraining” a new imagery: “the imagery of the mortal God and the mighty Leviathan.” 47 This proposed solution, however, does not consider the unstable nature of the imagination and thus does not account for how such new imagery could be kept stable in the mind of the subjects. Bejan has noticed this difficulty, and the fact that “even the deepest and most painful impressions” are impermanent. Thus, Bejan holds that the Hobbesian sovereign must provide continual instruction. “Reproduced through mass media and repeated ad nauseum from the pulpit,” she explains, “they would remind the people of their duty once the memory of civil war had faded.” 48

As I argued above, however, the instability of the imagination results not only from the fact that a given imaginary decays as time passes, but also “because some object or other continually plieth and soliciteth our eyes, and ears, keeping the mind in a stronger motion.” To maintain the stability of the sovereign’s imaginary in the subjects’ mind, there is a need not only for continual instruction, but also for preventing other motions from disturbing the subjects’ mind and introducing new and potentially subversive imaginaries. To ensure that the sovereign’s imaginaries—such as the state of nature—will remain stable and vivid in the subject’s mind, there is a need for an additional step. Simply put, this next step requires the sovereign to keep his subjects in a state of ‘political sleep’—preventing any kind of new inputs from disturbing their imagination—thus constituting them as ‘sleeping subjects.’ As I will argue in the next section, this additional step utilizes strict censorship in order to limit the proliferation of other stimuli that may disturb the subjects’ imagination and introduce new and subversive imaginaries.

3 The Sleeping Subject: Hobbes’s Solution to the Problem of the Imagination

In chapter vii of De Cive, when outlining the ways in which a time-limited monarchy might be created, Hobbes remarks that “a king who is going to sleep for a while gives sovereign power to someone else to exercise, and takes it back when he wakes up; just so a people, on the election of a temporary Monarch, retains the right of meeting again at a certain time and place, and on that day resumes its power.” 49 In his recent book The Sleeping Sovereign, Richard Tuck utilizes this statement to produce a powerful political analogy to the state of sleep that gives the book its title. Using the analogy of the ‘sleeping sovereign,’ Tuck argues that we find in Hobbes a restatement of the Bodinian distinction between sovereign and government, together with the further claim that “elective monarchs were indeed not sovereign: all the elective monarchies of Europe were (by implication) really either aristocracies or democracies.” While the sovereign people might be in a state of sleep, “the power of the sovereign was not conditional upon his choosing to use it […] Instead it was conditional on the possibility (the potentia) of the sovereign being able at some point to assert his superiority to his ministers.” 50 This claim, in turn, offers strong support for Tuck’s project of identifying the conceptual distinction between sovereignty and government as a precondition for the later emergence of the modern idea of democracy. Thus, it fits well with a more tolerant and liberal depiction of Hobbes, one that has become increasingly common. 51

As I will argue in this section, however, Hobbes’s radical solution to the threats posed by the imagination calls into question such tolerant and liberal readings of his work. 52 In fact, this solution—maintaining the subjects in a state of ‘political sleep’ by preventing any kind of new inputs from disturbing their imagination—suggests that the citizens of the Leviathan state are not sleeping sovereigns, but rather sleeping subjects.

To understand this claim, we first need to reconstruct Hobbes’s account of the mental state of sleep and the working of the imagination during sleep. In Leviathan, Hobbes argues that since our sense perception is inactive in our sleep, dreams must be a sort of passive imagination: a reappearance of our waking impressions that results from agitation of inner organs. 53 This process is explained in more detail in The Elements, where we are told that

when present sense is not [active], as in SLEEP, there the image remaining after sense (when there be any) as in dreams, are not obscure, but strong and clear, as in sense itself. The reason is, because that which obscured and made the conception weak, namely sense, and present operation of the objects, is removed. For sleep is the privation of the act of sense, (the power remaining) and dreams are the imaginations of them that sleep. 54

Recalling Hobbes’s account of sense perception, we know that the only source of the production of fancies by the imagination is the movement of external material objects. Thus, the fact that we experience similar fancies in our sleep cannot be explained by Hobbes in any way other than the human mind’s capacity to retain the fancies that were produced while the senses were awakened.

Interestingly, however, the fact that we are asleep does not make these fancies and imageries less vivid. Indeed, we might experience them as clearer and more real than we do when we are awake. Thus, argues Hobbes, “a man can never know he dreameth; he may dream he doubteth, whether it may be a DREAM or no: but the clearness of the imagination representeth everything with as many parts as doth sense itself, and consequently, he can take notice of nothing but as present.” 55 As we saw, while we are awake our mind and imagination are constantly pressured by an innumerable array of external motions. Since each of these external motions leads to an internal endeavor and the production of another fancy, this constant stream of external inputs means that a vivid fancy or imaginary are hard to maintain. When we are asleep, however, our senses are inactive and thus do not react to external inputs. And, as Hobbes concludes in the Leviathan, “saving that the Organs of Sense being now benummed, so as there is no new object, which can master and obscure them with a more vigorous impression, a Dreame must needs be more cleare, in this silence of sense, than our waking imaginations. 56

Thus, we can utilize our understanding of Hobbes’s conception of the state of sleep and the working of the imagination during sleep to draw a political analogy to this state, one that can provide us with a solution to the problem of maintaining the vividness of the sovereign’s imagery. To solve this problem, the sovereign will first have to produce a powerful imaginary, one that will be able to capture the mind of his subjects. As discussed above, the state of nature and the fiction of the body politic can be viewed as such an imaginary. Then, to ensure that this imaginary will remain vivid and stable in the subjects’ minds and withstand the potential disturbing effect of competing imaginaries, the sovereign ought to keep his subjects in a state of ‘political sleep.’ As we learned, Hobbes’s conceptual framework of sleep amounts to the numbing of senses that prevents any new inputs from reaching the mind. The lack of new sensual input during sleep ensures the stability of the previous impressions, since “the Organs of Sense being now benummed, so as there is no new object, which can master and obscure them with a more vigorous impression. 57 Accordingly, to induce a state of political sleep and secure the stability and vividness of the sovereign’s imagery, the sovereign will need not only to purify the subjects’ imagination and introduce new and stable imaginaries by means of continual education, but also to prevent the appearance of any kind of alternative external inputs—of the kind that may obscure the vividness of the sovereign’s imaginaries and introduce new, subversive imaginaries—thus transforming the commonwealth’s citizens into ‘sleeping subjects.’

The idea of ‘political sleep’ and the ‘sleeping subject’ corresponds well with some of the least liberal aspects of Hobbes’s political doctrine. Most importantly, it is reflected in and sheds additional light on Hobbes’s insistence on the need for strict censorship, 58 as the attempt to solve the problem posed by the imagination provides a powerful justification for the need for such censorship. Hobbes explains that “sense, memory, understanding, reason, and opinion are not in our power to change; but alwaies, and necessarily such, as the things we see, hear, and consider suggest unto us; and therefore are not effects of our will, but our will of them.” 59 For this reason, and given how “the things we see, hear, and consider” directly operate on our imagination, the Hobbesian sovereign will be justified in maintaining a strict regime of censorship. Such policy appears most clearly in Hobbes’s claim that “it is annexed to the Soveraignty, to be Judge of what opinions and Doctrines are averse, and what conducing to Peace; and consequently, on what occasions, how farre, and what, men are to be trusted withall, in speaking to Multitudes of people; and who shall examine the Doctrines of all bookes before they be published.” 60

The proliferation of doctrines in both books and public speaking represents, within our framework, political ‘inputs’ that can potentially disturb the subjects’ state of sleep and produce a new stream of stimuli that could challenge and destabilize the image induced by the sovereign. Hobbes argues, for example, that “as to Rebellion in particular against Monarchy; one of the most frequent causes of it, is the Reading of the books of Policy, and Histories of the ancient Greeks and Romans.” These books are an example of potential inputs that may obscure the vividness of the sovereign’s imaginary and produce other, competing and subversive imaginaries. Such alternative political inputs, Hobbes explains, may cause the subjects to “imagine their great prosperity, not to have proceeded from the æmulation of particular men, but from the vertue of their popular forme of government,” and accordingly are denounced by Hobbes as nothing less than “Venime” or the “biting of a mad Dogge.” 61 As such, they may disturb the subjects’ state of ‘political sleep,’ and risk instability and unrest, and therefore must be limited or excluded entirely.

As we saw, the problems posed by the imagination call into question the sufficiency of the monopoly over the means of violence, the rational fear of death, and the purification of the imagination and the introduction of stable imaginaries by means of continual education in providing a solution to the problem of political order. As we see now, accounting for the full complexity of the problem posed by the imagination and the length to which the Hobbesian sovereign will have to go in order to solve it also calls into question a more liberal and tolerant depiction of Hobbes. Scholars who advocate for a more tolerant interpretation of Hobbes argue, for example, that Hobbes’s causes for intolerance are limited to the kinds of religious institutions that may pose an explicit challenge to the sovereign’s authority. 62 Accordingly, it has been argued that Hobbes’s concerns with uniformity of belief are directed only towards public expressions and actions, and are not meant to prevent certain kinds of private worship or to regulate the inner beliefs and thoughts of the subjects. 63 Similarly, the more liberal interpretation of Hobbes typically stresses not only Hobbes’s ‘proto-liberal’ use of ideas such as natural rights and natural equality, but also the importance of public reason to his political theory—an ideal that is considered central to liberal thought, especially since Rawls. 64

The problems posed by the imagination and the radical solution that they require—what I called here the ‘sleeping subject’—call into question the extent to which such a proto-liberal and tolerant depiction of Hobbes can be reconciled with his commitment to securing the stability of the commonwealth. As we saw, in order to constitute the citizens as ‘sleeping subjects,’ the sovereign will have to maintain a strict regime of censorship: to restrict the kind of inputs that operate on the subjects’ imagination and can thereby obscure the vividness of the imagery imprinted on their minds by means of education. As such, the idea of the ‘sleeping subject’ seems to resemble an authoritarian political order rather than a proto-liberal constitutional arrangement. 65

At the same time, the idea of the sleeping subject may also explain Hobbes’s statements regarding private freedom of thought and belief. The important idea here is that within the strict limitation imposed by the forced state of political sleep, the subjects may be entirely free to think, believe, and act as they wish. By limiting the sources that can potentially disrupt the sovereign’s imaginary and take hold of the subjects’ minds and given the well-established monopoly over the means of violence, it is hard to think of any additional dangers to the stability of the commonwealth, and thus it may be reasonable to allow for a higher degree of toleration in the private realm. Thus, very much in line with Skinner’s reconstruction of Hobbes’s concept of liberty as freedom within the boundaries of the law, 66 we may conclude that the sleeping subject may enjoy a considerable measure of liberty, but this liberty is well confined within the boundaries of the sovereign’s imaginary and the subjects’ state of sleep.

4 Conclusions

Combining these ideas provides us with additional important insights into Hobbes’s political solution to the problem of the imagination. Hobbes takes the human imagination as a given and shapes and structures his political theory in a way that will reflect it and deal with its effects. As we saw, purifying the subjects’ imagination and replacing the dangerous and subversive imageries with ones that are conducive to order and stability represent a necessary but insufficient solution to the problems posed by the imagination. Given the nature of the imagination, it is hard (if not impossible) to maintain the vividness and force of any impression produced by or imprinted on the imagination. To ensure that the sovereign’s imagery will remain stable and vivid, the Hobbesian sovereign must maintain his subjects in a state of ‘political sleep.’ He would do so by establishing a strict regime of censorship, one that will allow him to limit and control the ‘inputs’—such as books and public speeches—that may potentially disrupt the imagination and to combat and silence any alternative imageries that may compete against the sovereign’s imagery and thus endanger social unity, peace, and political stability.

By reconstructing Hobbes’s account of sleep and the operation of the imagination during sleep, this paper argued that the Hobbesian sovereign who seeks to solve the problem of the imagination must maintain his subjects in a ‘state of sleep,’ preventing any kind of alternative imagery from entering their mind and thereby disrupting the social order. Alternatively to Tuck’s argument in the Sleeping Sovereign, where the people as sovereign voluntarily enter a state of sleep and, accordingly, are able to awake as they please, 67 the conclusions of this paper suggest that this state of sleep is induced and enforced by the sovereign, and is designed so that it will be hard, if not impossible, to exit. Hence the idea of the ‘sleeping subject’ is indicative of an authoritarian political order rather than a proto-liberal constitutional arrangement. Controlling both the material means of coercion and the power of the imagination, Hobbes might have constructed an unchallenged political authority, and a truly absolute sovereignty.

This essay benefitted from discussions at the London Summer School in Intellectual History, the Harvard Graduate Student Conference in Political Theory and the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association. For reading and providing feedback on earlier drafts, thanks go to Jackie Basu, Kevin Eliot, Ashly Fabrizio, Liam Klein, Natali Levin Schwartz, Matthew Nestler, Josiah Ober, Philip Petrov, Rob Reich, Yosef Schwartz, Daniel Slate and Chloe Stowell. The paper also benefited greatly from the generous feedback and guidance of Deborah Baumgold and the Hobbes Studies’ two anonymous reviewers. I am enormously grateful to Alison McQueen for providing thoughtful and insightful feedback and suggestions on numerous drafts of this essay.

1

John Bramhall, “The Catching of Leviathan or The Great Whale,” in The Works of John Bramhall (London: J. H. Parker, 1844), 516 (italics added).

2

For example, Plato, “Republic”, in Plato’s Complete Works, ed. John M. Cooper (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1997), 510d–e, 601b.

3

Giafrancesco Pico Della Mirandola, On the Imagination, trans. Harry Caplan (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1930), 55–57.

4

Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1905), 339.

5

Burton, Anatomy, 350, 430.

6

On the ‘more tolerant Hobbes,’ see Richard Tuck, “Hobbes and Locke on Toleration,” in Thomas Hobbes and Political Theory, ed. Mary Dietz (Lawrence: The University Press of Kansas, 1990); Alan Ryan, “A More Tolerant Hobbes?” in Justifying Toleration, ed. S. Mendus (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988); Alan Ryan, “Hobbes, Toleration, and the Inner Life,” in The Nature of Political Theory, eds. David Miller and Larry Siedentop (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983); and Edwin Curley, “Hobbes and the Cause of Religious Toleration,” in The Cambridge Companion to Hobbes’s Leviathan, ed. Patricia Springborg (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007). Claims about the ‘more liberal Hobbes’ typically focus on the manifestation of the liberal ideal of public reason in his work. See, for example, Jeremy Waldron, “Hobbes: Truth, Publicity, and Civil Doctrine,” in Philosophers on Education: Historical Perspectives, ed. Amelie O. Rorty (London and New York: Routledge, 1998); David Gauthier, “Public Reason,” Social Philosophy and Policy 12 (1995); and Mark E. Button, Contract, Culture, and Citizenship: Transformative Liberalism from Hobbes to Rawls (University Park: Penn State University Press, 2010).

7

Jean Hampton, Hobbes and the Social Contract Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986); David Gauthier, The Logic of Leviathan: The Moral and Political Theory of Thomas Hobbes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969); and Gregory Kavka, Hobbesian Moral and Political Theory (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986).

8

For example, much of the recent work on Hobbes has highlighted his concern with the passions, his interest in the art of rhetoric, and the tension between this interest and his commitment to the scientific method. See Joshua Cohen, “Getting Past Hobbes,” in Hobbes Today: Insights for the 21st Century, ed. S. A. Lloyd (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013); Julie E. Cooper, “Vainglory, Modesty, and Political Agency in the Political Theory of Thomas Hobbes,” The Review of Politics 72 (2010): 241–269; Bryan Garsten, Saving Persuasion: A Defense of Rhetoric and Judgment (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009); Quentin Skinner, Reason and Rhetoric in the Philosophy of Hobbes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996); and David Johnston, The Rhetoric of Leviathan: Thomas Hobbes and the Politics of Cultural Transformation (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986). Furthermore, a growing body of literature turns our attention to the religious aspects of Hobbes’s work, and to his concern with transcendent religious interests, religious prophecies and apocalyptic visions, and ­religious enthusiasm. See Aloysius P. Martinich, The Two Gods of Leviathan: Thomas Hobbes on Religion and Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992); Paul D. Cooke, Hobbes and Christianity: Reassessing the Bible in Leviathan (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 1996); Jeffrey R. Collins, The Allegiance of Thomas Hobbes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005); Devin Stauffer, Hobbes’s Kingdom of Light: A Study of the Foundation of Modern Political Philosophy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018); Laurens van Apeldoorn and Robin Douglass, eds., Hobbes on Politics and Religion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018); S. A. Lloyd, Ideals as Interests in Hobbes’s Leviathan: The Power of Mind over Matter (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992); Alison McQueen, Political Realism in Apocalyptic Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017); and Kinch Hoekstra, “Disarming the Prophets: Thomas Hobbes and Predictive Power,” Rivista di Storia Della Filosofia 1(2004).

9

Dennis Sepper, “Imagination, Phantasms, and the Making of Hobbesian and Cartesian ­Science,” The Monist 71, no. 4 (1988); Juhana Lemetti, “The Most Natural and the Most Artificial: Hobbes on Imagination,” Hobbes Studies 17 (2005); and Juhana Lemetti, Imagination and Diversity in The Philosophy of Hobbes (Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 2006).

10

Hoekstra, “Disarming the Prophets,” 140; Lloyd, Ideals as Interests, 244; and Johnston, Rhetoric of Leviathan, 99–103.

11

Cees Leijenhorst, “Sense and Nonsense about Sense: Hobbes and the Aristotelians on Sense Perception and Imagination,” in The Cambridge Companion to Hobbes’s Leviathan, ed. Patricia Springborg (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007); and Robin Douglass, “The Body Politic ‘Is a Fictitious Body’: Hobbes on Imagination and Fiction,” Hobbes Studies 27 (2014).

12

Douglass, “Body Politic,” 134–139.

13

Lloyd, Ideals as Interests; Johnston, Rhetoric of Leviathan; Teresa M. Bejan, “Teaching the Leviathan: Thomas Hobbes on Education,” Oxford Review of Education 36, 5 (2010); and Teresa M. Bejan, “First Impressions: Hobbes on Religion, Education, and the Metaphor of Imprinting,” in Hobbes on Politics and Religion, eds. Laurens van Apeldoorn and Robin Douglass (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018).

14

See, for example Richard Tuck, The Sleeping Sovereign: The Invention of Modern Democracy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), 91, 94.

15

This section provides only a brief outline of Hobbes’s theory of imagination. For a more comprehensive discussion, see Sepper, “Imagination, Phantasms”; Lemetti, Imagination and Diversity; and Douglass, “Body Politic.” For a further discussion of Hobbes’s early theory of mind and its context, see especially Alexandra Chadwick, “From Soul to Mind in Hobbes’s The Elements of Law,” History of European Ideas 46, no. 3 (2020).

16

A clear and important implication of this theory is that what we perceive, and the objects of our perception are not identical. Indeed, Hobbes explicitly argues that “the object is one thing, the image or fancy is another” (Leviathan, ed. Noel Malcolm [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2012], p. 24 [3]). This argument is developed more fully in The Elements, where Hobbes holds that “whatsoever accidents or qualities our senses make us think there be in the world, they are not there, but are seemings and apparitions only. The things that really are in the world without us, are those motions by which these seemings are caused. And this is the great deception of sense, which also is by sense to be corrected” (The Elements of Law: Natural and Politic [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008], p. 26 [ch. 2, §4]). It is based on a prior distinction that Hobbes makes in The Elements between an “accident” and a “conception” of bodily things. The former represents the thing in itself, what it actually is or has, whereas the latter is what we perceive of the thing as a phenomenon (p. 24 [ch. 2, §5]). For comprehensive analyses of this argument, see Leijenhorst, “Sense and Nonsense,” and Jeffrey Barnouw, “Hobbes’s Causal Account of Sensation,” Journal of the History of Philosophy 18, no. 2 (1980).

17

Hobbes, Leviathan, p. 28 [4].

18

Hobbes, Elements of Law, p. 27 [ch. 3, §1]. Hobbes’s definition of memory is based on similar logic. Memory is defined as “decaying imagination,” and Hobbes argues that “Imagination and Memory are but one thing, which for divers considerations hath divers names” (Leviathan, p. 28 [4]).

19

Hobbes, Leviathan, p. 36 [7]. See also Elements of Law, p. 35 [ch. 5, §1] and Leviathan, p. 50 [12].

20

Hobbes, Leviathan, p. 78 [23] (italics added).

21

Hobbes, Leviathan, pp. 42 [9], 104 [32].

22

Hobbes, Leviathan, p. 34 [7].

23

Hobbes, Elements of Law, pp. 66–67 [ch. 6, §5–6].

24

Douglass, “Body Politic,” 136–137; Hoekstra, “Disarming the Prophets”; and McQueen, Political Realism, 123–124. This might be a particular case of what Blau identifies as Hobbes’s conception of cognitive corruption and its relationship to political corruption, sedition, and instability (Adrian Blau, “Hobbes on Corruption,” History of Political Thought 30, no. 4 [2009]).

25

Hobbes, Leviathan, p. 34 [7].

26

Hobbes, Leviathan, p. 170 [54].

27

As Leijenhorst notes, “Hobbes does not make an absolute distinction between sense perception and imagination, not even between the several forms of the imagination” (“Sense and Nonsense,” 100).

28

See, for example, Hobbes’s statement that since “the force of Words, being […] too weak to hold men to the performance of their Covenants; there are in mans nature, but two imaginable helps to strengthen it. And those are either a Feare of the consequence of breaking their word; or a Glory, or Pride in appearing not to need to break it” (Leviathan, p. 216 [70]).

29

The dependency of representation on the imagination is demonstrated once again when Hobbes refers to things that are incapable of representation as “things, that are incapable of being represented by Fiction” (Leviathan, p. 246 [16], italics added). For a comprehensive discussion of Hobbes’s theory of representation and fiction, see Quentin Skinner, “Hobbes and the Purely Artificial Person of the State,” The Journal of Political Philosophy 7, no. 1 (1999); Quentin Skinner, From Humanism to Hobbes: Studies in Rhetoric and Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018); and Deborah Baumgold, Hobbes’s Political Theory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 45–47. For an exploration of the role played by imagination in this theory, see Douglass, “Body Politic,” 128–133.

30

Hobbes, Leviathan, p. 328 [108].

31

The link between eloquence and imagination is made clear in The Elements. There, Hobbes explains that “another use of speech is INSTIGATION and APPEASING, by which we increase or diminish one another’s passions; it is the same thing with persuasion.” This effect of eloquent speech and of the speaker’s ability to control and manipulate the audience’s emotional response is closely related to the imagination and the making of images: “in raising passion from opinion, it is no matter whether the opinion be true or false, or the narration historical or fabulous. For not truth, but image, maketh passion” (p. 76 [ch. 14. §7], italics added).

32

Hobbes, Leviathan, p. 502 [168]. For example, he argues that “to say he hath seen a vision, or heard a voice, is to say that he hath dreamed between sleeping and waking; for in such manner a man doth many times naturally take his dream for a vision, as not having well observed his own slumbering”; and he devises a series of tests (namely, the performance of miracles and not teaching against the public religion) that allows us to validate the authenticity of the prophet (Leviathan, p. 580 [196]). For a further exploration of Hobbes’s conception of prophecy as part of his broader religious and scriptural argument, see Hoekstra, “Disarming the Prophets”; George Kateb, “Hobbes and the Irrationality of ­Politics,” Political Theory 17, no. 3 (1989); and Meirav Jones, “‘My Highest Priority Was to Absolve the Divine Laws’: The Theory and Political of Hobbes’s Leviathan in a War of Religion,” Political Studies 65, no. 1 (2017).

33

Hobbes, Leviathan, p. 34 [7].

34

The relationship between the imagination and the potential threat of subversive doctrines is made clear, for example, in Hobbes’s account of the reasons for the English Civil War in his Behemoth. There, he is extremely concerned with the ways in which the clergy was able to “make the people believe, there was a power in the Pope and clergy, which they ought to submit unto, rather than to the commands of their own Kings.” This belief in the power of religious figures, as we saw above, was often grounded in various irrational fears and superstitious beliefs, which are themselves the product of the imagination. Taking advantage of the human imagination, then, allowed the Pope and clergy to undermine the sovereign and establish themselves as alternative sources of authority. Thus, argues Hobbes, “For the power of the mighty hath no foundation but in the opinion and belief of the people. And the end which the pope had in multiplying sermons, was no other but to prop and enlarge his own authority over all Christian Kings and States” (Behemoth; or, The Long Parliament, ed. Ferdinand Tönnies [Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1990], pp. 13–16, italics added).

35

As David Johnston argues, “fear of death is the ultimate basis of sovereign power and the ultimate inducement for men to remain at peace with one another. If men allow their imagination to subordinate their fear of death to any other passion or end, the whole basis of sovereign power and civil peace is destroyed” (Rhetoric of Leviathan, 121).

36

Hampton, Social Contract Tradition; Gauthier, Logic of Leviathan; and Kavka, Moral and Political Theory. These positions represent what Lloyd has called the “standard philosophical interpretation” of Hobbes and share some resemblance to what Baumgold called the “orthodox paradigm” in the study of Hobbes. According to Lloyd, such interpretations hold “that Hobbes intended to derive a necessary form of political organization from fundamentally egoistic human nature, that Hobbes was a moral subjectivist or relativist, that the essentials of Hobbes’s theory can be captured without reference to religious interests, that political obligation is solely prudentially based, that might makes order, and correspondingly that fear of death and the desire for self-preservation are the strongest motivating forces” (Lloyd, Ideals as Interests, 7; see also Baumgold, Hobbes’s Political Theory, 5–10).

37

Douglass argues, for example, that Hobbes was not only concerned with “dethroning the false ideas that men have of certain theological concepts,” but that his aim was to “eradicate the images employed by religious authorities over men as instruments of fear and power.” Thus, he argues that “once the images of demons and eternal torment have been displaced from the minds of men, the space is open for Hobbes to impress upon them the fiction of the body politic,” a fiction that is conducive to order and stability (“Body Politic,” 134–139; for a similar position, see Leijenhorst, “Sense and Nonsense,” 102).

38

Johnston, Rhetoric of Leviathan; Richard Tuck, “Hobbes on Education,” in Philosophers on Education, ed. Amélie Oksenberg Rorty (London and New York: Routledge, 1998); Lloyd, Ideals as Interests; Bejan, “Teaching the Leviathan”; Bejan, “First Impressions;” and Geoffrey M. Vaughan, Behemoth Teaches Leviathan: Thomas Hobbes on Political Education (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2002).

39

Lloyd, Ideals as Interests, 160–162, 221.

40

Bejan, “Teaching the Leviathan,” 318.

41

On incorporeal substances and spirits, see Lloyd, Ideals as Interests, 244; Johann P. Sommerville, Thomas Hobbes: Political Ideas in Historical Context (Houndmills: Macmillan, 1992), 156; Antoni Malet, “The Power of Images: Mathematics and Metaphysics in Hobbes’s Optics,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 32, no. 2 (2001): 307; and Douglass, “Body Politic,” 134–135. On separate essences, see Gianni Paganini, “Hobbes’s Critique of the Doctrine of Essences and its Sources,” in The Cambridge Companion to Hobbes’s Leviathan, ed. Patricia Springborg (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007). And on the immortality of the soul, see David Johnston, “Hobbes’s Mortalism,” History of Political Thought 10, no. 4 (1989).

42

See, for example, Douglass, “Body Politic,” 146; Bejan, “First Impressions,” 57; Leijenhorst, “Sense and Nonsense,” 83; and Lloyd, Ideals as Interests, 207–212.

43

Ioannis D. Evrigenis, Images of Anarchy: The Rhetoric and Science in Hobbes’s State of ­Nature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 178. See also Douglass, “Body ­Politic,” 143; and McQueen, Political Realism, 142–143.

44

Hobbes, Leviathan, p. 28 [4].

45

Hobbes, Elements of Law, p. 27 [ch. 3, §1].

46

For example, in the work of Descartes—Hobbes’s contemporary who shared many of his interests in optics and epistemology—the concept of ‘imprinting’ (imprimer) is associated with immediate and ephemeral sensual perception, and not with a stable or permanent mental impression or image. Thus, in the terminological context of seventeenth-century science, it is not unlikely that the idea of ‘imprinting’ does not correspond to the long-term stability of any imprinted impression or image (Rene Descartes, “Traité de l’homme,” in Oeuvres de Descartes, vol. 11, ed. C. Adam and P. Tannery [Paris: Vrin/cnrs, 1648], 176).

47

Douglass, “Body Politic,” 138–139.

48

Bejan, “First Impressions,” 57–59.

49

Thomas Hobbes, On the Citizen, eds. and trans. Richard Tuck and Michael Silverthorne (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 100 [7].

50

Tuck, Sleeping Sovereign, 91, 94.

51

Tuck, “Hobbes and Locke”; Ryan, “A More Tolerant Hobbes?”; Ryan, “Hobbes, Toleration,”; Curley, “Cause of Religious Toleration”; Waldron, “Hobbes: Truth, publicity”; Gauthier, “Public Reason”; and Button, Contract, Culture.

52

Bejan’s discussion of the imagination, imprinting, and education in Hobbes’s political thought reaches a similar conclusion, and provides a strong critique of such tolerant and liberal readings of his work (“First Impressions” and “Teaching the Leviathan”).

53

Hobbes, Leviathan, p. 30 [6]; see also Angus Gowland, “Melancholy, Imagination, and Dreaming in Renaissance Learning,” in Diseases of the Imagination and Imaginary Disease in the Early Modern Period, ed. Yasmin Haskell (Turnhout: Brepols, 2011), 48–49; and Lemetti, “The Most Natural,” 55–56.

54

Hobbes, Elements of Law, p. 27 [ch. 3, §1]. In fact, Hobbes goes as far as arguing that given some sort of original sense impression, we are able to maintain the original fancy in our imagination completely independently of the material world: “there be in our minds continually certain images or conceptions of the things without us, insomuch that if a man could be alive, and all the rest of the world annihilated, he should nevertheless retain the image thereof, and of all those things which he had before seen and perceived in it” (p. 22 [ch. 2, §8]).

55

Hobbes, Leviathan, p. 22 [ch. 2, §8].

56

Hobbes, Leviathan, p. 30 [6], italics added. While the English translation of the Leviathan concludes this sentence with “our waking thoughts,” the Latin text refers to our waking “imaginations” (quam sunt Imaginationes vigilantium).

57

Hobbes, Leviathan, p. 30 [6], italics added.

58

For a critical evaluation of these elements of Hobbesian education and their relationship to liberal ideals, see especially Lloyd, “Coercion, Ideology, and Education in Leviathan,” in Reclaiming the History of Ethics: Essays for John Rawls, ed. Andrews Reath, Barbara Herman, and Christina M. Korsgaard (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997).

59

Hobbes, Leviathan, 578 [196].

60

Hobbes, Leviathan, 272 [91]. Elsewhere he argues that “It is absolutely necessary, both in kingdoms and in republics, to take care lest disorders and civil wars occur. And since these are most often generated by differences of doctrine and intellectual wrangling, there must be some restraint, in the form of punishment, on those who teach, in books or sermons, things whose teaching the laws of the prince or republic prohibit” (“Historical Narration Concerning Heresy,” in Leviathan, ed. Edwin Curley [Indianapolis: Hackett, 1994], 526).

61

Hobbes, Leviathan, pp. 506–8 [170–172], italics added.

62

Curley, “Cause of Religious Toleration,” 311.

63

Ryan, “A More Tolerant Hobbes?” 50; Ryan, “Hobbes, Toleration,” 206; and Tuck, “Hobbes and Locke,” 165.

64

See, for example, Waldron, “Hobbes: Truth, Publicity;” Gauthier, “Public Reason”; and Button, Contract, Culture.

65

Bejan (“First Impressions” p. 47n14) draws attention to interpretations that highlight the totalitarian implications of Hobbes’s political work, especially Eric Voegelin, “The Political Religions,” in Modernity Without Restraint, ed. Manfred Henningsen (Columbia: ­University of Missouri Press, 2000), 55; and Hannah Arendt, “Truth and Politics,” in ­Between Past and Future (New York: Penguin, 2006).

66

Quentin Skinner, Hobbes and Republican Liberty (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008).

67

See, for example, Tuck, Sleeping Sovereign, 91, 94.

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