Liberty, Rationality, and Agency in Hobbes's Leviathan

Liberty, Rationality, and Agency in Hobbes's Leviathan

by David van Mill

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Overview

A new interpretation of the theory of Hobbes.

Marking a significant departure from most scholarship on Hobbes, this book offers new interpretations of his theories of freedom, agency, rationality, morality, psychology, and politics. Hobbes’s arguments concerning many different aspects of civil society and human psychology are brought together to provide a comprehensive theory of agency. Hobbes’s theory of freedom is demonstrated to be considerably more complicated than previously thought, revealing a concern with both “internal” and “external” conditions of action. On close examination Hobbes can be seen to move beyond his limited definition of negative liberty and to champion autonomous rational action. Throughout, the book evaluates the relevance of this reformulation for contemporary debates in political philosophy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780791450369
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Publication date: 07/19/2001
Pages: 265
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

David van Mill is Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Western Australia.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Part I: Introduction and Theoretical Framework

Chapter 1. Introduction

Summary of the Chapters

Chapter 2. The Scope of Freedom

Introduction
Charles Taylor and Positive Freedom

Desires
Rationality

Flathman and Negative Freedom
Flathman on Autonomy
Internal and External Freedom
Conclusion

Part II: Freedom, Autonomy, Rationality, and Morality

Chapter 3. Hobbes and Negative Freedom

Introduction
External Freedom and Causality
Freedom and Will
Fear and Freedom
Obligation and Freedom

The State of Nature
The Laws of Nature and the Right of Nature
Civil Society

Conclusion

Chapter 4. The Internal Conditions of Freedom:
Complex Instrumental Rationality and Autonomy

Introduction
Instrumental Rationality
Hobbesian Rationality: Good as the Promise of Things to Come
Rationality and Coherent Action: Good as Utile
Conclusion

Chapter 5. The Internal Conditions of Freedom:
Substantive Rationality and Autonomy

Introduction
Substantive Rationality and Autonomy: Good as Jucundum
Rationality and Self-regarding Actions
Rationality and Other-regarding Actions
Conclusion

Chapter 6. Voluntarism and Morality

Introduction
Hobbes's Psychology
Psychological Egoism
Morality
Conclusion

Part III: External Freedom

Chapter 7. Freedom, Equality, and the Laws of Nature

Introduction
The Harm Principle and the Protection of Freedom and Equality
The Laws of Nature and the Sovereign
Sovereignty and Democracy
Education, Censorship, Religion, Free Association, and the Preservation of Peace and

Freedom
Education and Order
Censorship
Freedom of Association
Religion and Order

Conclusion

Part IV: Conclusion

Chapter 8. Hobbes's Dualism

Introduction
Determinism
Consent
Equality
Power
Conclusion

Notes

Bibliography

Index

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