Appropriating Hobbes

Appropriating Hobbes : Legacies in Political, Legal, and International Thought

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This book explores how Hobbes's political philosophy has occupied a pertinent place in different contexts, and how his interpreters see their own images reflected in him, or how they define themselves in contrast to him. Appropriating Hobbes argues that there is no Hobbes independent of the interpretations that arise from his appropriation in these various contexts and which serve to present him to the world. There is no one perfect context that enables us
to get at what Hobbes 'really meant', despite the numerous claims to the contrary. He is almost indistinguishable from the context in which he is read.

This contention is justified with reference to hermeneutics, and particularly the theories of Gadamer, Koselleck, and Ricoeur, contending that through a process of 'distanciation' Hobbes's writings have been appropriated and commandeered to do service in divergent contexts such as philosophical idealism; debates over the philosophical versus historical understanding of texts; as well as in ideological disputations, and emblematic characterisations of him by various disciplines such as law,
politics, and international relations. This volume illustrates the capacity of a text to take on the colouration of its surroundings by exploring and explicating the importance of contexts in reading and understanding how and why particular interpretations of Hobbes have emerged, such as those of Carl
Schmitt and Michael Oakeshott, or the international jurists of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 248 pages
  • 164 x 241 x 25mm | 536g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0198817215
  • 9780198817215

Table of contents

Introduction: Hobbes in Contexts
1: Hobbes Among the Philosophical Idealists: A Will that is Actual, but Not General
2: Understanding Hobbes: Philosophy versus Ideology
3: Constraining Leviathan: Power versus authority in Hobbes, Schmitt, and Oakeshott.
4: Hobbes Among the Classic Jurists: Natural Law versus the Law of Nations
5: Hobbes Among Legal Positivists: Sovereign or Society?
6: Hobbes Among International Relations thinkers: International Political Theory
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Review quote

a very rich book * Alexandra Chadwick, History of Political Thought * a valuable addition...learned and stimulating * Ian Tregenza, The European Legacy *
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About David Boucher

David Boucher is Professor of Political Philosophy at Cardiff University and Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Johannesburg. He is currently Vice President of Learned Society of Wales. He has published extensively with Oxford University Press including Political Theories of International Relations (1998), and The Limits of Ethics in International Relations (2009). Among his edited books for OUP are Political Thinkers, 3rd
edition (with Paul Kelly, 2017), and An Autobiography by R. G. Collingwood (with Teresa Smith, paperback 2017).
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