Thomas Hobbes : Turning Point for Honor
Laurie Johnson Bagby examines the loss of the appreciation for honor in modern Western society through an examination of the political philosophy of English political philosopher Thomas Hobbes. She finds in Hobbes's thought a 'turning point for honor,' in which honor is rejected as too dangerous, and fear and self-interest are put in its place as the chief means of peace and good order.
- Hardback | 186 pages
- 157.48 x 231.14 x 22.86mm | 385.55g
- 17 Mar 2009
- Lexington Books
- Lanham, MD, United States
This book is part of the contemporary revival of interest in the concept of honor. Laurie Bagby joins the ranks of authors such as Brad Miner, James Bowman, and Harvey Mansfield in arguing that the diminishment of the old-fashioned concept of honor is detrimental to society. The works of Thomas Hobbes are singled out as forming the turning point in the Western attitude to honor. Although the overall project of recovering the old concept of honor is highly controversial, the historical and analytical discussion of this concept in Hobbes's times and works is thought-provoking and engaging. -- Gabriella Slomp, University of St. Andrews Professor Johnson Bagby presents a searching, and highly topical, revaluation of the role of honor in modern, post-Hobbesian society. Drawing on historical, biographical, and textual material, this book explores the ancient and medieval concepts of honor, as well as the evolution of Hobbes's own thinking on honor. The book makes a very timely plea for a revival of the notion of honor, suitably updated, to cure some of the problems to which Hobbesian society is unfortunately prone. Classical notions of honor cannot simply be brought back in this egalitarian, gender-neutral world, so the book thoughtfully weighs ways in which honor might be revamped to become a force once again in our society. -- Steven Forde, University of North Texas Bagby (Kansas State Univ.) offers a close textual reading of the meaning of the idea of honor in the work of Thomas Hobbes. Bagby does a good job in contextualizing Hobbes's thoughts on honor. Her reading is both sensitive and creative... Recommended. CHOICE, November 2009 These questions motivate Laurie M. Johnson Bagby's interesting inquiry into Hobbes' understandings of honor and their place in intellectual history...One of the strengths of this book is its reach throughout Hobbes's thought. Bagby has admirably scoured his works to offer a comprehensive account of honor... Bagby raises such questions to inspire reflection and further research... As intended, Bagby has inspired questions about the potential for honor in our culture. I hope that her work initiates research along the lines that she suggests. Hobbes, in her informative analysis, offers a helpful perspective for our deliberations. Review of Politics With an eye toward the growing recognition that the assault on honor within modern liberal regimes threatens the longevity of egalitarian political societies, Laurie Bagby directs our attention to the figure she contends to be the originator of our crisis, Thomas Hobbes. Her provocative thesis, that Hobbes's attempt to found politics on the equality of all people necessitated the rejection of the 'gentlemanly' virtues and, to the extent to which modern political life is indebted to his thought, has thereby only exacerbated society's inability to protect the vulnerable (particularly women), is sure to generate much-needed debate about the successes and failures of modern liberalism. -- Michael P. Krom, Saint Vincent College
About Laurie M. Johnson Bagby
Laurie M. Johnson Bagby is associate professor in the department of political science at Kansas State University and author ofHobbes's Leviathan;Political Thought: A Guide to the Classics; andThucydides, Hobbes, and the Interpretation of Realism.
Table of contents
Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Chapter 1. What Honor Meant to Hobbes Chapter 3 Chapter 2. Gentlemen and Martyrs Chapter 4 Chapter 3. Fear and Self-Preservation Chapter 5 Conclusion