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Thomas Hobbes and the Perils of Pluralism

Boyd, Richard

Journal of Politics, May 2001, Vol.63(2), pp.392-413 [Periódico revisado por pares]

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  • Título:
    Thomas Hobbes and the Perils of Pluralism
  • Autor: Boyd, Richard
  • Assuntos: Hobbes, Thomas ; Political Philosophy ; Liberalism ; Individualism ; State Society Relationship ; Pluralism ; Civil Society ; History and Theory; Political Theories and Philosophy ; Article
  • É parte de: Journal of Politics, May 2001, Vol.63(2), pp.392-413
  • Descrição: Scholarly opinion has been split uneasily between those who view Thomas Hobbes as a defender of Royalist absolutism and those who see him as the intellectual forefather of liberal individualism. While both these positions are compatible with Hobbes's deep‐seated fear of intermediary associations between individual and state, this article will contend that it is his fear of the violent and irrational properties of groups that motivates his well‐known individualism and gives a potentially illiberal bent to his political thought. Attending to Hobbes's neglected thoughts on the dangers posed by parties, sects, and other groups between individual and state sheds light on both the historical context and intellectual legacy of his thought. Hobbes's metaphorical complaints about those “lesser Common‐wealths” akin to “wormes in the entrayles of a naturall man” also should prompt us to rethink many versions of contemporary pluralism and the vogue of civil society: Much of what today is recommended as “civil society” was considered anything but “civil” in the early modern political imagination.

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