Hobbes and the International Anarchy (1981)
The pattern of Bull’s thinking about Hobhes is set out originally in ‘Society and Anarchy’. Reflecting Bull’s realist side (especially visible in his early work) Hobbes indeed does capture a particular character of conflict that follows from the existence of formal anarchy, that is latent in international relations at all times, and which may sometimes come to dominate it. But, in all his work, Bull is consistent in arguing that this ‘Hobbesian’ image provides a wholly inadequate and inaccurate characterization of international relations as a whole, for three reasons: first, states do not exhaust their strength in a perpetual struggle for security; second, it is wrong to argue that conceptions of right and wrong play no role in international life; and, third, states are different from individuals and these very differences open up the possibility that a different form of political association may be both viable and appropriate.
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