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Introduction: Reading Hobbes as a Theorist of Anarchy and Authority

  • Silviya LechnerEmail author
Chapter
Part of the International Political Theory book series (IPoT)

Abstract

This chapter introduces the central thesis of the book: that Hobbes is best read as a theorist of authority (right to rule) and anarchy (‘state of nature’). Anarchy is shown to be the grounding mechanism for the state in Hobbes’s political philosophy. This differentiates Hobbes’s position from that of contemporary political philosophers who justify the state by appealing to moral principles. The chapter warns against reductionist readings of Hobbes’s concept of a state of nature, associated with the image of a ‘war of all against all’. It specifies the interpretive methodology used (analytical hermeneutics). Finally, and crucially, it shows how Hobbes’s political philosophy, augmented with Kantian premises, can be developed into a theory of international relations termed Hobbesian internationalism.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of War StudiesKing’s College LondonLondonUK

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