Advertisement

Rethinking Hobbes and Locke on Toleration

  • Susanne Sreedhar
Chapter
Part of the Boston Studies in Philosophy, Religion and Public Life book series (BSPR, volume 6)

Abstract

On a natural reading of his philosophy, Hobbes appears as a paradigmatic opponent of religious toleration. His official position is that the church is subordinate to the state, which in turn has the right and duty to determine what religious doctrines will be espoused and what forms of religious worship will be practiced by members of that state. However, the received view of Hobbes as anti-tolerationist has been increasingly challenged in recent decades. In a seminal article, Alan Ryan (1988) suggests that we might understand Hobbes as allowing more room for religious diversity than had previously been thought. Richard Tuck (1990) followed with the stronger claim that Leviathan was in fact a “defense of toleration.” Tuck argues that Hobbes, especially in his later works, supported many of the tolerationist policies advocated by John Locke and so should be read as a kind of intellectual ally to Locke, as least on this particular issue. Ed Curley (2007) accepts the idea that Hobbes’s philosophy is “favorable to toleration”, but insists on a “more nuanced verdict”, namely, that the Latin Leviathan is more so than the English Leviathan.

References

  1. Aquinas T (2007) Summa theologica. Cosimo Classics, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. Brownlee K (2006) The communicative aspects of civil disobedience and lawful punishment. Crim Law Philos 1(2):179–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Curley E (2007) Hobbes and the cause of religious toleration. In: Springborg P (ed) The Cambridge companion to Hobbes’s Leviathan. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 309–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dickens A (1989) The English reformation. Pennsylvania State University Press, University ParkGoogle Scholar
  5. Hobbes T (1969) The elements of law, natural and politic. Ferdinand T (ed). Frank Cass & Co, LondonGoogle Scholar
  6. Hobbes T (1990) Behemoth, or the long parliament. Ferdinand T (ed). University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  7. Hobbes T (1994) Leviathan. Curley EM (ed). Hackett Publishing Co, IndianapolisGoogle Scholar
  8. Locke J (1967) Two tracts on government. Abrams P (ed). Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  9. Locke J (1983) A letter concerning toleration. Tully JH (ed). Hackett Publishing Co, IndianapolisGoogle Scholar
  10. Locke J (1986) The second treatise on civil government. Prometheus Books, AmherstGoogle Scholar
  11. Ryan A (1988) A more tolerant Hobbes? In: Mendus S (ed) Justifying toleration: contemporary and historical perspectives. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 37–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Tuck R (1990) Hobbes on Locke on toleration. In: Dietz M (ed) Thomas Hobbes and political theory. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, pp 153–171Google Scholar
  13. Waldron J (1988) Locke: toleration and the rationality of persecution. In: Mendus S (ed) Justifying toleration: contemporary and historical perspectives. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 61–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Wootton D (2003) Introduction. In: Wootton D (ed) Locke: political writings. Hackett Publishing Co, Indianapolis, pp 7–122Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Boston UniversityBostonUSA

Personalised recommendations