Hobbes: Restraining Fictions

  • Susan McManus
Part of the Studies in European Culture and History book series (SECH)


I have argued thus far that all theorizing is a form of world-creation, and as such, is ineluctably fictive; but this does not mean that all modes of imagining tend toward creative possibility. This is the force of my claim that theories predicated upon epistemologies of the given (foundational modes of theorizing, or its epistemological “surrogates”) are always-already fictive, but fictive forms of thought that efface, negate, and forget their creative power in favor of their authoritative, and thus legislative and programmatic power. The “fictive” recognizes that foundational accounts are always and necessarily essentially narrational, imaginative, creative, and performative. The point of reading political theory with attention to its fictive groundings is to counter the negation that leads to a mode of theorizing that is legislative, characterized by authority and closure. One way of doing so is to find within that mode the representational sleight of hand that posits the given as such, as natural, or somehow necessary; and in so doing, to open that mode of theorizing to its own reflexive and creatively contingent moments.


Social Contract Political Theory Founding Theory Secondary Meaning Strange Form 
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© Susan McManus 2005

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  • Susan McManus

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