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Like Hobbes, Spinoza portrays the social order as arising out of a state of nature in which people aren’t constrained by laws, in which we may do whatever we can do, and in which our natural egoism makes life insecure and wretched. Unlike Hobbes, Spinoza thinks right is coextensive with power even in civil society, not only in the state of nature. Spinoza’s best argument for this arguably relies on two assumptions: if there were a natural law constraining our behavior, it would have to be based on a divine command; but God cannot be a lawgiver; prescriptive laws assume that the commanded can disobey; and no one can disobey an omnipotent being. Although Spinoza takes right to be based on power, he denies that sovereigns have a right to rule just as they please. Like Machiavelli and Hobbes, he is conscious of the fragility of political power. Even if the sovereign’s right is theoretically absolute, individuals are roughly equal in power; so any sovereign must depend on having at his command a group of people who will obey his enforcement commands without being coerced. Like Machiavelli, he prefers forms of government in which this de facto constraint is institutionalized.
The third chapter presents selections from Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Montesquieu, and David Hume, and explains the central theoretical assumptions of classical liberalism. Switching the emphasis from the people apprehended as an organic whole to the people as a collection of individuals, social contract theory presupposes that the state is an artificial entity created by human will and consent. The liberal perspective emphasizes the original equality and freedom of all individuals, often overlooking the unicity of each person, and values the private good over the common good. Excerpts from Hobbes and Locke illustrate the idea of the social contract. Although neither Montesquieu nor Hume embraced the social contract theory, their thought exemplifies the liberal ideas that the state should protect, as much as possible, the right of individuals to pursue their lives as they see fit.
The literature on International Relations theory has yet to align relational theory with role theory, despite the fact that these two theories share so much epistemological common ground. This article uses role theory to bridge the gap between the Confucian and Western conceptions of relationality, whose practitioners regard each other as strangers. With the support of role theory, the comparative analysis of relationality in this article has mainly focused on two different types of relations: prior rule-based relations and improvised relations. The differences in the cultural preparation for these two relations partially explain the plurality of the relational universe and the perception of stranger. Role theory is one way to reconnect the seemingly irreconcilable relational universes. To illustrate the value of a composite agenda of relational theory and role theory, the article will use Kim Jong-un of North Korea as its case. Confucian relations propose that, for all nations, the necessity of having a certain role relation is a more important agenda than insisting on exactly what role to take.
This chapter critically examines Hobbes’s and Leibniz’s positions in relation to the concept of law and its role in regulating life of human communities. In line with his materialist stance and the controllability of space and discourse, Hobbes postulates the idea of the state and sovereign as central controlling devices able to create universality within a limited terriotry through control. Hobbes’s view of the state of nature and transition to the commonwealth are examined anew form this perspective. Leibniz’s concept of law is determined by the centrality of the concept of justice to his philosophy. Precepts of justice as eternal and universal truths discoverable by human beings shall inform accrding to Leibniz positive law within individuals human communities. However, he does not posit a particular form of life in common as determining but accepts diversity of political forms. Normativity of law in Leibniz derives not from its character of a command, like in Hobbes, but from a particular internal disposition of human beings, which in turn is determined by the internalisation of eternal truths as items constituting that logical grounding against which the human existence unfolds.
This article draws on Hobbes and existentialist philosophy to contend that anxiety needs to be integrated into international relations (IR) theory as a constitutive condition, and proposes theoretical avenues for doing so. While IR scholars routinely base their assumptions regarding the centrality of fear and self-help behavior on the Hobbesian state of nature, they overlook the Hobbesian emphasis on anxiety as the human condition that gives rise to the state of nature. The first section of the article turns to existentialist philosophy to explicate anxiety's relation to fear, multiple forms, and link to agency. The second section draws on some recent interpretations to outline the role that anxiety plays in Hobbesian thought. Finally, I argue that an ontological security (OS) perspective that is enriched by insights from existentialism provides the most appropriate theoretical venue for integrating anxiety into IR theory and discuss the contributions of this approach to OS studies and IR theory.
This introductory chapter presents the Valladolid junta in imperial Spain (1550-1551) as an alternative starting point for the history of international legal thought instead of the 1648 Peace of Westphalia. Unlike Westphalia’s myth of equal states recognizing independence from the emperor and papacy within Europe, the Valladolid debate addressed the controversial question of legitimate infidel polities outside Europe. By focusing on native peoples on the colonial margins of transatlantic Christendom, the chapter reframes international relations from the periphery rather than strictly Europe. A more interesting story emerges, revealing that Christian-infidel relations and its discourse of infidel rights was an ambivalent predecessor to a modern international relations marked by recognition of independent sovereign states and colonial subjugation of less civilized ones. Accordingly, the chapter accomplishes two tasks: it reconsiders the Westphalian myth by examining the international politics of Thomas Hobbes attentive to his influential idea of the state of nature; it also treats significance of theology and the Church for affirming world order - the normative basis of international society - especially among sixteenth-century Spanish Dominicans associated with Valladolid critical of papal and imperial tyranny.
How did European thinking about interactions with peoples of the Indies move from Christian-infidel relations to an identifiably modern form of international relations? This chapter explores the preceding question by looking at the emergence of Protestant empires during the seventeenth-century and the ascendant neo-Stoic Christian legal humanism structuring new ideas of world order and providential commerce. It considers the growing ideological displacement of the legal category of the infidel, and the associated crime of idolatry, in the political context of the Indies, East but especially West. This chapter also addresses normative ideas about the savage that developed in the infidel’s wake. Although there were important differences between the Iberian empires and the new English and Dutch empires, there were also continuities. This chapter considers those similarities between Spanish religious thinkers and representative international thinkers on natural law and the law of nations such as Alberico Gentili, Hugo Grotius, Samuel Purchas, New England Puritans, and John Locke. What does the colonization of North America look like in light of Valladolid’s legacy from a century earlier?
Kant holds that the origin of our propensity to evil arises in connection with our unsociable sociability. The effective response to it, therefore, must also be social. We must leave the ethical state of nature and join with others in voluntary ethical community, where our shared ends, conceived as the highest good, under the legislation of a divine lawgiver will promote moral progress among human beings. The existing communities of this kind are churches and ecclesiastical faiths, which fall short of their religious vocation but can and should be reformed so as to live up to it. The relation of rational religion to revealed religion is therefore intended by Kant to be dynamic, with the interpretation of revealed religion enriching rational religion and the reform of revealed religion bringing rational and revealed religion into closer harmony, leading gradually toward the founding of the Kingdom of God on earth.
The Bible’s Primary History – the great history of the Israelite people extending from Genesis to Second Kings – contains within it a remarkable set of ideas about government and law. The work touches on nearly all of the great themes of political theory in the modern era – the necessity of government, the problem of anarchy, the moral basis of obligation, the distinguishing features of good and bad leaders, and the analysis of optimal government structure and design. Associated with these political ideas is a remarkably insightful exploration of the basic problems of jurisprudence: the nature of law, the justifications for constitutions, and the articulation of specific legal norms in legislations and principles of customary law.
This chapter explores the parallels between the critique of pure reason and the establishment of a civil condition in natural right theory. It shows how Kant’s conception of laws is ingrained in an extensive legal framework by focusing on two images, the one portraying the critique as the tribunal of reason and the other depicting the critique as the establishment of a rightful condition which is analogous to the establishment of a civil state. These images show that Kant’s account of a priori laws is not merely a colourful way of expressing a new philosophical approach; he is building an entire framework around a legal structure. In addition, the state of nature metaphor shows how the critique aims to provide a procedure for ending conflicts in metaphysics and thereby establish perpetual peace in philosophy.
On the Citizen is both the second version of Hobbes’s political theory, a precursor of Leviathan, and part of a scientific project titled “The Elements of Philosophy.” The chapter disentangles how the work relates to these different contexts. It examines the development of Hobbes’s political thinking by comparing On the Citizen with an earlier text (The Elements of Law), giving particular attention to his discussions of the state of nature, the political covenant, and governmental accountability. Turning to the second context, the chapter tracks the evolution of Hobbes’s thinking away from purely formal, definitional science. On the Citizen lays out the problem of the contestability of foundational concepts in moral and political philosophy and tries out a solution in the form of a concept of “right reason.” Alongside that ultimately unsatisfactory line of thinking, Hobbes also advances an empirical approach to science of a more political nature. As indicated by the title, On the Citizen was framed to cover political subjects, an empirical focus that propelled Hobbes’s development as a political theorist. Leviathan is a master work in political theory because it was preceded by On the Citizen.
Hobbes's own justification for the existence of governments relies on the assumption that without a government our lives in the state of nature would result in a state of war of every man against every man. Many contemporary scholars have tried to explain why universal war is unavoidable in Hobbes's state of nature by utilizing modern game theory. However, most game-theoretic models that have been presented so far do not accurately capture what Hobbes deems to be the primary cause of conflict in the state of nature—namely, uncertainty, rather than people's egoistic psychology. Therefore, I claim that any game-theoretic model that does not incorporate uncertainty into the picture is the wrong model. In this paper, I use Bayesian game theory to show how universal conflict can break out in the state of nature—even when the majority of the population would strictly prefer to cooperate and seek peace with other people—due to uncertainty about what type of person the other player is. Along the way, I show that the valuation of one's own life is one of the central mechanisms that drives Hobbes's pessimistic conclusion.
Pauline Kleingeld argues that according to Kant it would be wrong to coerce a state into an international federation, due to the wrongness of paternalism. Although I agree that Kant opposes the waging of war as a means to peace, I disagree with Kleingeld's account of the reasons why he would oppose coercing a state into a federation. Since she does not address the broader question of the permissibility of interstate coercion, she does not properly address the narrower question of whether coercion to compel a state to join a federation can be permissible. I revise and supplement her arguments.
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