By Michael Byron (auth.)

ISBN-10: 1137535296

ISBN-13: 9781137535290

ISBN-10: 134950694X

ISBN-13: 9781349506941

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Extra resources for Submission and Subjection in Leviathan: Good Subjects in the Hobbesian Commonwealth

Example text

Suppose Hobbes thought that we are not necessarily obligated by the laws of nature, and that we undertake obligations – including legal obligations – only voluntarily. Once we suppose so, we can rehabilitate Martinich’s primary/secondary distinction and Lloyd’s spectrum of social relations in a way that will account for everything Hobbes says about the applicability of justice in a state of nature. The primary state of nature is not a conceptual moment that excludes God or the laws of nature. Instead, it is a political situation in which, Hobbes says, there is no common power, and thus no law and no justice.

5 Lloyd remarks that both accounts hold that the laws of nature promote peace as their immediate end. They differ, however, in their interpretation of the value of peace. The common good interpretation maintains that pursuing peace best promotes the common good. On the self-interest interpretation, pursuing peace best promotes the narrow self-interest of the individual agent. Lloyd (1992, 2009) argues conclusively that this claim of the standard interpretation is false and that moreover Hobbes says as much.

Another normative feature of the rational theorems is what we might call the nature of violations. Counsel, as distinct from command, is a weaker form of imperative. Ignoring counsel in general might be bad or good, depending on the quality of counsel. Counsel might, for example, direct me toward some end that I do not in fact desire; or, it might be defective by failing to promote some end that I do desire. The rational theorems, according to Hobbes, express objective connections between certain types of action and peaceable living.

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Submission and Subjection in Leviathan: Good Subjects in the Hobbesian Commonwealth by Michael Byron (auth.)


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