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The Leibniz Review

Volume 30, December 2020

Fiorenza Manzo
Pages 29-60

How Sincere Was Leibniz’s Criticism of Hobbes’s Political Thought?

This paper focuses on Leibniz’s engagement with Thomas Hobbes’s political anthropology in the Mainz-period writings, and demonstrates that Leibniz tried to construct an alternative to the English philosopher by conceiving of a physically- and ontologically-grounded psychology of actions. I provide textual evidence of this attempt, and account for Leibniz’s rejection of Hobbes’s political theory and anthropological assumptions. In doing so, I refer to diverse aspects of Leibniz’s work, thereby highlighting his aspiration to congruity and consistency between different areas of investigation. Furthermore, Leibniz’s political writings and letters will reveal another—sometimes neglected—aspect of the issue: his concern to defend and legitimize the existence of pluralist and collective constitutional political systems like the Holy Roman Empire by providing the theoretical ground of their ability to last.