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Philosophy Research Archives

Volume 1, 1975

Gary B. Herbert
Pages 273-299

The Issue of Validity in Hobbe's Moral and Political Philosophy

For whatever reason, scholars have recently reapproached the moral philosophy of Thomas Hobbes with a renewed interest in establishing its validity. Two influential interpretations have emerged, a theistic interpretation and a concep- tualistic interpretation, the former by Howard Warrender in The Political Philosophy of Hobbes, and the latter by David Gauthier in tfhe fcogic of leviathan. Both Warrender and Gauthier maintain that Hobbes's egoistic psychology invalidates his moral theory, and undertake to rescue its formal validity by regrounding the theory on his theology, on the one hand, and on his methodological (rather than metaphysical) materialism, on the other. The result in both instances is a piecemeal analysis that dissolves the political realism for which Hobbes was famous, and ignores altogether the comprehensive intentions which he so carefully expressed. Hobbes takes on the appearance of something that might be best described as a pre-Kantian Kant.

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