PLSC 114 - Lecture 12 - The Sovereign State: Hobbes, Leviathan

Lecture 12 - The Sovereign State: Hobbes, Leviathan


This is an introduction to the political views of Thomas Hobbes, which are often deemed paradoxical. On the one hand, Hobbes is a stern defender of political absolutism. The Hobbesian doctrine of sovereignty dictates complete monopoly of power within a given territory and over all institutions of civilian or ecclesiastical authority. On the other hand, Hobbes insists on the fundamental equality of human beings. He maintains that the state is a contract between individuals, that the sovereign owes his authority to the will of those he governs and is obliged to protect the interests of the governed by assuring civil peace and security. These ideas have been interpreted by some as indicative of liberal opposition to absolutism.


Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
Courtesy of the University of Adelaide Library Electronic Texts Collection


Hobbes, Leviathan

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