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The Difficulties Of Hobbes Interpretation

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores related problems of continuity and consistency among Hobbes's political-theory texts. Hobbes studies have an amorphous subject due to his practice of serially composing multiple works with overlapping content and arguments. The composition process behind Hobbess political treatises generated three related problems: an amorphous text; continuity and discontinuity among his political-theory texts; and the issue of consistency between and within works. The chapter considers the serial production of The Elements of Law, De Cive, and Leviathan, looking at what we know about these texts (and also what we do not know). Hobbess report of his development as a thinker is a familiar story and feeds his reputation for being one of the most logical of thinkers.

Keywords: De Cive; Elements of Law; Hobbes interpretation; Leviathan; political-theory texts



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