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Hobbes's Fifth Law of Nature and its Implications

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Hobbes presents the fifth Law of Nature, Mutual Accommodation, in Leviathan, Chapter XV. Although a great deal of scholarly attention has been devoted to the first four Laws of Nature, hardly any mention of the fifth appears in the literature. This paper explains the fifth Law as a central piece of Hobbes's theory and thereby reveals his progressive inclinations. Drawing upon relevant passages in Leviathan I show how Hobbes's view of property allocation and reallocation derives from this Law and how attention to mutual accommodation directs sovereigns to constrain their grasping inclinations and curb their disposition to overextend legislative authority.


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