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Crucial Evidence: Hobbes on Contractual Obligation *

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Abstract In this paper, I will introduce the notions of crucial argument and crucial evidence in the philosophy of intellectual history (broadly construed, including the history of political thought). I will use these concepts and take sides in an important controversy in Hobbes studies, namely whether Hobbes holds a prudential or a deontological theory of contractual obligation. Though there is textual evidence for both readings, I will argue that there is especially relevant evidence – crucial evidence – for interpreting Hobbes’s account in a deontological fashion.

Affiliations: 1: EHESS / Centre d’études sociologiques et philosophiques Raymond Aron (UMR 8036) France Universidad Nacional de Quilmes / Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas Argentina


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