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A Defense of Hobbes's "Just Man"

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Is genuinely just behavior possible for Hobbesian agents? More perspicuously, does Hobbes allow that at least some individuals conceive of justice as not simply a means to self-preservation, but furthermore, as a worthwhile end in its own right? In a recent issue of Hobbes Studies I answered both of these questions in the affirmative.1 Therein, however, for reasons of space I neglected to explore and defend adequately Hobbes's conception of the "Just Man" as someone for whom genuinely just behavior is, in the Jamesian sense, a "live option." I intend to correct this scholarly deficit forthwith by proffering what I consider to be a thorough defense thereof. Those who advocate the Standard Reading (hereafter SR) of Hobbes as an egoist will, of course, α priori dismiss such claims as "astonishing" to say the least.2 Nonetheless, if my exegesis and defense is successful then SR will have to undergo a transformation; succinctly, proponents of SR will be forced to acknowledge the Just Man's presence and to weaken their presuppositions and conclusions accordingly (rather than simply ignoring the Just Man as a textual aberration). I begin by cataloging and critically commenting upon the numerous references Hobbes makes to the "Just Man" throughout the major works that constitute his moral and political corpus: The Elements of Law (1640), De Cive (1642) and both the English and Latin versions of Leviathan (1651/1688).3 I then turn in the next section to a defense of the pos

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/content/journals/10.1163/187502502x00055
2002-01-01
2015-04-19

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