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Hobbes’s Demanding Consequentialism: Comments on Bernard Gert’s Hobbes: Prince of Peace

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I take issue with Bernard Gert’s interpretation of Hobbes on two main points. First, I argue that Hobbes’s moral theory reduces to a sophisticated form of consequentialism. Second, I argue that Hobbes’s moral theory is more demanding than Gert’s interpretation, and some of Hobbes’s own remarks, make it appear. I focus on Gert’s reading of Hobbes’s second law of nature, and argue that the law presents us with a Hobson’s choice—that is, the appearance of a choice of how much liberty to relinquish when really there is none.

Affiliations: 1: Assistant Professor of Philosophy, DePauw University Asbury Hall 209, 100 E. Seminary Street, Greencastle, IN 46135, USA, E-mail:


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