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The Politics of Recognition

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Life and Death Struggles in Hobbes and Hegel

image of Hobbes Studies

Hobbes and Hegel are standardly taken to be contrasting political theorists, who maintain contrasting views on philosophy, individualism, and society. However, Oakeshott’s reading of Hobbes is a reminder that Hobbes can be read in ways that reduce antagonisms between Hobbes and Hegel. Hobbes’s state of nature is an artificial device that is internally related to the significance of political artifice in rendering the social world a reasonable context for interaction just as the struggle for recognition in Hegel shows the need for a political context in which individuals can interact with one another in ways that are productive and equilibrated. Both Hobbes and Hegel invoke notions of mortality, conflict and sociality in their imaginative depictions of life and death struggles. They also share a notion of the sovereignty of nation-states and were doubtful over the viability of international treaties and organisations.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Social Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford ox3 obp, UK,


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