Chapter

Hobbes's Theory of International Relations

Noel Malcolm

in Aspects of Hobbes

Published in print November 2002 | ISBN: 9780199247141
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597992 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199247145.003.0013
 Hobbes's Theory of International Relations

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Challenges the traditional portrayal of Hobbes as an extreme ‘Realist’ in international relations theory—i.e. as someone who regarded the international arena as a pure anarchy in which law could have no meaning and aggression could always be justified by the dictates of self‐interest. It argues that his theory did have a place for international law, and did supply reasons for international cooperation of various kinds. In many ways his theory was closer to the ameliorism of the ‘Rationalist’ tradition than to the changeless pessimism of the Realists; but, on the other hand, the peculiar nature of his natural law theory did set him apart from the Rationalist tradition.

Keywords: Hobbes; international relations; natural law; Realism

Chapter.  13859 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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