David P. Gauthier

in The Logic of Leviathan

Published in print October 1979 | ISBN: 9780198246169
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191680939 | DOI:

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This chapter discusses the role played by God. It treats God last, partly because Thomas Hobbes does so, partly because God plays only a secondary part in the system. Hobbes's theory is intended for rational men who aim at their own preservation, whatever their religious views may be. The chapter serves as a positive interpretation, against recent critics, such as A. E. Taylor, Howard Warrender, and F. C. Hood, who consider theism central to Hobbes's position. However, the chapter also shows that what Hobbes says about God does not require it to revise that interpretation. Hobbes never questions the theoretical supremacy of the authority of God to human authority. It does mean that in any conflict, God takes precedence. The chapter shows that this supremacy does not receive any satisfactory recognition in Hobbes's conceptual scheme, but that it could be accommodated with no basic revision to that scheme.

Keywords: God; Thomas Hobbes; A. E. Taylor; Howard Warrender; F. C. Hood; theism; authority

Chapter.  10743 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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