Sovereign Authority and the Right of Resistance II

Mark Philp and Z. A. Pelczynski

in Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Rousseau

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199645060
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741616 | DOI:
Sovereign Authority and the Right of Resistance II

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The chapter examines the principles underlying Hobbes’s account of absolute sovereignty and our duty of obedience to it. Hobbes’s concerns about uncertainty generating controversy are over-stated, although he identifies a central problem for more complex systems. But there is a deeper problem for absolutism in Hobbes’s suggestion that we are obliged to keep the laws of nature when safe to do so, since that implies that obedience to the sovereign is also constrained by the laws of nature. This means that much turns on how we understand the nature of a final arbiter and his decisions.

Keywords: Hobbes; stability; security; sovereignty; obedience; obligation; resistance

Chapter.  8164 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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