The Claims of A ‘Civil Science’

James Loxley

in The Oxford Handbook of Literature and the English Revolution

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199560608
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

The Claims of A ‘Civil Science’

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This article analyzes Hobbes's Leviathan. He describes the book as an ‘endeavour to advance the Civill Power’, asserting the rights of civil government per se rather than the claims of any one of its three customary varieties. The need to reiterate those rights derived not from any widespread hostility to government as such, but from the possible clouding of specifically civil power. In this light, Hobbes's derivation of political right and obligation from the facts of human and earthly nature appears as more than a flexing of philosophical muscles. It demonstrates, rather, the viability of a properly and purely civil deduction of legitimate authority, asserting its claims against the rival accounts of government proffered and pursued by insidious and determined opponents.

Keywords: Hobbes; Leviathan; political right; civil power; civil government; legitimate authority

Article.  7637 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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