ISBN : 9780198817215
There is no one perfect context that enables us to get at what Hobbes 'really meant', despite the numerous claims to the contrary. He is almost indistinguishable from the context in which he is read. This volume illustrates the capacity of a text to take on the colouration of its surroundings by exploring and explicating the importance of contexts in reading and understanding how and why particular interpretations of Hobbes have emerged. This contention is justified with reference to hermeneutics, and particularly the theories of Gadamer, Koselleck, and Ricoeur, contending that through a process of 'distanciation' Hobbes's writings have been appropriated and commandeered to do service in divergent contexts such as philosophical idealism; debates over the philosophical versus historical understanding of texts; as well as in ideological disputations, and emblematic characterisations of him by various disciplines such as law, politics, and international relations.
Introduction: Hobbes in Contexts; 1 Hobbes Among the Philosophical Idealists: A Will that is Actual, but Not General; 2 Understanding Hobbes: Philosophy versus Ideology; 3 Constraining Leviathan: Power versus authority in Hobbes, Schmitt, and Oakeshott.; 4 Hobbes Among the Classic Jurists: Natural Law versus the Law of Nations; 5 Hobbes Among Legal Positivists: Sovereign or Society?; 6 Hobbes Among International Relations thinkers: International Political Theory