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Hobbes on Civil Association

Michael Oakeshott

Publication Year: 2012

Of Michael Oakeshott and his interest in Thomas Hobbes, Professor Paul Franco has written, “The themes Oakeshott stresses in his interpretation of Hobbes are . . . skepticism about the role of reason in politics, allegiance to the morality of individuality as opposed to any sort of collectivism, and the principle of a noninstrumental, nonpurposive mode of political association, namely, civil association.” Of Hobbes’s Leviathan, Oakeshott has written, “Leviathan is the greatest, perhaps the sole, masterpiece of political philosophy written in the English language.” Hobbes on Civil Association consists of Oakeshott’s four principal essays on Hobbes and on the nature of civil association as civil association pertains to ordered liberty. The essays are “Introduction to Leviathan” (1946); “The Moral Life in the Writings of Thomas Hobbes” (1960); “Dr. Leo Strauss on Hobbes” (1937); and, “Leviathan: A Myth” (1947). The foreword remarks the place of these essays within Oakeshott’s entire corpus.

Michael Oakeshott (1901–1990) was Professor of Political Science at the London School of Economics and the author of many essays, among them those collected in Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays and On History and Other Essays, both now published by Liberty Fund.

Paul Franco is a Professor in the Department of Government at Bowdoin College.

Published by: Liberty Fund

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii-xii

Though Michael Oakeshott (1901–1990) is best known as a political philosopher in his own right, he was also a profound student of the history of political philosophy, and he was a major scholar on the thought of Thomas Hobbes...

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pp. xiii-xiv

The edition of Hobbes’s Leviathan in the Blackwell’s Political Texts was published in 1946, and it was then the only easily available edition of this work. But now that there are many others it has been allowed to go out of print...

Author’s Note

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pp. xv-xviii

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1. Introduction to Leviathan

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pp. 1-79

Thomas Hobbes, the second son of an otherwise undistinguished vicar of Westport, near Malmesbury, was born in the spring of 1588. He was educated at Malmesbury where he became an exceptional scholar...

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2. The Moral Life in the Writings of Thomas Hobbes

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pp. 80-140

The moral life is a life inter homines. Even if we are disposed to look for a remote ground (such, for example, as the will of God) for our moral obligations, moral conduct concerns the relations of human beings to one another and the power they are capable of exerting over one another...

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3. Dr. Leo Strauss on Hobbes

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pp. 141-158

The renewed attention which, in recent years, the writings of Thomas Hobbes have received is noteworthy, in the first place, because it is not to be attributed to the present state of political arrangements of Western Europe...

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4. Leviathan: a Myth

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pp. 159-164

This is a conversation piece, a flight of fancy; its theme is philosophical literature. Of all the books that have been written since the world began, by far the larger number are books whose virtue is to serve some special and limited interest...


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pp. 165-173

Publication Information

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p. 174-174

E-ISBN-13: 9781614878452
E-ISBN-10: 1614878455
Print-ISBN-13: 9780865972919

Page Count: 184
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: None