Journal Article


Liberty and representation in Hobbes: A materialist theory of conatus

Abstract

The concepts of liberty and representation reveal tensions in Hobbes’s political anthropology that only a study of the development of his philosophical materialism can fully elucidate. The first section of this article analyses the contradictory definitions of liberty offered in De cive, and explains them against the background of Hobbes’s elaboration of a deterministic concept of conatus during the 1640s. Variations in the concepts of conatus and void between De motu and De corpore will shed light on ideas of individuality, unity and agency that carry direct political relevance. The second section explains why the concept of representation that Hobbes elaborated at the end of the decade in Leviathan cannot be interpreted within an exclusively political and juridical framework. Rather, I will claim that it should be explained in the light of Hobbes’s materialist theory of the power exerted by the sovereign persona on human imagination.

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Authors

Bardin, Andrea

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Social Sciences

Dates

Year of publication: 2021
Date of RADAR deposit: 2021-08-24


Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


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