The Non-normative Nature of Hobbesian Natural Law

Hobbes Studies 22 (1):3-28 (2009)
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Abstract

In this paper, I attempt to defend an older, non-normative approach to Hobbes's philosophy. I argue, against recent theories that maintain Hobbes's philosophy contains a normative theory of human behavior “which prescribes proper or morally permissible modes of action both within civil society and outside it”, that Hobbesian natural right and natural law are not normative postulates of a moral theory of political obligation but, rather, were considered by Hobbes to be, in the case of natural right, empirically verifiable hypotheses about human nature, and in the case of the laws of nature, nothing more than rationally consistent principles of natural self-interest, or the logic of natural right, based on the principles of Hobbes's physics and psychology

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References found in this work

Natural Rights.Margaret MacDonald - 1947 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 47:225 - 250.
Kant Contra Hobbes.Gary B. Herbert - 2004 - Hobbes Studies 17 (1):3-27.

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