The Non-normative Nature of Hobbesian Natural Law

Hobbes Studies 22 (1):3-28 (2009)
  Copy   BIBTEX


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



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 94,623

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Thomas Hobbes and the natural law.Kody W. Cooper - 2018 - Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame.
Hobbesian resistance and the law of nature.Samuel Mansell - 2024 - Intellectual History Review 34 (2):317-341.
Principles of Motion and the Absence of Laws of Nature in Hobbes’s Natural Philosophy.Stathis Psillos & Eirini Goudarouli - 2019 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 9 (1):93-119.
The Prolife Leviathan.Kody W. Cooper - 2012 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 86 (4):557-581.
Pyrrhonism in the Political Philosophy of Thomas Hobbes.James J. Hamilton - 2012 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (2):217-247.
Hobbes on International Ethics.Johan Olsthoorn - 2021 - In Marcus P. Adams (ed.), A Companion to Hobbes. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 252–267.
Natural Law.S. A. Lloyd - 2013 - In Aloysius Martinich & Kinch Hoekstra (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Hobbes. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.


Added to PP

69 (#234,031)

6 months
13 (#282,653)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

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.

Add more references