Hobbes's Fool the Stultus, Grotius, and the Epicurean Tradition

Hobbes Studies 23 (1):29-53 (2010)
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Among the paradoxical aspects of Hobbes's scepticism attention has recently turned to Hobbes's fool of Leviathan , chapter xv, where Hobbes makes a claim about justice that paraphrases Psalm 52:1: "The fool hath said in his heart there is no God." It is a charge of which Hobbes himself could be suspected, but in fact we see that it is on this startling claim that his legal positivism rests. Moreover it is embedded in a theory of natural law that Hobbes inherited from the late scholastics and that he shares in common with Grotius as a practical solution to the problem of scepticism. Indeed, the fool is not even honoured with the designation "sceptic." He is simply dumb, stultus , one of the mindless mob, or those led astray by priests. Hobbes's treatment of the fool as stultus is Epicurean, as we see in the Historia Ecclesiastica , where he gives the topos special attention, and Epicureanism helps us solve the puzzle of the fool



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Patricia Springborg
Humboldt-University, Berlin

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Hobbes’s materialism and Epicurean mechanism.Patricia Springborg - 2016 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 24 (5):814-835.
On the Absence of Moral Goodness in Hobbes’s Ethics.Johan Olsthoorn - 2020 - The Journal of Ethics 24 (2):241-266.

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References found in this work

Hobbes and republican liberty.Quentin Skinner - 2008 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Hobbes and the Foole.Kinch Hoekstra - 1997 - Political Theory 25 (5):620-654.
Grotius, Carneades and Hobbes.Richard Tuck - 1983 - Grotiana 4 (1):43-62.

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