Hobbes Contra Liberty of Conscience
2011 (English)In: Political theory, ISSN 0090-5917, E-ISSN 1552-7476, Vol. 39, no 1, 58-84 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
It has often been argued that, notwithstanding his commitment to the authoritarian state, Thomas Hobbes is a champion of the “minimal” version of liberty of conscience: namely, the freedom of citizens to think whatever they like as long as they obey the law. Such an interpretation renders Hobbes’s philosophy more palatable to contemporary society. Yet the claim is incorrect. Alongside his notion of “private” conscience, namely, Hobbes develops a conception of conscience as a public phenomenon. In the following, it is argued that this inconsistency serves the purpose of deception: it holds out the possibility of dissent while making it impossible to utilise. Arguably, moreover, this is the proper hermeneutical approach to take to Hobbes’s inconsistencies in general. Indeed, said inconsistencies ought to alert contemporary normative theorists to the instability of the “minimal” version of liberty of conscience attributed to Hobbes: Hobbes himself, namely, shows that it is insufficient
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 39, no 1, 58-84 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-132470DOI: 10.1177/0090591710386698OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-132470DiVA: diva2:358115
ProjectsThomas Hobbes sista hemlighet. Mytologi, politik och det gåtfulla monstret Leviathan / Thomas Hobbes's Last Secret. Mythology, Politics, and the Enigmatic Monster Leviathan