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Leviathan after 350 Years$
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Tom Sorell and Luc Foisneau

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199264612

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199264612.001.0001

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The Utopianism of Leviathan

The Utopianism of Leviathan

(p.125) The Utopianism of Leviathan
Leviathan after 350 Years

Richard Tuck (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter asks directly a question which often lurks behind discussions of Hobbes, but which is rarely put clearly: how radical is the transformation of politics, and indeed human life in general, which Hobbes supposed would be the result of taking his theory seriously? This question is raised partly for its intrinsic interest, as it seems that answering it correctly gives us a great deal of insight into the overall character of Hobbes's politics, but also because it is relevant to the further question of who Hobbes's successors were, and what happened to Hobbesian politics in the 18th and early 19th centuries; in particular, one cannot address the issue of the relationship between Hobbes and Rousseau without first clarifying the extent to which both were utopians, of a kind. It is argued that Leviathan is as much of a utopian work as The Social Contract, and may indeed be the greatest piece of utopian writing to come out of the English Revolution.

Keywords:   Hobbesian politics, utopianism, Leviathan, The Social Contract

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