A new interpretation of the theory of Hobbes.
Marking a significant departure from most scholarship on Hobbes, this book offers new interpretations of his theories of freedom, agency, rationality, morality, psychology, and politics. Hobbes's arguments concerning many different aspects of civil society and human psychology are brought together to provide a comprehensive theory of agency. Hobbes's theory of freedom is demonstrated to be considerably more complicated than previously thought, revealing a concern with both "internal" and "external" conditions of action. On close examination Hobbes can be seen to move beyond his limited definition of negative liberty and to champion autonomous rational action. Throughout, the book evaluates the relevance of this reformulation for contemporary debates in political philosophy.
David van Mill is Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Western Australia.
"David van Mill challenges a long-standing view that Hobbes's theory can be pigeon-holed into a rational-actor behaviorist model, and suggests that Hobbes entertained a more expansive understanding of reason and rationality, closer to positive conceptions of agency. His arguments are clear and concise, yet at the same time detailed and rigorous." – John E. Seery, author of Political Theory of Morals: Shades of Justice, Images of Death