Hobbes & Political Contractarianism: Selected Writings




2023.01.4 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews

David Gauthier, Hobbes & Political Contractarianism: Selected Writings, Susan Dimock, Claire Finkelstein, and Christopher W. Morris (eds.), Oxford University Press, 2022, 263pp., $85.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780192843005.

Reviewed by Andrew I. Cohen, Georgia State University

This splendid collection draws together and adds to David Gauthier’s works on political morality since Morals by Agreement. Of the one dozen essays, ten have previously been published. One appears here in English for the first time. Two chapters are new. The republished pieces reward renewed study, especially for tracking the evolution of Gauthier’s thought across topics such as authorization and the law. The new pieces provide fresh insights on interpreting and applying Hobbes’s views.

Early chapters show Gauthier closely engaging Gregory Kavka and Jean Hampton on sovereignty, egoism, and authorization. Authorization proves an important theme throughout many essays in the book. It is the key, Gauthier says, for understanding how subjects change the structure of “normative space,” which is the…

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