The significance of glory in the political theory of Thomas Hobbes
The dissertation is divided in three parts: Part I: It is suggested that Thucydides' History provides useful insights into Hobbes's political theory in so far as the link between glory, fear, and conflict postulated by Thucydides affords a deeper understanding of the role of glory and fear In Hobbes's political construct. In particular, it is suggested that the distinction between ultimate and proximate causes of the Peloponnesian War underlying Thucydides' argument is used by Hobbes in all three his political works in order to explain conflict in the state of nature. Part II: The meaning of 'Glory' in Elements of Law, De Give, and Leviathan is examined in detail and it is argued that, In spite of some changes in Hobbes's philosophy of man, the role assigned by Hobbes to glory in both pre-political and political associations is identical in all three works. The significance of Glory is emphasised and its role in Hobbes's theory is defined and explained in relation to other key elements of his political discourse, such as self-preservation, rationality, felicity, profit, power, etc. It is also stressed that Hobbes's definition of glory makes it compatible with a concern for self-preservation and thus differs from the current meaning of glory (that allows one to speak of 'glorious death'). Part III: Hobbes's political theory is axiomatised as a model resting on a small set of assumptions common to all three works. Contrary to current views, it is argued that glory, and not the concern for self-preservation, is the pivotal assumption of Hobbes's theory and that indeed the assumption of an over-riding concern for self-preservation is logically redundant to derive the state of war and the conditions for peace as described by Hobbes. Finally it it suggested that Hobbes's model can be interpreted as implying the incompatibility within a state-of-nature approach of glory-seeking behaviour and a rich set of political rights and thus can be used to expose a problem of consistency in some liberal theories of the State.