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Title: Political metaphysics : God, determinism and constructivism in the thought of Thomas Hobbes and Gerrard Winstanley
Author: Chapman, V. F.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis assesses the role of theology in the political theories of the seventeenth-century contemporaries Thomas Hobbes and Gerrard Winstanley. It claims that a proper understanding of their respective political theories relies upon a thorough and nuanced understanding of the nature of the theology that they are posing. I argue that the key to understanding Hobbe’s authoritarian theory of sovereignty is his deistic theology. Likewise, an appreciation of the nuances of Winstanley’s collectivism relies, I claim, upon a thorough grasp of his pantheistic metaphysics. More specifically, I show that because of his deistic theology, Hobbes is able to posit coherently a compatibilist relationship between the deterministic elements of his political metaphysics and the constructivist nature of his political theory. Hobbes sets out a materialistic account of political motivation which relies upon a deterministic emphasis on the role of physical motion on human psychology. He also, I claim, combines this with a normative account of political obligation in the form of divinely-ordained determinism. These deterministic elements are not, however, incompatible with his emphasis on the role of human construction evidenced in his notion of the artificial sovereign and body politic. Winstanley’s pantheistic metaphysics also reveal his fundamentally compatibilist approach to determinism and constructivism. Winstanley posits God as radically imminent. He identifies human reason with the divine. As a result, human constructive political action in the form of activist political collectivism is both the product of human creativity and divine determinism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available