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Title: Kant's critique of Hobbes? : uncovering the role and consequences of assumption in political theory and in the interpretation of two classic political theorists
Author: Chou, Chiayu
ISNI:       0000 0004 2749 9470
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis uncovers and explores a pervasive tendency in political theory to assume that Hobbes's and Kant's political philosophies are absolutely opposed. This tendency is traced to deeply-rooted but flawed assumptions, which combine to suggest that Hobbes and Kant are spokesmen for what I term Hobbism and Kantianism. These 'isms' cast a long shadow backwards over Hobbes and Kant's writings, and obscure understanding of their respective political philosophies and relations between them. The central aim of this thesis is to expose this tendency, its pervasive and distorting effects, and to develop in parallel an alternative view of the theoretical relation between Hobbes and Kant which examines what Hobbes and Kant actually say in their texts without filtering its attention or its results through the assumptions of Hobbism and Kantianism. The thesis addresses four aspects of Hobbes's and Kant's political philosophies which receive especial prominence in recent treatments of the relationship between the two thinkers: liberty, equality, independence, and international relations. By examining these in detail, this thesis draws attention to complexities in their respective theories which are lost in the shadows of Hobbism and Kantianism. It encourages political theorists to move beyond Hobbism and Kantianism, to shed a new light on their theories. At the same time, it acknowledges affinities between the two thinkers which help to establish the coherence of their respective accounts of politics and the true character of their political theories. In the process it carries the methodological implication that studies of political theory and political theorists should reflect, much more than they do, on the assumptions that precede analysis, to avoid reproducing historically-inherited images of specific political theorists, which bear little relation to the detailed views of the theorists in question, and merely distort understandings of their positions and of politics more generally.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available