Hobbes and the Ideal Citizen

Sunday, September 29, 2019

What is it

Seventeenth century philosopher Thomas Hobbes believed that without government to control our worst impulses, life would be 'solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.' Consequently, he thought that absolute monarchy is the best form of government. So is Hobbes’ ideal citizen simply someone who is willing to submit to absolute authority, or are there other features the ideal citizen must have? What flaws would make a subject bad, or worse, a threat to peace in the realm? And are there any lessons modern democracies can learn from Hobbes’ political philosophy? The Philosophers submit to Stanford political scientist Alison McQueen, author of Absolving God: Hobbes’s Scriptural Politics.

 

Alison McQueen, Professor of Political Science, Stanford University

 

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