Hobbes's Theory of Will: Ideological Reasons and Historical Circumstances

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Februar 2000



In Hobbes's Theory of the Will, Jurgen Overhoff reveals the religious, ethical, and political consequences of Thomas Hobbes's doctrine of volition. The author gracefully describes how Hobbes's thought was governed by assumptions based firmly in Galilean natural philosophy and orthodox Protestant theology. Overhoff also demonstrates how his subject used materialist eschatology and an absolutist political theory to resolve the social and ethical predicaments that coincided with these assumptions. Finally, Overhoff provides a chronological study of the numerous philosophical, theological, religious and political aspects of Hobbes's idea of the will and situates Hobbes's doctrine within the context of the most important responses and objections put forward by his critics.


Chapter 1 1 Introduction Chapter 2 2 The Formation and Structure of Hobbes's Theory of the Will Chapter 3 3 Hobbes' Political Interpretation of his Theory of the Will Chapter 4 4 Hobbes' Theological Defense of his Theory of the Will Chapter 5 5 Further Religious Implications of Hobbes's Theory of the Will: His Materialist Eschatology Chapter 6 6 Conclusion


Jurgen Overhoff is a research fellow in the Department of History of Education at the Universitat Potsdam. He has published numerous essays on Luther, Hobbes, and Kant.


What exactly was Hobbes about when he began to scrutinize the process of volition? Did his theory of the will undergo any significant changes during his prolonged occupation with that issue? Out of which intellectual milieu or ideological context did his ideas arise? Which strategy did Hobbes follow with his extended treatment of the issue of the will? In his book, Overhoff develops convincing answers to these questions. They are dedicated to the formation and structure of Hobbes's theory of the will, to the political interpretation of his theory, to the theological defence of his theory against his critics, and to further religious implications of his thought ("His materialist eschatology"). Das Historisch-Politische Buch Overhoff's Hobbes's Theory of the Will: Ideological Reasons and Historical Circumstances is a beautifully written, meticulously researched piece of work. Despite what the subtitle promises, it is not a narrowly construed undertaking but rather a broadly interesting theoretical project. The impetus behind this work is Overhoff's desire both to give a historically and textually sound exposition of Hobbes's materialist theory of the will and to account for the way in which Hobbes draws on a peculiar range of philosophical, theological, and scriptural debates in order to make his argument. What is particularly fascinating about this book for a political theorist is the fact that it depicts Hobbes as responding not only to the political ideological crises in his immediate environs, that is, the English Civil War, but also to broader philosophical and theological developments in Europe. That is to say, the bulk of the historical work Overhoff undertakes is philosophical and theoretical in orientation, situating Hobbes's work in the philosophical and theological debates of his time. Political Theory This book aims, firstly, to provide a detailed account to the formation and evolution of Hobbes's theory of the will and it certainly succeeds in its main endeavour. A second aim of the book is to bring to light 'the precise point or force' of Hobbes's theory of the will 'by locating it in its intellectual and political context', and here again it succeeds. Political Studies Review
EAN: 9780847696499
ISBN: 0847696499
Untertitel: New. Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: Februar 2000
Seitenanzahl: 288 Seiten
Format: kartoniert
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