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Hobbes and Republican Liberty


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Table of Contents

Illustrations; Acknowledgements; Notes on the text; Preface; 1. Introductory: Hobbes's humanist beginnings; 2. The Elements of Law: liberty described; 3. The Elements of Law: liberty circumscribed; 4. De cive: liberty defined; 5. Leviathan: liberty redefined; 6. Liberty and political obligation; Bibliographies; Index.

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A dazzling comparison of two rival theories about the nature of human liberty.

About the Author

Quentin Skinner is one of the leading historians in the world and Regius Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge.


'... Skinner breathes new life into historical Republican thinking... Skinner's explanation of the exposition gives logical shape to Hobbes - Skinner gets down the polemical force of 'Leviathan' and sets it free. ... Skinner's circumspection reconstructs Hobbes' arguments, and proves that James Harrington was right in his criticism of Hobbes - his won evidence puts his 'freedom theory' to blame. A definition is not a demonstration.' Frankfurther Allgemeine Zeitung
' ... characteristically lucid, elegant and, on its own terms, persuasive.' London Review of Books
'It is not necessary to share Skinner's preoccupations or enthusiasms to recognise the virtues of this book. It is elegant and erudite.' The Times Literary Supplement
'... when the Regius Professor of Modern History of Cambridge purports to offer a brand new reading of arguable the earliest significant work of English political philosophy, the mere possibility of centuries of conventional reading being set aside will prompt controversy and much deserved attention. ... Skinner's new book offers us a concept of actual or practical human possibilities in our liberty or freedom that better identifies our natural and inalienable human rights than does a pure or absolute definition of liberty or freedom.' Supreme Court of Queensland Library Review of Books
'... surely a valuable contribution to the existing body of Hobbes scholarship. Rich in well-documented references to figures of slight repute, but whose influence on Hobbes's thought can hardly be disregarded, this work doubtlessly constitutes one of the most important accounts of the Hobbesian idea of freedom ... this excellent book does itself contribute significantly to our understanding of Hobbes's notion of 'liberty' in the framework of his oeuvre and as such ought to take an important place in the existing body of Hobbes literature.' CEU Political Science Journal
" Hobbes and Republican Liberty is rigorously argued, meticulously researched and lucidly written, as we have come to expect from Skinner....Skinner has indeed made a valuable contribution to the study of Hobbes as well as to the study of English political thought during the civil war period; it is one that cannot be ignored." - Geoff Kennedy, University of Ulster

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