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Kavka: Hobbesian moral and political theory

Disclaimer. Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website. "Wikisum" is now dead but archived here. I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I say who wrote them.

Kavka. 1986. Hobbesian moral and political theory (pages 96-125). Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Hobbes's three premises:

  1. the individually rational decision by each actor leads to a "war of all against all"
  2. state of nature is a prisoner's dilemma leading to anarchy and misery
  3. a central political authority (leviathan) must emerge to limit aggression and bring peace, wealth, security (#3 not discussed much here)

State of nature = "a war of all against all": captured in prisoner's dilemma


Examines several objections/criticisms of Hobbes's model.

Research on similar subjects


Kavka, Gregory (author)Political TheoryAnarchyCollective Action

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