Reading Rawls’s Lectures on Hobbes’s Leviathan: Pluralism, Stability, and Political Consensus

  • Author / Creator
    Gibson, Glen K F
  • This work examines Rawls’s lectures on Hobbes, which are delivered at a time when Rawls is developing his political liberalism. It especially seeks to question the foundations of Rawls’s interpretation of Hobbes’s Leviathan as presenting a core “political” doctrine based around prudential egoism. It takes issue with Rawls’s moral critique, primarily by arguing that Rawls leans too heavily on viewing Hobbesian subjects as predominantly egoistic in nature. The latter approach is argued to make too little out of irreducible pluralism as a factor shaping Hobbes’s argument, which Rawls only limitedly acknowledges. It is this divergence in faith over the ability of pluralistic subjects to form a political consensus over fair terms of association that shows the difference between a Hobbesian view and Rawls’s own. That is, it shows the difference between the possibility for an “overlapping consensus” and Hobbes’s more pessimistic outlook.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Political Science
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Carmichael, Don (Political Science)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Carmichael, Don (Political Science)
    • Epp, Roger (Political Science)
    • Tweedale, Martin (Philosophy)