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Thomas Hobbes eyes of researchers of his creative heritage of the 20-21st centuries



UDC 940.2

M.V. Avdashchenkova



The review of the points of view of the famous historians of XX — is submitted

XXIvv. investigating Thomas Hobbes's works.

This article presents a short survey of the standpoints of some famous historians of the XX-XXI centuries, studying the works of Thomas Hobbes.

The sociological doctrine of Thomas Hobbes from the moment of the emergence was met with great attention a wide circle both in England, and in the whole Europe, and became a subject of the most brisk polemic. In XX — the beginning of the 21st century Hobbes's theory did not lose the relevance and attracts everything new and new foreign and domestic researchers of his creativity. It in many respects is explained by similarity of a political situation in Europe 17th century and the present stage of historical development which is characterized by radical withdrawal pains of values of a traditional civilization inherent in a transition period.

J. Laird one of the first English researchers became interested in sources of the political doctrine of Hobbes. However he saw in him the philosopher of medieval sense with outdated composite constructions which only merit considered updating of methodological base of political philosophy [15, p. 57—58]. With it M.M. Goldsmith who noticed that Hobbes leaned on methods of scientific knowledge of times of Galilei [13, p is solidary. 242].

The special contribution to studying the ideas of the thinker was made by L. Stroye, having highly appreciated novelty of his conclusions, logical designs, methods (mainly, a synthetic and analytical method) and a complete separation with medieval philosophical traditions [21, p. XII \XV, 3—5, 168—170, 177—178]. The last statement, in our opinion, is a little premature as deeper analysis of works of Hobbes nevertheless confirms dualism of its philosophical views though the proximity to rationalism is obvious. The main achievement of the political concept of the philosopher L. Stroye considers removal of the natural law from the beginnings of the natural right and recognition its measure of duties of citizens [22, p. 181]. The scientist sees a source of philosophical views of Hobbes in life experience of the thinker, recognizing the empirical nature of its judgments.

The supporter of the idea of recognition of first-hand life experience of Hobbes as the prime cause which influenced his formation polity-

chesky thinking, the researcher K. Macpherson trying to prove that real events and problems modern to it England, its public and political circles are behind abstract maxims with which the philosopher in the works operated is [16, river 48 — 51].

However some scientists refused to Hobbes available of communication between his researches and real events England of the middle of the 17th century. So, K.P. Minogue notes that Hobbes wrote the works in such abstract manner that it is impossible to establish connection between provisions of his theory and events of real life, and adds that Hobbes's works "are not spoiled" by "historical categories" [17, river of XXII—XXIV]. He is echoed A.G. Uorender that "the collection of historical examples" [26, river 240] is not of particular importance for Hobbes, and J.P. Plamenants [18, river of IX]. Therefore we will separately note the point of view of P.A. Zagorin who tried to connect by the first Hobbes's ideas with the English bourgeois revolution [27, river 186].

One more disputed issue in a historiography is the question of an exclusive phenomenon of the doctrine of Hobbes. So, for example, the historian J. Boul, having given extensive criticism of the ideas of Hobbes in the work, came to opinion that the thinker was some kind of black sheep among contemporaries [12]. X. R. Trevor-Roper supported this thought with a remark: "It is the isolated phenomenon in the English thought..." [24; 25, river 236].

According to the researcher of creativity Hobbes of I.V. Nemchenko, the merit of a denial of a view of Hobbes as on "the lonely original" belongs to Quentin Skinner, "which. proved existence of positive links between the political doctrine of Hobbes and beliefs of his contemporaries" and made "a revolution in ideas of political views of Hobbes" [8, page 21 — 22; 9, page 45; 19]. However we will make bold to claim that this thought was known also to K. Skinner. Some more contemporaries of the thinker and later admirers of his doctrine called the philosopher the predecessor. Among the last works on a case in point we will note J. Steinberg's works, S.A. Lloyd, V.B. Sullivan devoted to the deep analysis of statements of Hobbes and the points of view of other his researchers [20; 15; 23].

The domestic historiography did not ignore Hobbes's doctrine too. From pre-revolutionary researches it is worth mentioning work of the lawyer V.E. Valdenberg the "Law and the right in Hobbes's philosophy" devoted to the detailed analysis of a condition of the clean nature, ratio of concepts of the right and the law in natural state and within the state [3]. The political theory of Hobbes is considered in V.G. Kamburov [5] works, and his ethical system found reflection in A.O. Makovelsky's research [7].

In the Soviet historiography a few works are devoted to the analysis of theoretical installations of the thinker. The first Soviet work investigating Hobbes's system belonged to a feather of L.A. Cheskis who highly appreciated the philosopher's merits in development and statement of the ethic and political concept of the state, having noticed that "Hobbes the first put a basis to positive science about morals or science about customs" [11, page 125, 130].


We will note "The preface of the editor" A. Deborin to the Chosen compositions of Thomas Hobbes in whom the author recognizes "the known revolutionary sounding" behind the sociological theory of the thinker [1, page XXVII]. However, later without any motivations he called the philosopher the ardent enemy of revolution that was not surprising, considering a spirit of the age [4, page 180 — 184].

The opposite point of view is stated by M. Petrosova claiming that protection of ideals of absolute monarchy by Hobbes was the only opportunity "to provide power of the state and citizens" [10, page 52]. This opinion is shared also by D. Bikhdriker [2]. We, in turn, will also agree with this assessment. Unfortunately, it should be noted that the modern domestic historiography does not pay due attention to the analysis of works of Thomas Hobbes. For the last decade there was no serious work devoted to studying the matter.

In conclusion once again we will emphasize that the creative heritage of Thomas Hobbes attracted and attracts genuine interest already of not one generation of historians, philosophers and sociologists that demonstrates the high importance, relevance and originality of the doctrine of the thinker.

List of sources and literature

1. Hobbes T. Izbr. soch. M.; L., 1926.
2. D. Bikhdriker. Hobbes's doctrine about the state and the right//Under a Marxism banner. 1938. No. 6.
3. V.E. Valjdenberg. The law and the right in Hobbes's philosophy. SPb., 1900.
4. Deborina. Socio-political exercises of modern times. M, 1958. T. 1.
5. Kamburov V.G. Thomas Hobbes and his political doctrine. Kiev, 1900.
6. V.M. Kuchkin. Sociological concept of Thomas Hobbes and its historical value. L., 1969.
7. A.O. Makoveljsky. Ethic political system of Hobbes. Kazan, 1912.
8. Nemchenko I.V. Thomas Hobbes and English bourgeois revolution of the middle of the 17th century. M, 1981.
9. I.V. Nemchenko. "Tradition of an order" in the English political thought" the first half of the 17th century and Thomas Hobbes//Europe: The 17th century. M, 1997.
10. Petrosova M. Thomas Hobbes//Front of science and technology. 1938. No. 4 — 5.
11. Cheskis L.A. Thomas Hobbes, ancestor of modern materialism. M, 1924.
12. Bowle J. Hobbes and his Critics. A Study of Seventeenth Century Constitutionalism. L., 1951
13. GoldsmithM.M. Hobbes’s Science of Politics. N.Y., 1966.
14. Ideas as Interests in Hobbes’s Leviathan: The Power of Mind over Matter/S.A. Lloyd. Cambridge, 2002.
15. Laird J. Hobbes. L., 1934.
16. Macpherson C.B. The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism. Hobbes to Locke. Oxford, 1962.
17. MinogueK.P. Introduction to Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes. L., 1973.
18. PlamenantzJ.P. Man and Society. N.Y., 1963. Vol. 1.
19. Skinner Q. Hobbes’s Leviathan//Historical Journal. 1964. Vol. 7.
20. Steinberg J. The Obsession of Th. Hobbes. N.Y., 1988.
21. Strauss L. The Political Philosophy of Hobbes. Its Basis and Genesis. Oxford, 1936.
22. Strauss L. Natural Right and History. Chicago, 1953.
23. Sullivan V.B. Machiavelli, Hobbes, and the Formation of a Liberal Republicanism in England. Cambridge, 2004.
24. Trevor-Roper H.R. The General Crisis of the Seventeenth Century//Past and Present. 1959. Vol. 16.
25. Trevor-Roper H.R. Men and Events. N.Y., 1957.
26. Warrender H. The Political Philosophy of Hobbes. His Theory and Obligation. Oxford, 1957.
27. Zagorin P. A History of Political Thought in the English Revolution. L., 1954.

About the author

M.V. Avdashchenkova — asp., the Smolensk state university.

UDC 940.2 (438)

M.A. Bulakhtin


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