Behemoth'and Hobbes's" science of just and unjust

Filozofski Vestnik 24 (2):267-289 (2003)
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This essay advances the following set of arguments: First, that we must take seriously Hobbes's claim in Behemoth that "the science of just & unjust" is a demonstrable science, accessible to those of even the meanest capacity. Second, that Leviathan is the work in which this science, intended as a serious project in civic education, is set out. Third, that Hobbes is prepared to accept, like Plato & Aristotle, "giving to each his own," as a preliminary definition of justice, from which however, he draws some very un-Aristotelian conclusions. Fourth, that though in Hobbes's theory "just & unjust" are equivalent of "lawful & unlawful," this is far from being a simple statement of legal positivism, but rather the conclusion of a practical syllogism. Fifth, that the impediments to this demonstrable science of justice being universally accepted, on Hobbes's account, are twofold, explained in terms of religion & the role of preachers & educators produced by the universities, on the one hand, & by the activity of "democratical gentlemen" & classical republicans dominating parliament, on the other. Sixth, that Hobbes's account of the transition from jus to lex, specified in terms of a transition from the state of nature to that of civil society, although Epicurean in origin, is much closer to a conventional civil law position. Adapted from the source document.
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