Limiting Leviathan: Hobbes on Law and International Affairs

Paperback | September 30, 2013

byLarry May

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Thomas Hobbes wrote extensively about law and was strongly influenced by developments and debates among lawyers of his day. And Hobbes is considered by many commentators to be one of the first legal positivists. Yet there is no book in English that focuses on Hobbes's legal philosophy. Indeed,Hobbes's own book length treatment of law, A Dialogue Between a Philosopher and a Student of the Common Laws of England, has also not received much commentary over the centuries. Larry May seeks to fill the gap in the literature by addressing Hobbes's legal philosophy directly, and comparingLeviathan to the Dialogue, as he offers a new interpretation of Hobbes's views about the connections among law, politics, and morality. May argues that Hobbes is much more amenable to moral, and even legal, limits on the law - indeed closer to Lon Fuller than to today's legal positivists - than he is often portrayed. He shows that Hobbes's views can provide a solid grounding for the rules of war and international relationsgenerally, contrary to the near universal belief that Hobbes is the bete noir of international law. To support these views, May holds that Hobbes places greater weight on equity than on justice, and that understanding the role of equity is the key to his legal philosophy. Equity also is the moralconcept that provides restrictions on what a sovereign can legitimately do, and if violated is the kind of limitation on sovereignty that could open the door for possible international institutions.

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Thomas Hobbes wrote extensively about law and was strongly influenced by developments and debates among lawyers of his day. And Hobbes is considered by many commentators to be one of the first legal positivists. Yet there is no book in English that focuses on Hobbes's legal philosophy. Indeed,Hobbes's own book length treatment of law, ...

Larry May is a political philosopher who works on issues of collective responsibility and the just war; and he also works on the normative foundations of international criminal law. He has published a dozen book-length monographs, which have won awards in philosophy, law, and international relations. He has also authored over one hund...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pagesPublished:September 30, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199682801

ISBN - 13:9780199682805

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. Law, Morality, and Prudence2. Social Contract3. Equity and Justice4. Concept of Law5. Fidelity to Law6. Sovereignty and Artificial Reason7. Authorization, Joint Action, and Representation8. Crimes and the International Order9. Rules of War10. The Attitude of PacifismConcluding ThoughtsBibliography