War in Modernity: Between Concept and History in the Philosophy of Thomas Hobbes

Led by Delphine Thivet
May 2011

This Ph.D thesis in philosophy sets out the relations between the genesis of seventeenth century political philosophy and the problem of war. It focuses on the realistic approach of Thomas Hobbes on two politic levels, civil war and international relations, and on his will to resolve social instability by special concepts as power, sovereignty, civil pact. It draws particular attention to the historical context and contemporary thinkers as Levellers, Grotius, Selden, Pufendorf, Locke.
This project investigates:

  • the different patterns of war in Hobbes theory and his differences with the just war theory.
  • the conceptual analysis of the civil English war (1640-1660) by Hobbes and his contemporaries, as a social crisis and a conflict of political power’s legitimacy within the society.
  • a confrontation between the hobbesian scepticism and the solutions to war in international relations thought by the first theoreticians of the jus gentium and of the balance of power (peace of Westphalie).



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