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Behemoth Teaches Leviathan: Thomas Hobbes on Political by Geoffrey M. Vaughan

By Geoffrey M. Vaughan

Did Hobbes's political philosophy have useful intentions? There exists no _Hobbist_ tuition of idea; no new political order used to be encouraged by means of Hobbesian precepts. but in Behemoth Teaches Leviathan Geoffrey M. Vaughan revisits Behemoth to bare hitherto unexplored pedagogic objective to Hobbes's political philosophy.

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Neville associates republicanism with Protestantism and absolutism with Catholicism. To support this association, he offers an anachronistic Machiavelli – one of his own creation – who supports the Protestant Reformation. Not as subtle as Neville in presenting and acting on his republican sympathies, Sidney was executed during the reign of Charles II for his alleged participation in the Rye House Plot. When trying Sidney for his life, the prosecution used portions of the accused’s writings as a witness against him.

As Rome rejected the ways of aristocratic republics, so Machiavelli rejects the ways of aristocratic writers. But his vaunted embrace of the people is merely an instrumental one. He needs the people to serve his end. Thus, Machiavelli loves the people in the same way that Rome loved its plebes, as soldiers. As his Discourses opens, Machiavelli seems acutely aware that his embrace of the democratic republic of Rome, and hence of the multitude generally, will be particularly distasteful to some of his readers.

Rather than elevating peoples above the status of princes as promised, he chooses instead to lower princes to the level of peoples. 2). As a result, he accuses all, whether princes or peoples, without respect. ” This thought spurs him to offer strange endorsements of the people generally: “But as to prudence and stability, I say that a people is more prudent, more stable, and of better judgment than a prince. 3). What he means by this pronouncement is far from clear, because a people, even his exemplary Roman people, can be disastrously misguided as to what Machiavelli himself regards as its own good and evil.

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