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The audience of Leviathan and the audience of Hobbes's political philosophy

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Abstract:

Sovereigns, students and common people have been suggested as the intended audiences of Leviathan. No one of these groups can be singled out. Rather, Hobbes sought an audience beyond even that of his printed words. This reflects Hobbes's growing concern with the ‘corruption’ of the people, a concern which was spurred on by the events of the Civil War. While his attempt to undo or forestall corruption does not undermine his claims to having developed the ‘science of just and unjust’, it does suggest that Hobbes's science is more than ‘infallible rules and the true science of equity and justice’.

Keywords: Hobbes; Leviathan; philosophical rhetoric; philosophical writing; political rhetoric; political writing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dept. of Political Science, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA. Email: gvaughan@umbc.edu

Publication date: 2001-03-01

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