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Hobbes and Modern Political Thought

Yves Charles Zarka
Translated by James Griffith

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Reveals the Hobbesian origins of contemporary political concerns, especially the relationships between state, individual and law

Yves Charles Zarka shows you how Hobbes established the framework for modern political thought. Discover the origin of liberalism in the Hobbesian theory of negative liberty; that Hobbesian interest and contract are essential to contemporary discussions of the comportment of economic actors; and how state sovereignty returns anew in the form of the servility of the state.

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Translator’s Introduction


1. Journey: To the Foundations of Modern Politics

Part I. Individual and State

2. Gracián’s Hero and Hobbes’s Antihero

3. The Hobbesian Idea of Political Philosophy

Part II. Language and Power

4. Theory of Language

5. The Semiology of Power

Part III. Fundamental Concepts of Politics

6. On War

7. On Law

8. On Property

9. On the State

10. On the Right to Punish

Part IV. Hobbes According to Two Contemporaries

11. Hobbes and Filmer: Regnum Patrimoniale and Regnum Institutivum

12. Hobbes and Pascal: Two Models of the Theory of Power

Conclusion: Hobbes’s Contribution


About the Author

Yves Charles Zarka is Professor of Political Philosophy at the Université Paris Descartes (Sorbonne), the general editor of Oeuvres de Hobbes (Vrin), and has also published La décision métaphysique de Hobbes (Vrin). He edits the journal Cités (PUF) and, among his works on contemporary political philosophy, has recently published Refaire l'Europe (PUF), Refonder le cosmopolitanisme (PUF), and L'inappropriabilité de la Terre (Armand Colin)."


Hobbes and Modern Political Thought brings the work of Yves Charles Zarka – one of the most important interpreters of Hobbes – to Anglophone readers, perhaps for the first time. Zarka’s long-standing engagement with Hobbes shows how to read Hobbes's philosophical. This text, admirably translated, will enrich the English discussion of Hobbes’s philosophy.

- Richard A. Lee, Jr, DePaul University

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