Skip to the main content

Original scientific paper

A Fatal Hobbesian Charm?

Dragutin Lalović ; Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

Full text: english pdf 217 Kb

page 3-18

downloads: 829



The discussion on Hobbes’s “doctrine of politics” is confronted with J. F. Spitz’s methodically challenging standpoint: the latter radically refutes Hobbes’s theory of the State and sovereignty, deeming it to be a fatal epochal trap. This work approaches Hobbes through acknowledgement of the principal insights of political theory with regard to the conception of State as the politico-juridical project of modernity (A. Passerin d’Entrèves, Q. Skinner). Relying on the said
insights, and building upon a critical scrutiny of Hobbes’s Leviathan,
the author shows that the epistemological status of the “state of nature” concept is crucial for the understanding of Hobbes’s theory of
the sovereign State. In so doing, he must resolve the following query:
is the state of nature a logical construction aspiring to an ontological
status, or rather a hypothetical state which outlines the historical constellation of Hobbes’s time? Instead of the struggle of covetous individuals for power, the main drawback of the state of nature proves to be the fact that people are lethally drawn apart and set against one another by their religious and political beliefs. There can be no lasting politico-juridical triumph over such a state of religious and civil wars unless the tasks of the representative sovereign are diachronically perceived as society-making. If and when, however, the sovereign should successfully fulfil his fundamental society-making task, the developed civil society would no longer find suitable the initial type of the sovereign absolute State. It would then require a new type – the liberal and democratic State.


State, sovereignty, state of nature, J. F. Spitz, A. Passerin d’Entrèves, Q. Skinner

Hrčak ID:



Visits: 1.289 *