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Original scientific paper


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

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The study of Hobbes’ “theory of politics” begins with contrasting the different views on his theory found in the works of H. Arendt and
M. Foucault, as well as in the recent methodically crucial works of J.
F. Spitz. Their common denominator is that they all contest Hobbes’
theory state and sovereignty, as a fatal epoch-making trap. The essay approaches Hobbes through evaluating contemporary political theory and his most important inquiry into the understanding of state as a legal and political project of Modernity (A. Passerin d’Entrèves, B.
Kriegel and Q. Skinner). Based on this inquiry, and on the critical
reading of Hobbes’ Leviathan, the author shows that the understanding of Hobbes’ theory of the sovereign state conclusively depends on the epistemological status of the concept of the “state of nature”. The main dilemma is if the state of nature should be understood as a logical construct with an ambition for ontological status or a hypothetical state reflecting the historical context of Hobbes’ era? The main problem of the state of nature does not rest in a struggle for power between power-seeking individuals, but in the fact that people are fatally divided and conflicted in their religious and political convictions.
To leave such state of religious civil wars permanently, is possible
only, if the tasks of a representative sovereign are understood as
society-building in diachronic dimension. However, even if a sovereign
successfully fulfills his fundamental task of society-building, the
developed civil society will not correlate with this basic type of sovereign absolute state, but with a new type – liberal and democratic


the state, sovereignity, state of nature, H. Arendt, M. Foucault, J. B. Spitz, A. Passerin d’Entréves, B.Kriegel, Q. Skinner

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