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Conference paper


Zvonko Posavec ; Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

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page 29-37

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The author shows the importance of Hobbes’ political thought in
formulating the modern state. His contractual argument did not become obsolete as his scientific method. Hobbes breaks from the Aristotelian and natural rights tradition, or rather, he gives the concept of natural right an entirely new meaning. In this context the state of nature, contract and state are logical constructs, and not concepts in direct causal relationship. Hobbes’ contract is not just a contract about the system of government; it is what society begins with. The contract is only the ground for the formation of the sociability of the individual, if it is at the same time the ground for establishing the government. The author emphasizes that, just like Kant, Hobbes and Locke consider leaving the state of nature necessary, not simply because of pragmatic reasons, but because the state has to legitimate itself as a claim of pure practical reason. Therefore, the author, following Kant, holds that the duty towards civil society and state cannot be based in the context of Hobbes’ and Locke’s philosophy, because, although the creation of state can be seen as an act of prudence, that in itself does not show a real obligation to pass from the state of nature to the state of law. The author also notes Hobbes’ error in constructing a state independent from ownership. Contrary to him, Kant reasonably and legally bases theory of property as decisive part of his contractualism and creates a philosophical and legal foundation for the philosophy of the state.


Hobbes, Kant, natural right, state of nature, contract, state, ownership

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