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Hobbes’ Reply to the Fool

Hobbes’ Reply to the Fool David Gilboa, University of Wisconsin In chapter XV of Leviathan, Hobbes states that the third law of nature is “that men perform their covenants made.” Following this statement, Hobbes has an imaginary person called “the fool” make an objection to the third law of nature, by claiming that covenant-keeping may turn out to be an irrational action. In his reply to the fool, Hobbes insists that covenant-keeping is a rational action , but his arguments are not clear. In two recent outstanding works on Hobbes’ moral and political thought, Gregory Kavka and Jean Hampton independently attempt to reconstruct Hobbes’ reply to the fool. In this paper, I criticize the arguments of both Kavka and Hampton, but I argue that nevertheless, it is correct for Hobbes to insist that covenant-keeping is a rational action. 1 Basic Concepts Hobbes makes a distinction between two types of contract. In one type of contract, each party delivers a good in exchange for a good which is received at the same time, so neither party to the contract has to make a promise. The other type of contract requires that at least one promise be made. If only one party receives a good, that http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png History of Philosophy and Logical Analysis Brill

Hobbes’ Reply to the Fool

History of Philosophy and Logical Analysis , Volume 3 (1): 15 – Apr 5, 2000

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
2666-4283
eISSN
2666-4275
DOI
10.30965/26664275-00301005
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

David Gilboa, University of Wisconsin In chapter XV of Leviathan, Hobbes states that the third law of nature is “that men perform their covenants made.” Following this statement, Hobbes has an imaginary person called “the fool” make an objection to the third law of nature, by claiming that covenant-keeping may turn out to be an irrational action. In his reply to the fool, Hobbes insists that covenant-keeping is a rational action , but his arguments are not clear. In two recent outstanding works on Hobbes’ moral and political thought, Gregory Kavka and Jean Hampton independently attempt to reconstruct Hobbes’ reply to the fool. In this paper, I criticize the arguments of both Kavka and Hampton, but I argue that nevertheless, it is correct for Hobbes to insist that covenant-keeping is a rational action. 1 Basic Concepts Hobbes makes a distinction between two types of contract. In one type of contract, each party delivers a good in exchange for a good which is received at the same time, so neither party to the contract has to make a promise. The other type of contract requires that at least one promise be made. If only one party receives a good, that

Journal

History of Philosophy and Logical AnalysisBrill

Published: Apr 5, 2000

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