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Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy$
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Karl Widerquist and Grant S. McCall

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780748678662

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748678662.001.0001

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The Hobbesian Hypothesis in Contemporary Political Theory

The Hobbesian Hypothesis in Contemporary Political Theory

Chapter:
(p.98) Chapter 7 The Hobbesian Hypothesis in Contemporary Political Theory
Source:
Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy
Author(s):

Karl Widerquist

Grant S. McCall

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748678662.003.0007

This chapter argues that “the Hobbesian hypothesis” (the claim that the Lockean proviso is fulfilled: everyone is better off in a state society with a private property system than they could reasonably expect to be in any society without either of those institutions) plays a large role in contemporary justifications of the state and/or the property rights system. The search turns up few attempts to justify existing states or property rights systems without some version of the hypothesis. Theorists asserting it as an obvious truth in need of little or no supporting evidence include David Gauthier, Jean Hampton, James Buchanan, Gregory S. Kavka, George Klosko, Dudley Knowles, Christopher Heath Wellman, Robert Nozick, Jan Narveson, and many others. Critics include Alan Ryan, Carole Pateman, Charles Mills, Patricia Williams, and others. Yet all this disagreement has produce very little debate or interest in an empirical investigation of the hypothesis.

Keywords:   State of nature, Social contract (theory), Lockean proviso, Hobbesian hypothesis, Property (property rights theory), Contractarian (-ism), Libertarian (-ism), Propertarian (-ism), Mutual advantage (theory), Consent (theory)

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