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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 Anthropology

The Hobbesian Hypothesis in Anthropology

(p.112) Chapter 8 The Hobbesian Hypothesis in Anthropology
Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy

Karl Widerquist

Grant S. McCall

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores how Hobbesian ideas affected the development of anthropology and how “the Hobbesian hypotheses” (the claim that 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) has appeared in the history of anthropological thought and in popular anthropology. Although many of the issues discussed remain the subject of debate in anthropology, to some extent, this discussion reveals how anthropologists overcame Hobbesian influence as they gradually improved their understanding of small-scale societies.

Keywords:   State of nature, Lockean proviso, Hobbesian hypothesis, Statelessness (stateless people(s), Small-scale society (societies), Hunter-gatherer(s) (hunter-gatherer society (-ies)), Band(s) (band society (-ies)), Violence hypothesis, Jared Diamond, Steven Pinker

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