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Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy - Edinburgh Scholarship Online
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Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy

Karl Widerquist and Grant S. McCall


This book shows how—despite significant equivocation—the most influential justifications of government and of private property rely on the seldom-questioned empirical premise that this book calls, “the Hobbesian Hypothesis.” That is, everyone in a society with a government and/or a private property rights system is better off than anyone could be in a society without those institutions. In other words, the “Lockean Proviso” is fulfilled—whether by the state or by the property rights system or both. This book traces the path of this claim through the history of political thought from Hobbes and ... More

Keywords: State of nature, Social contract (theory), Lockean proviso, Hobbesian hypothesis, Property (property rights theory), Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Contractarian (-ism), Libertarian (-ism), Statelessness (stateless people)

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780748678662
Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2017 DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748678662.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Karl Widerquist, author
Associate Professor in Political Theory, Georgetown University

Grant S. McCall, author
Assistant Professor in Anthropology, Tulane University