Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
C. B. Macpherson and the Problem of Liberal Democracy$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Jules Townshend

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9781853312137

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781853312137.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 17 May 2022

Hobbes as Possessive Individualist

Hobbes as Possessive Individualist

(p.31) Chapter 2 Hobbes as Possessive Individualist
C. B. Macpherson and the Problem of Liberal Democracy

Jules Townshen

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter analyzes Macpherson's treatment of Hobbes. It discusses Macpherson's initial attempt to correlate Hobbes' thought with the rise of capitalism in 1945; Macpherson's interpretation of Hobbes as a possessive individualist; and criticisms against Macpherson's version of Hobbes. The avalanche of criticism dented Macpherson's hypothesis about Hobbes. The question is whether the hypothesis has become so unsustainable that it should be jettisoned, which is what critics were in effect implying. Critics were at their weakest when proposing the Macpherson characterized Hobbes as a protagonist of a rising bourgeois class. They ignored Macpherson's aim which was not primarily concerned with Hobbes' motives or intentions, but with identifying semi-conscious or unstated social assumptions and their implications. In particular he wanted to tease out the logic of what Hobbes was saying in order to understand his contribution to the possessive market model: if a universal competition of power is postulated, then for it to proceed peacefully, and for society to continue, a state must guarantee exchange.

Keywords:   C. B. Macpherson, possessive individualist, Hobbes, capitalism

Edinburgh Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.