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Michael Oakeshott as a critic of Hobbes's theory of the will
Author/s:  Patrick Riley 
Year:  2004 Issue: Language: English 
Pages:  9 FullText PDF:  41 KB

Michael Oakeshott as a Critic of Hobbes's Theory of the Will (by Patrick Riley) - ABSTRACT: Patrick Riley asks why the post-War Oakeshott stopped speaking of the incoherence of Hobbes’s philosophy of volition, as he had in his Hobbes studies before the War. One answer is that he became more and more sensitive to the necessity of counterbalancing the determinist reading of Hobbes, which tended to be dominant in the 1970s’ Hobbes studies. He cites the example of Thomas Spragens’s The Politics of Motion (1973), according to which the human will appears only as a natural movement in a material universe. Although Jürgen Overhoff’s Theory of the Will (2000) advances the view that there is complete coherence in Hobbes’s conception of volition, Riley finds his arguments unconvincing. In the end, Riley declares himself favorable to Oakeshott’s "less satisfactory" interpretation of Hobbes, given the incoherence between the Hobbesian critique of free will, fully developed in The Questions concerning Liberty, Necessity and Chance, and the requirements of a political theory of contract in terms of a theory of rational will.

Patrick Riley, in "RIVISTA DI STORIA DELLA FILOSOFIA" 1/2004, pp. , DOI:


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