You Reap What You Sow

In a recent debate online someone complained to me, after I had pointed to one problem with idea of the Sovereign in Leviathan, that Thomas Hobbes would not have cared about such things as the “fact-value dichotomy”. He went on to assert that the analytics were simply misinterpreting the Enlightenment. I think he is mistaken. It is true that Hobbes would not have ‘cared’ about the fact-value dichotomy. Indeed, he would have barely been able to make any sense of the idea if you were to pose it to him.

Hobbes and the Sovereign

In the Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes posits the creation of a commonwealth by means of a social contract, and as part of that contract, Hobbes theorizes the creation of the office of a sovereign authority, the occupant of which is to act as the representative of the constituted wills of the individual parties of the contract. Hobbes insists that it is not possible for this sovereign authority to commit an injustice against those who have granted him his privileged position.