HomePhilosophia: International Journal of Philosophyvol. 41 no. 1 (2012)

Leaving Politics Behind: Arendtian and Hegelian Reading of Hobbes

Rizalino Noble Malabed

Discipline: Philosophy, Political Science




The Hobbesian social contract is effectively a repudiation of politics. And the story of humanity it tells is that of alienation. The multitude left politics behind in the state of nature, demarcating it as the power and domain of the Sovereign, as they surrendered their political capacities — their wills and judgments — to constitute the commonwealth. What they got in return is the guarantee to safely pursue the necessities of life. Thus, the politics of the modern state, as applied to subjects, has always been the administration and care of mere life. This interpretation depends on a Hegelian and Arendtian reading of Hobbes.


The only way to erect such a Common Power, as may be able to defend them from the invasion of Foraigners, and the injuries of one another, and thereby secure them in such sort, as that by their owne industrie, and by the fruites of the Earth, they may nourish themselves and live contentedly; is to conferre all their power and strength on one Man… and therein submit their Wills, every one to his Will, and their Judgements, to his Judgement.