The Appearance of Power in Hobbes’ Leviathan

Meghan Robison


Power is widely acknowledged as central to Thomas Hobbes’ political philosophy. There is ongoing debate over whether singular human beings or, instead, plural relationships, are the true source of power. After tracing the debate between the individualist and relationist interpretations, I offer an alternative option which, I argue, can accommodate both the individual and the relation together. Hobbesian power, I contend, is an appearance of a human being as having a means to satisfy his desires and, hence, while power belongs to an individual, it only appears in relation to another who recognizes him as such. In closing, I reflect on the political implications of this notion of power in connection with desire.


Hobbes; Power; Individualism; Desire; Recognition

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.1825-9618/9617


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