a1 Nuffield College, Oxford
The decade of criticism directed at The Political Philosophy of Hobbes has found the critics united in rejecting many of Warrender's conclusions, but it has not produced a generally accepted alternative interpretation. I shall argue in this paper that this has happened because the critics have not been searching enough in their criticism. Often they have taken over without discussion two crucial but highly questionable features of Warrender's book: first, his ignoring the definition of ‘obligation’ given in Leviathan; and, second, his presentation of logically independent conclusions about Hobbes's theory as if they were related. As a result of the first, Warrender's critics have sometimes followed him into error; and, as a result of the second, they have sometimes been led to dismiss correct conclusions in the belief that these were logically bound up with other conclusions that really were wrong. Too often they have thrown out the baby and kept the bathwater.
1 I am grateful to Professor H. L. A. Hart for his comments on an earlier draft of this paper.