Hobbesian Applied Ethics and Public Policy  book cover
1st Edition

Hobbesian Applied Ethics and Public Policy

Edited By

Shane D. Courtland

ISBN 9780367889869
Published December 10, 2019 by Routledge
304 Pages

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Book Description

Most philosophers and political scientists readily admit that Thomas Hobbes is a significant figure in the history of political thought. His theory was, arguably, one of the first to provide a justification for political legitimacy from the perspective of each individual subject. Many excellent books and articles have examined the justification and structure of Hobbes’ commonwealth, ethical system, and interpretation of Christianity. What is troubling is that the Hobbesian project has been largely missing in the applied ethics and public policy literature. We often find applications of Kantian deontology, Bentham’s or Mill’s utilitarianism, Rawls’s contractualism, the ethics of care, and various iterations of virtue ethics. Hobbesian accounts are routinely ignored and often derided. This is unfortunate because Hobbes’s project offers a unique perspective. To ignore it, when such a perspective would be fruitful to apply to another set of theoretical questions, is a problem in need of a remedy. This volume seeks to eliminate (or, at the very least, partially fill) this gap in the literature.

Not only will this volume appeal to those that are generally familiar with Hobbesian scholarship, it will also appeal to a variety of readers that are largely unfamiliar with Hobbes.

Table of Contents

Introduction Shane D. Courtland

Section I: Core Issues in Application 

1. A Hobbesian Approach to Public Policy Susanne Sreedhar

2. Applied Ethics: A Challenge to Contractarianism? Daniel Eggers

3. Legislating Death: A Problem in Thomas Hobbes’s Argument and its Relevance for Contemporary Democracies Eva Odzuck

Section II: Medical Ethics 

4. Hobbesian Medical Ethics Rosamond Rhodes

5. Hobbes and Physician-Assisted Suicide: Between the Pains of Life and Death Joanne Boucher

6. Hobbes and Informed Consent in Medicine Marcus Adams

Section III: Local Issues in Applied Ethics and Public Policy 

7. Hobbes on the Ethic and Jurisprudence of Life Kody Cooper

8. Cheers by Command of the Sovereign: A Hobbesian Approach to Alcohol Michael Krom

9. Hobbes Comes Out for Equal Marriage Eleanor Curran

Section IV: Political Issues in Public Policy 

10. Hobbes and Free Speech David van Mill

11. Hobbes and the Welfare State Jan Narveson

12. Hobbes on Serious Crime Tom Sorell

Section V: Group Pluralism and Public Policy 

13. A Hobbesian Response to Terrorism Jeremy Anderson

14. Hobbesian Holdouts Peter Vanderschraaf

15. Between Two Masters: Hobbes’s Views on International Relations Gabrielle Stanton

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Shane D. Courtland currently works at West Virginia University. His publications have appeared in Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Journal of Environmental Philosophy, Journal of Applied Philosophy, Journal of Mind and Behavior, Southwest Philosophy Review, Hobbes Studies, Reason Papers, Utilitas, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and Routledge’s Ethics in Politics.


"Courtland has drawn together leading Hobbes scholars whose original essays address seminal topics in normative and applied ethics. The collection will be a vital resource for scholars and students, and it demonstrates the enduring value of Hobbes scholarship to contemporary controversies."Andrew I. Cohen, Georgia State University, USA