Hobbesian Applied Ethics and Public Policy: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Hobbesian Applied Ethics and Public Policy

1st Edition

Edited by Shane D. Courtland


294 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781138691636
pub: 2017-07-20
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315534411
pub: 2017-07-20
from $27.48

FREE Standard Shipping!


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.


"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

Table of Contents


Shane D. Courtland

Section I: Core Issues in Application 

  1. A Hobbesian Approach to Public Policy
  2. Susanne Sreedhar

  3. Applied Ethics: A Challenge to Contractarianism?
  4. Daniel Eggers

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

    Section II: Medical Ethics 

  7. Hobbesian Medical Ethics
  8. Rosamond Rhodes

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

  11. Hobbes and Informed Consent in Medicine
  12. Marcus Adams

    Section III: Local Issues in Applied Ethics and Public Policy 

  13. Hobbes on the Ethic and Jurisprudence of Life
  14. Kody Cooper

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

  17. Hobbes Comes Out for Equal Marriage
  18. Eleanor Curran

    Section IV: Political Issues in Public Policy 

  19. Hobbes and Free Speech
  20. David van Mill

  21. Hobbes and the Welfare State
  22. Jan Narveson

  23. Hobbes on Serious Crime
  24. Tom Sorell

    Section V: Group Pluralism and Public Policy 

  25. A Hobbesian Response to Terrorism
  26. Jeremy Anderson

  27. Hobbesian Holdouts
  28. Peter Vanderschraaf

  29. Between Two Masters: Hobbes’s Views on International Relations

Gabrielle Stanton

About the Editor

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.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Applied Ethics

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
PHILOSOPHY / Political