The empirical reality behind Hobbes's science of politics
Paltzer, Daniel Minnekus
This thesis concerns the development of the concept of the unitary nation state and anarchic European political system in 16th and 17th century political theory, and will argue that Thomas Hobbes provided the paradigmatic theoretical vision which corresponds to this change in political organization. Most recent scholarship has approached Hobbes’s political work from the perspective of his overall attention to deductive science. However, all sciences ultimately rely on observations from the real world in order to produce beneficial results. This reliance on empirical examples still exists in Hobbes, and one of his main sources is history which he argues should teach general lessons. Therefore political histories, and political treatises focused on historical practice, played a larger role in Hobbes’s theory than is often acknowledged. This was particularly true in the area of how Hobbes thought his science could be applied.