The seventeenth century marks several radical philosophical and political changes for Europe. Two such writers who emerged during this period are Hugh Grotius and Thomas Hobbes. Individually, their respective contributions to political theory are already widely acknowledged. However, their relationship to one another, and their respective relations to the wider trends evident in political thought at the time are of much greater contestation. Richard Tuck argues in Natural Rights Theories and The Right of War and Peace that Grotius ought be considered as a foundational thinker of natural rights in the period, and a formative influence on the natural rights theory of Hobbes. However, this interpretation of Hobbes as following in Grotius’ footsteps is criticized by Perez Zagorin, who instead holds that while both Grotius and Hobbes are indeed influenced to some extent by their contemporary intellectual trends, the two are themselves wholly independent thinkers. This paper seeks to evaluate the claims made by both Tuck and Zagorin. In it I argue that, while Hobbes is deeply indebted to Grotius for his methodological and theoretical underpinnings as defended by Tuck, Zagorin is likewise correct in his assessments that Grotius had at least to some extent by Hobbes’ time become part of the philosophical æther, and that Grotius’s strong connection to his predecessors and his reliance on the individual will as directly connected to God’s locate him as equally aligned with both his philosophical predecessors and successors. This interpretation is defended largely through the examination of Hobbes and Grotius on two primary issues; their respective views on slavery, and the right of resistance.



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