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Hobbes, Thomas

(820 words)

Author(s): Kersting, Wolfgang
[German Version] (Apr 5, 1588, Westport, England – Dec 4, 1679, Hardwicke, England), English philosopher, founder of political philosophy in the modern period. For Hobbes, political philosophy is the scientific philosophy of peace, which has the task of researching the causes of war and civil war, in order to find suitable instruments of peace and be able to implement preventive measures for political security. His political philosophy makes a scientific claim, because – in contrast to traditional…

Violence and the Use of Force

(2,190 words)

Author(s): Lienemann, Wolfgang | Kersting, Wolfgang | Sieckmann, Jan-R. | Schmälzle, Udo Friedrich
[German Version] I. Anthropology Violence as the power of some to intimidate others against their will by threat or exercise of physical coercion or force them to (or not to) behave or act in a particular way is a phenomenon of all ages, cultures and societies. It is a constant of the human capacity for being; its exercise, encouragement, restraint, and restriction depend on many social variables. A historically differentiated anthropology will inquire into the factors determining various forms of violence. The causes of human violence have been defined variously. In his dri…

Dominion/Rule

(1,257 words)

Author(s): Kersting, Wolfgang | Krötke, Wolf | Sigrist, Christian
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Dogmatics – III. Sociology, Politics, and Social Ethics I. Philosophy Any systematic political philosophy confronts two fundamental problems: the problem of the justification for dominion and the problem of the limitation of rule. The justification for dominion requires a refutation of anarchism, requires a demonstration that there are good grounds for abandoning the natural condition and for establishing a ruling order at all. These grounds can demonstrate the rational advantages of a life under state protection, as in T. Hobbes's Leviatha…

Social Contract

(776 words)

Author(s): Kersting, Wolfgang
[German Version] Social contract theories are socio- and politico-philosophical conceptions that consider the legitimation of political authority and social order to be grounded in a hypothetical contract entered into by free, rational, and equal individuals to improve their lot on a pre-social context under idea, non-compelling conditions. Such theories make universal capacity to consent their fundamental criterion of legitimacy. Restriction of freedom in any form, from the establishment of state…