Sep 2016 - Jun 2017
University of St Andrews
Max holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of St Andrews and has taught political theory at the University of Stirling. He is currently working on a book titled Thomas Hobbes's Proto-Liberal Conception of Peace. He has published articles on Hobbes’s political thought in History of European Ideas, Hobbes Studies and the Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy.
Thomas Hobbes’s Proto-Liberal Conception of Peace
This project reconsiders Hobbes’s conception of peace in relation to the theory and practice of liberal peace. According to the standard interpretation of Hobbes, peace within society requires authoritarian government, and lasting peace between states is impossible to achieve. By contrast, liberal political thinkers, such as Immanuel Kant, highlight the potential of liberal political institutions to resolve conflict within society, and argue that representative government can pacify relations among democracies. This is commonly known as the democratic peace thesis. However, the contemporary reality of liberalism beyond the nation-state has been haunted by Hobbes’s spectre. The liberal world order and peacebuilding in post-conflict societies, such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, are criticised for failing to realise liberal values. Liberal peace, according to its critics, is Hobbesian in its undemocratic nature and suppression of value plurality. Against this background, this project examines the proto-liberal elements of Hobbes’s conception of peace, and explores how Hobbes’s ideas could be used to rethink critically certain aspects of liberal peace today.