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Reappraising Political TheoryRevisionist Studies in the History of Political Thought$
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Terence Ball

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198279952

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198279957.001.0001

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Hobbes's Linguistic Turn

Hobbes's Linguistic Turn

(p.83) 4 Hobbes's Linguistic Turn
Reappraising Political Theory

Terence Ball (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Here, I examine and criticize the claim that Hobbes was a proto‐positivist precursor of the modern scientific study of politics. Against this view, I argue that Hobbes may be better viewed as a thinker acutely aware of the communicative constitution of human society. Because communicative distortion and breakdown are ever‐present possibilities, an all‐powerful `sovereign definer’ is needed to prevent or preclude the communicative breakdown that characterizes the Hobbesian state of nature.

Keywords:   civil science, communication, Thomas Hobbes, linguistic turn, political science, political theory, positivism, state of nature

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