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Normatively demanding creatures: Hobbes, the Fall & individual responsibility

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2000
<mark>Journal</mark>Res Publica
Issue number3
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)301-319
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper explores an internal relation between wrong-doing and the ability to think in moral terms, through Hobbes’ thought. I use his neglected retelling of our ‘original sin’ as a springboard, seeing how we then discover a need to vindicate our own projects in terms shared by others. We become normatively demanding creatures: greedy for normative vindication, eager to judge others amid the difficulties of our world. However there is, of course, no choice for us but to choose our own principles of judgment, or at least some authority to provide these. Unconvinced by Hobbes’ remedies, I conclude with one implication for moral philosophy@ a need to look rather differently at agency and responsibility.