Consent, Consensus and the Leviathan: A Critical Study of Hobbes Political Theory for the Contemporary Society


The purpose of the state and its apparatus right from the formation of human society to this contemporary period is still being confronted with the question of legitimacy. One of the major reasons why the state is formed is for the attainment of good life of the citizens. The institution of the state would thus remain legitimate only when those who are in political authority perform basic functions of government to meet the expectations of the members of the society. To this end, this paper examines the concept of consent and consensus as a foundation for the justification of the emergence of the state and argue that if there is no mutual agreement within the society, there can be little or no way of ensuring peaceful resolution of policy differences that is associated with the democratic process. Consequent upon this, the paper adopts Thomas Hobbes social contract theory as a theoretical framework to explain the origin of the state and justify the absolute power of the government which is rooted in the consent and the consensus of the people. The philosophical methods of conceptual clarification and critical analysis are employed to examine Hobbes political theory and evaluate its relevance to the contemporary society.

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Aderibigbe, M. (2015) Consent, Consensus and the Leviathan: A Critical Study of Hobbes Political Theory for the Contemporary Society. Open Journal of Philosophy, 5, 384-390. doi: 10.4236/ojpp.2015.56046.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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