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Article

International Human Rights Protections Find Support in Hobbes’ Leviathan

Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society, 0363 Oslo, Norway
Academic Editors: Cathrine Felix, Olof Beckman and Marcin J. Schroeder
Philosophies 2022, 7(3), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7030047
Received: 14 January 2022 / Revised: 12 April 2022 / Accepted: 12 April 2022 / Published: 20 April 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Philosophy of Human Rights Obligations and Omissions)
In her paper “Sovereignty and the International Protection of Human rights”, Cristina Lafont argues that “The obligation of respecting human rights in the sense of not contributing to their violation seems to be a universal obligation and thus one that binds states just as much as non-state actors.” In this paper, I argue that one can find support for this claim in Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan. This requires a different reading of Leviathan than the one that is typically performed by realist thinkers, such as, for instance, Morgenthau and Mearsheimer, who read Hobbes as someone who has no regard for human rights. Contrary to the realists, I suggest a reading of Leviathan that shows that there is in fact a normative underpinning of Hobbes’ view of sovereignty, to the extent that Hobbes can be taken to be one of the forerunners of international law. I do this by showing how Hobbes’ reasons for establishing sovereign power, and not his conclusions on how to organize sovereign power, may give support to Lafont’s claim that an obligation to respect human rights is not confined to the sovereign state, but also to extra-state institutions. View Full-Text
Keywords: Hobbes; natural law; international theory; international law; human rights; sovereignty; responsibility; global economic order; Lafont Hobbes; natural law; international theory; international law; human rights; sovereignty; responsibility; global economic order; Lafont
MDPI and ACS Style

Finholt, H.C. International Human Rights Protections Find Support in Hobbes’ Leviathan. Philosophies 2022, 7, 47. https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7030047

AMA Style

Finholt HC. International Human Rights Protections Find Support in Hobbes’ Leviathan. Philosophies. 2022; 7(3):47. https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7030047

Chicago/Turabian Style

Finholt, Hege Cathrine. 2022. "International Human Rights Protections Find Support in Hobbes’ Leviathan" Philosophies 7, no. 3: 47. https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7030047

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