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date: 17 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In Leviathan, Hobbes holds that prospective subjects authorize a sovereign to represent them. Alienation of some rights to the sovereign typically follows upon authorization of him, and representatives are persons. Although this view sounds straightforward, the exact nature of authorization, representation, and personhood has been greatly debated. I will argue first that Hobbes’s best account of the origin of sovereignty (by institution) is the one given in chapter 21 of Leviathan, according to which authorization of the sovereign does not itself involve any alienation of rights, and, second, that the primary political relation of representation is between the sovereign, who is an artificial person, and each individual subject.

Keywords: alienation, authorization, persons, representation, rights, sovereignty by institution

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