Thomas Hobbes- Jeremy Bentham: Political Economy and International Political Theory in Perspective


Benjamin Bourcier, Assistant Professor in Philosophy, Université Catholique de Lille (France).
Mikko Jakonen, Associate Professor, Senior Lecturer in Cultural Policy, University of
Jyväskylä (Finland)

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Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) are usually portrayed as two central philosophers of the British modern political and legal thought. Since David Armitage’s Foundations of Modern International Thought , they also appear 1 as leading figures in the making of the modern international political thought. In this new intellectual history, the couple “Hobbes-Bentham” not only delimits chronologically the formation period of the modern international political thought (1629-1832), but refers to their special role as major theorists in conducting central developments to the later international thought as they are strongly associated to the development of modern capitalism and liberalism.

The aim of this workshop is to query the formation of the modern international political
thought between Hobbes and Bentham on basis of the following idea: What sort of relations, developments, connections, continuities and ruptures take place in the fields of political economy and international theory in the time period that stretches between intellectually active periods of Thomas Hobbes (from 1629 onwards) and Jeremy Bentham (1832)? We ask, for example, what sort of relations can we see between the conceptualizations of property rights and free markets? Is there a continuity on the conceptualization of sovereign state, war, colonization and expansion? How far do the thinkers of this period develop their critic against empire? How do they think about economic interactions and interdependence in the aftermath of the birth of the Westphalian world?

This workshop aims to clarify, explicit and answer to these and several other fundamental
questions concerning the relations between political economy and international theory in the given time period in the domains of history of philosophy, history of political thought, history of economic and international thought. Here is a non-exhaustive list of themes that present some of the questions and concepts desired for this workshop:
_ political economy, wealth, commerce
_ property rights, land, market regulation, taxes
_ colonies, conquest, expansion
_ borders, foreigners, outsiders
_ critics of empire, British empire
_ international theory, laws of nations, international law
_ theories of sovereignty, state theory, state as moral person
_ war, peace
_ international treaties and politics
_ interactions, interdependence between States
_ diplomacy and international politics


Each paper will attribute 45 minutes. The format will be 25 minutes presentation for each
paper followed by 20 minutes of questions and discussion.
Papers proposal of maximum 500 words should be sent by June 10th, 2018.