Hobbes on Hope and Deliberation

Christopher Bobier
UC Irvine

While Descartes’s criticisms of Aristotle and his followers are implicit in the Mediations, Hobbes is explicit and upfront that this project is to overthrow the philosophy the “Schools”, or those who endorse Aristotelianism in any of its 17th-century guise. Despite his vitriolic rhetoric, Hobbes agrees with Aristotle that hope is important for practical deliberation. Aristotle claims that “no one deliberates concerning things that are not hoped for”, a claim that Hobbes echoes: “Deliberation therefore requireth in the action deliberated two conditions: one, that it be future; the other, that there be hope of doing it.” Philosophers have been interested in Hobbes’s account of deliberation ever since his Elements of Law was circulated in 1640; yet the role of hope in deliberation and its similarity to Aristotle has been largely overlooked. The aim of this chapter is to examine the role of Hobbesian hope in practical deliberation in order to identify an Aristotelian influence.