Las Torres de Lucca. International Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol 5, No 9 (2016)

Misgivings About Absolute Power: Hobbes and the Concept of Honor

Jerónimo Rilla


This work intends to demonstrate the existence of limits that hinder the absolute authority of the sovereign in Hobbes’s political theory. Particularly, I will try to identify the concept of honor as the paradigm of this limitation. The field of the manifestations of worth —it will be argued— operates within a logic that runs parallel (sometimes convergently, others divergently) to that of the State. Moreover, it engenders authorities with high degree of autonomy. To be sure, the sovereign power can intervene in this field by means of persuasion and coercion, but it will never be able to erase the resistances and limitations imposed by signs of honor.