Berkeley, Hobbes and the constitution of the self Academic Article uri icon


  • By focusing on the exchange between Descartes and Hobbes on the self and its activities, Berkeley draws attention to how he and Hobbes explain the forensic constitution of human subjectivity and moral/political responsibility in terms of passive obedience and conscientious submission to the sovereign's laws. Formulated as the language of nature or pronouncements of the supreme political power, those laws identify moral obligations by locating subjects within those networks of sensible signs. When juxtaposed with Hobbes, Berkeley can thus be understood to endorse a theological version of deontology in which moral laws are linked to the constitution of the self.

published proceedings

  • Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century

author list (cited authors)

  • Daniel, S. H

complete list of authors

  • Daniel, SH

publication date

  • January 2015