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Jeremy Anderson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
DePauw University

Important notes.
Copyright notice. All of these papers are protected by copyright law and may not be used without permission. More importantly, since some of them are parts of larger works in progress, please do not cite them without asking me first. There is a good chance I have changed my mind about some of the claims made in them.

The PDF file format. Papers posted here are in Adobe's PDF (Portable Document Format). Once they are downloaded, documents in PDF can be read by Adobe Reader (formerly known as Acrobat Reader), which is available free of charge for all major computer operating systems. If using Adobe Reader turns out to be unworkable for you, e-mail me and we'll arrange something.

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My work on Hobbes.
My dissertation was "The Correctives of Discreet Masters: Political Stability and Education in the Hobbesian Commonwealth" and was supervised by Alan Nelson. In contrast to social-contract interpretations of Hobbes, I show that threats of force alone are unlikely to maintain political stability for long. However, I argue that the failure of force is not due to citizens’ willingness to die for their beliefs, as Lloyd maintains. Rather, the sovereign’s ability to make credible threats varies due to a number of factors. I show that Hobbes believes threats of force must be supplemented with other means. Among these supplementary means, education of subjects in their civic duties and the grounds for them is both crucial and particularly efficient for helping to maintain the commonwealth. This emphasis on education helps explain the religious portions of Hobbes’s political works, and also suggests that Hobbes envisions a political system that is more plausible and less harsh than is often supposed. If you’d like to know more about this, read my dissertation proposal, A Kinder, Gentler Hobbes.” If you're a real glutton for punishment I can send you the whole dissertation if you e-mail me a request.

Part of my dissertation argues for why and how education matters to Hobbes. A brief version of my position on this is laid out in The Role of Education in Political Stability,”
which was presented at the April 2000 Pacific Meeting of the APA and published in Hobbes Studies (Vol. XVI-2003, pp. 95 -104). My full discussion of Hobbes's recommendations for maintaining order is Chapter 5 of the dissertation, which can also be had on request.

Another part of my dissertation rebuts a competing view. S.A. Lloyd maintains that “It is education, and not might, that makes for social order in Hobbes’s system.” According to Lloyd, Hobbes thinks that threats of punishment cannot be effective in principle because rebellious people are willing to sacrifice their safety for their cause. I disagree; I say Hobbes believed threats of punishment can and do maintain order but that education is needed for the sovereign to muster the support necessary to make credible threats. My reasons for this are contained in my dissertation's Chapter 3, Transcendent Interests and Hobbes's View of Disorder.”

Some of my other work.

Political theory.
John Rawls argued in A Theory of Justice that, under appropriate circumstances, we would choose to have society governed by a certain set of principles, one of which is the highly controversial "Difference Principle." I wrote a paper
, "Indeterminacy in the Argument for the Difference Principle," arguing that Rawls does not make a compelling case for our choosing his favored set of principles and that we might just as well choose others.

Ancient philosophy. Epicurus had some fascinating ideas about the makeup of the universe as well as about how we should lead our lives. I wrote a paper, "Problems in Epicurus' Theory of Vision," on his atomist theory of visual perception. I argue that although his theory is better than some critics have made it out to be, it nevertheless suffers from serious problems.

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