Publications and Working Papers

Publications

Amy Chandran. Forthcoming. "Hobbes in France, Gallican Histories, and Leviathan's Supreme Pastor" Modern Intellectual History. (published online 7 April 2022)

Read a blog post summary of the article here.

Papers Under Review

Paper on Hobbes's Commonwealth by Institution (submitted for review)

This paper explores the significance of the distinction that Hobbes draws between the Commmonwealth by Institution and the Commonweatlh by Acquisition in Leviathan.

Paper on the Evolution of Ideas about History versus Hierarchy  (submitted for review)

This article explores competing theoretical conceptions of power and authority. It proposes that historical narratives examining the chronological origins of power may have displaced more formal, hierarchical notions of of political order. It traces this transformation back to three medieval contributions on the nature, origin and scope of civil and ecclesiastical powers, which were composed in the wake of the famous contest between Boniface VIII and Philip IV.

Working Papers:

"Another Independency? Hobbes on Empire and Free Conscience" (drafting)

The question of Hobbes's fleeting allegiance to the Independents in England remains a source of scholarly debate. This essay proposes a different interpretive possibility for understanding Chapter 47's use of "Independency." It draws upon a long-standing discussion of empire and its comparison with the natural "independency" of states. In doing so, it highlights Hobbes's engagement with the question of empire, and the broader importance of early modern conceptions of sovereignty in transforming imperialist aspirations, especially as these relate to questions of toleration and peace.

"Artificiality, Instrumental Power and Creation Ex Nihilo” (drafting)

What is power in Hobbes's view? Building on recent scholarship which emphasizes a shift in Hobbes's focus from 'potestas' to 'potentia,' this paper draws out the importance of conceptions of instrumental power, in light of debates over causality. It argues that instrumentality captures how it is that individuals become incorporated into a common power; as such, members can be joined to a principal author of the sovereign.  I suggest that Hobbes posits this artificial construction is ex nihilo, as a polemical intervention in debates over whether creatures (rather than just God) might be able to truly create. 

“Transformation and Trolling: Hobbes on Christianity and the Limits of Science” (drafting)

Few things are employed more frequently by Hobbes than "Transubstantiation" as an example of scholastic excesses and misleading theology. This paper gives an account of why the concept proved so apt for capturing features of Christianity that Hobbes hoped to transform. It examines the social and cultural features imbricated in theological contests, and the broader political dynamics that made these debates so salient in France. The analysis suggests that the concept of transubstantiation serves as a window into a broader understanding of Hobbes's stance towards Christianty—a position that involved a good amount of "trolling," and the attempt to transform Christianity into a more purely rational religion.