Towards a Hobbesian liberal democracy through a Maslowian hierarchy of needs
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionThe Humanistic psychologist. 2020. https://doi.org/10.1037/hum0000193
Thomas Hobbes is a mainstay in political theory, but his political philosophy is often perceived as being marred by his insistence on absolute power and the rule of one—or the few. In this article I examine how a reinterpretation and adjustment of the psychological fundament of Hobbes’s systematic argument may in fact lead to a new understanding of how a Hobbesian argument could lead to the conclusion that liberalism and democracy are best for achieving order and stability. This reexamination is performed by reinterpreting Hobbes’s psychology in light of the writings of Abraham Maslow. Their reputations could hardly be more different, but I show that their theories of individuals are largely compatible, and that incorporating some of Maslow’s insights into Hobbes’s general framework may lead to a surprisingly modern Hobbesian political theory, because individual’s domination by the higher needs, when safe, may entail demands for liberty and self-determination.