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17th Century Political Cartesianism and Its Opponents, or Imaging the State from Point Fixe


  • Julia Ivanova

    () (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia.)

  • Pavel Sokolov

    () (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia.)


This article examines the relation of two models of civil science in the early modern political literature: the rhetorical science of contingency (rhetorica primaria), and mathesis politica, associated with Descartes by some early Enlightenment authors. The authors analyze the reception of the rhetorical aspect of Hobbes’s civil science with a special focus on Vico’s criticism of Hobbes’s constructivist state model, showing how Vico counters the Hobbesian ‘protosociological’ style of theorizing with his own historical way of reflecting on the social and ‘open’ structure of political action.

Suggested Citation

  • Julia Ivanova & Pavel Sokolov, 2012. "17th Century Political Cartesianism and Its Opponents, or Imaging the State from Point Fixe," HSE Working papers WP BRP 08/HUM/2012, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hig:wpaper:08hum2012

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hobbes, Thomas, 1651. "Leviathan, or the Matter, Forme, & Power of a Common-wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civill," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number hobbes1651a.
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