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Dr. Michael Krom Publishes Book on Philosopher Hobbes

Public Relations
Posted: Tuesday Nov 8, 2011
Dr. Michael P. Krom, assistant professor of philosophy at Saint Vincent College, has authored a book, The Limits of Reason in Hobbes’ Commonwealth, which has been published by Continuum International Publishing Group.

“This book is a study of Hobbes’s attempt to construct a political philosophy of enduring peace on the foundation of the rational individual,” Dr. Krom said. “Hobbes’s rational individual, prompted by the desire for self-preservation, is obedient to the laws of the commonwealth and thus is put forth as the model citizen. Yet Hobbes intimates that there are limits to what such an actor will do for peace, and that the glory-seeker who is ‘too rarely found to be presumed on’ is capable of a generosity that is necessary for political longevity.”

“Given that Hobbes generally characterizes pride as an irrational motivator in that those dominated by this passion are willing to risk their self-preservation in pursuit of their vain ambitions, the admission of a necessary role for the glory-seeker leads Hobbes to a problematic position: on the one hand, Hobbes asserts that ‘the skill of making, and maintaining commonwealths, consisteth in certain rules, as doth arithmetic and geometry; not, as tennis-play, on practice only;’ yet the necessary role of the glory-seeker in his commonwealth means that he cannot eliminate the unpredictable aspects of human affairs that make politics more like tennis than mathematics,” Dr. Krom continued. “The Hobbesian sovereign is forced both to hope that nature will produce a critical number of proud men and, once they appear, to ask for their generous assistance in securing the commonwealth’s longevity. In fine, Hobbes is unable to eradicate pride from political life and thus on his own terms his ‘science of peace’ cannot succeed. I argue that Hobbes’s attempt to establish a ‘king of the proud’ fails to overcome the limits of reason and the precariousness of politics.”

“This book synthesizes recent work on Hobbes’s understanding of glory and political stability, yet challenges the view that Hobbes is able to incorporate glory-seekers into his political theory,” Dr. Krom concluded.

The book is now available from amazon.com.

Dr. Krom became a member of the Saint Vincent faculty in 2007 after earning his Ph.D. in philosophy from Emory University and his master of arts degree from Boston College. He and his wife, Jessica, reside in Latrobe with their five children.---Photo: Dr. Michael P. Krom---PR2011-837